As a solo parent all responsibilities fall on you. You must get your kids to school everyday, help them with homework, get them to and from after school activities, decide what they will eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner, shop for and cook most of those meals, shop for all of the clothes, school supplies and extras, make all of the doctor, dentist and orthodontist appointments, get your kids there and back and handle anything that goes along with that, take care of your home and cars, make all of the decisions and implement those decisions. You are referee to your kids squabbles, chef, chauffeur, maid, doctor, dentist, weatherperson, arts and crafts guru, homework helper, mechanic, handyman and on and on. Even the cat and/or dog are vying for your time. And somehow, some way, you have to find time to work a full-time job and maybe, just maybe have a little bit of a life for yourself.
You do what you have to do to pay the bills whether you enjoy it or not, you spend your time living someone else’s dream and you are exhausted. Then the day comes when your children become independent, they don’t need you as much anymore, you are on stable ground and have a little more freedom to do the things you want to do. But you still have to provide a home for your children, you still have bills to pay, you still have decisions to make, forms to sign, meals to cook, and oh yeah you still have to be a responsible adult and work the job that pays your bills.
You have been the gatekeeper, you have been the provider, you have been the sole support system and you have been the solid ground in which your children have relied on to hold them up as they walk the path to adulthood. Although they have reached the threshold you cannot close the door yet. While they are opening new doors each and every day, exploring a new world and finding their passion, you stand back and hold your door open for them, providing the safe space for which they can come back and rest now and then while they are paving their path through adulthood.
And at some point you realize your life has been all about your children, your reason for being every day completely revolved around them. You knew that whatever you did each and every day it somehow was because of or for your children. Now that they don’t need you in that way anymore you find yourself lost. You finally have the opportunity to pursue your passions and your dreams but how do you do that, what even are they? They were pushed aside so long ago you’re not even sure you can find them anymore and worst of all you’re not even sure you have the desire to look. You have made your self comfortable in an uncomfortable being and the fear that lives inside of you to step outside of that is overwhelming. How do you find the inner strength to let go of everything you have known for probably 20 years or more and find yourself again? And scarier yet what if you don’t? You have taught your kids to pursue their passions, to live their own dreams whatever they may be and you have given them a steady hand to hold as they fight their fear of the unknown – because you knew, you knew that they had nothing to fear and you would always have their back. And maybe without even realizing it you were living your dream. Maybe your dream is to help people, check. Maybe your dream is to inspire people, check. Maybe your dream is to be a caregiver, check. Maybe your dream is to be a leader, check. You were living your dream all along and didn’t even know it. Now it’s time to get up, make the bed and see what’s next.