Grow up again, mom

Grow up again, mom

If you think parenting is tough, spare a thought for single parents. They are on mission impossible. Or so it seems.  Right from taking care of finances to juggling responsibilities at work and home, establishing one’s identity to drafting the children’s growth map, the to-do list, to be done single-handedly, can be quite daunting.

So, how does one deal with it all? It is a constant battle between one’s inner
world and the outer world. The eternal endeavour is to find the right balance. As a parent consultant and a single mom, I have the opportunity to hear stories. Real-life stories that express pain, guilt, remorse, anger, hate, disappointments, loneliness and self-doubt, all crying to be heard.

Traditionally, as girls, we are taught to view marriage as our sole purpose, a fairytale that is waiting to turn into a reality. Through our growing years, we are deeply conditioned to believe that marriage is ‘the ultimate destination’ of our journey. It is the most important factor that governs our lives. We are groomed to be the good wife, the ideal bahu.

Our sense of identity, self-image and self-worth are all based on our childhood conditioning and experiences. In that context, it’s not surprising that a marriage failure breaks our whole sense of being and tears us psychologically, leaving us with only one question: Why me?

Even though we all write our scripts differently, the cry for love, attention,
approval remains the same. Many a times, a single mother’s need to question her very existence emerges from a sense of inadequacy. Am I worthy? Do I really
matter? Am I good enough? Am I lovable? Essential questions that form a part of who we truly are and the lens we use to view ourselves and the world around us.

Among the mountain of challenges before a single mom, the foremost
challenge is to identify and meet her own individual needs, work on her beliefs,
values and assumptions – things most women never bother with. It’s an uphill journey. But it’s doable. If you take one step at a time, live one day at a time…

Listen to yourself

We grow up with ‘chatter’ in our heads; they emerge every time we confront an unpleasant situation. These are voices that have been internalised deeply; we are conditioned to believe them as the ultimate truth. They become the blueprint with which we see and hear ourselves.

Be aware and willing to let go of those voices that only convey the message of
inadequacy.Work out a plan that allows your mind to rest. Choose to mediate, pray, doodle, walk, dance and streamline your thoughts to a more peaceful state.

Live in the present

Every separation (divorce or death of your partner) requires the time to grieve and detach from the past. Give yourself the permission to feel, accept and make peace with the pain, anger or any other intense emotion that you may feel.  Any separation requires three to five years to recover and get oneself back on track.

We are either stationed in our past or taking a mental ride to the future, creating
moments of anxieties and uncertainties. Quickly yet gently, get back to the present moment, the today - the now.

Find a role model

At times, all one really needs is a person who will genuinely listen to you and help reflect on your feelings and thoughts. Find a role model or a coach who you can look up to, be open with, share and connect with at a deeper and authentic level.
It can be anyone who helps you find your strength and love yourself wholeheartedly. This will help you raise your children with love and confidence.

Finally, as much as you need to be there for your children, you also need to be aware of your own emotional needs. This awareness will stop you from projecting your negative emotions onto your children.

Most single parents are so wrapped in their own pain and struggles that they cannot respond to their children’s needs in the way that each child deserves. Naturally, these children grow up feeling empty within.

Confused, unsettled, unhappy, stressed, anxious, just the way their parents are. When you lead a happy, fulfilling life, your little ones have a better chance at that kind of life.

(The writer is a single mother and CEO of EvolveEd)

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