The life of a single parent is not easy, and the struggle to not feel defeated is a constant work in progress. I became a single parent when my son was just six months old. I thought I had it all planned out. Well that was four years ago and here I am, still standing! It has been hard, and there have been times when I felt angry, uninspired, conflicted, and sad. For so long I carried these feelings while on the other hand trying to smile and wear it like a badge of honor, because “I am a strong woman”…right.
I never knew how to really ask for help. I was taught that I needed to be responsible for myself and my actions, and this was my choosing to be a parent. I began to feel alone, because I was. Co -parenting became an occasional every other weekend. During the week I did it alone. With limited support, and not wanting to burden others, I retreated instead of speaking up and asking for help. In my mind I would suffer in silence and not reach out to those who genuinely were willing to assist. Why not get that much needed mani /pedi? Heck, I would settle for a quiet trip to the grocery store.
It has taken me years to realize that I had to stop closing myself off, and welcome the support!
My moment of reprieve came when a close relative and I began reconnecting while she was going through a terrible break up. We were both single parents in need of support. She was this mom that had things down to a science, and I wanted to learn how to be like that. We needed each other. She realized that I was allowing my circumstance to destroy me, closing myself off to others and always frustrated. There were supports all around me and I was not utilizing them. Why suffer and complain? I had fooled myself into thinking that I did not need anyone else. However those long chats over wine lead us to a pact. We became each other’s cheerleader and would be available for the other in whatever capacity. This support was not just physical, but emotional.
The shift was happening within. I had to remember myself and all that I had accomplished including everything I had endured and blossomed from. I had been overshadowing my gratitude with sadness. So I had to change my thought process. If dad did not follow through with his weekend, that did not mean I had to change my plans and be angry. Instead I had to utilize my resources and support system. I was blocking my blessings every time I turned down an offer from a close friend or relative willing to babysit. There were people who I trusted and loved that wanted to help, and I needed them. Yes, I know, maybe easier said than done. I still have my days when I have to take a moment and just be. However, it gets better. I have had to get better at receiving and planning when scheduling a night out, but it is possible and in the end necessary for my well being.
I would like all my fellow Single mothers to know that you are not alone. Do not spend too much time on things that are out of your control. Welcome the support, make time for self and lastly be thankful. Thankful because you are a Supreme Being!
Brandi is a busy mother to a smart loving four year old son. Together she and her son enjoy creating LEGO masterpieces and watching superhero movies. Brandi works with homeless families in Fairfield County as a Case Manager, and is currently pursuing a second Masters Degree. When she has quiet time she can be found writing and sipping on a good cup of coffee.