As I write this, I am sporting a huge black eye (also blue, purple, magenta, and maroon) because I have an independent streak and think I can do things on my own. We recently bought a pontoon boat. It has what is called a bimini top which is a fancy word for a shade that helps keep people like me (milk colored skin) from burning to a crisp. Since this is a new (to us) boat, I was anxious to get the top up so I could sit under it. I became impatient for my husband to take a break with me so we could figure it out together. I started unzipping things that should have remained zipped and released one of the supports that promptly came swinging down and doinked my left cheek bone. Instant golf ball sized swelling and within an hour the beginning of my colorful eye! Had there not been children present next door, I might have lost a little religion, but held my tongue admirably.
Sometimes as parents, even more so as single parents, we think we should be able to do things on our own. The world encourages us to be independent and tells us that we should be able to function alone. Sometimes the world even suggests that we are failures if we can’t. That can be dangerous thinking. When stressed, we revert back to old patterns that many times are unhealthy. Patterns that we are working to leave behind. We think that if we just ride it out that it will be okay. Usually, something comes crashing down and someone gets a bruise or black eye, whether it is physical or emotional.
We are not meant to be isolated. We are meant to be in community with each other, helping, nurturing, and encouraging each other. We need outside ideas that encourage positive parenting when we are at our wits end and can only see the dark places.
Reach out to someone with experience that you can trust whether it is a spouse, friend, relative, or counselor. I had a friend who had a son the same age as my daughter. We would call each other and ask if there was any sanity there, because there certainly wasn’t any at my (or her) house, depending on who was doing the calling. We would laugh, talk a little bit and then go back to the issue at hand. More than once, I’m sure we saved our respective children from getting their necks wrung just by making that phone call.
Bottom line…don’t try to parent alone. It isn’t healthy for you or your children. The original model is two parents, extended family, and the neighborhood. There is a reason for the saying “It takes a village to raise a child.” You are not a failure if you need help.
While I maintain my independent streak (that will probably never change), I am reminded every time I look in the mirror at my growing black eye that I live in community with others who will be happy to help if only I ask.
Comments are always welcome…