As an actress and single mom, I live for the quote, “Parenting without a sense of humor is like being an accountant who can’t do math!” And nowhere do we need to dig deeper for that sense of humor than by being a single parent. Parenting is a never ending cycle of: learn, grow, face plant, repeat! All of this becomes exponentially harder when you’re a single parent with no one to help shoulder the daily challenges, issues, financial fears and hardships of parenting.
I just took my 16 year old daughter Kaya to see the musical Dear Evan Hansen and the lyrics to one of the songs left us both sobbing, but from our separate perspectives:
It was a February day when your dad came by, before going away.
A U-Haul truck in the driveway….
Now it’s just me and my little guy, and the house feels so big, and I felt so small.
…That night, I tucked you into bed, I will never forget how you sat up and said
“Is there another truck coming to our driveway, a truck that will take mommy away?”…..
And I knew there would be moments that I’d miss,
and I knew there would be space I couldn’t fill
And I knew I’d come up short a billion different ways
And I did
And I do
And I will…….
Your mom’s not going anywhere,
You’re mom is staying right here,
No matter what, I’ll be here.
Sitting there, together, yet oceans apart, being triggered anew, navigating feelings between us that we’d never completely navigated. And we admitted to each other how totally alone we sometimes feel. Well, um, we’re not alone in feeling alone. Studies show that 1 in 5 Americans suffers from chronic loneliness which leads to depression and health problems, all seemingly exacerbated by social media and its lack of social interaction and actual connectedness.
Earlier this year I joined the board and team of a new company called Circle4Parents, an online community of therapists and specialists providing expert coaching and real time solutions and tools on hundreds of specific parenting issues. This is all live via Zoom and it’s like having access to your own All-Star team of advisers! What I love is that it helps parents understand we are not alone. There are other parents going through the same issues and ordeals. If we as parents create healthier, more emotionally balanced versions of ourselves, we can bring that well-being and communication to our families.
Most importantly, we need to find a way to be more compassionate and forgiving of ourselves. It’s ok to get it wrong. It’s ok to make it up as we go, because so is everyone else! Help and hope are reciprocal. Reach out to give it and you will receive it. There’s no parenting map, and if there is, I have clearly misplaced mine (not surprisingly, since I feel I’m losing my mind daily!).
Being a single mom of a teenage daughter is a demanding mistress! I’m just orbiting her world right now… the hormones, the anxiety, the drama… And I’m just talking about me– don’t even get me started on her! The two of us recently launched a series called “ParenTeen” on the Eva LaRue Channel on YouTube. It’s been a comedic, cathartic and educational way to look at some of the ridiculous communication struggles we’ve been treading in the last couple of years. Take a peek– at the very least it will be a quick, funny laugh at parenthood. You definitely won’t feel alone.