“OMG, you have a child?” Is something I’ve heard so often.
“You travel… shop…(insert action verb) so much. I would’ve never known that.”
And then came the subtle shame. It was as if people were offended that I didn’t disclose that I was a mother immediately after saying my name or didn’t have photos of my child decorating the office. As I stated in a “My-Space.”
I was a lot of things before I was ever a mother
It’s true, mes amies, when I was a single mother (Ju’s dad and I divorced when he was 2), I didn’t let having a child totally alter my life.
I went back to school for my second and third degrees, I traveled the world, with and without Ju, and I purchased our first home.
Was it always easy to keep my identity, work, and go to school full-time while raising a child?
But I was determined not to lose myself.
It’s possible to have a child/children and have a “life.”
Will it take you longer to finish school? Probably.
Will you have to opt-out of some of those happy hour dates? More than likely.
Will you have to save for additional airfares? Only if you take the tots with you.
My best advice is to build a LOVING support system, and that doesn’t necessarily mean family.
I am BEYOND blessed to have an AMAZING, AMAZING support system.
Now that “Babiccina” is here and I have CHILDREN, I still plan to travel, shop, and drink beaucoup champagne.
Will it be the same? No. But I see the beauty in revamping my life.
Here are cinq ideas to help you maintain much needed “me time.”
Light a candle.
It doesn’t matter the brand, price, or scent. Prior to being able to afford luxury candles, I enjoyed Dollar Tree’s selection all the same. Having a candlelit signal instantly to your body that it is time to slow down and relax. I’ve shared avec mes amies on Instagram that “Babiccina” allots me vingt-sept minutes to myself. I have to make the most of that time. Before laying her down in her crib, I gather my favorite body-wash, robe, moisturizer, and oui, a candle.
I make my daily shower experience a spa experience.
Get the “big cup“.
Mes amies on Instagram (so much of my engagement happens in real-time on Insta, you should totally join me there) knows how much the “big cup” of coffee means to me. To enjoy your “big cup” of coffee or tea, you don’t have to leave the house or spend money.
Set aside a mug that is yours and yours only. Use that mug solely for your special drink. If possible, wait to use the cup when all of the kiddos are asleep, and you don’t have any meetings planned. You may have to wake up a few minutes earlier, but the art of indulging and having me time is priceless. I consider this “les petits luxes.”
Taking a long enchanting walk isn’t feasible for everyone, but if at all manageable, take a moment to get fresh air. Whether that be sitting on your balcony, opening a door, or cozying up by a window that is slightly ajar. With travel restrictions, working from home, and virtual learning, you’d be surprised how many days go by without you ever breathing natural air.
Let in fresh air, doing so truly makes a world of difference.
We can learn a lot from the way babies are treated. When “Babiccina” received her first shot, everyone in the room, including The 6’3, très, très solid Husband, transformed into delicate cuddle machines. Cooing and speaking in the ever infamous baby voice, we all began to wave our hands, whirl around rattles and make kissy sounds. All of this was done to distract the precious baby from the harsh reality of her being stuck with a needle.
Are we not precious creatures?
Reality can be scary, painful, and unsettling. If distracting yourself for a moment eases your truth, do so by healthy means.
Watch Youtube (preferably my channel, insert my infamous GIF here), watch a movie, listen to your favorite song, sneak and eat a pack of your kid’s fruit snacks.
You are precious, and you deserve a healthy temporary distraction.
Accept that things are different.
Try as I might, I had to accept that I am not the same woman I was “BC” (before children.) Some moments that reality makes me sad because I have to consider the well-being of others before making a drastic decision, but most days, I am beyond thankful.
Things are different, and different doesn’t equal bad.
Find additional communities, communities that don’t make you feel isolate or sad about your reality. Would I ever suggest that you part ways from your single/kidless amies? Absolutely not. Not only will they be there for epic girls’ night outs, they often double as trusted sitters.
I suggest that you add communities. If you’re a single parent, finds other single parents with children your age. Having someone who can empathize with you is invaluable. If you’re fortunate enough to build trusting relationships with other single parents in your community, you all can establish childcare exchanges. You pick the kids up from school on certain days, and they take the alternative days.
Once I remarried, I subconsciously found myself gravitating towards other married women. Not because I no longer feel a single parent’s plights, but marriage brings many other complexities that single-role parenting doesn’t.
Finding your “niche” extends far beyond social media. You’re a parent now, and there isn’t a blog, book, or movie that will wholly encapsulate your experience. Whether you have one kid or six, we are all trying to figure this thing called parenting out.
Just know that you are not alone.
Ciao for now 💋