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Why Being A Mom Is The Most Unimaginable Gift From God

Why Being A Mom Is The Most Unimaginable Gift From God

Those first flutters, deep down inside my tummy… they made me stop in my tracks. I waited for it to happen again. The anticipation was so great I could have felt a single hair raise on my arm. I was in tune with my body in a way I had never been before. And then it happened; I felt it again. It was the first time my baby tangibly let me know she was in there. I stopped, smiled, breathed out a sigh, laid my hand below my belly button and simply connected.

The first time you feel those small bubbles, you won’t forget. It’s a sensation like nothing else. Well okay, admittedly it’s kind of like gas, which is nothing to swoon over- but it’s not gas, and that’s why you swoon. It’s your child, your creation, your DNA. It will be your future, hopefully your pride, certainly your legacy, and your number one mission in life. You come to the realization that being a mom isn’t simply a right, it’s a gift…truly the most unimaginable gift from God. What do you get from that gift, from motherhood? You take in a combination of everything that equals love:

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The Interaction

From the first time your child lays upon your chest, latches onto your breast, or wraps their hand around your finger, you are taken. It’s the kind of love you will never have with a man, nor anyone else for that matter. Looking into your child’s eyes will never grow old, not even during the teenage years when your heart is breaking for them and they look into your eyes for comfort.

As your child grows, she becomes as much of a need to you as you are to her. She can sense when you’re excited and when you’re scared. She especially knows when something is wrong. If she sees you cry, she wraps her arms around you and comforts you, sometimes wanting to cry herself because your pain causes her pain.

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The intentional, nurturing, and guiding interaction between a mother and her child can be one of the most fulfilling aspects in life. And if the relationship is fostered from infancy to adulthood, the tight bonds of a mother and child never go away. The connections can be a near constant source of happiness and gratification. It is this interaction that sets us apart from other animals on our planet. Motherhood is the deepest form of love there is.

The Evolution

No woman is ever the same after having a child. It doesn’t matter whether a child is born healthy or sick, typical, or different. From the moment you see, hold and protect your child, life will never be the same. Sure you always wanted to be successful, but now your success is what ensures your child’s future. You strive to be a provider and a role model. You research, looking for the best daycare facilities. You learn different discipline approaches and seek out the right doctors. You strive to teach independence by modeling independence yourself. You remember, you forget, you give, and you forgive. You’re number one goal is to be a better mother than your own mother, even if she was the most wonderful mother in the world.

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For most, this evolution is welcomed. The sacrifice of time, money and sometimes heartache is well worth it in the end- and to what is that end? It is the moment your child becomes a productive citizen that is independent, happy, and positively influences the lives of others. If our children can show these qualities as adults, we know we were successful. That knowledge of success will let us rest easily as we age, hopefully allowing us to let all regrets of the past go.

The Memories

What will we have at being ninety-five years old, but our memories? There will be memories of our own mother which will reflect times of long ago. There will be the memories we made with our own children, of their struggles and of their triumphs. All of the memories will make up who we were then and who we are now. By nature it’s called the circle of life. While motherhood may not be what keeps the Earth on its axis, the rotation of life itself comes full swing. It passes the torch, one day allowing our own children to experience this miracle. And it is this miracle, the miracle of motherhood, which is plain and simply the most unimaginable gift from God. It is one that should never and can never be taken for granted. For it is the respect and honor of being a mother that makes us good mothers. And it is good mothers that keep our earth rotating in the right direction: a direction filled with positive relationships, caring hearts, and a prosperous future.

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Featured photo credit: Mother playing with her son in a park/Dollar Photo Club via dollarphotoclub.com

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Published on September 21, 2018

11 Smart Pieces of Advice to Help You Thrive as a Single Mother

11 Smart Pieces of Advice to Help You Thrive as a Single Mother

Becoming a mother is one of the most difficult challenges a woman can take on in her life. Whether this happens the “natural” way, with the help of science, or through adoption, being in charge of nurturing another human being is a herculean task to take on.

Typically, when we think about parenthood, we imagine two parents sharing the responsibility and having each other to lean on. However, according to the 2016 U.S. Census Bureau, 1 in 4 children under the age of 18 are being raised by a single mother.[1] This is a significant portion of the population that often gets overlooked.

If you are one of these mothers raising your children on your own, you are undoubtedly aware of the additional challenges that motherhood has placed upon you, including the constant struggle to find sufficient time, energy, money, and support.

For single mothers who find themselves bogged down by their daily responsibilities and struggle to stay afloat, don’t be fooled by the belief that you have to do all. It is possible to thrive and live as a single mother if you take advantage of all available resources and adjust your priorities based on your situation.

1. Find your community and ask for help

As the sole caretaker of your kids, going through the successes and struggles of parenthood can feel isolating and lonely. You have probably developed a strong sense of independence because you’ve had to go at it alone.

Being self-reliant is necessary in many situations that you have to face, but do not fool yourself into thinking that you don’t need support from others. If you have family nearby, strengthen your relationship with them by visiting and talking more often. Find time to catch up with old friends or co-workers, and don’t assume they don’t want to hang out if they are not parents themselves.

Would you prefer finding mom friends[2] who have more in common with you? Use resources like apps, Facebook groups, and community events to meet local moms in your area.

After you have established a support group that you can depend on, don’t be afraid to ask for help. It is NOT a sign of weakness or incompetency to admit you can’t do it all, and others are probably more willing to lend a hand than you think.

If you feel uncomfortable burdening others, suggest trading favors such as taking turns babysitting. Because after all, helping is each other is what community is all about.

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2. Make peace with the past

Before you can move forward, you must make peace with your past and not let it define you or rule your life. Whether your journey to single motherhood was through divorce, death, or never having a relationship the father, it is crucial that you leave behind the feelings of abandonment or betrayal you may be struggling with.

You cannot change the past and the hurt you had to endure, but you can use the strength that you gained from overcoming those obstacles to work towards making the best life for yourself and your child. Learn from the past but live in the present and look towards the future.

3. Make plans and set goals

The daily repetition of trying to balance work and home life can make you feel like you are on operating on autopilot. However, it is imperative to set goals for yourself and to keep working towards self-improvement.

In your personal life, you can set a fitness goal (train for a 5k), a reading goal (read 20 books in a year), or a travel goal (take a trip to Europe). At your job, you can set career goals such as gain leadership experience, get a promotion, or earn a degree or certificate.

Spend time creating a realistic plan to on how you can go about achieving these goals. Not only will working towards these goals make you a more well-rounded and successful person, they will bring more purpose and fulfillment to your life.

4. Look for role models

A great way to jump start your plans for the future is to find a role model or mentor who is further along in their life or career experience. This person can be a great resource when you need guidance on what types of goals to set for yourself and how to achieve them.

It’s also important to have people to turn to for encouragement during difficult seasons of life. Someone who has been through it before can provide the most genuine reassurance that tough times will get better and that staying positive is best approach.

5. Rethink your priorities

Single parents have twice as many responsibilities to take care of, so priorities and expectations must be adjusted accordingly.

Know that you are not superwoman and striving for a perfectly clean home, no dirty laundry, and home-cooked meals for your kids every day is not a reasonable expectation. It’s okay to take shortcuts sometimes, like serving your kids cereal for dinner or waiting until the next day to wash the dishes.

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Don’t compare yourself to anyone else and let go of the guilt that you feel for being the only parent that your kids can count on. Give yourself a break and don’t sweat the small stuff.

6. Make time for me time

Even though it can be difficult to find, making time for yourself is critical to maintaining your sanity and well-being. Without a built-in partner to take over, finding time to be away from the kids must be done intentionally and planned in advance.

If you are sharing custody, use the time away from your kids not only doing productive things but also making sure you are taking care of yourself. Sleep, exercise, and balanced diet are not things that can get pushed to the bottom of the priority list. Also make time for fun activities, such as hobbies and creative outlets.

Even though being a mother is the most important job you have, don’t let it be the only thing that defines you. Time for yourself is more difficult to find if you are the sole caretaker of your kids.

Use the resources that you have to devote time to self-care, and you and your kids will thank you for it in the long run.

7. Stay organized

With so many things to juggle, great organizational skills are an absolute must in order to keep everything moving smoothly. Use apps such as Mint for your finances, Mealime for meal planning, and Cozi as a family organizer for everything from appointments and shopping lists to after school activities.

Maintain constant contact if you are sharing custody so that it is clearly communicated who will be responsible for what when it comes to your kids. Follow consistent routines in the morning and nighttime so that your kids also know what to expect on a daily basis.

8. Be flexible (Don’t be a control freak)

Although it is important to be prepared and stay organized, things don’t always go according to plan.

When kids get sick and have to stay home or babysitters cancel at the last minute, allow for flexibility by having a contingency plan for childcare and with your employer.

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For example, make a list of people you can call when you need last minute childcare, or talk to your boss in advance about working from home when emergencies come up.

Most of all, don’t let unexpected changes stress you out and ruin your day.

9. Learn to say no (Don’t feel guilty)

Single mothers have limitations in time, energy and resources that families with two parents wouldn’t be able to understand. Because of these circumstances, it’s important you let go of feelings of guilt and stop trying to do everything and be everywhere.

You don’t have to say yes to every single birthday party your child is invited to. Your kids don’t have to be involved in sports and extracurricular activities every night of the week.

Limit the things you do to only the ones that are the most enjoyable and meaningful for you and your family. Doing more things does not make you a better mother; simply a more tired one.

10. Live within your means

When you have to raise your family on a single income, budgeting and spending within your means becomes more important than ever.

If you have outstanding debt that is accruing interest, make it a priority to pay those off as soon as possible. Outlining a budget is the best way to visualize how much money is being spent every month on various things and what is left over.

Find ways to save money on the necessities by looking for sales at the grocery store, buying some things secondhand, planning out meals.

After the necessary bills are paid, determine how much can be spent on luxury items such as eating out, vacations, and going to the movies.

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Don’t let finances be a source of anxiety for you and your family. Keep your bank account in good shape while teaching your kids how to spend money responsibly at the same time.

11. Spend quality time with your kids

The time you spend with your kids is so precious and much more limited as a single mother. Make the time that you spend with your kids count.

Rather than sitting in front of the TV, take them on fun and budget-friendly outings to the park, the playground, or a museum. Use meal times as the perfect excuse to ask them about what they are learning in school and the friends they spend time with.

When your kids ask you to play with them, look at it as a privilege and an opportunity to bond with them, rather than a distraction or waste of time. Be present when you are with them, with no work or multitasking on your mind. Your relationship with your kids will absolutely reap the benefits.

Final thoughts

Being a single mother is not an easy job. That’s why it’s important to use all the resources available to you in order to make this job a little bit easier.

Using technology, an organization system and a supportive community are just a few examples of things you should utilize to your benefit. It’s also important to shift your mindset and be more practical when it comes to things like priorities and finances.

Most of all, don’t forget about your own self care. Only when you take care of yourself can you best take care of the people you love.

Single mothers are some of the most hard-working people out there, and you deserve to have a happy and fulfilling life.

Featured photo credit: Alvaro Reyes via unsplash.com

Reference

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