I must first apologize for the lengthy delay between my posts. I have been extremely busy! Busy with my life. You know? Work, kids, home, and men! Last week marked the first anniversary of my journey as a single parent. I took the day off as a day of recollection, but got swamped with many personal errands I had to run.
As in the case of most of us, I did not choose this path for myself. I thought I was doing the right thing by waiting to have children after I have married. That has proven useless. In this one year, I have learnt so much about being independent and dependent at the same time. I've learnt when to put my big girl britches on, and when to let the tears flow freely like a baby's. Below are 10 things I learnt about how to survive being a single mother.
Build Your Team
You will need a solid team of individuals behind you. The "I told you so" and "He was no good" does not make the situation any easier. Surround yourself with positive individuals. Some on the inner circle of your life, and some on the outskirts. Root out the naysayers and the untrustworthy. You feed off the energy others send so it is important to surround yourself with the right kid of energy.
Self sufficiency is the aim of the game. You want to be able to take care of your kids and live a little every now and then. The job market is rough right now but try to align yourself in one where you can acquire transferable skills. And don't hang your eggs in one basket. Hustle. If you have side ventures going, you will weather the storm better if you should somehow lose your main source of income.
Ask for Help
Contrary to the above post, we have to depend on others at times. No man is an island. And neither is woman. We need help from time to time. If you try to go it alone you WILL fail. Trust me. No one ever got where they are on their individual merits.
Get rid of your fear and do something you've always been afraid to do. Go back to school and get that degree you've been thinking about. Start that business others said would never get on the ground. Get that haircut he did not want you to get. Wear a bikini if you feel so inclined. I like Nike's slogan: Just do it!
I know not everyone believes in the same deity if any at all, but there is something comforting in knowing that a bigger force is operating in your life. For those of us who believe in God, Allah, Buddah, whoever, we pray to the great one because it decompresses our thoughts, hopes, anxieties. It sends it out there into the universe with a relief of having shed some of our burden and with the expectation of having it heard and returned to us in the form of granted favors. Kind of a simplistic view on prayer, but it would be comparable to paying a shrink to listen to you for an hour, and only to have left with the answers you've figured out for yourself in the space of that time.
Your life, if it was not hectic before, is now out the bazoo crazy! You are doing the job of not one, but two. And if you ascribe to the village and child theory, then you are doing the job of an entire village. So you will need to have your stuff together so you can function and be efficient. Your time is your most precious resource. It is very limited and must be split a number of ways so learn to use it wisely.
Yes, there will be times when you feel overwhelmed. Times you feel like you're just going to lose it. I've blogged about a few of those times here on this site. But it's ok. Take the time you need for yourself to rest, recuperate, regroup, and rejoin the battlefield. Life is a constant battle, and if you are constantly fighting you will get burnt out. Don't feel guilty for taking some time for yourself. Every once in a while you should do something for yourself. Go partying with your girlfriends, or take a weekend getaway by yourself.
Recently I checked into a luxurious suite just a few minutes away from my house. That night, I slept on a cloud! I felt like a new woman as I left that hotel. I felt ready to face the crap that was ultimately destined to be thrown at me. It was one night of solitude, peace, and quiet, and I swear I am going to do it as often as I can.
Don't Worry. Be Happy
We spend so much of our time worrying it's unbelievable. I myself am a worrier and it is no wonder I suffer from high blood pressure. I will sleep and wake with the same thoughts of "what if's" and "how can I do this". We have to train ourselves to believe that everything will be ok once we do what we need to get done. My mantra is to do what I can, when I can, for as long as I can, and leave the rest up to God.
One way of moving forward with your life is to let go of the past. I have come to a point where I talk about my STBE less and less. I sometimes find myself forgetting some painful events between us in the past. I don't get that tightness in my chest and gall in my throat the way I did before. I have moved on. And to what I understand it is clear to EVERYONE that I have moved on. I am glowing and showing like I never did before. I'm not happy but I am getting there. I've learnt to let go and let God.
Get Out There
Not saying you should rush to find the next Mr. Right, or even Mr. Right Now. What I am saying is that you should network with your friends to find out what kind of market it is out there so when you feel ready you know how to charm someone. It is a skill some are blessed with naturally, but most of it is from trial and error. Go out and enjoy meeting random strangers. Get your flirt on. It is a confidence booster to have someone interested in you so much that they would wanna try to get to know you. There is nothing more shameful to me than social awkwardness, particularly in dating. I have a friend who just cannot land a second date ever because she has been off the market for so long and has no clue whatsoever about wooing the opposite sex. SMDH!!!
Survival Bonus: Breathe
Literally. When we are tense our breaths become rapid and short. We do not get enough oxygen to our lungs. Our heart races to pump blood even faster to circulate oxygen throughout our body. So we have headaches, elevated blood pressure, dizziness, and a general feeling of being unwell as a result of this. Take the time to practice deep breathing. Train yourself to recognize when you are being agitated and slow your breathing.