A few months ago, I had a huge revelation. It hit me around 9:00 a.m. one day that I felt as if I was dragging my body around, not fully living my life in the present. Then and there, suddenly, I couldn't ignore the fact that I was living on autopilot.
So I took some time to think more clearly, and reminded myself that I had woken at 4:30 a.m. that morning, which I do every day. Why? Because I am a single mom, and I begin each day focused solely on what needs to get done to keep my “family machine” moving forward.
On this particular day, I had begun my morning by replying to a laundry list of work emails, shoveling the driveway and clearing snow off my car, bringing my elderly neighbor her paper while being mindful not to fall on the icy driveway, organizing my work day, putting a load of wash into the washer and one into the dryer, making lunches for my kids by 5:00 a.m. and showering and dressing for the day. Then I woke my kids up at 6:15 a.m.
My life as a single mom is filled to the brim with things to do for the family. But it was on that day that I realized I needed to learn to be simultaneously focused on my own needs, too. So I learned to focus on my single mom slogan “Happy Mama, Happy Life.”
Here’s a list of three of my daily must-do habits as a single mom. These practices are what keep my body energized, my mind focused and my soul fulfilled, all while focusing on keeping the "family machine" in tact.
1. Compliment yourself. A lot.
With all the scheduling, managing, driving, food prep, household management and the job responsibilities that come with working full-time, things are going to slip through the cracks. And let’s face it, it seems way easier to focus and ruminate on the slip-ups, rather than all the things we are doing.
As a single mom, you have a lot on your plate. The leapfrog system doesn’t exist for a single mom: it’s just us jumping over ourselves to get it all done! Each and every day it is imperative to compliment yourself on all the things you're doing right.
Children of single mothers know on some level that all the pressure of life’s daily activities are falling on your shoulders, and the dance of holding it together needs acknowledgment for their sakes as well as yours.
So let yourself know how well you are doing, how focused and resilient you are. And don't forget to compliment your children and the family as a unit, too. You're all in this together, and it's important to stop and smell the roses — not just once and a while, but every day!
I'd argue that this one's important for everyone, not just single moms: each day, you must connect to spirit, something higher, deeper, larger than yourself. This can be whatever resonates for YOU. Spirituality varies in how it looks, feels or sounds, as it's entirely personal and private. My spirituality keeps me feeling connected to the world at large, rather than just going through the motions of my life.
Sometimes, feelings of isolation and aloneness can be overwhelming as a single mom, and it's important to cultivate your spiritual connection as a remedy. Even if you are alone and possibly feel lonely, you are never truly alone.
A spiritual practice will help you realize that the universe is always supporting and guiding you. You are a spark of light and each and every day within your conscious creation or unconsciously creating, you are sharing your divine light.
Upon waking each and every day, I practice connecting to spirit by sitting on the side of my bed, feet dangling away at 4:30 a.m., and saying (out loud), “Thank you for this life I live, and that I love."
This is a simple prayer. But you can also have a conversation with the Divine and ask for what you need, like you would ask a friend. Ask for help, guidance, direction, love, support, protection, joy, peace and fun.
3. Accept help when offered.
Accepting help is the other side of the coin. As a single mom, it may be challenging to ask for help, as you want to assert your strength and independence. Well, at least this was true for me. But I know that I’m a work in progress and I'm getting better at owning when I need support.
Acceptance is a muscle that needs to be recognized, stretched and toned. Sometimes we actually need to be taught that it’s even there in the first place.
And accepting help when offered is not a sign of weakness. Nor is it a badge to wear. Accepting help when offered is a sign of strength, of the ability to balance the giving and receiving of energy.
Allow the energy of receiving to be part of your day, each and every day. It can present itself in many forms; a stranger holding a door, someone allowing you to go first at a light, or a simply a smile.
These simple three daily acts can change the life a single mom. Are there any must-do daily practices you have? Let us know in the comments below!
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