How do you do it?
How can you do it?
Questions I often get asked; which I now find offensive. There are not many people who actually choose to be single parents. [Those that do, I absolutely commend you!] But many of us had the decision made for us. So when people ask me this, I interpret it as it should be impossible for me to parent alone without their father’s help.
Please read my previous post (I Was Ashamed), so you can better understand the why.
I will not pretend to have had it all together the moment he walked away. I have had to do a lot of praying and I was so depressed at one point that I would barely get out of bed. I had to take one step each day out of that dark place. It takes having a strong support system to be able to overcome some of the obstacles that come with parenting alone.
No, I do not want pity, or sympathy. Just respect. Having the opportunity to meet and spend time with other parents who have had to do it on their own, they too have faced those people who question every decision they had to make for their children. I know quite a few people who believe that it must be close to impossible to make it without a male counterpart. Great news for them: we can!
So how do you do it? It is simply a journey.
It begins with loving yourself first. Without loving yourself, you ultimately set yourself up for failure. You are able to look at things much differently and much clearer. You are able to take on whatever comes your way. You understand your strength, your ability to overcome, your drive. You are the key to this journey. Your children depend on you. Believe in your capabilities as an individual and as a parent. I thought because he didn’t love me enough to stay, I wasn’t loveable or worth loving. If you are feeling like that at this moment, drive those thoughts out of your head. You are worth loving. You are amazing. You are amazing. Love yourself so that you can be the best parent for your children.
Not only love yourself, love your children. I have often been criticized of doing too much for my children or spoiling them. I was told that my son needed his father to teach him to be a man and that I was making him soft. A mother can teach a boy to be a man as well. Showing him how to be independent, strong, intelligent, a man of integrity, character, and how to love and care for others. I invest time into them and make sure they know that they are loved beyond measure. No one loves your children like you and no one knows them like you. You know exactly what they need; don’t listen to those who don’t.
Trust the process. You don’t have to be super mom or perfect Patty. I once read that each day we must choose which ball we are willing to drop. I have a pile of laundry on my couch that I have been meaning to fold all week. I have yet to make it to the grocery store this week and now my list is twice as long. These are small things when it comes to the bigger picture. No, I won’t dot every “I” or cross every “T”, but I will trust the process. I can only imagine what attitude my daughter will have when she is 12 or what age my son will bring home his first girlfriend. (Lord, help me!) Enjoy the moments that come. We can only teach our children the best we can and hope that what we instill in them will stick!
Finally, have support. I don’t know what I would do without my support system. From my parents, great friends, and the kids’ godparents. They each help make this parenting journey a little easier to handle. In moments of weakness, I know I can turn to either of them and they would be right there for me and my children. Having a strong and dependable support system will get you through those moments when you feel like giving up. It takes a village to raise a child. I am thankful for my village.
I am a strong believer in the scripture that says, “All things work together for the good…” Therefore, understand that everything happens for a reason. Even if we don’t see it quite clear yet, there is a reason behind it.
Remember, you don’t owe anyone any explanations for your circumstances. Love yourself, love your children, trust your journey, and have your village in tact. Everything else is irrelevant. Just because you are parenting alone doesn’t mean you are in this alone.