Spending time with loved ones is something that means a lot to us. In everyday life we are just two people in our immediate family, A and I. We really enjoy being just the two of us. No question about it. We are used to spending our days in each others company and we are very good at getting out and about when we feel we need that.
But spending time with our loved ones, familiy and friends, always adds that very special feeling of being part of a bigger thing.
Stepping off the hamster wheel has not been an easy thing for me as a single parent. There is a lot of pressure on families with children in our society. Especially single parent families. Being a single parent with no other parent involved adds an extra difficult dimension to the role of the parent. You are the sole person responsible for your family’s well-being. That leaves a lot of single parents tied up in a tremendously hard game of survival and looking-your-best-while-your-doing-it. I am not just talking about the financial aspects, being able to provide for your family, mostly I am talking about the need for acceptance from the surrounding society, the need for moral support and people to talk to and to share your thoughts with. I have seen enough single mothers struggling to get by (somehow it’s usually mothers) to know what I am talking about. Well, I am one myself, so at least I know what I am talking about.
When that kind of pressure gets put on someone it is hard to think outside the box. It is very difficult to realise that you can choose to step off. I know it took me a while. I was 25 when I got pregnant with A and I was doing my degree in English and literary history. I wanted to write and be in publishing. I finished my BA when A was just a baby and then chose to take a year off from my studies to work a little and be more with A. When I finally finished my masters I was 31 and had been schooled for about 20 years of my life!
A was five when I decided to pull her out of kindergarten and actually let her live and learn at her own pace. This was a fantastic idea!
But it was not an idea understood by everyone. Neither did I expect it to be. And it has been difficult at times to keep my head up and trust that I am making the right choices for the both of us.
An important ingredient to the recipe of following your heart is that people around you, that you love, support you in your choices.
There may be things that you do not agree on with the people you love. And certainly my family do not always think my choices are reasonable, they may even think some things I do are crazy, but ultimately I know they love and support me in the way I choose to live. That makes things easier when I am having those moments of doubt and despair that everyone has.
Supportive network is one of the most important things in terms of happiness. You need people around you who are understanding of the way you live your life and who encourage you when things are difficult. I am not talking about financial support here, that is an entirely different issue. I am talking about moral support. People you can talk to about the things that worry you or scare you or annoy you. The knowledge that someone will open their door for you and let you in when you have something you need to talk about. Community is always important of course, belonging is always important, but it is especially important when you step outside the norm and especially if, like me, you are a single parent with no partner.
There have been times when I have thought I couldn’t go on doing what I am doing. Times when I have had enough of all the questions about why? and what I do about socialization? and how will A learn this or that? And why don’t you want to have a real job? I actually get intruiged when people ask questions because that indicates interest. It is when people feel they have to express their own take on what I do and how I choose to do it that I feel annoyed. I don’t think it is anybody’s place to express their opinion about what I am doing until I ask their opinion. It is also not my place to judge their choices or tell them how wrong I think they are, unless they ask me.
Anyway, those times when you feel you’ve had enough of other people’s judgement or stupid remarks about how you live your life you feel very appreciative of being able to turn to the people you know have your back. They can kind of save your day ❤
We are lucky to have supportive family and friends. Perhaps they do not always agree on what we are doing and how we choose to live our lives but they are accepting and they understand that it is important for us to know that they are there for us.