Being a parent can be challenging.
Being a single parent can be most challenging. It’s a tough job, and someone has to do it.
I’m a single mother of four, and there are times when I feel as though the entire world under my roof is crashing, crumbling on my head. Then, one of my children would say one of the sweetest, most considerate things; making you realise that you do make a difference in a very big way.
One of the major challenges of being a single mother is the fact that you are the only adult in the household. Everything stops at you. You don’t have the option to ‘pass the buck’ to another. Hence, you have to possess the ability to multi-task, mediate, effectively communicate, organise – and most importantly, find time for yourself. Setting household rules is a good strategy for quality family time, as you and the children can spend time together discussing and compiling the ground rules. It also creates the opportunity for them to have a better understanding of respect and adhere to each rule.
Out of all the rules in my house, the most important is that everyone recognises that I need some ‘me time’. My children not only understand this, but they also remind me of the need for it – especially when they can detect a rise in my stress levels or fatigue. In some households, a red candle is lit to indicate that mum is on her moon time (menstrual cycle) and this signals to everyone, the need to step in and do some extras to help out as much as they can.
It is very important to instill and incorporate this cardinal rule into the lives of you and your children. It goes a long way by adding a few more years to your life and it instills and cultivates the importance of self preservation within the minds of your children.
Self preservation can be defined as the protection of oneself from harm or destruction. This harm or destruction can be in the form of stress, fatigue, lack of self care, disorganisation and lack of control within the home. I’ve heard many single mothers say that they go hungry so their children can eat. I wouldn’t advocate this. I have, however, a better understanding and compassion for eating smaller portions so your children can eat – and I believe that everyone in the household at some point in time must have an understanding of the need to sacrifice in certain situations. Not only one person needs to make a sacrifice, but all, in times of scarcity especially.
One good thing about being a single mother is that there is no other adult in the household to contradict you. So, it’s vital that you don’t contradict yourself either. Although, it gets tough at times, you have to stand firm in your ground rules and decisions. Children know how to test you and push the envelope to get their desires (which, too, is an important life skill). Hence, displaying your authority in a nurturing way is imperative.
When you incorporate your ‘me time’ – even 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes in the evening will do – into your routine, you have to ensure that it’s the best of quality time. These are a few tips that have worked well for me:
*”Being” time – this is when you just ‘be’. I take the time to lay on my back and just do nothing for some time (however much time you can afford, but at least 5 minutes). You don’t dwell on your thoughts or the events of the day. You just go into a quiet space where you can drift away from it all for just a while.
*Exercise – I can’t make it to the gym or away from home to exercise. So, at my home, I ensure that I get in my basic exercise routine of pushups, squats, abs work, and skipping in on a daily basis. Find what works for you to get your heart pumping and to help keep your energy levels up.
*Afrikan Jade Egg practice – the exercises can be done with or without an afrikan jade egg. This practice has been known to help women of many ages and cultures for many years.
*Keep smiling – I don’t mean to have a ‘plastic’ smile smeared across your face. Rather, the need to remember to smile throughout your day – even if it’s only internally at times.
The given opportunity to be a parent is a blessing in every way. Some become single parents by choice and others due to unpreventable circumstances. Whatever your situation, you have the responsibility of making the choices and exhibiting your leadership abilities to help guide and mould the children for generations to come.
For more information on techniques for creating quality ‘me time’, go to the Waves of Bliss website at www.wavesofblissbarbados.com. Also, feel free to send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org