We are never defined by our circumstances. They are simply a part of our emotional make-up, like a scar. For example, my C-section scar is so much more than a healed wound. It is my badge of honor. I love it because my babies came from there, granted, under scary circumstances but they were fine -- thankfully! It’s my Mama Wound. This scar is part of who I am and it tells a story of a particular time in my life.
While you cannot see my emotional scar of becoming a single mother, it too tells the story of me growing into a stronger, wiser and more forgiving version of who I was. Loss and separation are painful experiences and I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it wasn’t for all the pain and change I went through AND for all the support I received.
Flash forward to today: For better or for worse, I share the experience of divorce and single parenting with other friends and family. It’s a beautiful community because I’m still learning on this journey while also helping others navigate their post-divorce lives. In revisiting this piece, I recognize that reaching out for help and guidance is still a work in progress for me, but I am getting better at it. On a brighter note, I now found myself on this journey alongside a cute single dad. The cherry on top? He makes me laugh.
They say there is strength in numbers. I say there is wisdom to be found within a community. That’s one of the main reasons why we founded Inspired Elephant. It is our joy to bring folks of all backgrounds and walks of life together to bring acceptance, mindfulness and support to you through ALL of life’s changes. Invited or otherwise.
I hope this piece resonates with some of you. If you are going through it now, there is light at the end of that tunnel! Or perhaps it wasn’t you who experienced a life-altering break up. Maybe a sibling or a friend. Please think of them, reach out (they may not be ready to do so) and honor their growth through this process of transformation. You too, are an important part of their healing.
And please, share your thoughts and your own journeys of transformation with us!
With love and hope for us all,
Single Mother Disclaimer
Being a single mom doesn’t define me. It’s not who I am. It’s just my current circumstance.
However, it does permit me membership into a club of überstrong women who for one reason or another suddenly found themselves, shaken, terrified and seemingly alone with one or more cute expectant faces looking up at and asking, “Now what, Mommy?”.
Divorce, separation or loss of any kind not an easy road to travel. The important thing to remember is that you are not alone.
It may feel like you are but you are not.
Take off the blinders and use your peripheral vision. You are surrounded by angels if you allow yourself to see them. Some may be family, others-- friends or neighbors. It really doesn’t matter – just be willing to let them in. Most of mine are other moms -- mostly married. They get it. They know how hard it can be with two adults present and how much lighter you can feel if you are doing it alongside someone else. Some of my other angels live far away – but they reach out when their busy schedule permits. Even if it was just to say, “I’ve been thinking about you” or “Hey, you are a rock star for what you do and all that you manage”. Now, who couldn’t use a helping hand or a cheering section for that matter?
It took me a long time to get there. I was filled with so much fear. Incessant, obsessive thoughts of Will we have to move? Where will we go? How will I get my kids through this? buzzed around my head like a swarm of angry bees.
And then came the shame. I had failed at marriage - -that penultimate, sacred institution that we all coveted as little girls growing up on fairy tales; and still as young, independent women hoping for Mr. Right while already having our favorite china patterns picked out in our heads. So many others seem to make it work. Why couldn’t I???
It took some time for me to start letting people in. I almost ashamed to admit this but it took MONTHS for me to come out of the failed marriage closet. I first told my sister, then my oldest and dearest friends -- “my girls”, if you will. And let me tell you, once I did, it was as if I had been holding my breath for years and finally exhaled.
It is a huge relief to bare your soul. It actually feels good and is good for you! Allow me to explain. When I finally let all of my fears, resentment, guilt and shame flood out of me, I emptied myself and thereby became a receptacle for love, kindness and compassion to come flooding back in. And that’s what happens. You don’t even get to hesitate or think twice about it. BA BAM! It’s automatic.
And once you allow all that into your life, you slowly realize that somehow, someday, you and your kids are going to be ok.
If you need to move, the right home will come along because now you have an entire team helping you look.
If you need a new job, your network will help you connect with the right opportunity.
If you fall flat on your face, your loved ones, aka TEAM SINGLE MAMA, will pick you up, dust you off and get you going again all while having your kids snack and play at their house.
So, yes - You may be a single mother, as I am, but are most certainly, not alone. And it’s not necessarily good or bad. It just is.
-Girl On The Run