I’m currently in the process of taking old posts of mine and putting them together in a book. Right now I’m working on posts I wrote in 2009 – the days when I was a single mom with two kids and had just met my Mr. Wonderful. Today I edited one of my favorite inspirational posts, one with advice I have given many times over to lots of moms – whether single or not.
How to regain your sense of self instead of placing your whole identity in your kids.
(P.S. I just wrote an article for the newspaper on a mom, on a journey through fashion, who emphasized this truth as well. Check it out HERE)
Look for this chapter in my upcoming book on single parenting!
THE FINE ART OF BEING SELFISH (excerpt)
When kids are young, we as moms become totally immersed in motherhood. Suddenly everything is about the kids. It’s our tendency to go from being totally involved in ourselves, our work, our marriage, and our friendships – to being involved solely in our kids. Upon the arrival of these little beings, our whole world suddenly revolves around them.
It’s hard to break away from that.
I was no exception. For most of my married life, I was a stay at home mom. I volunteered at my daughter’s preschool. I carted the kids every single place I needed to go. I gave up going out at night in favor of staying with the kids. I sacrificed my personal interests and dreams one by one as interests and dreams wrapping around them took their place.
I was a mom. That was my name, my identity, and my world.
Most days the kids were the only beings on earth that heard my voice. I’m not saying that this is how it is supposed to be in motherhood, or even that most moms suddenly mutate into this being that resembles more gray than any other color. But that’s what happened to me.
For me, it took a divorce to shake me out of the clutches of “hermitting” into motherhood. It was jarring when my kids spent their first weekend away from me with their dad. I knew that I was aching to have a break, to not have anyone to worry about other than myself. But once that happened, I had no idea what to do with myself. How did I survive before the kids came along? What did I do with myself and my time? Suddenly there were too many hours in the day, and the world was much too quiet. I knew I needed to do something with this gifted time, but what? I didn’t have a lot of friends, having let a lot of friendships go to the wayside as my focus changed. And I really hadn’t done much else but kids’ activities in the past several years.
I needed a plan.
End of excerpt. Read the rest in the eBook “Golf Balls, Eight Year Olds & Dual Paned Windows“.
I am at the very beginning of this journey, myself. Thanks for giving me hope there will be life for me again.
You can do this. My life has drastically changed from where I was at then to where I’m at now. Single parenting is hard, really hard. But it also gives you a lot of strength as you grow. Good luck!
I’m not a single parent, but I totally indentify. For the last five years, my husband has been employed full-time and attending SSU part-time working on his degree. He worked mid shift from 2pm – 10pm. I work days. We only saw each other on weekends and I was alone with the kids every night. I felt like a single parent five days a week. My entire life was going to work and taking care of the kids & house. I didn’t read the news or shave my legs for months.
When I dared venture out one night with some girlfriends to a dance party at a local bar, it was exhilarating. I danced, had drinks, and talked to adults about something other than kids & work & bills. I even once took a weekend trip, without my family, to Seattle to attend a cultural conference. I felt like a whole person again, not just a mother, a paycheck, and a maid.
It is so hard to go from single & childless to wife & mother and then try to find the balance between the roles. I questioned my self a lot. Am I selfish? Am I a bad mother or wife? Am I too demanding? Why can other parents do this and I can’t? Should I have even had kids? Did I make a huge mistake thinking I was cut out to be a parent?
I now know that when I leave for a few hours or even whole weekends, the world doesn’t fall apart. This is one of those “get over yourself” moments for me. Kids, husband, house, everything is fine without my constant presence. I didn’t stop being me because I had kids. I needed to figure out how to incorporate my husband & kids into my being without giving up everything I was before. I liked what I was before. I didn’t like what I was when I was tethered to babies and housework and couldn’t allow myself a break. I was miserable. I’m better at this now, but still a work in progress. I still catch myself thinking I deserve the Worst Parent of the Year Award, but less than I used to. Progress!