Single Motherhood is Easier With the Right Mindset
Think positively no matter the situation is the key to single motherhood.
My apartment is an exploding mess. My kitchen counter is littered with many of my son’s “science experiments”. The living room is littered with toys that my son pulled off from the shelves. There are bins in the bathroom with concoctions that my son’s brewing because he’s obsessed with witches and their stirring cauldrons.
The exploding cereal box left tracks in my office. A broken lamp is apparently my son’s most proud play moment in the past three days. In my bedroom, we are sleeping on a mattress with a mattress cover and no beddings. My son’s nightly leakage is worse now that his bladder is bigger. I’m not toilet training him fast enough. I’m also not doing laundry fast enough to keep up.
There’s the lingering smell of that hidden nugget that I have yet to find.
This is the state of single motherhood right now at this moment in my life. It’s not pretty.
I like to think that I have my stuff together. I did. In fact, I had all my ducks in a row before my single motherhood journey started. Then, there came the curve balls. There were many.
I fought. I tried. I did as much as I could. Nevertheless, those curve balls made impact.
Now, I am in a major adjustment period in my life.
This moment is not my best moment as a mother.
However, it is certainly a reflection of how much hard work it takes to make it as a single mother.
What led to this exploding mess is the past week that literally crushed me!
I was on a work binge from great ideas. I was starting a publication with friends. At the same time, I was finally hitting my stride as a writer. I wanted to write more. I woke up every day at 3 am in the morning and worked until my son woke up. Then, I mended my social media accounts during the day. I even managed some work on my website. I also sent out an essay for a contest. All of this work meant that I only slept 4 hours a night for a week.
Eventually, my body gave out. My body literally gave me the middle finger. I developed a cough and a fever.
I was down.
I have not been this sick in the past 3 years since I became a single mother. But, there I lay on my bed: nauseous, coughing, having chills while wrapped in a blanket.
I gave my son the iPad. I set him up to play in his dollhouse. I let him rummage through the closet for spare toys to play with. I let him pull everything out and make a huge mess. Then, I told my son that I am sick. He seemed to understand. He gave me little kisses on the cheek. I got up intermittently to take care of all his needs: filled his water bottle, gave him snacks, and emptied his potty.
Eventually, my son’s bed time came and I finally closed my eyes to sleep.
But, the cost of me lying in bed for 3 hours before bed-time was the exploding cereal box mess in my office, the mess in the living room and too much TV time for my son.
Even after sleeping for 8 solid hours, I was not well enough to clean up the mess.
The next day, I needed to take care of a few errands and pay our bills. I left the mess in my apartment. I took my son out. We did everything we were supposed to do: bought all his favorite foods and paid bills. I came home. I had no energy to clean. I ended up working in the midst of this mess.
But I ate.
After not eating for a day due to nausea, I felt good enough to eat. Eating was my self-care for the day.
My cough worsened. It turned into a coughing fit. I had to take cough medicine to ensure that both my son and I slept through the night. (I hate taking medicine btw.)
On the third day, I came back to myself. Although I have not fully recovered, my fever went down. I only coughed intermittently. My state of mind improved.
I woke up on this day fully charged. I tackled cleaning with a vigor. I started in one room. I didn’t finish until I cleaned my entire apartment. I put fresh sheets on the bed. I caught up on laundry. I even cleaned the toilet and bleached the bathtub. I spent the whole morning cleaning.
After I finished, I felt better.
I am back to being the mother that I want to be for my son. That is what is important.
Single motherhood is hard work. It is a never-ending process of trying to get to everything on my to-do list. It is filled with bills that are piled too high, work that is never finished and guilt that flows like a river.
It is made easier with a positive mindset.
It is made easier by confidence.
It is made easier by a supportive community.
It is made easier by setting my child up for success.
I write out of necessity. I need to pay bills. I need to stay home with my son due to his “issues” that are not severe enough to qualify for “early intervention” but severe enough that no care-taker would want to deal with him except for me: his mother.
I also write to feel better. I am trying to keep a positive mindset. I am trying to heal a whole lifetime of pain.
Most of all, I write to connect with friends. I want to finally find those people who are like-minded and who want to grow as individuals.
Like a mother octopus, today, I am still juggling. There will be things that I can’t finish. There will be things that are postponed. There will be things that I am doing well. There will be things that I need to work on. But, that’s the state of single motherhood.
I’m learning, improvising and trying.
Most of the time I am telling myself to not fail too badly for my son.
This is why I have no time for games. I have no time for negativity. I have no time for nay-sayers.
I am simply focused on living.
About the Author
Jun Wu is a Content Writer for Technology, AI, Data Science, Psychology, and Parenting. She has a background in programming and statistics. On her spare time, she writes poetry and blogs on her website.