Confessions of A Single Mom
Being a mother and father to my kids showed me that I reaped the benefits AND struggles that came from parenthood. I was usually over worked and stressed about how things would pan out with my kids - I was afraid that my kids wouldn't receive a proper upbringing with no male figure around. I had to explain to my daughters that their dad left with no goodbye - those difficult discussions were the hardest. I had to go find help when my car broke down or when the shower faucet was leaking because there wasn't a man in the house. I had to quickly learn to be resourceful and to provide the fastest, most cost-effective solutions for my kids and I. Being the only breadwinner in the family brought many challenges as I had to pay all the bills, rent and expenses. Through this, I learned humility and how to surrender to God's will.
Being a single mother has taught me a lot about myself and my children. Below are some of the points I reflected on and lessons I have learned along the way:
Confidence in God's providence: Jesus has provided for my family in more ways than one. When we were searching for a subsidized apartment, I was so overwhelmed with the amount of other struggling families who were on the waiting list for an apartment. One week later, I got a phone call that an apartment had become available right across from my work and in a central location with a local school, community centre, Church and stores. God is so faithful - He provided for my girls and I when we struggled with getting groceries, paying for school photos, school trips or prom dresses.
Self-care: My self-esteem was strengthened as I became exposed to various spiritual retreats and workshops that helped me to balance motherhood, work and my faith. I first had to heal from my divorce and realize that I could not be of use to my children if I did not practice self-care and experience restoration in my faith. I took time for myself by having a nice bubble bath, reading, napping whenever I could, watching a good movie or grabbing a coffee with a loved one.
Having a strong support system: I did not have immediate family to help me and my children but I was blessed to have a solid group of friends who empowered me and helped me to de-stress when things got out of hand. I found amazing friends at parish groups and prayer groups and I am so grateful for them. We had many angels support us in the form of parishioners and friends who gave us second-hand clothes or helped us fix something at home.
Juggling responsibility and flexibility: While raising my kids, I usually end up being many roles in one: a teacher, a nurse, a”boo boo kisser", a counsellor, a chauffeur, a story book reader, a janitor, a chef, a maid, an accountant and the list goes on! I had to learn that I needed to be flexible when it came to scheduling my life and prioritizing my kids over work and other responsibilities. I had to be open to staying up till my kids came home from parties or school events and I had to be ready to pick them up if their ride bailed. But I also had to learn to delegate to my older daughter and rely on the support of friends to relieve some of my responsibility.
Parenthood insight: Raising children increased my responsibility and taught me about being transparent because my kids were watching me and I had to be a good role model for them. I had to remember that I was all my kids had, and they were observing me in my highs and lows, whether I realized it or not. I had to learn about sacrifice and had to do without to think of my kids first. There was a time when I did experience despair and depression with the overwhelming responsibility of raising two little human beings all by myself.
I wouldn't trade all the hardship for anything because I got to witness my daughters grow up into strong, confident, virtuous, and passionate young women. God is so generous and I couldn't be prouder of my girls and myself.