Being a single mum is tough, no doubt about it and I’m sure I’ll have no arguments from anyone on this one. As I’m sure it’s equally hard being a single dad with the full-time role of caring for the kids, but as that’s not our situation, I will take a moment to lament on the tribulations of being a single mum. Both mine are pre-school aged (2 & 4), both boys and both high energy, which is lovely, if I’m peering in through the window at their antics; ‘gosh, they’re funny, so much exuberance etc’. Then I would peer away and smirk ‘but sure glad I don’t have to look after them’ – WAIT A MOMENT – gasp. They are wonderful boys and I am trying really hard to be calm, cool and collected and remain a ‘positive’ force in their lives and not completely screw them up for life by ruining this ‘nurturing’ relationship I am so desperately trying to implement….but, like I said, it’s not easy! Distraction is the key to success when I’m feeling overwhelmed, let’s get in the car and go…somewhere, anywhere, but not too far, or else as you know, the whining starts. I remind myself not to get bogged down with the stress, the constant attention seeking, seeking for approval, it’s endless, probably (or hopefully) worthwhile in the long run s it’s developmental – age related, but relentless from day to day, in the moment. Ah, breath, centre and RUN!! Take 2: breath, centre and RELAX. If I actually stopped the internal dialogue and realized it was what I was feeding my thoughts that made moments unbearable maybe I would have a different experience. Whatever the case my hat does dip profoundly to those care-givers out there doing it solo. A tough road and hopefully a road less traveled..but I know it’s a well traversed path and one which our society is supporting more and more. I know there is support out there and others in the same boat, maybe a community of ‘single parents’ gather to look after each other’s children, have playdates, celebrate their new found freedom or their drowning in the onset of reality, depending on the amount of time out on their own I suspect as to the stage of their acceptance. I feel the weight of stigma, the weight of ‘how do you cope’, the weight of ‘they couldn’t make it work?’ and ‘how will it affect the kids?’ Even if most of those statements are in my head. What I miss is adult conversation and I guess it’s a good time to reach out to others and invest in interests outside of day to day living and mere survival wishing I was in my 20s not 40s. Next time you meet a single parent, give them a wink and a smile and say – ‘well-done, you’re doing a great job!’, you might just make their day and, who knows, you may have unknowingly given them a hand up out of their darkest hour in their day.
Monthly Archives: August 2014
A libretto to Women’s Lib. I love that word – liberation, and I love being a woman, but geez it’s tricky. I massaged a girl yesterday (I do Kahuna massage, dedicated to releasing energy blocks) who needed to talk, as she spoke her body tensed, emotion was being released through ‘off-loading’ but as quickly as that happened, her energy was caught up again by more anxiety as memory, thoughts and words are immediately transferred into our muscles, every fibre and every cell, so instead of being healing and therapeutic the massage became a tug-of-war between anxiety and cathartasism. When I suggested we talk after she flatly said, ‘no I need to talk, I’ve come here to talk’. And what transpired was a libretto of oppression and angst of being a woman in a draining, unfullfiling relationship.
It’s not the first time I’ve heard the lament, our conversation reminded me of one I had had recently with another female friend, actually at a massage course. She was constantly apologising for herself and this was something I could relate to and something that I’ve been trying to work on (see my previous post: Hey I’m actually OK). She was so emotionally damaged and psychologically oppressed that her libretto was one of self-destruction. Both of these women are warm, intelligent and naturally happy beings until they’ve allowed themselves to be sucked dry by their egomaniac, narcissistic, alcoholic partners, and once again, I know where they are coming from, I’ve been in the same cycle. But I have to wonder what allowed us all to make the mistake to share our lives with these people in the first place and to be devoted to them throughout and even after the abuse. Is it Stockholm Syndrome? or simply a lack of boundaries and low self-esteem to begin with? One thing is for sure, we have all been emotionally crippled by the experience and it takes time and a concerted effort to heal. The liberation comes from realisation that the situation is no longer sustainable but who actually leaves? In this example of the three of us, it was just me who had made the shift and in part it was due to listening to friend’s woes in similar situations which made me break the tie. It’s not been easy, however, and with two small children to look after it certainly is a daily challenge but despite the longing I have and the memory of our relationship at the beginning, I know that where there is alcohol in the family unit there is only destruction in its wake. In truth we three have similar traits, we are all flexible, warm and kind-hearted and easily manipulated. I don’t think any of us stood our ground, not aggressively, but from a core of strength and a belief in our own self-worth, that we will not tolerate anything other than respect. In these relationships respect on both sides had been eroded and then the soul begins it’s deterioration process, dislodging from the tissues of our body and withering under the strain. And before you know it, you wake up tired, confused and depressed. I was strong enough to ask for help, I went to my GP, I got an emergency crew around me of professional people who saw this sort of thing all the time. I realised that no matter who we are if there is the bottle, it will always come first to an alcoholic, no matter what you do, say or feel, all is pale to the call of the disease.
How confusing has my life been to date. I have been following my arse about but with my head so severely turned I’ve not allowed myself to notice what is in front of my nose and that is the world around me and what’s more my needs and desires to live the life I want to live are right here within me, not behind me or in front of me but here where I dwell, where I am, where I have landed from my past and in the present waiting the future. I have realised that my downfall was my lack of acceptance of self. I have been so busy trying to be somebody, or be what I thought I should be that I have done a gross disservice to myself and neglected what is most important and that is to allow myself to sit comfortably in the who I am. The acceptance that ‘hey, I’m alright just the way I am’. I am OK, I am enough, it’s all good exactly the way it is right now at this moment with the skills I have, the talent I have, the children I have, the home I have made for myself, my relationship to myself, it is exactly the way it should be and I am more than OK with that. I have been diving into self-help literature, raising happy kids books, becoming an empowered woman webinars, business start-up help forums, I have even seen a psychologist to realise that hey, I’m all good. From my research I can tell you it has come to a head in what the books, the divine inner wisdom have been telling me and that is just write, just do yoga, just be a mum, and schedule your time to fit in these things – full-stop. Stop wanting more, stop chasing your tail, you are fine just the way you are, no more and no less. I have spent the better part of my life beating myself up emotionally and mentally and now the time has come for a deep level of self-acceptance and nurturing that my creativity and sense of abundance has been craving. A recent yoga workshop with Bryan Kest from LA made sense, as I sat with tears streaming down my cheeks, with my emotions just below the surface of the skin ready to explode, I had only been in the class for 5 mins until I released not noisily, not obscenely, I just let go of the façade. I made up my mind in the car heading there that that was precisely what I was going to do in the class, allow myself to heal, say here I am I will give myself the 3 hours of yoga as a gift to my inner well-being and just let go of the hurt. I didn’t expect to cry, I didn’t expect to find meaning in his words I just longed for it. With over 30 years of teaching experience, however, he certainly knows what the soul needs to hear but yet, I can’t tell you exactly what he said. The main things were that yoga is not a religion, that yoga would never tell you what to do, it’s not dogma, it will ask you to just notice what you are doing. Gold! That intimacy is really listening, listening to your lover, listening to yourself. Beautiful! That we must touch ourselves gently, that we must be kind to ourselves. The man seemed to have peered into my head, into my own dilemmas and gave me the answers I was looking for. Accept the way we are, not go beyond what we can do, don’t go too far, go to your capacity, push the boundary but don’t go beyond. The man touched my soul unbeknowingly and told me it was indeed OK to be me.
Bryan Kest is currently touring Australia until the end of August.