As single mamas we focus so much on the kids, we forget to have a look inside.
It was a cold and dreary afternoon. The kids were at their dad’s, and I was left to my own devices. I decided that I would spend my free afternoon watching a movie, a treat that I do not often allow for myself, and even then, I don’t always get to. I opened Google Play, with the idea that I would rent something. I looked at the extensive collection of movies, and anxiety welled up inside me. How would I choose? How could I choose? Anxiety slowly made way for anger as I realised that after so many years conforming to someone else’s ideals and ideas about me, I could not even choose a movie that I would like to watch. Because I had no idea what I liked or disliked.
This might seem extreme and absurd to you, I sincerely hope so. But if not, then that means you were also caught up in a relationship that was so all-consuming that it ate your identity together with any freedom you might have thought you had.
After years in my marriage, I simply became an extension of first him, and then later my kids. I was a wife and a mother, and neither of those roles allowed any room to simply be me.
Now, with my divorce, I have the chance to find out who the “I” is in parenting. Who am I? What do I like? What do I dream of? And how can I use these new-found things to be the best mom I can be, without losing myself again?
Some introspection in this season of my life was needed, and these are the questions that I asked myself in order to get to the bottom of who I was, within being a mother, a friend, a person. I have not yet completed this journey, I actually don’t think we ever do, but now I can at least choose a movie!
- Am I enjoying this season?
Although I might not have chosen this season, I am in it nevertheless. But like the weather changes, so life seasons will also move on, one making way for the next. Within any season, there will always be good and bad. Am I enjoying my current season? At times. At times I find it challenging and inspiring, at other times draining and defeating. But no matter how I feel in the day, there are always something that I can be grateful for. Focus on that, it will give you great clues to what makes you feel alive, what depletes you, what gives you hope and what overwhelms you. I feel that this season is drawing to an end, and I am grateful for that ending. What have I learned about myself? That I genuinely believe God will never allow a season in your life without supplying you with everything you need in order to not just survive it, but to thrive in it. You just need to see this, buckle down and make the best of every situation. There is glory in it.
- Do I know what my God-given gifts are, and am I living them?
This is something that has been bothering me for a few months. In actual fact, I think this question is the one that opened the door to me questioning my relationship and life. I felt so stifled, so uninspired, and so unseen that I doubted whether I had any special gift buried within me. And if it was buried, it was so deep that I just could not find it. Although I have not yet figured this out in totality, I think I am closer than I have ever been. Asking questions such as “what do I enjoy doing?”, “what comes naturally to me?”, and “what do others think are my talents or gifts?” have started point me into a certain direction.
Knowing that I do indeed have God-given gifts and talents have given me the freedom and permission to dream again. To have goals and ideas and plans. Not only that, but because I am actively looking for myself and my purpose, I am finding encouragement in all the right places. I am busy building skills, and will use these skills to realise what He has planted in my heart.
- Am I good enough?
I think this is that one question that all of us have struggled with at one point or another. Am I good enough? Am I smart enough? Strong enough. Experienced enough. But what about loved enough? Trusted enough? Realising that you are enough, not because the world says so, or because your family believes so, but because you were made as an image-bearer of God, gives you more confidence than you can imagine. If God saw fit to make me in His image, to give me potential, intellect, dreams, ambitions, love and yearnings, then who am I to doubt? I am good enough, and I know that God will use me to show others that they are good enough. Knowing what my talents are, what I enjoy doing, what I am grateful for, and what I dread has all added to me knowing for certain that I am good enough.
This season, although hard at times, have taught me to see myself as God sees me. This has allowed me to get back in touch with the “I” that I am as a mother, as a friend, as a person. It has given me the reassurance to be me, because if He loves me the way I am, then others can as well.
Since finding myself, I have stopped parenting from a place of guilt, or shame, or from a place of lack. I can parent my kids well, even if I am doing it by myself because I know who I am. Focussing on finding myself have proven to be one of the best decisions I have ever made, and I would highly encourage you to do the same!