When I first embarked on post-marriage parenting I didn’t like expression Single Mom. I felt like it implied ‘I’m single and doing things all by myself’. I wasn’t single (well, ok I was but was perfectly content that way) and my kids have a great Dad who was pulling his weight in the parenting relationship (so implying that I’m doing it all by myself made me feel like a fraud). I wasn’t a ‘Single’ Mom who was singly responsible for two children – more of a solo Mom trying to get through each day by putting one foot in front of the other. I tried telling people I was an alone Mom but that seemed to conjure up images of me sitting at home with a countertop filled with empty fish stick boxes and eight cats wandering around the house. I eventually resigned myself to the title and all the assumptions that go with it. Yes, I’m a Single Mom. No, I don’t know how I do it some days either. Yes, I’m very busy. No, I don’t get much downtime. Yes, it was devastating at first to be away from my children when they went to their Dads. No, I didn’t think staying together for the kids was a good idea. Yes, I wish I was raising my kids in a ‘normal’ family situation. No, I’m not desperate to jump into another relationship and don’t really have the time to worry about dying alone but now that you mention it I’m sure it will get added to the list of things I stress about before I fall asleep at night.
I started to look around at the other Single Moms I knew and realized being a Single Mom is something to be proud of. I had developed this tribe of women in my situation – the ones who really get it – and they impressed me with their hard work and dedication to their kids. I watched these women manage demanding careers, the intricate dance of raising children with an ex-spouse, adapting to ex-spouses having new spouses, looking great, staying in shape, keeping their life in order, their house a clean and happy home, and their head on straight all while being a loving, present Mom to their kids. I started to spend more time with them and without even realizing it we were sharing ideas that made things a little easier.
Early into my life as a Single Mom I realized there is one obstacle we will all be struggling with for the foreseeable future – TIME. It’s all in caps because it’s that important. There is just not enough time in the day to do all the things I need to do and to keep up with the life I want to live and create for my kids. Finances need to be balanced, work needs to get done well, house needs to be cleaned, schedules need to be organized, meals need to be made, groceries need to be bought, lawn needs to get cut, exercise needs to occur. I haven’t started with getting myself out of the house looking somewhat respectable for work, kids sports, school meetings, groceries or the infinite amount of time that needs to be dedicated to raising two happy and healthy children. .
As the time crunch kicked in I realized I needed to expand on my tribe and add some resources to help me get to the answers I need faster and to get all the things done that’s on a Single Mom’s list done quicker. Enter Bloggers, Pinterest and Instagram. I found Instagram feeds that helped me figure out an outfit that goes from a yoga class to the hockey arena, from the boardroom to the grocery store. I found Pinterest boards with hair ideas, make up tutorials, and healthy dinner ideas the kids actually enjoy. And I read blogs about a new dress, a freshly decorated room, balancing finances for one, or digging into your deepest self to pursue your dreams and to create the life you really want. Not only did these blogs bring me the joy of surfing late at night through many pretty websites, they saved me SO much time.
This is when I realized between my tribe of Single Moms and the online resources I was using I had developed a squad that helped me get through this completely overwhelming task of being a Single Mom. My Single Mom Squad, or as we’ll now be referring to it – SMS, pulls together the pieces I need to move through this life with grace and happiness. If it takes a village to raise a child then it takes a Squad to get a Single Mom through the week successfully.
This blog is a corner of the internet that’s dedicated to the SMS that can make all of our lives easier.