Tuesday, 17 December 2013

7 Things Becoming a Single Mom Has Taught Me

This is a hard post to write. Mainly because it's hard to admit to failures in life, generally. But also because sometimes it's even harder to find the successes in those failed ventures.

To back up a little, Living As We started as a way to share about my journey as I struggled to find a balance between finding me, while living as "we". At the beginning the "we" was three people. Now, Emily and I are busier than ever, finding our way just the two of us.

I never really got into much of my personal life on here. There was a good reason for that. I've wanted to try and keep this blog as my positive place. Somewhere I can go to share triumphs, discuss fears, and hopefully help a few people along the way. When a relationship is on its last legs there's not always going to be good things to say. So, I just chose to stay quiet.

Instead of being angry, I want to focus on the good that comes with the bad because being a single mom has been a very eye-opening experience. Here are some of the greatest lessons I've learned so far.


Don't be afraid to accept help. I have never been someone to ask for help, as much as I may have needed it. I always had the mindset that there was someone out there that needed help more. It's given me a lot of strength to learn that it's okay to ask for help, and taken more courage than I thought I had in me, to admit that I needed it.

Be Strong. This means so much. I'm talking mentally, physically....the works. Physically the toll on my body showed quickly. Not only does Emily's energy level seem to increase as she grows, but there is now only me to make sure all of that energy is exhausted. I've had to shift more of my focus into getting fit. Not only do I need to keep up but I need to be able to outlast her if I ever plan on getting any work done both on the blog, and in our home. I have to say that since I've started exercising I have more energy, I sleep better, feel better and look better. Emily loves it too! She joins right in, whether by hopping on my back while I'm planking or mimicking my squats.

 Being mentally and emotionally strong has become priority too. Simply because if I weren't, if I'm not, we won't make it. And that is not an option in my books. It takes a choice to be happy, to see the good in the bad, to find the positive instead of the negative. And when I can't see any of that, it means taking that negative and me turning it into something positive. It takes digging a little deeper than I ever thought possible because Emily and I deserve it.

Set a better example. We're working on our eating habits currently. I found myself asking why Emily asked for cookies, chips and chocolate for breakfast. Probably because I cared more about getting her a healthy meal. I'd forget to eat, and eventually grab for the "snacks" to hold me over. Of course she would want to do what I'm eating. In changing my habits, she's wanting to change hers. This goes for brushing our teeth, eating habits, exercising, washing hands, picking up toys, garbage, clothes...pretty much everything we do.

Own your mistakes. I am one of those people who tend to learn the hard way. Needless to say that's led to me having made a LOT of mistakes in my past. Who hasn't, right? The key has been admitting when I was wrong. All I can really do is apologize, show gratitude where it's deserved, and be a better person moving forward. That's exactly what I intend to do. Mistakes are important to make. As long as you learn from them and know not to repeat them, then it wasn't a waste of your time.

Be a better friend. Friends are something that I've not really pursued in a long time. When you move around every couple of years and suffer from pretty crippling anxiety/depression, the idea of friendship can be a daunting, fairly foreign topic. I love people (as much as I say I hate them). I love them. There are so many good people in this world. If I let all the bad peope in my life deter me from pursuing the good people that are out there, that is truly an injustice to myself and to others. I know now that I deserve friends, and that I have the ability to bring some good to others lives as well letting them bring some good to mine. Hold on to the good ones and don't let go. They are few and far between.

Be Honest. Capital H. To myself and to others. I think deep down we all know what's bothering us. I think it's a fear of the reaction and the unknown that makes so many of us bite our tongues. Just let it out people! If you know what's bothering you, talk about it. If you don't, well....talk about it! I'm sure you'll find the answers you're looking for if you start asking yourself the right questions. If you are holding something back, don't! If people can't deal with the truth, that's their problem. Face the truth, as hard as it seems. You'll feel a lot better. I don't mean be hurtful, but be honest. If you can't find something nice to say find a tactful way to express yourself. If you can change what is bothering you, do it. Even if it's a little bit each day. If you can't change it, be aware of that, and just let it go. Make that choice to put it out of your mind. Why? Because there's no point in worrying if you really can't do anything about it. Your brain will thank you. And that weight that you've been carrying around will get lighter and lighter as time passes.

Value your time. Life is worth living, and it is short. Make the best out of each day. Never take a day that you wake up for granted. Being alive is enough cause for celebration. So start celebrating your life, and make each of your days count.

I'm sure there will be a lot more along the way. But those are a few of the things that I've been grateful to learn through this time. I am finally excited to see what life holds for me and look forward to sharing as I go.

Feel free to follow along in any way you'd like (buttons are on the sidebar) if you want to keep up with my journey.  
Have you ever had to learn something the hard way?

23 comments:

  1. Amazing tips! I have a few friends who are transitioning as single parents. It's got to be incredibly challenging.

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    1. I can imagine that it's been tough for them as well...but it helps to have great friends :) Thanks for reading.

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  2. I don't know how single moms do it. Truly amazing.

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    1. There are women out there that I look at and I still wonder 'how do they do it?'. It's very inspiring. Thanks for stopping through.

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  3. Accepting help would be my challenge. I am stubbornly independent.

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    1. I'll be honest, that's been the hardest one for me too. I get over the guilt of accepting the help by offering as much help whenever I can.

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  4. Wow, you sound like such a wonderful strong momma! We're a Navy family, and my husband is away a lot, sometimes for months at a time. But when I start to feel sorry for myself, I remind myself that single parents have it much harder. At least I don't have to work unless I want to!

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    1. Thank you for such kind words. Being a Navy wife has got to have its challenging times too, and I have the utmost respect for women in your shoes. You all are a support system, like no other. I'm glad that we women in different situations can gain strength from each other. :)

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  5. Loved reading this! So inspirational! Thank you so much for sharing! Happy Holidays! xo xo

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  6. Sarah, thanks for sharing. These are great tips. You're amazing!

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  7. Thank you for sharing. Great tips. My sister is going through this now. I am going to forward her a link. Thanks!

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  8. Aww this is amazing. I was raised by my mom who worked full time. We saw my dad at holidays and all summer. It isn't and easy job. Bless you for doing this blog post.

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  9. Hello; This was a wonderfully powerful and positive post. I respect your desire to keep your blog as a happy upbeat place where you celebrate your accomplishments. a good friend of mine used to say there is no shame in getting dirty or being dirty but there should be in staying dirty. I think that applies to mistakes. as long as you learn from them apologize to who you hurt and thank the ones who helped and move on you are doing it right. i'm sure you have lots of friends in the blogging community if you just reach out to them. Hope to call you friend. Merry Christmas, max

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  10. Hi Sarah! I can honestly tell you that I can relate to every word of your post. I was a single mom with two kids and if I were to give advice it would be every word you shared. My most difficult lesson was learning to accept help. I still struggle there, but I'm a work in progress. Thank you for sharing and thank you for joining the Rewind and Review Blog Hop!

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  11. I can definitely relate. Although not a single mom anymore, I was a single mom for 12 years. It was hard, and yet rewarding all at the same time :)

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  12. Being a single mom is definitely an awesome challenge. I was for 16 years and boy ... I learned a lot about myself in those times.

    DOREEN LAMOUREUX

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  13. I have been a single Mum and still am, but kids grown. Its all about what is the best for them. It either kills you or makes you stronger

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  14. Thanks for sharing these great tips. I can imagine it must be very difficult and challenging at times. I have so much respect for single parents. They really do give it their all and sacrifice so much for themselves and their kids.

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  15. Awesome tips .. thanks for sharing , i was a single mom with my first Boy , it wasn't an easy task , but we got through with the loving support of my Parents , i am a much stronger person and i learned to do things by myself ! but i don't have any hard feels at all :) Rafflecopter name Treen Goodwin

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  16. Definitely I've learnt lots the hard way. When my chronically ill son was born, I had no choice but become more assertive. even a little aggressive at times! had to advocate, stand up for what I wanted for him and my family.
    My hats off to you, you sound like a great Mom and person!

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  17. Umm..wow. This post sure caught my eye and hit home as I am now a single mom again. Our break happened Nov 1st and I pretty much shut down, even though it was a GOOD thing! I've only just opened up my blog again very recently. But I haven't actually blogged about being a single mom yet as I 'worry' about safety/privacy. Big (((hugs))) to you! :)

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  18. Its a big world.. I went from living in the bubble of security I grew up in to working as a female cab drver in a town of 70,000 and I've seen ever social situation out there. Kudos for thinking of your child, and keeping the basics intact!

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  19. I was a single Mom for 5 years it sure teaches you to be very strong

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