For so long I have tied my being a successful single mother and provider to my worth as a person. In the community I swim in where success is everything, I have to say that when I really do slow down my life…my thoughts, I realize that it has taken a bit of a toll on me after two decades of doing this.
I’ve been a depressed mom. A sad mom. A happy mom. A drained mom. A broke mom. A stable mom. An unstable mom. But through it all, I’ve tried my best to be there, no matter what.
I’ve been a single mom
I have written many articles now on this site. I have shared many things with the readers here. I am so grateful to have this platform too. I always feel better when I am helping people. In my very small way, I hope that anyone who reads what I share feels even just a small amount of relief. I want anyone to read my words and take a deep breath and think or rather, know that they are not alone.
We…as single divorced moms feel overwhelmed at least two hundred times a week. And too often we get caught up in evaluating ourselves by the number of boxes that get checked off in our day…in our week…in our month… and so on. And then we go and compare ourselves with everyone around us. The result is that when we do find a rare moment for ourselves to have a thought that is centered only on ourselves, we are too drained to even act on it.
The hardest part of being a single mom
That is the hardest part of being a divorced single mom. Whenever a married person with children tells me they know what it’s like to be a single parent, the brakes in my brain come to a screeching halt and I do everything I can not to scream back at them and say, they don’t have a clue! And you know what? Good on them for not knowing those frightening days of responsibility that resemble nothing short of an anvil sitting squarely on your shoulders every day of the week and twice on Sunday. If they do and they are married, then they should seek marital counseling pronto!
Every working parent has the rush of the mornings to get their children dressed, fed, lunches made, packed up, and ready to get them out the door to school all after they have gotten themselves dressed, fed, packed up, and ready for work. But they don’t also carry the childcare, the homework, the grocery shopping, the bill paying, and the emotional support that goes with raising a family all by themselves.
That has been, and to a certain extent still is my life as my youngest child finishes her last year of college. I fully expect that when my kids are done with their foundation work, I will either dance the streets like Gene Kelly in Singing in the Rain or fall down like an exhausted shell of a person. I am still not sure where I will land on that spectrum. I am hoping for the Gene Kelly impersonation!
You’re not a Hamster. Get off the hamster wheel and live your life.
There are so many measures thrown at us as women in general. We consciously and unconsciously measure ourselves by how long we stay young looking. All you have to do is turn on the TV and every commercial starts with an advertisement of anti-aging cosmetics to fight the aging process… or get that summer body we always wanted (and should have) with an advertisement on diets.
We measure ourselves by how much money is in our bank accounts, how big our bobbles are, how new our cars are, and how fast we are keeping up with the Jones. If you live in California and then noodle that down to living in Los Angeles, it can really be a test of your self-esteem to just keep up on any level.
The best way to make a dream come true is to wake up
Living my life as if there were two of me
I have concluded lately that all of this is just silly, and I needed a real wake-up call. I have now realized that I have been keeping up with the same good ole Jones’ for the past twenty years. I have lived my life as if I were two people. I have bought the houses. I have bought the cars. I have paid the private school tuition. I have literally kept up with every married family I know. And I’m now officially tired.
What I found out along my journey was that I was more concerned with keeping everyone comfortable around me and in the process, sacrificed my own comfort…my own security. My own self-worth was tested and retested as I sometimes succeeded, and many times failed. I found that when I succeeded it was an expectation and was never really noticed, let alone validated.
But when I failed, it was a failure that gave some good gossip sessions for anyone who needed to feel elevated in their own lives. After all, what better way to feel good about your own life when you have someone around whom you will always be better off than.
So here I am…all woken up! As I look back over the shoulder of my life, I see the deeds…all good and bad left behind in the wake. And though in the past twenty years, I have felt more spent than a 1962 penny, I know as I sit here that I probably wouldn’t change much that I have done, After all, I operated by the only information I had. And that wasn’t much. I wasn’t raised in divorce and I didn’t really know many kids who had divorced parents growing up. I didn’t have any data to go on.
Which brings me full circle to what brought me to DivorcedMoms.com in the first place. I was seeking information to do a better job than I may have been doing. The only difference was that I was far outside of the initial divorce. I had been a single parent for 19 years when I started writing here. I decided to be the information that I was seeking. I knew what I had experienced. I knew the good, the bad, and the ugly of being a divorced mom.
I knew that initially, all I really was seeking was support. I wanted to hear stories about other people’s journeys. I didn’t want to know only the trials though. I wanted to know that triumphs were also an item on the menu. I wanted you to know that others have walked these long halls and I found that at the end of that corridor, there was a glass door that eventually took me to the sunshine outside. And that sun just keeps shining every day, brighter and brighter. Because I finally reached a place that led me to be the change I was seeking. I had to be the inspiration I was on the hunt for.
I know that there may be more challenging days ahead just as there were in the past twenty years. My two children were just an infant and a toddler when we all stepped on this stage of being a single parent family. We had so much ahead of us that fell into the realm of the unknown. Now they are young adults and taking their first steps on their own paths and life has a tendency of just happening all around us. I feel certain though, that all three of us will take an accounting of the days that once were and celebrate the days yet to be. I am excited to see how their story…our story turns out too.
It never hurts to keep looking for sunshine.
Winnie the Pooh
So take your sunglasses out for a walk today and enjoy the sunny days you all have ahead of you. Trust me… they are coming!