I would venture to say that the women I know are harder on themselves than anyone else could ever be. Add motherhood to the mix and the gates open and the bad press for ourselves multiplies. Take that other person away who was helping the mom keep her perspective and single moms might be the hardest on themselves of any group of women. I know, and I can honestly say, I am much harder on myself now as a single mom than I ever was as a married mom.
I often wonder why we think that we have to be so good at being a mom. Why we raise the expectations when our life plans change and we find ourselves solely responsible for the little people looking back at us. Why we cannot give ourselves the break that everyone else seems to willing to give us.
The other night, after a particularly stressful day of motherhood, I was downtrodden. Beating myself up for not being strong enough to stand my ground as a mother. Upset that I was not creative enough to dissolve a tantrum faster. Frustrated that I was at the point of tears, exhausted and out of ideas to motivate myself for the next day.
In the back of my mind, though, was a little voice trying to get through. The good thought fairy that was trying to tell me to be proud of my day. Even when it seemed so hard and hopeless. Right then I grabbed a pen and made myself write down 5 things I was proud of as a single mom!
#1. I am PROUD that I Got Them to School On Time
You may laugh and even roll your eyes at this one. But getting three girls up and ready for school and out the door on time is no easy task. I know many married moms who share that their kids get tardys all the time because they were late. And that is sometimes even with dad at home helping.
Small tasks yield large praise in my book when you do it day after day, time after time and you know that getting them there on time is something you can do well!
#2. I Can Buy Them New Shoes
Simple? Yes. Well.. not so much.
As a working single mom from home, there have been times when I worried that something would not come in on time to get what my kids need. Child support aside, kids are expensive. Raising them on a single income can be very difficult. So when I am able to earn and save the money to get them what they need, I am very proud of me!
#3. I Helped my Second Grader With Her Math
Have you SEEN second grade math? Fractions? Math terms I can’t remember. Problems even I can’t solve? But I did it.
I might have used Google a time or two, but I did it. With two others running around and one pleading with me to help her understand, I sat and helped my second grader with her math.
As a single parent with dinner that needs to be cooked and other kids that need to be tended to, just taking the time to sit down and help a child with homework is an accomplishment in itself. So, yes… I am very proud that I helped her. She got an A.
#4. I LAUGHED Despite the Tears
In the midst of the chaos that can sometimes be unleashed on a single mom – especially with multiple kids – I managed to find something to laugh about. Something to release the stress with. Something to break the pattern of mommy yelling at child. Child yelling at sister. Sister crying at mommy. It was a small thing, something that probably would not have been funny otherwise.
But, I was proud that in the moment when I could not figure out what to do to change the day, I found a way to laugh. Sometimes, that is a very hard thing to do.
#5. I DID IT
Yes. It is that simple. I just… did it. I made it through another day. My kids were taken care of, generally happy, fed, bathed and safe. I woke up in the morning, completed the tasks I had to do. I did them sort of OK but with ready hugs and kisses at every turn for my kids. Though the day felt overwhelming and insane and my head ached to the point of exploding, I did it. I made it through and lived to love these children another day. A proud accomplishment that always deserves a pat on the back.
True… not all days are so bad that you have to go back and look for the tiny good parts. But all days create moments that we, as single moms, can truly be proud of. So next time ‘one of those days’ hit, do what I did. Make a list and you will see… motherhood always gives you a reason to praise yourself!