This is what I want you to know.
First, I know you’re probably scared.
I get that scared part. It’s a kind of scared that’s hard to describe – it’s that scared that doesn’t leave your heart, your spirit and paints every single thing you are doing right now. It’s a scared that makes thinking about tomorrow impossible because you don’t know how you are going to get through today.
I need you to breathe. I know it’s hard to breathe. I remember those first days where my life turned the page from married to single mom and breathing was a skill that I seemed to have forgotten.
Just breathe, my friends would tell me.
I don’t remember how.
That’s what I would tell them back.
Other times I’d be annoyed that they wanted to tell me to breathe. Didn’t they see that my life had the table flipped and everything that I thought I was building was now smashed on the ground? And they wanted me to breathe? They don’t get it. If they got it they wouldn’t tell me to breathe. That’s what I would think. Then I’d get mad.
Mad that they didn’t get it. Mad that this was my story. Mad at the milk that was left on the counter. Mad that I was now sitting in this house trying to figure out how to do bedtime all by myself with no help. Mad that this was now my story.
It feels daunting and overwhelming and lonely.
Oh the loneliness, man the loneliness, that part too is so unbearably hard to articulate. I can only describe it as standing in the most extravagant party with everything anyone would ever want and realizing that you don’t have a ticket to the good party and you have to leave. Maybe that goes with the unfair part, but it’s part.
So, sweet mom beginning this journey of single mom hood this is what I want to tell you right now. Please, attempt to breathe, and listen knowing you are deeply loved.
1. You are not alone. I know it feels that way, but there are friends that are in the wings that you might not even expect. Open the door to them. Say yes when you used to no to people and dare to let people into your space. Who will enter will surprise you. Let them love you.
2. Your emotions right now are valid. Every one of them matters. Don’t brush them under the rug or dismiss them but let yourself feel. This doesn’t look like most of our stories of motherhood and life and it’s okay to feel. You are human, not super human.
3. You are strong. Yeah, really super cliche, but I am here to tell you that all of the experiences of your life provide a wealth of strong that you can build off of right now. Be strong, but be human. You will get through. I promise you. It’s been four years for me and I am here. I survived.
4. If you feel like you might freak out, that too is normal. Read number two and remember to breathe. Find a good friend who you can call at anytime of the day. Program her/his mom in your phone and keep it there. Never let shame stop you from getting help.
5. You will get through. I know I already stated it, but you will get through. You will survive, you will discover your strength and you will find you again. It’s a journey, sweet mom, and I want you to simply know how important you are right now.
Thank you for breathing.
Thank you for mothering.
Thank you for giving.
From one single mom to you.
ps. I never thought I’d be the voice of hope for single moms, but there isn’t a week that goes by where I don’t get a message from someone sharing their story. Thank you for trusting me with you and believing I have empathy. I see you.