A solo momma always works hard but when the holidays roll around she somehow has to find the strength to do a little more. Picking up even more extra hours at work to help ease the tight budget so there will be gifts under the tree.
She makes time for the family traditions and looks for ways to start new ones. There is so much that she wants to do but time gets away from her. She feels like a failure for not keeping up with it all. She remembers Christmases from the past and feels a little sadness.
She wishes she could give her kids more of what's on their list. They have been such great kids. They have taken on extra responsibilities while she worked long hours. They have stayed strong through so much turmoil and loss. But the money is just not there. She takes what she has and spreads it as far as it will go. She looks for just the right gifts for each child.
She begins to feel the stress as the money runs out and she's only been able to get a few gifts. She knows that the kids will understand but it still pains her to not have enough.
She has always loved Christmas but this year her Christmas spirit has taken a beating. She keeps doing all of the traditions hoping that will help but she really just wants to stay in bed and sleep until January.
The life of a solo mom is full of long exhausting days. Days that start extremely early and end very late. There's so much to do and no partner to share the load with. It all falls on her shoulders......the bills, the parenting, the household responsibilities and so much more. There is no real rest for a solo momma. She must keep up with all the appointments, the schedules, and emotional needs of her kids. Kids that are trying to learn a new normal for their family. Kids that are navigating being a teenager or young adult in a world that has been turned upside down. Anxiety and depression are a constant topics of concern.
Life-work balance for the solo momma is no easy feat. Working enough hours to pay all of the bills but also spending quality time with her kids puts the solo momma in an impossible situation. A situation that causes guilt and sleepless nights. She gives up sleep to work the early or late shift so she can be there for the school programs or sporting event. She picks up extra hours to pay for driving classes, youth retreats, sports fees and Chipotle trips. She tries to stress the importance of money with her kids without causing them to worry about not having enough.
When she takes time for herself, it leaves her second guessing if that was the best decision. Especially when there are appliances that need replacing and home repairs that need completed. She knows that in order to keep going, she needs time to rest and recharge. But unfortunately the stack of bills doesn't care about her emotional well being. She knows that the child support will come to an end before the kids stop needing her financial support.
She has friends who care about her and who are willing to lend an ear or a helping hand. But she's tired of being a burden to them. So she spends little time with anyone except her kids. It's just easier that way.
She has long conversations with God about her doubts, goals and needs. The strength and clarity from those conversations is the only reason she has survived being a solo momma. Feeling God's presence wrap around her and wipe away the tears, brings peace amidst the chaos.
Being a solo momma has shown her that the petty stuff is a waste of time and energy. She no longer worries about people's approval or acceptance. Many people have opinions about how things should be done but they're not willing to be there during the difficult, messy times to actually help. She focuses on living each day trying to do what is best for her kids. They are her priority right now.
She has goals and dreams for the future. She's working towards those goals to provide a better life for herself and her kids. In just a few short years, the kids will be gone to start lives of their own. She want them to have good memories of their time at home. She also wants them to know that it's never too late to have a new goal or dream.
Being a solo momma is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. And to be honest, most days I don't want to be walking this road. It's lonely, messy, difficult, exhausting and overwhelming. It wasn't how I expected to live life after 20+ years of marriage. But this is my life now. And I will be the strongest, most determined, hardest working solo momma that I can be.
I am a Christian, a wife, a mom, a VBS crafter, a coupon clipper, a thrift store shopper, a football fan, a cook, a student of the Bible and an avid reader.