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Monday, May 4, 2015

Mommy Monday: Dear Newly-Single Mom



Dear Newly-Single Mom,

Hi there. First, here's a hug. I'm so sorry that you're going through this. This stinks.

It has been almost 3 years since I first became suddenly single with 2 little babies. Let me tell you, it was rough. I cried. A lot. Questioned everything I ever believed. A lot. I'm writing this letter to you because when I felt really alone, one of the places to which I turned for solidarity was the internet. If you've found me, I hope you find some comfort from this.

Here's what I want to tell you:
  • You're not alone. I promise. My situation that landed me here was pretty "out there", but with a little online digging I found a lot of people who had been through very similar experiences. No matter what it is that you're going through, I'm betting that you can find someone who has been there and can help put words to what you're feeling and experiencing. You may not be ready for advice yet, but having someone else express what you can't even fathom yet can be life-changing.
  • You need real-life groupies. The internet is a great way to find people who can relate to your specific situation, no matter how obscure, but it is not the place to find the practical help you need right now. If you can, make it a priority to get you and your family as close to close family and/or friends as possible. If that's not an option, reach out to local people any way you can. You could try local churches (whether you share their faith or not), charities and social work organizations, or any sort of social group you belong to- gyms, book clubs, mom groups, whatever. Tell them what's going on and tell them exactly the kind of emotional and practical support you want. If you are too overwhelmed to even know what kind of support you need (that was me!), just keep being honest about where you are. Allow yourself to lean on them, and allow them to support you.
  • Use your single mom card. Now. This is not the time to try to prove that you can do it all. Three years in and I have no shame using my "single mom card" to get help or as an excuse. Someone wants to get together for drinks and all you want to do is see your kids after being gone at work? "That's so nice, but I've been away from my kids a lot this week- I want to have some family time tonight". Someone wants to get together for drinks and you want to go but you don't have child care? "That sounds so awesome but I don't have anyone to watch the kids... (insert meaningful glance here)". Feeling overwhelmed? "Hey, can you come help me with dinner and bedtime?". I have learned that people want to help but they also don't want to be constantly asking or seem condescending. They will be happy you spoke up.
  • You can do this. You may not know where you're going to live, how you're going to support your family, or even how you're going to survive, but you will because you have to. Moms have this built-in drive and you'll find that when you think something is impossible, you will figure out a way to make it happen. 
  • Start writing. You've got way too many feelings and to-do lists to keep them in your head without exploding. Find a place to journal, and a system to write down to-do's and calendars. It could be digital or paper, but you need to get it out of your head and store it somewhere else.
You are going to be stretched in ways you've never imagined, but you are going to make it and your kids are too. If you don't know where else to turn, I'm here and happy to listen and help any way I can. You can comment on the blog or message me on Facebook.

Sincerely,

Elizabeth


Note from the author: I have started writing this post at least 20 times and it has taken me this long to finally write something I feel comfortable posting. If you know someone who is in this situation, I hope you will share this with them and offer them your support. Single parenting is not easy and should never be attempted alone!

16 comments :

  1. Thank you for sharing this Elizabeth. I have so much respect for what you do every day. I'm not a single mother (I'm not even a mother), so I cannot begin to imagine how you manage it all. I so appreciate these little glimpses into your daily life. I know how difficult it is to write personal stories like these, but I'm betting you've just lifted the spirits of a lot of single moms out there :)

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    1. Thanks so much for your kind words and support :) I do hope others will be encouraged.

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  2. A lovely post I'm going to share it on twitter now #twinklytuesday

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  3. Well done sharing this. It's very personal and brave to put yourself out there. I'm sure it's going to help so many mom's!! #TwinklyTuesday

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  4. Ah lovely post. I have just become a single mum and I do all the above too. Hugs back by the way - you are doing great. Visiting from #TwinklyTuesday :) xx

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    1. I'm so sorry to hear that, but glad to hear you are handling it well. Thank you for your encouragement :)

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  5. Such a personal post, but one that will no doubt offer a glimmer of hope and a ray of light for those who are experiencing this right now. I couldn't be a single mum, at least I don't think I could, and I have so much respect for those who do it day in and day out. #twinklytuesday x

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    1. Thank you! I never would have imagined myself in this position, but I think everyone handles it as best they can when forced into it.

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  6. What a strong woman you are. I love seeing women supporting and empowering each other x

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  7. Elizabeth, I love you. I meet so many single moms in so many different stages of their journey, and every last one could benefit from you wise words. Sharing this post in the Multiples of America Single Parents Facebook group. Thanks for linking up at #TwinklyTuesday too!

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    1. Thanks so much for your lovely comment! I know you yourself have been a tremendous support for single parents, including me! I hope my thoughts and stories can help others as well :)

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  8. Aaah bless you lovely. What a fantastic and generous post. And hey — I wish I COULD give you a hug! I think you're amazing.

    As a fellow mother of twins — mine were born March 2013 — I know just how hard it is (and I'm NOT a single parent). Hats off to you, doing it solo. I think you're to be applauded. Thanks for linking up to #TwinklyTuesday x

    Caro | www.thetwinklediaries.co.uk

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  9. All true. Single parenting is not an anomaly. Furthermore, it is not a sentence. It is simply a situation that people find themselves in, one that comes with the need for certain adjustments and conditions. You just work around that set-up and turn it into a strength -- not just for yourself, but for your family as well.

    Carlos Strey @ The Bridge Across

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