Being a single parent can be tough at times. The worst part is not having that someone there that you can rely on to talk you down from the moments of stress. You know, like when one of your beautiful kids spills hot chocolate on the freshly cleaned carpets…yeah, it’s moments like these that I often need that person to take my hand, lead me to another room and remind me to count to ten before reacting.
My biggest struggle as a single parent, however, is that I am only one person trying to accommodate two very busy, active and energetic boys. Most days I am up at 6am and running non-stop until 10pm, often times running errands related to my kids even at lunch, with little or no time for myself. I am often wiped out by the time my head hits the pillow.
My life revolves around my kids! I can’t help it…it just does. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Quite frankly there is nothing that pleases me more than my kids being healthy, active and individual boys who love life, their family, and God equally. I’ve worked hard at that! Often times I look back at my marriage and wonder if the fact that I put the boys ahead of my husband was the reason behind our divorce. I still don’t know, I may never know, but it is the closure I had to give myself in order to move on to a healthier life.
I don’t regret anything I have done in my life!
In the early stages of being a single mom, this role of “being at my kid’s beck and call 24 hours a day” caused a huge imbalance in my life. I struggled to find time for me, let alone others in my life. Looking back, I probably would have been remarried by now if I could have found the balance between being a single mom and being a vibrant outgoing single woman.
But I just couldn’t figure out how to do it without feeling guilty!
I can’t tell you how many times I would cancel on my friends at the last minute or just flat out turn them down because I was invited to do something on a night that I had my kids. At the time, all I could think about was the fact that I had so few awake hours with them a week, that I didn’t want to waste one moment away from them. I often felt guilty leaving them on “my time”. In fact, when they were little and napped, my “me time” became those few precious hours a day that they would sleep. Unfortunately those precious hours diminished quickly and so did my “me time”.
But then I discovered something very powerful. Something that I wish I would have learned a lot earlier in my life as a single woman. I learned that it is ok to go out on nights that you have your kids. Now…don’t take this as permission to do this all of the time, but on occasion it is good to let your kids see you going out for the evening. And by going out, I don’t mean going out on a drunken binge or going out and not coming home until the wee hours of the morning or anything crazy like that. But it is definitely ok to go out on a date, or have a girls night, or even a spa treatment or two.
It is ok! Trust me!
It is ok to drop the kids off at grandma and grandpas, or to hire a babysitter. People do it all of the time. And you know what, I’m a better mom when I do it. And my kids…well, I think it is good for them to see me get dressed up and go out for the evening. At some point, they need to realize that you have a life that doesn’t solely revolve around them.
It’s healthy for everyone!
Ever since I have incorporated that balance in my life, I have become a much happier woman and a much better mom. Unfortunately I’m kind of in a funk right now and won’t be practicing what I preach anytime soon, but trust me it is definitely good for the soul!