The Art of Gathering Strength
A Reflective Note for to Help Single Moms Restore their Strength
One of the things that I am learning to appreciate and practice is the art of gathering my strength. This is something that is hard to pay attention to and is a need that I am quick to brush off when I am pulled in to many directions. The challenges of single motherhood emotionally, physically and financially can take their toll.
The Stress of Responsibilities Makes Me Feel Weak and Breakable
When too many things conspire against me in my world, panic–the deepest kind of worry–can set in. Days just don’t usually go perfectly; the kids are arguing, dinner is going up in flames, the voicemail on my phone is full and I just CANNOT KEEP UP WITH THE EMAILS. On a not perfect day (which is many days!) it can easily feel like everything—even the things I love are working against me. It can easily feel like I’m failing as a mom by doing too much of one thing and not enough of another. These outside forces on my days can be hard to manage as a woman but they are especially difficult as a single mother.
Sometimes something I’m struggling with personally can occupy my thoughts in a way that completely depletes my energy. I can begin to feel hopeless because of a break up or a parenting circumstance I’m navigating.
Does What I’m Describing Sound Familiar?
I don’t think that I am alone in feeling stretched beyond my ability to cope or depleted in a way that I can’t easily or instantly restore.
That’s why I wanted to write this note to you. Because you can do something about it. You can practice the art of gathering your strength.
You do not have to live every day just trying to get by. You can live your best life now.
We All Know Single Motherhood is Exhausting
As I’ve moved through two pregnancies and navigated the last few years as a single mother, I’ve learned a lot about protecting my mind. I’ve learned to restore my spirit out of necessity. There is a delicate balance in play between your life as a single woman and mother and it is a balance that needs checked regularly so that you can wake up with restored strength and energy for the new adventure that each day has for you instead of fearing the future.
Find Time to Quiet Your Soul & Restore Your Strength
The approach that has worked best for me to gather my strength is to take a day for myself. My kids might be home, its usually a weekend (when work pressures are lower), and instead of waking up and creating a mental list of what needs to be done, I wake up and breathe and take the day in. I remove any pressures and eliminate thoughts that press me to be productive in a specific way, or knock of some of my ‘to do’s’, or clean and I shush the nagging sense in me that says ‘there is no time for stillness in your life.’
While it make take a little planning for a day like this, where you can truly just be still and resist the urge to meet all the expectations of all the people and responsibilities in your world, IT IS SO WORTH IT.
Refuse The Normal Expectations You Place On Yourself
By refusing to hear and entertain all of the expectations that I normally hold myself to, I free my mind and heart and this process is restorative. Gathering strength takes patience with yourself and with others, it takes time and it takes a willingness to slow down. It is not always easy to gather strength…especially if you are a single mom. I often feel out of time, out of money, out of energy and out of things to give—even when it isn’t true.
Life pressures make me feel like I’m a day late, a dollar short and the most impatient mom on the planet. These feelings are also NOT TRUE and do not reflect reality. These feelings deplete my strength, confidence and courage. My creativity and sense of self worth withers when they take over my mind.
Practicing the ‘art of gathering strength,’ changed this pattern for me. It taught me how to break free from all of the noise in my world and quiet my soul.
To gather strength, I practice these things:
- I choose a full day where I can clear any obligations. There is nothing I have to do and no where I have to be.
- I give my mind to God and I pray. I express my gratitude for the abundant and beautiful life he has given me WHILE expressing my deepest needs and concerns.
- I push aside any negative thoughts and insecurities that I have about myself as a woman, as a business owner and as a mother
- I allow myself to think through what is challenging me, what is distressing me and what is bringing me joy.
- I allow myself freedom to choose what I really want to do with the day even if it isn’t practical or convenient. I might nap when there is a sink full of dishes, sit outside watching the kids play when I have emails that I know need my response, etc. Read on the couch OR sit on the couch and just DO NOTHING.
- I don’t allow myself to feel guilty for doing nothing.
- I reflect on all that I’ve been given and all that I am grateful for until I can feel the creativity and excitement for life that had disappeared while I was pushing so hard and fast forward, return.
- I let my kids have their own time to do what they like to do…even if its TV! I don’t allow myself to feel guilty for letting them watch extra tv on a day where I am seeking calm. This is very important. Your kids need time and space to play and enjoy their home life and entertain themselves. You can take time to prioritize your mental peace and sanity and it is not neglectful, it is HEALTHY.
How Do I Know When My Strength Is Restored?
I know when my strength has been restored when I feel inspiration, energy and new ideas forming in my mind. A clear direction takes hold of my heart. When I’m strong, I’m not worried or crabby or frantic. When I’m strong, I’m joyful even when things aren’t going my way. When I’m strong, I can see a future and the horizon that stretches before my mind glows with beauty.
If you are an exhausted mother (single or married), I encourage you to discover the thoughts and practices that help restore you to your fullest and best self.
The importance of gathering strength has taken years to learn. Allowing myself to JUST BE ME has taken patience and practice. I had to learn how to be me without pressure, me without plans and me without striving.
No Longer Afraid to Take Time
Now, when I need a day to gather my strength I am not afraid to take it because I know that I will be a more loving, powerful, productive and creative woman at the end of it.
The goal of Single Mom Spot is to provide inspiration and help for single moms. We are an #onlinecommunityforofflinechange. Mama, you are not alone. This is a journey that many women share with you. As a single mother myself I understand the daily hardships and struggles you face (mental, physical and emotional).
Please comment below and let us know how you gather strength for your day. If this post was helpful to you, we would love to hear that too.
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My name is Jenna and I am the founder of Single Mom Spot. I've been a single mom for almost 10 years now. I'm a Christian and mama to two kids that I love like crazy. I started this site because I know how difficult single motherhood can be...and also, how beautiful. I believe that single motherhood helped make me into the best version of myself as a woman and mom. My hope, is that through a connection point like Single Mom Spot, women can share their experiences and grow together. What an amazing thing if every single mom could live her best life as a woman and mother right now, in the middle of her most challenging life circumstance. How bold. How beautiful. How unforgettable. Thank you for reading and supporting Single Mom Spot.
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