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How I Balance Single Motherhood, Entrepreneurship and Mental Illness

MIchelle is a single mom, entrepreneur, daycare caregiver, and teacher. Juggling her daily tasks hasn't been easy but not impossible.

balancing-single-motherhood-homeschooling-and-entrepreneurship-is-like-crawling-through-mud-while-its-raining

I am not alone

As a single mom, I have felt alone more times than I can tell you but this is an illusion. I am never truly alone.

You might be thinking, "I am! I have no friends or family I can turn to." That might be true but in this day of technology, there are support groups out there and people you can connect with to get that support. Some of my own support comes from my friends on my Instagram page who remind me that I am a badass mom and as long as I am doing my best, that's all that matters.

One app I have come across is called Lyf - it has been very beneficial in my time of need. It is a platform specifically dedicated to sharing your stories and connecting with like-minded people who have similar stories. You can talk about anything from your favourite birthday to your suicidal tendencies. Nothing is off-limits and there is always someone there to show support.

If there are times where you are physically alone, look inside of yourself and connect with your soul and your God. The universe will always have your back.

Do your best and let go of the rest

When the schools closed and I had to homeschool, it threw me up for a loop! Then when they introduced all day online learning with the teacher, I thought it would be better but my kids were suffering. Now, I've taken them off online learning all day and only get them to do the work in Google Classroom. Again, I thought it would be easier but no matter how you put it, homeschooling is not easy because at the end of the day I am not a teacher and teaching over a screen is not the same at all as in-person.

It is stressful, to say the least, to want your child to succeed and thrive but have them forced to learn in a way that hinders their learning while you try to get your job done.

So what do you do when you are forced to work AND homeschool due to a pandemic?

You do your best and let go of the rest! There is NOTHING in this world worth your insanity. Nothing is worth the suffering of your mental health. You are human and humans have limits to what they can do no matter how much pressure schooling systems and bosses put on you. You are not a failure for not being able to do it all. You are not meant to and anyone that expects this of you should be reminded that health comes first.

Period.

Be honest with your kids

Kids are not dumb and they deserve the truth. When you hide the truth and put on this mask pretending that you are not stressed and can do it all, you're teaching them that they should be able to do the same. They don't realize that you're lying about your limits and emotional rollercoaster. This is dangerous because they try to do the same, they will inevitably fail which will trigger negative thoughts and potentially lead to mental illness. Then, they'll be the ones lying to themselves and to the world.

How do I survive it all with kids? I set boundaries. I make time for myself. I say no. When I am really down and find myself snapping and getting irritable, I communicate with them about my stress and my effort to cope with everything that is happening. I ask for their help since they are old enough to help me out. I communicate my need for alone time to recharge my energy levels.

It turns out, the kids understand better than we think and have more compassion towards our needs than we realize. When you show your kids that you are human and are not alive for the sole purpose of entertaining them, they get it! Not only do they get it but they actually put in the effort to make you feel better by giving you what you need, whether it's a hug or space.

Honesty is not always easy as a parent because you want your kids to know that you've got this and that you're strong but true strength comes in acknowledging that you are not a superhero and it's okay not to be okay. Your kids will carry this knowledge into adulthood and ultimately have a healthier relationship with stress.

This is how you break generational curses and breed a healthier generation.

Remember your why

When you're in the middle of the chaos, it's easy to forget why you started in the first place. It's easy to want to quit when things are hard. It's easy to want to walk away thinking that this is the solution to all of your problems. It's also normal to feel overwhelmed and urged to clear your plate of responsibilities.

I feel like this a lot. I get the urge to run away more than I would like to admit. But every time I did "run away", I would just end up overwhelmed doing something different. Unless what you are doing is seriously making you unhappy, the tasks are usually not the problem. You are.

It's hard to hear, isn't it? We will always have responsibilities. We will always have commitments. Our to-do list will always be present. Day in and day out.

What helps me stay focused is remembering why I started in the first place. For example, I started reselling a year and a half ago when I embarked on a healing journey. My small business was a reason to get up in the morning. It helped me gain confidence, independence, and new knowledge. It also brought in extra income. It's all too easy to forget when I'm struggling to make a sale during those weeks or facing a negative customer. I have thought about walking away so many times! When I find myself wanting to escape, I go inwards, to the beginning and remember, "Oh yeah! I started this business because I love clothes, I boost women's confidence, I make money, I gain confidence, it keeps me busy, it gives me a purpose, it helps me contribute to a healthier planet, and it pushes me to meet new people!" Memories come flooding back and I smile again because, at the core, my journey makes me happy more than it stresses me. I am also reminded that bad days are temporary.

On the other hand, if you bring yourself back to the beginning and your why doesn't bring you happiness, then maybe it's time for a change. Maybe your goals have changed. Maybe your chapter has come to an end and it's time for a new one. You're not meant to do the same thing until you die. Life is meant to be experienced. With that, change is inevitable.

Time is an illusion

"There is not enough time!"

That is a line I am trying to evict from my vocabulary but how can we do that?

We can change our mindset. We can choose which tasks have priority over other ones. We can make time to recharge. We can practice gratitude in the face of stressors. We can take a moment to breathe out the stress. Yes, it works!

Time is an illusion. On days that I find myself drowning in stress, time seems to go faster and my list doesn't get done. Why? You know the saying, "Time flies when you're having fun," well, this is also true for when you're stressing and worrying. You're spending so much energy stressing that your tasks don't get done and you don't even notice the time passing until it's too late. On days where I am more positive, manage my time, categorize my tasks and give them a proper allotted time, time seems to go slower even leaving me with extra time at the end of the day to relax.

Isn't that cool?

Choose your support system carefully

Having a good support system is crucial to your success!

Sure, you could do it alone but it's your support system that lifts you out of those dark wells when you can't climb out on your own. When I say success, I don't just refer to wealth but I also include your mental health, your beliefs, your confidence, your mindset, and your stress management.

The people you expose your mind to are the people that will help you on your journey called Life so make sure these entities are there to listen and to encourage you when you need it most. Make sure they unconditionally love you, genuinely want you to be happy, and would freely lend a hand as you would for them. Most importantly, make sure they emanate healthy energies that will help you heal as well and grow.

These people are your soul tribe.

Mental health days are a thing

Take a mental health day. That is not a suggestion, it's an order. In this fast-paced life, we often forget to slow down. It's hard to when your list never ends but it is vital to your mental health to dedicate a day to slowing down and refilling your battery. Just as your phone dies after continuous use, so does your soul!

When you can't afford a whole day, take five minutes. Go to the bathroom and take five minutes to breathe deeply. Look at yourself in the mirror and reconnect with yourself. Talk to yourself, motivate yourself, soother yourself, and trust yourself. I personally like retreating to the bathroom because it's the one place that people don't bother you! The ultimate room of privacy. If you're a parent, LOCK THE DOOR. Kids have no boundaries haha.

If you're the type to work and not take breaks, this will be hard. At first, you will have to be disciplined and force yourself to sit still. Once you experience the peace and pure joy of silencing your thoughts and motions, you will crave those moments and eventually see a difference in your everyday life.

You are not a superhero, but will a little TLC here and there, you can achieve just about anything<3

© 2021 Michelle Brady

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