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Being a single mom is hard- every day is a juggling act. I may only have one child, but I constantly feel like the sky is falling. I’ve given up quite a few things that I used to value, and at times I’ve lost sight of who I am.
My son is nine months old. I wake up early with him every day and I’m up at crazy hours of the night trying to put him back to sleep. Each day is a blur. I try to get in my eight hours of work without dozing off, and spend all of my “free time” trying to get those dishes done – you know, the ones that have been sitting there all week – and trying to catch up on work. It’s a never-ending cycle, and it’s easy to get lost.
It took me a few months to realize how easy it was to lose myself. I loved my son and my work, but was going through the motions; I felt like there was no “me.” On one particularly frustrating day, I decided I needed to take back a piece of myself.
My sacred place has always been a kickboxing gym. When I had my son, I felt guilty leaving him for an extra hour a few days a week just so I could workout. On the day I decided to take back a piece of myself, I re-joined my local gym. After my first workout, I felt like a million bucks.
For the 60 minutes I was in class, I didn’t think about the bills piling up. I didn’t worry about my job, my home or even my son. I rushed home and gave him a ton of kisses, and I felt amazing for the first time in months. The stress had melted away and I felt like the old me, but with a beautiful bundle of joy.
From that moment, I committed myself to going to the gym at least twice a week. Those two one hour sessions have been enough to let me feel like myself again. I’m not just the “milk lady” (my mother’s endearing term for me), the woman that pays the bills or the maid – I’m me.
Now, I don’t feel guilty about my trips to the gym. I may be missing out on precious time with my son, but he gets to experience the best me I can be. When he refuses to nap, I’m a little less frustrated. When he spills pureed peas all over my freshly laundered suit, I’m not quite as upset. I enjoy the good times and the bad more than before.
To be the best mom you can be, you need to give yourself a break. Figure out that one special activity that makes you feel like you again. It might be an evening out with old friends, an hour in an empty house reading a book or even an uninterrupted glass (or more!) of wine. Do whatever recharges your batteries and makes you feel like yourself. Taking a little time from the hustle and hassle of everyday life – you’ll be an even better mom.
Raising a child is a hard thing to do no matter what your situation. When you’re a single mom, you end up giving up everything for your child. Try to keep a little piece of yourself, and find out how much better life can be.