I consider myself a "strong mom" because I take care of my children (ages 4 and 1) solo for a month while my husband works out of state. It is like this year around and he is only off and home for about 1.5 week at a time. It has been like this for as long as we have been together since 2007. All of my family lives across the country. All I have here are my children and some of his relatives that we do not see that often. It has been so hard, but we survive. I would like to tell you about my story and how I stay strong while raising my children while being somewhat of a "single" parent.
Our journey began when I was 18 and I got that positive pregnancy test! I was shocked, nervous, and excited. We were already planning to move across the country, but now we are moving and starting a life as a family of 3. I never even lived anywhere other than my small town, but now we were moving outside of a major city and what felt like a world away. I didn't know anyone there except for his family. I applied for a job, but quit before having my first born. It was very hard adjusting. I was depressed and felt lonely. Calls back home would get me through when he was at work as well as dinner at my in-laws' houses.
One day, I decided to join the BabyCenter community and that opened my eyes to other women who were pregnant and due when I was. This seriously was a saving grace for me. I met women who I could talk to, relate to and they became my friends. Almost 5 years later I am still friends with these ladies and they are some of my bestest friends today! They helped me get through some sad moments in my life as well as the best moments in my life! A few of them told me about meetup.com where you could go on there and find local moms in your area and connect for play dates, friendships etc. I was so thankful for that advice! I joined and made mom friends pretty quick. I'll just stop there for a second, are you seeing how having mom friends makes THE world of difference in your life? Before I became friends with ladies I could relate to I was so lonely and depressed. Fellow moms will lift you up when you need it and be the laughter that you need after a tantrum filled day. Have a good support system. Raising children really does take a village and do not be afraid to ask for help! I have this crazy pride issue, so sometimes I do not when I really need to more often.
We ended up moving again. This time I have met some great mom friends in my neighborhood and I am starting to become more outgoing about putting myself out there. I am so shy at first so that is hard for me, but you can't make friends and that village without trying to build it. I still at times feel lonely and wish I had what I would call a best friend that lived close by, but that's okay I have some pretty awesome ones that live close by so that's good enough! If you are going through something similar (single parenting, husband hectic work schedule, recent move, deployment) , I can not stress enough the importance of making mommy friends!
It was (and still is) very hard raising my children without their father home every day/night. Sometimes I get jealous of the families that have that luxury. But I remember that God never gives you anything more than you can handle. Never. I do things to stay busy. We go on play dates when we can, I reached out to neighbors who have children as well so the kids can play and I can be friends with the mom (very hard for me to do because I am an introvert!), go to the zoo, sports activities etc. It never really gets easier, but it's life and always how it's going to be. You could either complain and get down about your situation or you can make the most of it! I choose to make the most of it. I have to be strong for my children. They need that from me as a mother. Everything is for them. I feel like I am a strong mom because I suck up all of the loneliness feelings and I show my children that no matter the circumstance you can live a happy life. We make time to FaceTime with daddy (thank goodness for technology!) and talk to him often. I want my children to look back and see all that their mother (and father!) sacrificed, so that they can have a better life than we had. For that I am and know that I am a strong mother. There is no other choice but to be.
If you would like to share your story of how you are a strong mom please email me at mommyferg02 (at) gmail (dot) com!