Being a single mom is super tough, and this I’ve known my whole life watching my mom be solely responsible for everything in our household while I was growing up with absolutely no safety net to catch her if she missed a step.  As a result, being a single parent was not at all what I wanted for myself, and yet it’s exactly what I’ve had to face since my own divorce over a decade ago.

Just managing your own life is hard enough– juggling work, finances, household responsibilities, medical care, family obligations, finding time to travel, exercise or just catch up with friends when you are single is already a challenge, and on top of that the past 15 years I have also had to oversee all those things for a child, who looks to me for all his needs.  To be honest, it’s been a tremendous load to bear, and incredibly scary and lonely at times.

Having to face the fear of being a single mom has been the biggest challenge of my life.  Why?  Well because when facing any medical scare or risk of financial hardship, I was always painfully aware that I was not the only one that would be impacted.   But thanks to the examples created by my mother and grandmother, who were both single moms themselves, I did not allow myself to implode.  Rather, I came to accept that I come from a long line of strong and independent women, who honestly don’t suffer fools well.

And so it is that for over a decade I have just moved forward each day trying to keep my eyes on the prize- to help this child launch into adulthood.  Along the way, he has taught me so much about life, family ties, and most importantly unconditional love.  He awakened a self-less, patient and understanding side of myself that I never would have seen without becoming a mother, and so ironically I have come to accept that despite how crazy his dad can make me sometimes, if it were not for that man I would never have become the woman I am today.

But since there isn’t anyone else that is going to shower me with gifts on this day (or any other day really), if there is one thing I really want to emphasize to all single moms out there, it is this: you cannot take care of others without taking care of yourself.  This is the reason the airplanes always tell you to put on your air mask first before taking care of your child!  So make sure that you do not sell yourself short of some much needed “me time.”  Treat yourself to a pedicure or massage, take that hour to go to a yoga class or a 30 minute walk or bike ride, get yourself some flowers or make a reservation to your favorite restaurant, maybe even do all of the above.  You know we can’t count on our exs, which means we have to take matters into our own hands and acknowledge for ourselves what a great job we are doing all on our own.

Wishing you all a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend, but especially to my mother, and my grandmother.  For three generations in my family we have raised children on our own with no real safety net and only a simple faith that the universe will help us achieve our goals without the need to compromise in our beliefs or values. It can definitely be done, just believe in yourself and make sure you take care of yourself.

By Regina A. DeMeo