Are you a single divorced parent? Then you know how full your schedule can be. You don't ever have enough time to complete the daily tasks, to answer all their questions, to solve the arguments that arise between your kids, and to be sure they get all their homework done. If you're anything like me, you will want to give up because you are so overwhelmed. Children don't understand overwhelm. They don't understand not having enough money.
They don't understand that you need advanced notice for their school project supplies. They don't understand that bunches of kids yelling and laughing can get on your nerves. They don't understand their arguing can drive you nuts. They don't know that not being able to discuss stresses with your ex is a burden. They don't see the full picture. But you do.
And it's the full picture that we want to talk about here, because it's that full picture that will help you to unfold the courage you'll need in order to persevere with your Great Parenting Plan. You have made a plan, haven't you? The Great Parenting Plan is where you are all dressed up, dabbing the tears from your eyes, watching your child walk down the aisle at his graduation. It could be a high school graduation or a college graduation. That all depends on your plan. You want to take yourself in thought out to that point in the future where your child graduates and begins to move off into his own life, fully self-sufficient and capable.
The idea is to get him to that point from where you are right now and where he or she is right now. Working backwards from that moment in the plan, but always keeping that in the forefront of your thinking, will help you get through those challenging moments that create overwhelm, those moments when you might not even want to be a mom or dad anymore. But you just can't quit being their parent, can you. Your kids are here and they deserve your best. It is your golden opportunity to summon up all of your resources and give it one heck of a go.
It takes courage to persevere with the Great Parenting Plan, and it takes thinking problems and challenges through thoroughly to unfold that courage. One of the nicest aspects of parenting is that the things you need to do the job are all built in. Yep.
You had them when you were born. You've been building them while you lived your own life. This parenting task is like getting a Ph. D.
in strengthening virtues! What happens is that your kids provide some test for you - they test your patience, or your courage, or your ability to love. And you have the option to say "Yes, I can" or "No, I can't." Sometimes when you really think that you can't, you still say I can and then you do. Have you ever noticed that in life, when you make a commitment, somehow in someway the fulfillment for that commitment seems to just happen. When I was a young parent, I needed a reliable car.
Car wasn't in the budget that month, but we needed that car. I made the commitment. I don't remember ever not making that payment easily.
Somehow, in someway, the fulfillment for that commitment seemed to happen. It will happen the same way with bringing up the courage to persevere. If you determine that, by gosh and by golly, you will persevere in doing the absolute best job you can to be their mom or dad, the courage that it takes in the moment (that'd be the moment when you're exhausted and they need a ride downtown) you will bring up the courage to set yourself aside and provide what they need from you. And you will do it over and over again. All of those moments will disappear the moment they stand before you in their cap and gown, ready to walk down the aisle in their graduation ceremony.
Oh, they'll have asked you "Mom, please, please, please, don't cry at my graduation" and you will really try. You'll really try. All the challenges that overwhelmed you as a single divorced parent will be gone. Only you will know of all the times when you set yourself aside to care for them, of all those hundreds of details you handled to be a good parent, and you won't be able to help those escaping tears.
They're tears of joy. I know.
Len Stauffenger's parents taught him life's simple wisdom. As a divorced dad, he wanted to share that simple wisdom with his girls. "Getting Over It: Wisdom for Divorced Parents," his book, is the solution. Len is an author, a Success Coach and an Attorney. You can purchase Len's book and it's accompanying workbook at http://www.wisdomfordivorcedparents.com