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Motherhood can be lonely, for any mother. From the infant stage to the middle school years, there will be points where we feel like no one has ever experienced what we’re going through; no one understands what we’re feeling and we are all alone in the world.
For single moms like me, this can be especially hard. I’ve been a single mom for six years and have the rare fortune of having a uniquely good friendship and co-parenting relationship with my ex-husband. Regardless of the relationship with your children’s father (or lack thereof) or support from your family, I can attest that single moms will encounter the feeling of void. Here are a few ways I have found to combat the vacancy.
1. Friends: My family lives six hours away, so when I feel alone on the planet or need encouragement, I reach out to my girls. My closest girlfriends are the DLC: Divorced Ladies Club. We check in with each other throughout the week and plan a get-together (with or without kids) at least once a month. The camaraderie of strong women surrounding each other goes a long way in filling in the sometimes deep void of loneliness.
2. Faith: No matter how close by your family or friends are, there will be those times when you’re not just physically alone, but you’re feeling emotionally separated as well. This is when I draw on my faith. While your faith may not look exactly like mine, I’d bet that part of your faith involves trusting in a bigger plan for life. I turn to Scripture verses like Deuteronomy 31:6 and Matthew 28:20 that remind me God is with us always and will never leave us. Having verses like these or motivational quotes do wonders for turning around my perspective.
>> Read more: 25 Inspirational Quotes to Empower Women
3. Fitness… and other fun stuff: Sometimes the only way to escape a void is to fill it. This is where I like to insert a workout or other fun activity, either by myself or with my son. A workout, reading a good book or making a healthy snack shifts my focus to the things that bring joy to my life.
4. Filled with gratitude: It has been said you can feel lonely even in a room full of people. As a single mom, I have experienced that when attending functions directly aimed for families. That’s when, whether it’s a mental reminder or jotting a quick list in the notes app on my iPhone, I make a short list of what I have to be grateful for; for my son, for the privilege of being his mom, for being the example of a strong woman, for having a moment to myself. It’s hard to be overcome with loneliness, or any negative emotion, when focusing on the many blessings of life.
Even though Eric Carmen laments being “All By Myself”, any mom can relate to feeling lonely in spite of being unable to go the bathroom by yourself. Remember you are not alone. Steal away to your room or a closet and, as one of my favorite quotes says, remember: “Take a deep breath. It’s just a bad day, not a bad life.”
>> Read more by Julie: How I Break Through a Fitness Plateau