Single Moms: Take Control and Move Forward in 2019

Success: The accomplishment of an aim or purpose. You want it. You deserve it. You can have it, whether “it” means getting a promotion at work or a slimmed-down body for the summer. The first step in getting there involves setting goals, which not only helps you navigate the road to happiness and fulfillment but also live life to the fullest.

Some of those goals are strictly up to you. You’ve got your own challenges and circumstances to deal with that other people wouldn’t understand. However, there are some that work for any single mom, no matter where they’re from or what they do. Here are a few ways to keep things in your life on track as the new year goes by.

Get Yourself Organized

Getting organized refers to your home, your workspace, and your thoughts. Yes, your thoughts can be arranged and put neatly into categories, which is particularly useful for a person with a lot of responsibilities like you, a single mother. the Order Expert has 17 ways to accomplish this task, including lists, mind maps, and even pie charts. 

Up Your Fitness Game

Exercise is good for your mental health as well as your physique. As a busy single mom, it’s not always easy to get to the gym, so you’d better make the most of your home. The garage, basement or spare room make excellent spaces for your workout, and you need little more than a jump rope, dumbbells, and a yoga mat, none of which costs a fortune.

Learn Something New

When you decide to learn something new, focus on something that would help you as a parent, a professional, or both. If you’re wondering what that could mean, Fast Company has the answer. Skills that make you better and more efficient at home and work include strategic thinking, time management, and collaboration.

Take a Step Forward Professionally

Apply the new skill you’ve learned to move up. This could mean getting a raise, earning a promotion, pursuing a side hustle, or even starting your own business. Money is not everything, but a little extra cash certainly makes parenting a bit easier.

Find New Ways to Manage Stress

Managing your stress and anxiety is crucial to achieving the rest of your goals, as living in a constant state of panic can be overwhelming and nullify the possibility of making progress on practical matters. That’s why healthy ways of relaxing, such as taking a warm bath or reading a book, should be part of your schedule. It’s one thing to set goals for yourself, but it’s another to stay focused on self-improvement throughout the year after the initial enthusiasm has worn off. 

Here are a few methods to stay motivated.

  • Remember Why

It’s important to remember why you should reach your full potential and give your kids the upbringing they deserve. This is what you need to tell yourself whenever you’re wondering why you’re pushing toward self-improvement.

  • Visualize Success

Once you’ve achieved your goals, what will you be like? Picture that in your head whenever the going gets tough and you don’t feel like exercising, studying, or planning a weekend getaway with the kids.

  • Make It Fun

This rule can easily be applied to exercise. Choose an activity that you enjoy — and there are hundreds to choose from. That way, getting up and moving your body won’t seem like a chore, and you’ll be less likely to skip your workouts.

  • Celebrate Achievements

The road to your goals will be marked with little victories along the way, each of which is a step ahead. So, reward yourself when that happens. It strengthens your positive attitude and gives you an extra reason to keep on keeping on.

  • Ask for Help

Don’t be afraid to ask friends, family, and colleagues for some support or a word of advice when you find yourself in a bind. They may know how to get unstuck so you don’t lose too much momentum — and that’s more important than your pride.

If you apply these tips and tricks to your life over the source of 2019, there will be a new you waiting when 2020 finally rolls around. Not that different, really —  just smarter, fitter, and more confident. Are you ready to make that happen? Then get started!

By Amanda Henderson

Safe Children 

Image via Pixabay

Limits Are (Not) Illusions

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I have been trying to hop into a shower for nearly an hour at this point, but I cannot pull myself away from the mirror. I am staring, running my index finger over the two dime-size patches of smooth skin at the tip of my widow’s peak where, just weeks ago, I had hair. I am inspecting it over and over again through eyes glassy with tears that want to come out, but remain in an uncertain state on the tear line between utter breakdown and stoic persistence. It was in this very moment that I called to my eldest daughter to fetch my computer.

I’ve been stuck on a blog topic for a while. Life is busy, right? In May, I actually work longer hours than usual, for the bonus income and to prepare for the Fall semester. This summer I am doing so while recovering from ankle reconstruction surgery, so that is adding a level of difficulty and seemingly unmanageable pain to every daily task. But, like always, I soldier on with a smile.

Soldiering on is easy when everyone around you is patting you on the back. Days filled with proclamations such as, “Of course you are up and about already! You are a rock star!” “You are Superwoman!,” and social media comments extolling you as #momgoals will have you believing that you can do everything.

But, the jarring truth is that I am balding from the stress of it all. Yep, you read that right: I. Am. Balding. I have stress-induced Alopecia Areata. I still have to let that sink in… And, it is pretty ridiculous that THAT is what shook me so deeply. I also have hypertension - at a healthy weight with an active lifestyle, at age 38. My body is quite literally rejecting doing everything.  

I am not sharing this for sympathy. In fact, the prospect of someone reading this and then asking to see the patches that I so carefully tuck away with strategic parting, is terrifying. The thought, even in this moment, that someone would offer to help me accomplish even menial tasks, reeks of humiliation. It makes me want to hide away on my couch for eternity. I am only sharing this, because I am certain I am not alone. And, I want someone else to hear that they are not alone.

The truth is, being a single parent is unfathomably difficult. Yet, we are yoked with feelings of shame that come from asking for help. It is a difficult line to walk for friends and family, between recognizing the hard work and accomplishments of a single parent, and making that parent feel as if they must maintain that perfect balance in order to be worthy of such praise. The people in our lives don’t realize that they are helping to construct that albatross of expectation and potential shame, when they are so quick to recognize what we are doing right but fear offending us by offering help.  

We need help. I need help. To hold down a full-time job with any degree of success and raise happy humans as a single parent is overwhelming. It is a constant tension between feeling like more of a parent and somehow less of a parent than our partnered household counterparts. It is wanting to prove to ourselves that we can do it (anything, that is), while knowing that, in reality, it is physically impossible. But, who would ever want to stop trying? Once you fall into the glow of sentiments being thrown your way, how do you acknowledge your real limitations without losing the community of affirmation that keeps you going?

I don’t know these answers yet. All I know is that, in my life, God has been screaming at me. I have been sent message after message that I need to make changes, but I have not listened. I arrived at a point where the fear of not exceeding expectations (of not being admired) outweighed my concern for my own health…my own life. And that is the only thing more embarrassing than the balding.  

You are not alone. I want to make sure you hear that. You are not alone. God loves you. God roots for you. Perhaps more importantly in this moment, God knows that physical limitations are not illusions as so many Instagram motivation posts try to have us believe; nor are they arbitrary. God sets limits (Genesis 2:3) and He created us to work within them (Genesis 2:7). Limits protect your well-being and you need to find a way to respect them. I need to find a way to respect them. Together, by joining hands in the reality that we are falling apart from pushing past our limits, I hope that we can find a way through the noise of expectations and back to God’s vision for our lives.  

By A. Smith