As you can imagine, getting divorced with a 1-year-old was not in my original life plan. Unfortunately, being a single mom became my challenging reality. Those early days were extremely difficult for us. I traveled for work, I didn't have family where I lived, and stress levels were at an all time high. When I think back to that first Mother's Day after divorce, I remember it as a very sad and lonely time. After my first single Mother's Day passed, though, I slowly began to gain some perspective.
As with anything, the further you get away from hurt and upset, the more objectively you can view things. After a couple years, my perspective has changed entirely and I'm able to really appreciate my situation, my son, and my new life. In the hope that the insight I've gained can be helpful to others, I've detailed five reasons I no longer hate Mother's Day.
- I learned to plan. After finding myself a single mother to a 1-year-old, I hadn't prepared myself for how hard Mother's Day would be. When you let a holiday sneak up on you and you don't have plans, you may find yourself feeling very alone. What I do now is make plans with other single moms to do something together with our kids so we all can have a great day.
- I ask for what I want. I used to feel as though I was putting someone out by asking for what I wanted out of Mother's Day, but I have changed this situation. Now I ask for exactly what I want. If that means I want my son to draw me a picture and make me a card, I ask for that. If it means that I want to go to a fancy brunch with my son and friends, I let it be known. Asking for what I want has made me feel good.
- I have dropped the guilt. There was a time I would feel guilty for being divorced or for doing things for myself. I have since decided that guilt doesn't benefit me and instead I am going to feel good about my decisions and putting myself first. For Mother's Day, if I want to get a massage, I ask my ex to take my son for half the day so I can have some me time. Dropping guilt from my life has been freeing.
- I have let go of perfection. Growing up, I had always envisioned a "perfect" life where I was happily married and had a few kids. Today, I am divorced with one amazing child, and letting go of this "perfect" fantasy that never existed has allowed me to appreciate the amazing and unique life that I have created. Having one son and being a single mom means I get to spend a lot of one-on-one time with the most amazing little boy, and that makes me happy.
- I have decided to focus on me. When you are feeling upset or disappointed it is easy to focus on what everyone else has or does, which can be problematic. Comparing yourself to others is a recipe for disaster. Deciding to focus on myself and look inside instead of outside has allowed me to get to know myself better and feel empowered about my situation. Keeping the focus on me has brought me more happiness and gratitude.