You Are Not Superwoman!!

And that’s okay. You shouldn’t expect to be one and no else should expect it of you either. The dynamics of the family have changed over a century ago, even as few as forty years ago.  There was a dramatic increase in single-parent families in the United States in the last three decades of the twentieth century; only 13 percent of families were headed by a single parent in 1970. Over one-fourth of children in the United States lived with a single parent in 1996, double the proportion in 1970. Approximately 84 percent of these families were headed by women. Of all single-parent families, the most common are those headed by divorced or separated mothers (58%) followed by never-married mothers (24%). Other family heads include widows (7%), divorced and separated fathers (8.4%), never-married fathers (1.5%), and widowers (0.9%). There is racial variation in the proportion of families headed by a single parent: 22 percent for white, 57 percent for black, and 33 percent for Hispanic families. The United States Census records reflect that in 2006, 12.9 million families in the U.S. were headed by a single-parent, 85% of which were headed by a female. Now I know you’re asking, “why is she giving us those statistics?” Well the answer is quite simple; it is to show that women are providing the majority of care and resources for their children.

 It clear to anyone looking, that women are overburdened with the day to day responsibility of taking care of their families. In many instances the woman is the mother and the father, the provider and the nurturer, the disciplinarian and the mediator, the mentor and the teacher, the cook, the courier, the house keeper, the nurse, and the spiritual leader and the example for which generations will be built upon. This woman doesn’t use her sick time for herself she saves that for when her children are sick. With all that in mind when oh when does she make time for herself? When or when can she make time for herself? The thought of handling all those responsibilities are daunting, but that woman very rarely gets to dwell on that.
Here's what an average day looks like for her; she has to get up every day, whether she is feeling good or not, and make sure that everyone gets to where they have to go. She tries with her very being to ensure that things run as smoothly as possible. All during the day she wonders how all family members are doing, checking the clock then calling to be sure the children made it home from school. After finally getting home from work she either brings dinner home or has to prepare it. Her job is not done when she gets home, after dinner, maybe even during dinner the children sit at the dining room table doing the homework, with mom’s assistance while she pulls dinner together. After dinner, while her children assist with the dinner dishes, then ensures that all take baths, she puts together lunch for the children to take to school the next day. If there isn’t an argument to mediate, which there usually is, the woman must calm all down and insist that all go to bed. Depending on her energy she throws a load of clothes in the wash machine. Finally there is some silence in the home so she makes her way to the bath for a nice hot bubble bath. By this time it’s almost eleven maybe twelve midnight. She drags her tired frame to the bed and the next sound she hears is the alarm “6am” in the morning, and it all begins again.

I give the above scenario just to tip my hat off to all single parents and say you are truly worthy of praise. Your job is not easy and yet you at times, make it look effortless. With all those responsibilities for sanity sake you must seek balance for yourself or you will crack when you least expect it.

Here are some thoughts as to how you can put some balance into your life.

  • Remember that you need respite time yourself. You are to be applauded that your children come first, and that’s how it should be. You should also remember that you have to feed your needs too. Commit to at the very least twice a month that you will allow yourself some time to do what you enjoy doing (don’t say you enjoy being with your children, even while that is a large part of your truth). You have things you enjoy (i.e; exercise, a movie, a nice meal with friends, time to read that book you always wanted to read, etc.) you get the point -- you fill in your own blanks. 
  • That old adage “it takes a village to raise a child” is still true today. Don’t wear out your welcome, having said that do ensure that you establish healthy individuals, your children’s friends parents, and your family so that you have individuals who you trust who can provide that time out you need. Also ensure that you reciprocate.

  • Ensure that your children respect the time that you need. Make it a regular part of your family discourse. It should be a natural part of your children’s experience. Include them in on your plans allow them to feel a part of helping you obtain your little piece of heaven away from them, not instead of them. If your time is with the opposite sex be careful not to create insecurities in your children as much as possible keep that separate until you have reached a place where you are truly ready to commit. (Read the article When Am I Ready to Date).  Your children shouldn’t be exposed to a slew of any adults. Protect your children’s heart and emotions by sparing them attachments that are not destined to last.

  • Plan ahead. Some like spontaneity but for some without planning your time away, you may find yourself unable to spend the identified time if you simply do it without having given complete thought to all aspects and all affected individuals.

    • Finally don’t feel guilty about this time you are spending on yourself. Realize you deserve it, you’ve earned it! Understand this is healthy for all parties concerned.
    Having rethought my earlier statement, maybe you are Superwoman, but even Superwoman needs a break every now and then. With love I pray for your time of refreshing, rejuvenation, and rejoicing in your time of respite!! 

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