Sometimes when faced with a puzzle we are left pondering a question where the answer isn’t always clear. For example, what comes first, the chicken or the egg? It is thus type of question I don’t spend an awful lot of time on. However, there has been one question that I have a definite answer to. Who do I look after first, me or my child? Not to say I don’t look after my children because I always have and do. But the one thing I have come to realize, is that if I don’t take care of myself, I will have nothing to give to my children. This appears to be a bit of a challenge for some. And for some they feel they need to focus on their children and not worry about their own needs. Yes, I said “needs”.
I’m sure you have heard how the flight attendants always tell parents to put the oxygen mask over themselves first and then their children. It is the same story of the mom who goes to the well for water. If there is no water in the well, she can’t offer any to her children. The well must be full. As parents, and especially single parents, we need to ensure our “well” is full so that we “have” to give of ourselves to our children. Think about yourself. There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking time to think about what fills you up, brings you joy, gives you that burst of energy to keep you going.
When I first became a single parent, I was so drained – drained of hope, faith, spirit. The struggles of my relationship and having stayed in it for too long, left nothing for my children, except for a mom in survival mode who was grieving for a relationship she thought she had, anger for all that was done to her and fear that she may not be able to provide for her children. Survival mode will drive you to protect your children but thrivor mode is life changing. As adults we need to keep growing, finding passion and joy. When our children see us happy and thriving, they also are happy and thriving, because we have so much more to give.
The first step towards exiting “surviving mode” and entering “thriving mode” is taking time to ask yourself a few questions. First – what makes me happy? sad? joyful? mad? If you can’t answer these questions, don’t fret, I couldn’t answer these questions either. Can you? We need to know who we are and what we believe, feel, need and want. The beginning of my journey started as I worked through a workbook called “Finding your WAY” – I call it the Who Are You manual.
Do you know who you are? What makes you happy? sad? joyful? mad? Let me help you create your own “owner’s manual”.
Interested in joining our Successful Single Parents Facebook group by clicking HERE
Liz M Raymond
Tonight I have been sitting here at my computer, after a few hours spent updating our website and I having been pondering about what to write. Amongst the quiet in, scratching my left eyebrow and looking at the title I decided I would look up the definition of “single parenting”.
Funny enough I found Wikipedia’s definition of “single parent” … is a parent, not living with a spouse or partner, who has most of the day-to-day responsibilities in raising the child or children. A single parent is usually considered the primary caregiver, meaning the parent the children have residency with the majority of the time. If the parents are separated or divorced, children live with their custodial parent and have visitation or secondary residence with their noncustodial parent. In western society in general, following separation, a child will end up with the primary caregiver, usually the mother, and a secondary caregiver, usually the father.
Yet there was no definition for “single parenting“. I suppose this is a term I and my Community Development Team created when I was considering the name of this resource centre. It was something I couldn’t find anywhere on the internet.
So let me share my definition. “Single parenting” is the time spent invested in a child, or children, that helps them become self-confident, embodying a high level of self esteem, pride and knowledge that will take them through their life successfully. The person guiding, teaching and letting that child be who they are as their natural talents unfold, could be anyone from a mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, aunt, uncle, foster parent. This person is the one special person who has committed to a child or children.
I am interested in knowing what your definition of “single parenting ” is, so please feel free to comment.
I have read about how “it takes a village to raise a child” and I’m sure you have heard that phrase somewhere too. However, I believe that it really just takes a village, period.
In grade 7 I sat down with an elderly friend of my mom’s to interview her about the depression and how people managed and survived. The one important fact I learned from her sharing, was that back then everyone helped each other. It was the village taking care of the village.
When I became a single parent at 32, it became a very lonely world for me. Instead of neighbours stepping up to be there for me, even just to say “how are you doing today?”, they stepped back and I could see them as they gathered to whisper. They talked about what happened in my relationship. They whispered about the dirty little secrets my ex kept. Not one offered a helping hand. And because of the shame I felt and the embarrassment that I “chose” to let this happen to me (something I couldn’t believe I let happen), I became isolated . No village, just many days and evenings filled a lot of stress, sadness, bitterness and resentment. That went on for too long.
Then one day I saw a little bit of light through the crack of a window. My, now good friend and mentor, Penny Lee Prevost of the GradUit Network saw something, or knew something I didn’t. She was lovingly persistent and talked me into having a Dream Board Workshop. That was the day it became apparent to me that life did not have to continue the way it was. I could change my world, one step at a time.
Penny Lee became the leader of my village. You see, now I have more than a village, I have communities of loving individuals that inspire me as I am now able to inspire them. I knew I had to share what I found. I knew I had to help others either avoid challenges I encountered, or help them get through them easier – not alone.
And here, Single Parenting for Success was founded. Originally my granddaughter and I called it our “Dreams Come True Centre” because that was exactly what I wanted this centre to be. Where people who are parenting children on their own could come for support, education and training, not to mention a connection to the resources in the city, free of judgement. This is where I could make my dreams come true of helping other single parents. My vision, our vision, is one of a “home” filled with love and cozy furniture to hold workshops and get-togethers. Our children could come with us and participate in children’s programs that would help them develop. Children and parents can gain skills to embody self-confidence, empowerment and knowledge that will serve them well in every area of their lives.
This is only the beginning. What are your dreams? What would you like to see at the Centre? Would you like to be a member of our community/village?
Let your voice be heard, share your ideas, concerns and knowledge. Welcome!!
Liz M Raymond