When people hear I’m a solo parent (with three kids) they seem to say one of three things:
“HOW do you do it?!”
“I don’t know HOW you do it, I could never do that!”
“I was raised by a single parent, keep up the good work!”
When people first started asking me how I do it, I had a newborn, 2 preschools and was recently divorced. I said, “Honestly, I have no idea.”
The first time I heard someone relate to my story, “I was raised by I single parent” I was overjoyed! I asked them a gazillion questions about how that was for them, how did she do it? I wanted to know everything. I read anything I could get my hands on in the way of single-parent-self-help. It turns out there are a lot of how to be a single parent books available. And almost all of them talk about how to get along with your ex, how to co-parent, what do to with yourself when your kids go visit their dad. I couldn’t relate, it’s me and the kiddos, no dad time around here. I still dove into these books in search of the mystical method that would make things easier.
It turns out there is no mystical answer. I know, right?!? There is no right way, or how. You just do the best you know how. You screw up, you apologize, you support each other, you reach out and ask for help (I’m still working on that last one). There is no HOW, no road map, paved pathway or right method. Just the recipe of a whole lot of love, a good deal of patience (including with yourself) and the belief that you can (and the ability to remind yourself when you forget).
We all have things in life that are challenging. My story is different than yours but similar as well. Whether you are dealing with an aging parent, an illness, unemployment, being a single parent, training for a triathlon or studying to be a physics professor, the method is the same. Add love, patience and the believe that you can do it. I heard this quote somewhere along the way, “There are no limits, except the ones we place on ourselves.”
Believe in yourself. The “how” doesn’t matter nearly as much as the “do” part.