Take Off The Mask

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So many times, as single moms we are afraid to show how we are feeling or to tell others what is really going on in our lives because we are afraid of others judging us or talking negatively about us. We feel tired, overwhelmed, depressed, have anxiety, and some days, we just feel like giving up. However, most of us just put a smile on our face and keep going, mainly for our children. I always felt that if I fell apart, then my kids would fall apart, so I put on the mask that everything is fine. It is time for us to stop putting on the mask and ask for help from a trusted source because it is causing us to become unhealthy, mentally, and physically. Did you know the reason you keep getting colds or the reason you keep feeling sluggish and not sleeping; well is because of all the stress from not admitting that you are not okay.

For years I kept everything bottled up inside, just because I did not want anyone to know how I really felt. If I talked about what I was feeling, I knew I would lose it. Yes, I was upset about the divorce and the cheating, but I just put a smile on my face and said its fine let him go on, I'm good. I really wasn't good, but I couldn't let him get the best of me. What I should have done was to cry on someone's shoulder and release all that hurt out of my system so that I would not have to deal with a breakdown years later. I didn't let the kids know dad was not paying child support and that he was being a real butt. I put his name on Christmas gifts and made them think he was doing his part; that mess is stressful on a mom.  You are running kids to activities, working a full-time job, paying bills alone, helping with school work, trying to have a little life, and cooking meals every day; and we keep going, smiling and acting like we are okay. Take off the mask and ask for help.

 

I know all single moms have a lot of things going on in their life, and we all want to keep a smile on our children's face, but sometimes to do that we neglect ourselves. All of us need to do self-care daily. If you take time to take care of yourself, you will not have as much stress or anxiety. When you do self-care, you think clearly, and then you will take off the mask. Being a single mom makes you a strong individual, and you will find that you can balance six tasks at one time and get it done; however, sometimes it stresses you out. That is why you need to make sure that you care for your mind, body, and soul; so that you can take care of your children. I used to tell people, "I'm good," knowing that I was feeling horrible inside, but I put on my mask and kept smiling. Now, I have found a way not to have to put on that mask. 

 

When I am feeling sad, depressed, overwhelmed, or just tired, I pray, listen to soothing music, take a walk, or play speed with the girls. See we are mom's doing it alone, but we must put self-care first. We cannot take care of others if we are physically or mentally out of whack. Just think why stress over not having enough money to pay the utility bill when you can go to an agency for help, ask a friend or relative who may have it, or even work out a payment plan. It's time to slow down, take a breath and think of a plan so that you don't stress out, and the next time someone asks, "how is everything going?"; you can say things are good and really mean it. See how you look with the mask off? You look amazing, just like the awesome single mom you are, and you really mean what you say. I cheer for you, take off the mask today and be honest about what is going on in your life, say how you really feel and get a release. Remember, SELF-CARE is not a joke.

Carmelita M

The Broken Wrist

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A couple of weeks ago, I was finishing up my vacation, when my friends and I decided to go to the river for one last hooray! While we were there, walking on the boulders, I slipped on a mossy rock and fell. My knee twisted under me and my right wrist broke my fall…literally! And it was off to the ER we went. I've broken toes. I've broken a finger. But with those, I just taped them up and went on. This was different. For the first time, I'm experiencing life without the use of my right hand. It's frustrating!

 I love being a mom. I love doing stuff for my kids. My older two are adults now, and my youngest is 17. And now, they are having to help me. Talk about being humbled! However, it's been nice to see them step up and help, without complaint. Teasing, yes! Complaining? No!

 During this time, I've had to slow down. I've had to trust others to help me. And I've had a lot of time to think. Seriously! What else am I going to do? There's been a lot of movies. Lots of social media. And after a few days of mindless activity, I picked up some books I've started but never finished. See, I'm an avid reader. I love it. Reading relaxes me. But I've been so busy the last few months, that I've only finished one book.

 It's not just books I've started reading again, I've also started reading, really reading, my Bible. Now, don't get me wrong! I read my Bible every day. I pray all day long. My relationship with my Heavenly Father is the most important relationship I have. But I've found a new appreciation for the amazing stories in the Bible. Real people with real problems who trusted a real God. Men and women who cried out to God in their time of need. Humans who desired to go deeper. Families who loved and families who fell apart. Perhaps it's my own hurt and inadequacies for these few weeks that have given me a different viewpoint at the brokenness around.

 There's something else I've found. God delights in restoring the brokenness. A Prodigal Son returns home. Paul, left for dead, lives. Hannah cried for a son and was given children. Not everything was instantaneous. But God delights in granting desires. Not like a genie in a bottle, but as a parent desires to give their children the best life possible.

 Mom's, life is just hard sometimes. We seem to take one step forward, then something causes us to back up and go another direction. Our journeys aren't always easy! But when I look back over my life, I realize that in the storms, Jesus was always in the boat with me. We'll get to the other side, and we will make it. So, don't give up. Look to your Savior, whose riding in the storm with you.

 And when your Little's are driving you to the brink of chaos, just stay steady with them. Someday, they'll have an opportunity to pay it back. And they'll do it without complaint! Teasing? Maybe. But not complaining!

Gwendolyn Irene

www.gwendolynirene.com

Hold on Mama

Peeling, yellow walls. One bunk bed. A bathroom shared with three other families. Pajamas for the kids and oversized clothes from the hospital for me. No money. No home. No hope. Just a big, empty void. 

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That was how I started my journey into single motherhood. 

Let me tell ya, sister. I see you. I see the struggle to put food on the table sometimes.  I see the frustration as you have to miss event after event for your kids.  I feel the pain of another holiday with no one to make it special for you. I know there are tears when you have to tell them that there isn't time,  there isn't money,  the isn't... whatever they want. 

I feel your pain. I know it feels like the hard is never-ending. 

But hold on, Mama. You have what it takes, and you are exactly what those kids need.  They were born to you for a reason. You are the only Mama that can mold them into the humans they were meant to be.  You, your struggles,  your victories... you were meant for them. There is no mom that can do better for them than you can.  Because they are yours. Their hearts beat in your womb before they ever experienced this world.  And your heart beats with them as they go through this life.  They know that.  

And ya know what? They will love you no matter what. And your life is all they really need.  It is enough.  You are enough.  In fact,  you're more than enough.  You are good.  You are necessary.  You are beautiful.  And you get to change the world as you hold these small people into responsible adults.  

You may not be able to give them a trip to Disney right now, but you can watch a Disney movie and eat the food that they probably ate in the movie.  

You may not be able to take them on an extravagant camping adventure,  but you can make a blanket fort in your living room and dream up crazier adventures than real life could ever hold.  

Your kids don't need the money and things.  Your kids need YOU.  They need you present,  they need you while they need you happy.  

So Mama, don't feel bad when you can't give them things or when they have to sacrifice.  They are learning about life,  about reality... they are watching you.  

Be the best you.  For them.  Take care of yourself.  For them.  Love yourself.  For them.  

I know it can be hard for us to value ourselves sometimes.  But you absolutely must find your value.  For them.  And for you.  

You are worth it, Mama. You are so loved. 

Shannon Joy

https://roughhewndiamond.com