Monday's Course In Miracles

My daily spiritual practice includes studying A Course in Miracles. Each Monday I share a quote from the text.

The Peace of God Belongs to Everyone.

Single Mom Thriving: Six Common Misconceptions of Single Moms

  I have heard many statements that contribute to the misconceptions of single moms. Here are my top six.

1."You are so lucky. You get every other weekend off"
     When my children were small I used the time they were with their dad to do the things that I couldn't get done when they were around. However, I did feel quite fortunate to go to the bathroom in peace.

Now that they are older, they want to be at home to be with their friends.  Weekends with their dad has become brief visits and creative orchestrating of schedules to spend time with their father.

While divorce offers many perks, having time off isn't one of them.

2."You're pretty. So don't worry. You'll get remarried soon,"
     Someone said this to me in the early stages of separation/divorce. I still shake my head.  What do my looks have to do with anything?

Contrary to belief, most single moms aren't in any rush to get remarried. They are looking for a new way to be happy.  Remarriage and happiness aren't necessarily a package deal.

3." I don't know how you do it."
      This is often said with an undertone of pity. Please don't feel sorry for a single mom.  I don't know how I do it either, but what is my other option?

You too would manage to do anything for your children.

Offer help not pity.

4."Your poor children have to grow up in a broken family."

     I am astonished that the negative stigma towards children growing with a single mom still exists.  My children were raised by me and are doing just fine. Two will be in college in the fall and all three are honor students and wonderful human beings. There is absolutely nothing broken here. Except for the dishwasher .

5."Getting divorced is the easy way out."

     There is nothing easy about divorce. It is a painstakingly difficult decision to make and a heart wrenching process to go through. Choosing to get divorced is often a smart decision and the best decision in many situations. In many ways it benefits both children and adults, but it is not the easy way out.

6. "But you are all alone. You must be so lonely."

        Loneliness and being alone are not synonyms.

Of the hundreds of single moms I have coached, being alone has built strength and self esteem to heights they never knew existed. A central part of the healing process is getting to know yourself better which translates into enjoying your own company.

Single moms are champions for their children and appreciate the value of a village. So while there are many things we do alone, there are numerous things others have stepped up to the plate to help us with.

We have created lives that overflow with helpers. And while many untruths remain to the ignorant, the village of helpers knows that being a single mom is pretty awesome!

The Absolute Best Way to Be Happier

 The absolute best way to be happier is to stop wanting to be right and to to stop making anyone (including  yourself) wrong.

When we strive to be right, we make someone else wrong. Then we enter a battle with another person.

When we make someone else right, we make ourselves wrong. Then we enter a battle within ourselves.

Innocent people die in battles. 

Rumi's quote goes on to say: 

When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk of ideas, language ,even the phrase 'each other' doesn't make sense anymore.

When we make anyone including, ourselves wrong or right ,we isolate and forget each other. 

Years back in therapy, I was angrily discussing an incident from my childhood that many of my siblings remembered differently than I.

 In total despair, I asked her, "Who is right?" 

She responded, "All of you."

I had been carrying around so much anger making them wrong and myself right. The truth was we all just perceived it differently.  Once I let go of right/wrong my relationship with my siblings got better.

We all have the choice. Join me in picking happy over right or wrong.

Monday's Course In Miracles

My daily spiritual practice includes reading A Course In Miracles. Each  Monday I share a quote from the text.

Feng Shui Friday:Sometimes You Have to Embrace The Chaos

My eldest came home from college for the summer. With him came mounds and mounds of stuff. Stuff that was dumped in the kitchen, dining room and laundry room. Dirty laundry practically filled the entire laundry room and walking through the dining room required obstacle course finesse.

I felt like a tsunami had hit my organized, neat home and I wanted it picked up. NOW.

Because I wanted it to be picked up NOW, I decided it was my job to do it.

Until said eldest said, "Sorry about all the laundry mom."

Then I stopped in my tracks and with a smile responded, "No need to apologize.  I am not the one who is going to do it all."

I then tidied my office and my bedroom and decided to live with the chaos in the rest of the house while everything gets back into a groove.

It wasn't just about the stuff. The stuff everywhere meant a transition and transitions take a few days. Moving back home after seven months at school is a process. Routines have to be re established and boundaries need to be figured out. It can get messy.

We can't rush through transitions. We have to allow the mess and take control over areas that we can (i.e. my cleaning my office and bedroom). I could have put everything away myself and the result would have been a resentful exhausted mom. Instead I let my son figure out where everything was going to go and where he wanted to store the things he didn't need. I offered help as did his siblings but the process held more meaning for all of us when he took charge.

In a few weeks high school will be out and  there will be another mini tsunami as we transition from the school year to summer. I will keep my bedroom and office clean and embrace the chaos.

Change Your Mind Not Your Geography

Do you ever want to just run away?  As in pack your bags and leave it all behind?

Sometimes so many things scream for your attention that  a trip to a far away land becomes your daily desire.

Don't pack your bags.

 It is never about the geography. It is always about your thoughts.

The work of Byron Katie is always my go to help when I am feeling the urge to run away.

Her work involves asking yourself four basic questions

 1.Is it true?

2.Are you absolutely positive that it is true?

3. How do you react when you believe that thought?

4. Who would you be without that thought?

After you've answered the four questions you turn your stressful thought around.

I invite you to try it.  You can find  the work here.

Monday's Course in Miracles

My daily spiritual practice includes studying A Course In Miracles. Each Monday I share a quote from the text.

If you knew who walked beside you on the way you have chosen, fear would be impossible. ACIM

Single Mom Thriving:Lean In Pioneers

"Single Moms have been leaning in for a long time - Out of necessity and a desire to provide the best opportunities  for their children." Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg is the author of Lean In as well as the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook. Her husband died suddenly last year and she is now in the throes of single motherhood.

For mothers day she wrote an essay on Facebook about her plight as a single mom and a call to action to help single moms .

Single mothers are the pioneers of leaning in.

Regardless of the community support, loving friends, and family it is up to the single mom to get it done.

Get it done is the puke bug in the middle of the night and both dealing with the clean up and the care of the infected child.

Get it done is the flu that hit the single mom who still has to care for children and work.

Get it done is the waiting up til tires crunch in the driveway all alone.

Get it done is the hours of homework help.

Get it done is the being three places at the same time.

Get it done is the creative and heart wrenching financial planning.

Get it done is loving the life you have leaned into, even when it is beyond hard.

Love is forgetting the single mom stigma and simply doing it with joy because you can.

You can do it.

You are way more than single mom.

Try Super Hero!

Don't Go Back to Sleep

            How you celebrate your waking moments sets the tone for your entire day. 

My morning routine includes:

* A few moments of being grateful while still in bed,

 * Savoring my morning coffee outdoors, in all weather

* Reading A Course in Miracles

 * Meditating


* Spending a few moments with my loved ones

These rituals set my day up for success. I know this because on days I have been 'too busy', I am a grouchy mess of a woman.

I look forward to the morning.  Other than an occasional wanting to sleep a bit longer,  I thoroughly enjoy the self nurturing that I give myself each morning.

Some of the best writing I have done was written in the morning. And it is during the quiet of the morning that I receive inspiration and answers to questions that have been on my mind.

Rumi was right. The breezes at dawn have secrets to tell you.Don't go back to sleep.

Monday's Course in Miracles

My daily spiritual practice includes studying A Course in Miracles. Each Monday I share a quote from the text.

Single Mom Thriving and Surviving Mother's Day

I wrote this piece six years ago and I thought I would recycle it on my blog to honor all single mothers this Mothers Day.  Mother's Day really is about being with your children.

                               This is the picture that went with the article. Talk about TBT!

                                                             Just Mom

Like all single mothers I figured out immediately that the buck stopped with me. If something needed to be done, I figured it out.  Holidays were no different. In spite of Hallmark's incessant reminders that my family looked different, I went into each holiday determined to celebrate joy.

I figured out Christmas trees and Christmas lights. I stayed up all night one Christmas eve putting together a "some assembly required" pool table. I enjoyed buying my own presents, filling my own Easter basket and even buying my own valentine. I was proud that I knew how to honor and cherish myself regardless of my marital status.

Then Mothers day happened and all I felt was sad and sorry for myself. While millions of mothers were being pampered by their children with their husbands' assistance, my children were panic stricken as how to honor me. I missed my mom terribly and was envious of all the moms enjoying brunch, flowers and no housework.

No matter how hard I tried I couldn't bring myself to enjoy Mother's Day. I would have preferred to skip the entire day all together.

But for my children's sake I can do anything, even get a grip on Mother's Day.  It took time to master the day and it will never be my favorite, but joy can be found.

First I give myself to full permission to feel sad, resentful, angry or even jealous on Mother's Day. Feelings come up all of the time allowing them to be there makes them go away.

Secondly, my children feel enormous pressure on Mothers Day and it is difficult for them to create a perfect day without the help of another adult. I take all of the pressure off by assuring them I only want a hand made card and they include a breakfast in bed.

I also ask my children for alone time in my garden where I can be with my mom. Each year I plant something in  memory of my mom on Mothers Day.

Permission to feel, breakfast in bed,handmade cards, time alone in my garden with my mom are all the mothers day festivities I want. The rest of the day is about being a family and spending time with my three favorite people, the ones who gave me the honorable title of Mom.

Self Love

 When my alarm went off at 5 am, I wanted to ignore it and get another hour of sleep. I came up with wonderful reasons why I deserved/needed/ had to have another hour of sleep. I caught myself when I equated an extra hour of sleep as an expression of self love.

Getting up at 5am to write, meditate and then exercise is an expressions of self love. Committing to my morning routine, especially on the days I don't want to, expands my self love.

The media is infiltrated with mantras and how to posts on achieving self love.

Buy yourself flowers.
Take long bubble baths.
Say loving things to yourself.
Don't judge yourself.
Forgive yourself when you mess up.

 We have heard them all and they are all worthy endeavors.

However I believe, real self love happens when we do the hard thing, the thing we really don't want to do or the thing we don't believe we can do.

Self love is putting on your sneakers and getting outside for a run when all you want to do is stay in bed.
Self love is putting down the darn phone and having a real live conversation with the person in front of you. Self love is sometimes skipping the ice cream and sometimes having the ice cream.
Self love is only having one serving of the chips instead of the whole bag.
Self love is signing up for the class, the race, making the appointment or going on the date.

Showing ourselves what we are capable of  makes us grow and that is what self love is built upon.

Baby Steps

Take the step !
You might fall.
You might look silly.
People might say mean things.
You will be afraid.
You might want to vomit.
Take the step anyways with as much conviction as a baby learning to walk. 
You got this! 

Blessings ,

Monday's Course in Miracles

My daily spiritual practice includes studying  A Course in Miracles. Each Monday I share a quote from the text.