So, the topic that came to mind for me today was how the lifestyle of single parents can sometimes alter the perception of being able to follow passions. As a disclaimer, I know that it can be difficult to follow passions regardless of your parenting status, but as a single parent, I also believe that the task becomes a bit more daunting when trying to balance personal life, family, and everything else solo. I know many people may find this topic of single parenting a bit overextended, exaggerated, and emphasized a bit much, but it’s personal for me and this is my blog (smile), so I definitely wanted to speak on it. I’ve been blessed to be able to push through many of the hurdles that have appeared as a single parent.
I’m not as familiar with many single parents that are male, so forgive me for not being able to speak more expertly on them. However, I’ve heard too often from single mothers that they can’t achieve some of their goals or follow their dreams/passions because of being a single parent. What?! Here’s a little tough love. That’s some bull! Flat out (as Willie Moore, Jr. would say)! Your excuses are just that; EXCUSES. They hinder you from believing that your passions can be lived out loud. Just like anything else in life, if you put your mind to it, the effort to follow your goals or passion become less mentally draining.
I was twenty-seven when I gave birth to my daughter and began single parenthood. By then, I’d earned my bachelor’s degree, was still employed full-time, but I knew I needed to continue my education to 1) make myself more marketable in the workforce and 2) be able to provide for my daughter with less financial stress. I went on and started the online MBA program with Webster University. I didn’t let the fact that I didn’t have adequate childcare to watch my child during school keep me from pursuing the one thing I knew would brighten both me and my daughter’s future. I didn’t worry with how I would pay for it (frowning at my student loans-but grateful). I took an alternate route to best align with my parental options. It wasn’t my first choice, but I had no other choice. I’d either get my MBA or I wouldn’t. It took me about three to four years before I obtained my graduate degree, but it happened. I’d opened the door for more positive thinking and perception of achieving my goal.
Following my passion of writing was no different from the goal of getting my MBA. By the time my daughter had been born, my urge to publish my first novel had grown tremendously. Yes, I had days where I doubted my success in that, but I never used my single parenting as a hindrance to doing that. I wrote at night when my daughter slept. I reviewed and re-wrote my writings on lunch breaks and in between various activities throughout my day. I worked around what I was responsible for to ensure I followed through with what made me the happiest (outside of being a mother to a beautiful little girl). My MBA gave me a better foundation for carrying out my own business as relates to self-publishing my first novel and starting my own publishing company. Not once did I think either wasn’t an option because I was a single parent. There just wasn’t an excuse. Yes, publishing my book or earning my MBA may have taken longer than if I wasn’t a single parent.
Sure being a single parent has its drawbacks. Maybe the single income can be restricting. Maybe having to be everywhere and no where by yourself can be straining. Maybe not receiving any other parental support eliminates the route you wanted to take. Take another route. Realize that the time it will take to get there may be a little off schedule, but usually right on time.
In an another post, I mentioned finding balance and being realistic about following your passion. This also applies to being a single parent and trying to follow your passion. You can do it. It can be done. And once you complete one goal or take the first step in following your passion, the disbelief in it and all the others dreams and aspirations you have no longer seem impossible.
To all my single parents, keep making it happen. Keep striving to keep your families stable. But don’t forget to make your passions happen as well. Remember, no excuses. FLAT OUT!