I never imagined that I would be a single mom. It only took a moment, just one question really, to turn my life upside down and change it forever. For years we sat in church together as a family. People used to say we looked like the family from Leave It to Beaver. Now here I was, parenting alone. How could this happen?
Read Linda’s story of facing life as a single mom.
I know many women are living through the same thing that happened to me. I call it the Single Mom Syndrome. Our energy and focus have suddenly changed. Many of you stand at a crossroads wondering which foot to move and where to go, with little or no knowledge of how to survive.
I am here to tell you that YOU CAN DO THIS. Breathe, and slowly make your decisions. It is time to put on a new pair of shoes and walk a new road.
I want to share with you my life experiences as I began this road as a single mom and chose every day to work on being the best mom I could be. It was a conscious effort to work to heal my wounded heart. In my old life, I was a stay-at-home mom with a small home daycare to help with basic financial costs. When I got divorced, I had to re-enter the workforce.
As you can imagine, seven years changes technology and I felt like I was back in kindergarten. It was a lot to juggle as I tried to keep the home as stable as possible while learning what buttons to push on this monster called a computer! But, I did it and so can you.
Be encouraged. There is HELP, there is HOPE, and there is HEALING. I know because I have lived it. I do not have a degree in psychology, but what I have is a degree in Hard Knocks, which has been my greatest teacher.
If you are walking through a divorce, life has suddenly left you with a lot of decisions. Your heart is saturated in grief, hurt, and possibly anger. Everything seems up in the air. It is hard to know which ball to juggle first.
You are not alone. It took courage and strength — one day at a time, one moment at a time. Some days, I was shaking in my shoes!
It takes resources. I didn’t suddenly write out the list below and dash ahead. I learned them along the way, and through the advice of friends who had walked this road. You have resources, too, if you are willing to look for them. And I want to help you find them.
A Box of Resources
We are very fortunate to have resources at our fingertips. I know it may feel like you don’t have much, but you do have resources.
During this time, use your resources to take care of you. I can’t stress this enough. When you do this, you are able to gain perspective. With children in the home, you will need the energy and strength to make wise decisions. You can’t do that well if you don’t take care of yourself.
It can be hard, and there are days when it will feel like you are walking on your ankles. For me, I took every advantage I could to be a stronger and healthier me. I put on my new shoes and, even though it felt like they were mired in cement, I collected my resources and boxed them up so I could have them to use along my path to healing.
Here are the resources I learned to use. I hope that some of my suggestions below will encourage you to lace up that new pair of running shoes and head out on the road as a single mom.
- See a medical doctor to maintain a clean bill of health. My doctor would say to me, “Now Linda, this is what you need to do for ‘a time’ to help you gain your strength.” Stress makes the body susceptible to all kinds of illness. You need to take extra care to keep yourself healthy.
- Feed your soul. Read the Bible or other positive and uplifting literature every day. Post sayings to boost your spirit on your computer, or your fridge or car visor.
- Gain some good support from safe and trusted friends who will keep things confidential. I learned this one the hard way but I soon found friends who respected my story and kept it to themselves. Be careful about who you share your story with. You can never un-share it.
- Take advantage of your local library for books, DVD, audio tapes, or articles that will encourage you or invest in some books you can mark up and underline.
- Daily exercise. I know this is hard, but because of the stress in your life, you need to release this energy through some type of physical activity. It might mean dusting off your bicycle and taking the kids for a ride, joining a fitness class at the local pool, a brisk walk around the block, or using an exercise DVD. Some of my sweetest memories were the times my children and I went biking riding to the park and had FUN!
- Eat healthy food. You may not feel like eating a lot but make wise choices to keep yourself healthy. I called a friend and asked her to bake some wholesome muffins for me. She was on my doorstep in no time. It blessed me and it blessed her to do it.
- Seek counseling. Not everyone has medical plans that cover this, so if you aren’t covered see if there is a trusted pastor that would hear your heart. It is good to get some unbiased advice because we need to share our story. Doing that helps us sort out the next steps. This website has confidential mentors who can help you.
- Hug your kids! You all need love and support during this time. These precious treasures need reassurance too. There were times we just laid on my bed and laughed and talked. It was a healing time for all of us.
The list above contains just a few suggestions as you begin your journey as a single mom. Like all new pairs of shoes, these new single mom shoes will need some wear and tear in order to feel comfortable. It’s okay. You can take the first step.
Remember, this is a new beginning, so be patient as you put one foot in front of the other. This is the time to take advantage of your box of resources. Believe in your heart that you are worth it — for yourself and your kids. Which things in the box of resources can you begin to pull out and use? Tie up the laces of your new shoes with a determined heart as you face your challenges. You will get through this. I truly believe this can be an empowering and healing time for you.
There is HELP, there is HOPE, there is HEALING!
If you are new to single parenting and have questions or just need someone to talk to, our mentors are available anytime.
For more encouraging tips on being a single mom, follow Linda’s blog, and read her book, Single Mom Survival Success
This article was written by: Linda McCutcheonPhoto Credit: London Scout