By Stacey Freeman
Being a single mom can be lonely, especially if we haven’t been one for long. The truth is it can also be isolating years into it. Thankfully, it is possible to get support from other people in our life. They may not come from the most likely places either or be someone we knew before becoming a single mom. We may have known them for years or have recently met. Regardless of how our paths have crossed, we eventually come to realize just how much these individuals have positively impacted us and how much we owe them for doing anything from small favors to picking us up from the depths of despair. And they deserve our gratitude. After becoming a single mom following my divorce, I have a few people I would like to raise a glass to for the role they played in my life at exactly the time when I needed them the most. Here they are.
1. My mother
My mom had worked in the same position for 24 years, the same 24 years I spent with my boyfriend, eventually husband, and now ex. Only a few weeks after she retired, I learned he was leaving me. The first person I called was her. Because my mom was no longer working, she was around more to provide me with the emotional support I needed, not to mention unlimited (and much needed!) babysitting.
2. My friends
I was raised to never air my dirty laundry in public, which is why anyone who knew me believed I was happily married. I wasn’t. Because I was so depressed, without even realizing, I had gradually distanced myself from almost everyone who was close to me. When my husband left, I quickly realized I needed a support system, so I turned to the friends who I always could always count on in the past. And I am so glad I did because I don’t know how I would have gotten through that difficult time without their willingness to listen and provide advice when I asked for it.
3. My cat
I am sure our family cat knew how much I was going through and that is why he never let me watch TV alone or, when all the kids were out of the house, sleep by myself. I am far from the crazy cat lady, but I know he sensed how sad I was and wanted to be there to comfort me.
4. Those women I met in Walgreens
Not long after my separation, I ran into Walgreens to purchase a gift card for one of my kids to bring to a birthday party. While deciding which one to buy, I overheard a couple of ladies talking about how while they were getting divorced they went out and bought tons of gift cards before dividing their joint bank and credit card accounts, cackling about how much money they had stolen. I was newly separated, and listening to them showed me precisely how I didn’t want to be. My reward was that I wound up, all things considered, with an easy divorce that we concluded in under a year.
5. The dudes I dated
Although dating after divorce comes with challenges, I met a few good guys along the way who became my confidants, cheerleaders, and friends. I learned from them, too, as they shared their divorce experiences with me. I got to see things from the other side, which helped me immensely as I navigated my situation. Although these relationships eventually came to an end, my time in them helped me grow into the strong woman I am today.
6. The people who abandoned me or kicked me when I was down
To these people, I owe the most. There is nothing more inspiring than recognizing that the best person you have in your life to rely on is yourself. No matter how devoted your support network is, no one can do the hard work for you. When it comes to rebuilding after divorce, the responsibility is yours and yours alone. But thanks to the support network in your life, you are prepared for the challenge.
Who do you want to thank?
About the Author
Stacey Freeman is a writer and blogger from the New York City area, a divorced single mom, lifestyle editor at Worthy.com, and the founder and managing director of Write On Track, LLC, a full-service consultancy dedicated to providing high-quality content to individuals and businesses. A respected voice for divorce issues affecting both women and men, Stacey has been published in The Washington Post, Entrepreneur, Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, Woman’s Day, Town & Country, The Huffington Post, xoJane, Scary Mommy, The Stir, MariaShriver.com, The Good Men Project, and various well-known platforms worldwide. Stacey is frequently called upon for her expertise and insights on the divorce experience and has repeatedly been quoted in The Huffington Post’s divorce vertical. Stacey holds her B.A. in English, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from the University at Albany and her J.D. from Boston University School of Law. Email Stacey today at Stacey.Freeman@WriteOnTrackLLC.com or call 800-203-1946 for a free consultation and proposal. For more information, visit www.WriteOnTrackLLC.com.