To The Single Mom Who Had A Shit Holiday
As single moms holidays can be pretty awful.
It’s a time for “family” when society tells us our families are “broken.”
But I rediscovered something transformative in the first hour of 2019.
It’s a critical part of the Unbreakable Formula, essential for being a single mom.
Pay attention, because this may be the most important lesson you learn in 2019.
I just spent thirty minutes lying naked on my bathroom floor in the fetal position ugly crying until my eyes nearly swelled shut.
I’m sick of the fucking holidays as a single mom.
I know you’ve been there.
I’m sick of all the traditions that remind me that “THIS IS HARDER FOR YOU.”
Want to know what all the “drama” was about?
I was content with staying home for the holiday. I try not to put too much energy or importance into these things. But last minute, I made half-ass, poorly thought out plans and scrambled for childcare.
For roughly an hour everything seemed to be falling into place, and I was actually going to be able to pull it off.
Unfortunately, it didn’t happen.
Not a big deal. I didn’t want to go out anyway. I told myself.
I arrive home at 23:53 with my daughter sound asleep.
All was still.
The silence and solitude would have been bliss on any other night.
I glance at my phone at precisely 23:59. In the top left corner the little white numbers—only millimeters tall—change to 00:00.
My heart flutters in anticipation of a noise, a firework, the neighbors yelling “Happy New Year!,” or (silly me) a surprise kiss.
But it was dead quiet.
It sank deep into my stomach, squeezing and aching with that all too familiar feeling of despair.
Don’t do it.
You’re stronger than this. It’s just a fucking day.
You don’t care about this stupid holiday shit.
Damn, this is lonely.
You didn’t even have any real plans.
But you’re sick of doing this alone.
00:01 The tickle in my throat swells into a small lump, like swallowing a stubborn pill without water.
Why can’t things be different?
WHEN will things be different?
Am I stuck in this forever?
00:02 The flood gates open and I’m drowning in self pity.
I run the bath but never quite make it there. The floor is much more fitting. In this moment, it’s where I belong.
I forcibly hold my breath to halt the tears. The sorrow is brewing from my core and rising to my face. It burns. It’s consuming me from the inside, screaming “LET ME OUT!”
“I see you,” I tell it.
I exhale slowly, preparing for what’s about to come. I don’t push it away anymore. I sit with it and let it wash over me.
I feel ALL of it.
All of the hatred, the fear, the pain, the envy, the anger and the resentment, the hopelessness.
I feel anger for even letting myself feel this way. I’ve heard so many horror stories of what other single mothers have gone through. In the grand scheme of things, I’m so privileged and fortunate, and yet I still find an excuse to feel sorry for myself.
How could I be so selfish to cry and complain, even in my own head?
Then something spectacular happened.
I gave myself permission to feel that too. I allowed myself to FULLY feel it and not repress it.
Soon, the floor is no longer cold and the waves of emotions have calmed.
I can let go
What was so transformative about my bathroom experience?
I am completely responsible for everything that happened.
I procrastinated. I avoided planning because it’s complicated and emotionally taxing.
I didn’t have a backup plan and communicated poorly.
I also didn’t reach out to my tribe. I broke my own “Support System Rules” (read more here) and didn’t ask for help.
I have an amazing family. I have other mom friends and single mom friends. “Single mother” is NOT synonymous with “holidays alone”.
In retrospect, I had a beautiful day. I signed a lease on a new place and had an impromptu celebratory dinner with my awesome family.
I had countless options to make it work at midnight.
But I didn’t reach out. Why?
Subconsciously I was in search of an excuse to feel sorry for myself. I was in search of the right time and place for an emotional release.
It’s exactly what I needed and exactly what the universe gave me.
So I am responsible.
“There is nothing either good or bad,
but thinking it makes it so”
When you can’t control what happens, you can control how you give it meaning.
You are not only in control, but response-able. That means you are able to respond however you choose.
If you choose to feel awful, mama, IT’S OK to feel like shit sometimes. You are strong AF, and your children know that.
It’s OK not to be strong every now and leave space for repressed emotions.
It’s OK to feel!
It may seem counterintuitive to allow yourself to feel pain.
Slow down. Give yourself permission to truly feel it.
Only then can you release it, then choose then how to frame the situation–instead of running away.
Could I say that I started 2019 weeping uncontrollably on my floor?
Or started 2019 empowered to take responsibility and CONTROL of my life (and upcoming Valentine’s day, birthdays, or Mother’s Day).
Things to think about.
Become aware, feel it, release it, detach from it, take responsibility, take control.
Here we come, 2019.
For the complete Unbreakable Formula, download here.
And mama, please share with other single mamas who struggled this season.
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