Today was a special day...My baby-sister officially moved out of the house. After living with us (my son and I) for the past three years, she is now ready for a new adventure and I couldn't be more proud of her! I remember the day she moved-in, like yesterday. Quickly after she heard the news of my separation, she did not hesitate for a second to come live with me. My son was six months old at the time... Time does really fly éh!
Although it is bittersweet to see her leave, it's been three years, three and a half to be precise since I became a single mother. I think I got this. Right? or maybe not...Navigating the unexpected reality of raising a little guy by myself is inescapable at this point, so I might as well get to "business".
How am I doing? How is it working for me? How do I keep together? A thousand questions run through my head every day and believe me, I don't always have the time to answer them all. Quite frankly, at the end of each day, the bit of time left is used to plan the next day's to-do list, and carry on with my household chores.
Even though I may not have all the answers, I do have some and this is what I choose to be my focus. These answers have now become fundamental ''truths'' I refer to when it comes to managing my life as a single-parent.
It is real, single-parenthood is hard! It's even harder for some than others, based on the custody, visitations, financial agreements, and most importantly, the commitment of both parties to equally raise the child. It is therefore crucial to establish mechanisms, routines to succeed in this ''life" test.
As for me, I have good days and not-so good ones but here are four mantras, I intentionally practice to stay ''zen'' and be the best mom, I know, I can be.
- Regularly laugh
It may sound silly but it is scientifically proven that ''laughing'' is therapeutic. The question is what if we don't feel like laughing? (LOL) Life is intense, I get it. As a single parent myself, not only have I gone through a traumatic experience, I am still healing from but I also have to figure out how to strive in my finances, my carrier, and my personal goals. Although, I do not feel like ''laughing" every day, releasing out stress and anxiety is a must.
This is why ''laughing '' has become international for me! From watching a comedy show to dancing to an upbeat song, surrounded by '' funny-jokes-teller'' friends, there are many ways to purposefully keep the laughter going in my life and it is proven to be working so far.
- Protect my energy
Truth to be told, the load of work is doubled as a single parent with full custody. Subsequently, my energy is the main motor that keeps me going every day. It is extremely important to stay healthy and many aspects have to be taken into consideration when it comes to a healthy lifestyle: diet, exercising, meditation, spirituality... I am not a professional nor am I consistent at the gym myself (LOL) but having a healthy diet, with a load of vegetables, drinking a lot of water, monitoring my glucose level, staying active... help me combat physical and emotional fatigue.
Another point that should not be neglected, is taking care of my mental & spiritual health by all means. To do so, I regularly practice self-care, read devotionals, listen to sermons, worship a whole lot... train my mind to remain positive and optimistic regardless of what I face.
- Validate my emotions
Whether I would like to admit it or not, my heart was broken into pieces, three years ago. I had to learn how to be strong for my baby boy, which for me meant suppressing my emotions at the beginning of this journey. No time to cry, I had to put my '' big girl panties'' on and I did!
It wasn't until last year that I've decided to attend a divorce-care course and took to time to grieve the end of my marriage... It is a scar that I will carry with me for the rest of my life so I should be gentle with myself. I am taking now the time to welcome my emotions and identify their roots. This exercise is helping me expose the misbeliefs I have and reassure myself; gain back my confidence.
- Call on my tribe
If it takes a village to raise a child, having a tribe around cannot be undermined! It was very clear to me at the very beginning that I would need help to fulfill my duties as a parent. Not only did my mom flue from Abidjan (Ivory Coast) to stay with me for six months but soon after she left, my sister moved into the house as well.
I have meticulously spent the past three and a half, building a support system to help me along the way. I am grateful for the amazing people, I get to be friends with; my tribe! It is not about the number, trust me, all it takes is one friend who got your back!
Here we are, four mantras. I could pinpoint a few more but guess what? You can have as many as you want, as long as it helps you stay healthy and happy for your little ones and yourself. Never I have ever thought that this would be my new '' normal'' yet it is.
So I will say this: " take all the time you need to heal and organize your life!"It is okay to ask for help, to sit in our emotions for a while, and go through our feelings...
Life is not perfect! Ups, downs, croaked roads, unending turns... and having a child /children to solely care for does not make things any easier, but we can still make the best of it. Finding the joy in the precious moments, celebrating the daily victories, make up for the amazing adventure of raising a human.
So keep on going at your own pace; one step at the time; remember: you got it what takes!
I would love to support you in this challenging reality of being a single-parent, send me an email, let me know how you are doing, how I could help. Any mantras or advice, any topic that you would like to share with us? Well feel free, I would love to learn new ways to ease off my experience. Sharing is caring!