Lonely Without You

Do you struggle emotionally when your children are away? Do you miss them like crazy and long for the moment you get to wrap your arms around them again? This is a very normal feeling for all parents and a common occurrence to single parents. Whether your children reside with you or not, the time away from them can feel very painful. You understand that time alone is necessary for you.  You understand that it is unhealthy to depend on your children to cure your loneliness.  And you may even have the understanding as far as to recognize that one day they will be away from your constant care as adults.  This is prep time!  Actually, all of those facts are correct however missing your children immensely is also a fact, a real feeling, and okay. 

I remember when I first went through my divorce, my son saw his dad very little.  When he did go to be with his dad, I felt like my entire being was living in another home, eating meals with another family, and hugging someone else before bed. I was heartbroken and completely paralyzed to any other thoughts or actions until my son was back home "where he belonged".  It took words of wisdom from a very close and honest friend who told me that missing him was okay.  Paralyzing myself and the deep depression and anxiety were not.  The hardest thing I did was to take the step into normality and life while my son was with his dad.  It took practice to learn that life still goes on and that I should use this time away wisely.  Most people call it a "break" but in reality it shouldn't be a break from yourself, just your normal responsibilities.  In fact, when I took time to really focus on what I wanted to do that I normally couldn't do, it was a sense of freedom and fulfillment that gave me more energy for when my son returned.  It was like taking the car to the mechanic and getting maintenance done so that the car (me) would be in better working condition for many days ahead.

While he is gone, he is growing and bonding with his dad and I am growing and bonding with myself. 

Reducing Stress

 Single parenting can be one of the most stressful situations that you will ever find yourself in.  Juggling finances, finding day-to-day care for your children, dealing with fatigue and discipline are just a few areas to mention. You may even be feeling guilt for your situation and are worrying about the lack of a female/male role model in your daughter/son's life.  These stresses compiled in your life can create more challenges to you mentally and physically than you think.  It is important to reduce as much stress as possible in the areas you are able to for not only your well-being, but your kids as well.

Be Positive.  Your mood can set the tone for how your day will be, how your conversations will go, and will affect you and your child more than you can imagine.  It is okay to be honest with your child when you are frustrated or having a difficult time but it is important to remind them that things will get better.  You have to first believe that yourself.

Take Care of Yourself.   Exercise, drink plenty of water, eat healthy and do things to stimulate your mind.  If the pilot of your airplane cannot fly the plane it will inevitably crash.  Single parents tend to put our children before ourselves at all times but this is not healthy.  You are important too and are needed in good health and mental well-being if you are going to be a successful parent. What this looks like for you will differ from others, but do what you can to make sure you are taken care of.

Ask For Help.  It may seem like there is no one available to help you but that simply is not true. Even if you live far from family and feel like you have no friends, there are organizations and people available to help you if you reach out. Join a mom's group or a church and be proactive in addressing your need for assistance.  It's easy to get in a rut of going to work, then staying home because of the load you carry, but meeting people will only happen if you get yourself out into your community.

Fight the Guilt.  Whatever brought you to your single parent situation, guilt is a poison to your well-being.  Fight the urge to let guilty feelings dictate how you parent your children.  Guilt spending and leisurely discipline do not "make it up" to your kids for having a single parent household.  Single parent homes can raise great kids too!

Set Attainable Limits and Goals.  Know your capabilities and time availability.  Don't stretch yourself too thin. For example, the older your children get, the more responsibilities around the house you should give them.  Teach them responsibility with their things and why it's important to pick up after themselves. Create chore lists and celebrate when accomplished. Start slowly and ease into a productive routine.  Do not be their house servant.  That doesn't do them any favors for them when they are out on their own.  The more they do on their own, the less burden you will feel for things around your house.  My son is 8 and he is fully responsible for his bedroom, taking out the trash, putting away his clothes, dusting, sweeping the patio and front porch, and picking up around the house.  Those are 6 things that are off my list.  It's a good feeling also knowing that he has learned those housekeeping techniques.

Create a Routine. Keeping things on a schedule will eliminate stress for you and for your kids.  Knowing what to expect gives security.

In Everything Show Love.  Doing all things in love keeps the ill feelings away and resentment at bay.  Tell your kids how much you love them often and show them with little notes or special treats.  Teach them what is looks like to love another person.  This not only will teach them how to love in future relationships, but can come back to you ten-fold when they start to do those things towards you. Set aside special time with each child and focus 100% on them during that time.  Taking the focus off of life and yourself for a short time to just get to know your child is sure to reduce the stress you feel.

The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
Exodus 33:14

Father's Day

Father's Day is just around the corner and while everyone is scrambling to buy the perfect gift and card for their dad, most single parents are struggling with another difficult holiday. We celebrate dads for the great fathers they have been to their sons or daughters and we exclaim to the highest mountain, our love for them and thankfulness for who they are.  In my situation, my son's dad hasn't been anything incredible for his son and quite frankly has not really been around.  What is a parent to do with a holiday like Father's Day when the father hasn't really even grasped the enormity of such a title?

God has really grabbed my heart regarding situations such as these.  He reminds me over and over that it is not to my comfort that I do things, but to my son's comfort.  My son has gone through the death of my marriage as well and he grieves for his dad.  It is for my son that I must come alongside him and do things to help him feel a parental bond.  Help him buy or make a card, bake some cookies, or do a video message...  etc. The most important thing to your child is to know that you hear the aches of his/her heart.  Helping him/her in celebrating their dad, despite how difficult this may be for you, will bless your children.  They are, after all, most important.

What if Dad is not around at all?  There are many dads around your kids that you could collaborate ideas to celebrate those individuals. Maybe you know of a single dad who could use a blessing this Sunday.  If your child is young enough you might be able to just breeze by this day, however if they are not too young to understand what this day means, you can spin this day to bless them and it will be of utmost importance. I have no doubt that although it may be a difficult day for you, Mom, you will be blessed.

To all of the single fathers out there, do something special for yourself on Sunday or let someone do something special for you.  You deserve it!  I salute you and all of your determination to raise great kids! 

All of our situations are different! I would love to hear from you, how your family celebrates, Father's Day!  Comment below...