Ten Things I’ve Learned From Single Motherhood


1)      Nothing lasts forever. And I mean nothing—not the good and not the bad. This is just a matter of fact and it’s something to never forget. When things are oh so good and wonderful, keep yourself lightly grounded. And when things are crushing you, keep yourself hopeful.

2)      Control is an illusion. It doesn’t exist. We are never in control of anything—not our money, not our health, not our homes, not our children, not even of ourselves. Yes you can have an effect on things but you can’t control them no matter how much you want to. Accept it, don’t fight it, and things get a lot easier.

3)      Negative talk is a waste of time. Whether it is directed at us or at others, it does nothing for anyone. It might give you a momentary reprieve to spew out all the really bad stuff but the crap that follows is way worse. If you need to get something out, take it out on a wall. It’ll give you the proper response for negative talk.

4)      Problems are a heck of a lot easier to create than they are to fix. People who have been licking the same wound for many years know this one well. Think carefully about your decisions and understand there will more likely than not be consequences you can’t even imagine on top of the ones you can. And also understand everyone screws up and if you at least learn from your mistakes, you’re a little better off for it.

5)      There are a bazillion ways to cut down costs. Every time I think I’ve just about reached the complete bottom, something else gets yanked and we survive. There is so much free or super cheap stuff out there, it’s mind blowing. We live in a time of oversupply and its evident in the Freecycles and the Craigslist and the human networks. Open your eyes and you’ll see it all slowly emerge.

6)      Good people exist. They really do. People who send you just because gifts. People who do you a favor. People who let you vent. People who cheer you up. People who care about you sincerely. People who want you to succeed. People who believe in you. People who want to help any way they can. They are there. And there are more of them than you’d think.

7)      Kids are easy to please and tougher than nails. They want your attention and they’re going to get it one way or another. Try and choose positive attention every time but know negative attention is probably going to happen too.  But they recover fast. We are way more fragile than they are. We underestimate them because we are overly aware of our own fears, doubts, and problems. They haven’t lived long enough to have all that baggage.

8)      No one cares your house is messy. Maybe people expect war zones when there are small children in a house but they really don’t care they left the clothes in the bathroom or that the play room looks like a piñata of toys exploded. As long as their feet don’t stick to things and they aren’t being assaulted by insects, they tend to be cool. There is an exception to this rule for Cuban Abuelas.

9)      Kids make fantastic assistants. They are the best personal assistants ever and every year that goes by they get better! They can do a lot of chores around the house at least at the Passable level and that is better than not getting done at all. And they have excellent ideas. Ask them for their input on something and be amazed!

10)   You are stronger than you can possibly imagine. I can’t tell you how many times I felt I was at the breaking point. I just knew “this” was it, “this” would break me. I wouldn’t be able to get past “it”. But I would. Sometimes more gracefully than others, sometimes with a scar or two but I’d survive. And the more I share on here, the more of you come out with your own stories and your own breaking point scars and you’re here and you’re alive and you’re telling your story and you’re better. When you ask yourself, “I don’t know how I’m going to do this” the answer is always “You just will.”


28 thoughts on “Ten Things I’ve Learned From Single Motherhood

  1. They say adversity stimulates a lot of positives responses and in your case it seems that it is wisdom. If you were not financially “challenged” would you be where you are now as reflected in this post?

    • I’m not sure. I think if I wasn’t financially challenged, I’d surely be challenged in some other way. That just seems to be how life goes. And I’ve learned that no matter where the challenge stems from, as long as you learn something from it, it’s worthwhile.

      Thank you by the way. That was very sweet of you.

  2. I’m reading and agreeing! And thinking why did it take so long for me to figure these things out? Then I remind myself to be thankful that I have figured them out. And only because I made it through so many tough days. Good for you! And thanks for reminding the rest of us!

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  4. This is great, and very very true! Kids as assistants — they definitely get better with time. My oldest daughter used to “help” me do hoem improvement work..but now, in just a couple years, she really does help! And the other one on your list, “Good people exist” That’s an important one to remember, isn’t it? It’s so easy to forget becaue there are so many jerk offs out there.

    • Thank you! I am trying to get the kids involved in as many ways as possible, in as many different things as possible not just so that they can really help me but so that they can be independent and self-sufficient as they reach adulthood.
      Sometimes, it’s the kindness of strangers that keeps me going!

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  6. This is an awesome post, I should do something similar to it, but it’d never be as graceful. I agree so much with #5 and #8; Every time I think that I can’t pinch the pennies harder, it seems to just work out; and … well either I don’t care if people care how messy the house is, or I figure they’ll forgive me since my children still love me at the end of the day even without a super clean place.

    Thank you 😀

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  8. I think the most important one on This list for me was 5. I spent my formative years with an abusive dad and then lived in horrible dangerous neighborhoods. I was always passionate about getting out before it was too late but it was eye opening for me to discover how many genuinely good people there were out there. These people donated their money to help me go to college and with the smaller scholarships, I actually met these people and they weren’t rich old men, they were working class people who got together and wanted to make a difference. Thats only one example.

    Great post.

  9. When things got to be too much for me and I’d think, “I can’t do this,” another part of my brain would chime in helpfully: “You ARE doing this.”
    And I’d realize, “Well, yeah, I guess I am” and KEEP doing it.
    That’s not to say that hard times don’t stink. They do. But you are coping.

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  11. I’m way behind on my blog reading — but goodness gracious, I needed this today. Thanks so much for this post —- even if I am reading it a full week after the fact. I needed it.

  12. Thank you so much for this, it made my morning and actually brought tears to my eyes. I’m a single mom myself and I’m dealing with my first “relationship” since the divorce. Who would have thought actually caring for someone would make me so unhappy? It is a struggle, but I will keep your words with me. (Sorry to ramble)

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