It has been two years since I separated from my husband. I have been through thick and thin, and now two years later I have learnt so many things. I wish I had someone to talk to. I wish someone understood what I was going through and above all I wanted someone to give me advice.
If only I had a time machine and could go back and meet my two year old self. Here are 12 gems, I would tell myself;
1. It is OK to be sad and mournful
It hurts, of course it does and it should. But we are incredibly close minded about the lengths of grieving periods. People expect you to be up and about in a day or two. If your feelings were real, note this down: the pain will not go away for weeks and sometimes months.
2. This too shall pass
That being said, the pain and intensity of grievance will eventually pass. But you have to know this from the start that tough times won’t last forever. All the emotional scarring will go away and you will be normal again – in fact better, stronger and wiser.
Having moved on from the emotional side of things, let’s focus on some practical advice.
3. Maintain paperwork
Being a single mom, things can get overwhelming, financially. Therefore, it is imperative that you maintain your books, keep ledgers and accounts so you exactly know your financial situation at any given time.
4. Find a source of light
If you don’t have a man in the house, don’t fear. You don’t need a man to give you an emotional support – it could be anyone or anything. Be around people and do things that you find solace in. Be it church, books, therapy, friends, family, workout – just find what you love doing and go nuts.
5. Be physically active
This one is right out of the textbooks but I am afraid it is as necessary as it is clichéd. It is hard to be physically active, play sports or work out being a single mom but if you devise a routine it can do wonders for you.
6. Leave all non-essential commitments
If you don’t feel like going to a party or a family dinner, don’t. Society expects single mums to live in a certain way and do certain things but don’t you worry about that even for a second. Just do what is best for your family. Let go of all non-essential social commitments.
7. It is OK to ask for help
You are not a superwoman, you cannot do it all alone. Your friends, they are there for you. Use them. Get them involved when you need them. Get involved when they need you. This important cycle of hope and friendship must go on.
8. Connect with your kids
Make special efforts to connect with your kids. They don’t have a father and it is hard for them. I know it is clichéd but you need to be both their mother and father. Your kids need to truly feel that you are there for them. And this is good for you as well.
9. Don’t let your misplaced parenting guilt get the better of you
Do not guilt-buy your kids something that is harmful. Don’t give them extra privileges that are not useful for their growth. Be a normal mum, don’t let any guilt you might be feeling get in the way of good parenting.
10. Online dating is actually a good option
People will tell you that it is mostly crap, which it is. But there are some nice guys out there as well. And remember this is just a date and having fun. Don’t think too much of it. Just go with the flow. Don’t let your former messy relationships dictate your future romance life as well.
11. Your life will take a few surprising turns, don’t hold back
Opportunities would come, both personally and professionally. Whatever you may have planned might get overcome by some unexpected turn of events – but that’s life, yeah? Take those opportunities, live, enjoy, break legs – don’t hold back.
12. There are other single moms who are thriving
If you have been recently separated with your partner, you should listen to this carefully; you are not alone. There are others who have been in a situation similar to yours and they have thrived. It is highly recommended that you talk with other women who have been through raising kids alone. I did it and it was helpful on an unspeakable level. You can have some real life role models.