Outside our town home lives a tall, blossoming Southern Magnolia tree. Its white petals are delicate to touch, but I do not have to reach for one in order to smell it. The fragrance is strong enough and greets me each time I open up our back door.
Flowers are a beautiful representation of what to love in life. No matter how stressful of a day I have had, the smell of this magnolia blossom makes me feel as if the world has stopped for me for just one second.
What do you love in your day?
I love asking and answering this question, especially after recently reading that a new scientific study had been done by The Journal of Happiness indicating single moms are just as happy as their married mom counterparts. The study was done in Poland as that country has the worst governmental programs for single mothers.
It got me thinking – what are some immediate and creative ways to shift to a place of love and joy? When the world outside seems to be erupting in chaos, here are a few worthy ideas to consider.
Get Your Move On
Exercise, exercise, exercise! I don’t think anyone has to immediately get up off the couch and sign up for a marathon – although I have done that and crossing that finish line at Disney was one of the best days of my life – I do know that moving your body improves your mood and lifts anyone up out of a funk.
When you exercise and get those endorphins moving, you will see more things in your day that you do love and recognize those things in your life you do not.
Find an accountability partner to make sure you keep up with your regular program. When I have been down in the dumps and would rather remain on the couch then get up and get my groove on, having someone to meet early in the morning helped me tremendously. I felt better the rest of the day.
Be Kind to Yourself
Being kind to oneself I think can be easier said that done. In the single mom world, I believe there are extra mental challenges to think ourselves out of in order to remain just sane. Words of affirmations are important here.
We say, “Ooops!” around our house quite a bit.
Being kinder to yourself is not a weakness – not at all. In fact, it is just the opposite. Letting yourself off the hook when you make a mistake can create a positive ripple effect within your family unit.
Not too long ago I caught a very bad cold and was not able to take my son to his baseball game during the week. I hemmed and hawed. Finally, I decided that sometimes it is okay to miss a baseball game and stay home and rest. My son’s response was positive, I chose not to feel guilty, and got to bed early.
Play, play, play
Almost every night when Liam and I have dinner we play a card game. Three rounds, usually, until it’s time to clear the table, rinse the dishes and stack them in the dishwashing machine. Our dog, Sawyer, tries to join in the fun because he sees us laughing so much. We have fun.
My son is always happy – he told me so just the other day when I asked him. When we played catch for a little bit in the swimming pool on Mother’s Day, I could tell. He jumped up and down more often than usual and laughed that much deeper when the tennis ball soared over the pool and into the bushes. Watching his delight brought me much joy, especially since I was recovering from being sick.
For single moms, sometimes Mother’s Day can be a little rough in the heart. It has been for me for a while now. But I have learned that what I choose to focus on and instead release my expectations that sheer, brilliant love bubbles up. And I am able to play some more.
Because all parenting is a 24/7 vocation, I think when a newly single mother embarks on her journey that will shape a new normal for her and her children, finding some things in her day that she loves will make the transition and her single mom life that much easier.