Friday, July 15, 2016

How I've Survived Being Single Mom..(so far..)

here I am, with my favorite chocolate ice cream face..

As I'm sitting here typing this I feel like I'm writing a bold post. One that makes me slightly nervous.. and one that makes me feel vulnerable. My mind is jumbled and I'm not sure where to start. I haven't been very vocal at all about my divorce, or what it's like to be a single mom. Maybe it's because I haven't felt the need to, and maybe it's because it's really none of your business.. ( in the kindest way possible.) But this week something happened and my heart had a little soft spot in it. Earlier in the week a friend reached out and told me I'm "kicking ass" with the whole single mom thing and she asked for advice because she's now a single mom as well. Now, while our circumstances are very different, and I'm not so positive I'm "kicking ass" I thought I could share a few things I've realized along the way if it meant that it might possibly help someone out there. 


I think a majority of these apply to every mom. Regardless of circumstances.

so, here's a list of things I've put some time and lots of heart and thought into on how I've survived being a Single Mom. So far. 

I {TRY} TO BE PATIENT 
If you're a human, especially a parent, you know this can be hard. But being the sole parent at home I've occasionally been stretched beyond my limits. I've sincerely made being patient a priority. Not only with my little one, but with myself which is just as important. I've found that I also need to be patient with my circumstances. Once you practice patience and make a conscious effort to be patient in your home, you find that patience fills all other aspects of your life as well. Win win, right?

I FOUND SOME STABILITY
I was at a time where everything I knew was changing dramatically. My "stability" was being flipped upside down. I had to find my own stability. For me I found this in my job, and creating a new routine. My job has always been a home-away-from-home, my get away. I could go to work and keep my personal life separate. No one asked me questions or looked at me like I was their next project. A year later and my co-workers are just finding out I'm single mom. Funny huh? But I needed that stability and chose to keep everything to myself. I also found this in routines. I wake up at the same time, I get out of bed the same way, turn the same lamp on.. and at night I have routines with Mack as well. We brush teeth together, we say prayers, we rock in the rocking chair... etc etc.. I know that no matter what happens during the day, I can go home and have my routine. And that provided/provides comfort for me. 

I TRY TO FIND BALANCE
I say "try to find" because this is still hard for me. Balance in any life is so important. But being home and working, and trying to figure out every aspect of my life has been very challenging. I'm a full time working mom, I have another part time job, but mom is my priority. Friend time? ME time? Where do those fit in? 
which brings me to....

TREAT YOURSELF
It's totally okay to do things for yourself. Single-parent life is all about giving your time and efforts, maybe more than you have sometimes, to your child. But, part of finding balance in my life was finding time for myself too. The first time I left Mack with someone else I felt guilty the whole time. And I can see now that it was ridiculous. I've really learned that renewing my energy is so important. Whether it's getting a pedicure, or even having someone come over while I nap for 30 minutes it makes a difference. The first time Mack went with his dad for the weekend I sobbed the whole time. And I realized it was so important for Mack to be with Spencer, just as it's important that I have time to myself. I grew up spending weekends with my grandparents while my mom and dad had date night. And my sister and I LOVED that time away from my parents. Even though their the best parents in this world. I went to Target last week while I didn't have Mack. And you guys, I actually got TO BROWSE THE AISLES! I even tried clothes on! #momwin.

DON'T COMPARE LIVES
This is a big one, and also a really tough one.  It's much easier said than done. I think it really sucks to have plans in mind and a future planned down the road, and then they don't always turn out the way you thought they would. And that's okay, it's life. I always thought I'd be pregnant again with my second child by now, and in reality I'm single mom. Polar opposites, huh? I've had the hardest time with my friends that had babies the same time I had Mack, telling me they're pregnant again. Selfish of me? Maybe so. But I'm still going through figuring things out along the way everyday. So, please forgive me if I haven't congratulated you up and down, if I possibly didn't show up to your baby shower, or if I cry when I hold your newborn. I promise I'm still so happy for you from the bottom of my heart, because being a mom is the greatest thing in this world. Letting go of the idea of what my life "should" look like was tough, but also very liberating. It's also a work in progress.

BE TOUGH. (and then cry.)
I want to be tough for myself, and also for Mackson. I can DO THIS. BUT, that's not to say it's totally not okay to cry after being tough. You can do both. I do make a conscious effort to only cry when Mack is not around. Kids feel emotions, and they're not dumb. Mack is 2 and he understands a lot of what's going on around him. The crying is few in between now, but it still happens sometimes. Sometimes in life you just need a good cry. But I try to do it on my own time. It's like scheduling cries. haha Type A personality, much??

IT'S OKAY TO ASK FOR HELP
I have very much been an independent being my whole life. I want to do things my way and I want to be able to do things on my own. (ha, and here I am....) For example, I've always had my own finances- My ex-husband and I never shared a bank account or money. We split bills 50/50. As a single parent time seems so limited, and I realized it's a very humbling experience to have to ask for help when it's maybe impossible to be two places at once, or work meetings go a little longer and I'm stuck at work. All of this was going down during the same time I found out I had cervical cancer. (Another blog post on that later..) I was juggling new job responsibilities, learning how to be a single parent, ultimately feeling so sick and worried about my health, all while trying to be tough. As much as I've tried to be super-human, I've realized I'm really just a normal human. So disappointing ha-ha!

...There's a second part to this "ask for help" thing, but I think it's too long and will have to be in another blog post. So, we'll get to that later!


IT'S OKAY TO FEEL EMOTIONS
Life has a funny way of ninja punching you when you least expect it. Emotions are a normal part of life, and mine were a ROLLER COASTER. One minute I would be crying, one minute I would feel like super woman, and then I was exhausted.. etc etc. But, I felt like part of my healing process was letting myself feel these different emotions and recognize them as being normal!


BE RESPECTFUL
Divorce is sticky, and learning the ropes of everything from being a single parent to working on co-parenting is hard. But I decided that being respectful was the most important thing I could do. I speak highly of my ex.. he's a really great guy, we just didn't work out. Ya know the saying "What Susie says of Sally says more of Susie than of Sally"?? This is the perfect situation for this quote. And, aside from everything, he is the father of my child! Which is a pretty significant role! I try my best to treat people how I want to be treated.



LET THEM BE LITTLE
I want Mack to be a kid, and have a "normal" childhood. Although everyone's "normal" is so different. That's life. But, I will do my very best at keeping my stress aside from Mack, and being mom. I want to let him be little.


I MADE CHANGES
As if a divorce doesn't bring on enough changes, I chose to make changes in different areas. I cut my hair. Seems silly right? I cut my hair, and I SOBBED while getting it cut. My poor hair girl pulled her shears out and told me if I didn't stop she wouldn't cut my hair. This was something big to me. My long hair was something I associated with my life before. I had long hair when we were together, I had long hair my entire pregnancy, and my hair was down and long the first time Mack and I made eye contact. By me cutting my hair I felt like I was opening a new chapter. "A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life" That was probably one of my first steps in healing.
I also painted different rooms in my house, and bought new d├ęcor items. These changes felt better, and they were things that brought me happiness.


There's so much sadness in this world already. There's hate, and terror, and I find a strange union with other moms. Some of the most amazing, strong-willed people I've ever met are moms. What a great title, and an even greater responsibility. Thanks to all of the ladies, moms or not, who have shown me great examples along the way. I adore every one of you. And you're doing a fabulous job.


"There will be so many times you feel like you've failed. But in the eyes, heart, and mind of your child, you are super mom."



12 comments:

  1. Mikell, you are seriously such a beautiful person inside and out! You are so awesome for writing this because you're right...it isn't anyone's business but I do think this post is a great resource for other single parents. Growing up my mom was a single mom and I never realized it then but it must have been so hard for her. I think your point about making time for yourself is SO important, you deserve it! Mack is so lucky to have you as his Mama!

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    1. Jordan, you are the sweetest! Thanks for loving me always, you've been one of my longest (and most favorite) blogging friends! XO

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  2. It's not just moms (single or otherwise), this really spoke to me today, thank you for being brave enough to share.

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    1. I'm so glad to hear things like this, thank you so much for taking the time to comment!! XO

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  3. I adore you full heartedly. This was a very bold post and I cannot thank you enough for opening your heart for others to see and help. Even the days you feel like youre not kicking ass, you are. Remember that.

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  4. You are incredible!! I can't imagine how hard it must be to juggle everything and I'm glad you take time for yourself! It's necessary! I really admire you for how you have approached this change in your life.

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    1. Thanks so much for the sweet comment Lauren!!

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    2. Of course! I haven't seen you since you were about to give birth! Haha! We should hang out! And question.... How do I respectfully and non offensively respond when someone says they got divorced? Louis ck said that there is no reason to feel bad for the person who got divorced because if they got divorced that means they got out of something that made them unhappy and was unhealthy and they didn't want it anymore. So in a way it's a happy and freeing thing. So I really don't know how to respond when someone says they got divorced. Do I say "I'm sorry?" Or "good for you?" What is the appropriate response?

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  5. Mikell, you are doing great, good words here. We are all working at our own pace.

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  6. Mikell, you are doing great, good words here. We are all working at our own pace.

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  7. I really do appreciate reading this again now. It helps me in my situation. I hate the path i was going down and dont recognize myself. This is a very good read, thank you.

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