Life can sometimes throw us curveballs.
The biggest curveball I was ever thrown was becoming a single parent. I had never imagined this was the way I would become a mother. I don’t think anyone ever truly expects it, but for me it seemed like it was the EXACT opposite of my plan.
Every little girl dreams of walking down the aisle in a big fluffy white gown and marrying the man of her dreams. She and her new groom buy a house and get a white picket fence and start having kids together. They have the perfect life and the perfect family. They do things the way they are supposed to happen.
But it doesn’t happen like that for all of us. Sometimes life unfolds in a completely different way. Sometimes the circumstances are out of our control. And when this happens, we have two choices. We can become bitter or we can become better.
It’s very easy to become bitter. Becoming bitter allows us to feel sorry for ourselves. It allows us to play the victim. It allows us to blame everyone else for our situation and allows us to become consumed with self-pity. We blame external factors for everything and assume the world is out to get us. This is a vicious cycle because becoming bitter about one life situation teaches us a behavior. We set a standard. And we learn to become bitter about everything.
But we also have a choice. We don’t have to become bitter. We can become better. We can look at our situation as a learning tool. A way to move forward with guidance and knowledge. We can look back and ask ourselves what we could have done differently. What can we learn from this? How can we change things for the next time? We can find the silver lining and move forward with optimism and a new confidence in ourselves. Confidence to do better and know better and be better.
Does everything happen for a reason? I truly don’t know. But I know that I became a single mother for a reason. This is the journey I am supposed to be on. This is a part of my life plan. That may sound strange and you may wonder why would anyone say that? Well, let me explain.
Before I had my daughter I had priorities and goals for my life but they are not comparable to the ones I have now. The priorities and goals I have now have meaning and purpose. I want to write a book. I want to become a social worker. I want to buy a home. I want to set a strong example for the younger generation. These are not goals I had two or three years ago. And I am not sure if I would have ever had those goals had I not become a single mom. These goals came into place only after I had my daughter. And I don’t know for certain, but I have to wonder if they would have come into place had I had my daughter in a traditional family.
I am not saying that I would have lowered my standards for myself if I had a partner. But I have someone looking up to me because I am the present parent. I am the person my daughter sees every single day. She needs someone to set good example and to be a good role model. My daughter will need me to be a strong woman. She’ll need me to show her that her mom is capable of anything she sets her mind and heart on. And she’ll need to know that single moms can succeed. That single moms can be more than a statistic. And that single moms are fierce and determined and can do it on their own, even if it is really difficult. Because the hardest things you accomplish in life are usually the ones you are most proud of.
It would have been easy enough for me to look at my situation and take on the mentality of a victim. To act as if something bad happened to me and that it was a way for me to have an excuse for everything. It would be easy to say “I can’t do this or I can’t do that because I am a single mom.” But that’s choosing bitter and I refuse to choose that.
Instead I am choosing better. Because I am better. Being a single mom has opened my mind, eyes and heart and has brought an amazing network of strong and smart single parents into my life. I learn from them, I lean on them and I ask them for help. Help to be better. To keep going on this journey with a positive attitude and determination.
Life is what happens while we are busy making other plans. You have two ways to react. You can be bitter or better. One letter changes everything. One mindset changes everything. I am choosing better. Every day when I wake up I have one goal: to be better than I was yesterday.