All too often I hear myself thinking about how I never planned on being a single mom at the age of 32. I think about my failed marriage and dwell on the “what if’s.” My thoughts then shift to my most recent dating failures and how the dating scene is really a disappointment. By the time I knew it, I’d wasted several minutes (if not longer) on pointless thinking.
I have to snap back to reality and remember that I have a child who needs me … and quite honestly, I need her too.
Sometimes life passes us by so quickly that we forget to stop and smell the roses. Tomorrow is not promised, and I have vowed to enjoy every moment I have with my child and not to let my negative thoughts consume our time.
If you’re a single parent, I encourage you to take time to enjoy your kids. Do the things they want you to do. Just yesterday my daughter asked if I would jump with her on the trampoline after I finished my coffee. I have to be honest: That’s not why I was drinking coffee. But 10 minutes of being silly on that trampoline sure transported me back to my childhood.
My daughter has brought me to life, more than any date could. After all the time wasted on thinking about bad dates, dating again, etc., my happiness really and truly lies in bed with me every night, and wants me to enjoy the dirt and bugs in between my toes, just like she does.
So forget the negative perspectives that come with the phrase “single parent,” and focus your attention and time on living and enjoying your kids. Here is a list of some examples of free fun with kids that will also help you get in touch with your own inner kid.
Take a walk on the green side. When was the last time you walked in the grass with no shoes? I’m not talking about a quick walk in your front yard, but really letting your feet breathe and feeling the grass and the earth’s dirt engulf your foot. As adults we forget the magic we used to feel while playing in the grass. Grab a blanket and enjoy a picnic with your little one(s) on the grass. Chances are your eyes will eventually open up to all the other beautiful things that come with grass — flowers, butterflies, trees and fresh air.
Go on an adventure. The great thing about kids is that they can find adventure in anything, so join in the fun! Take a walk around your neighborhood and pretend to be detectives looking for clues. Pretend you are in another country, and try to speak a different language. Or make one up! You will enjoy the creativity that your child has, and there is no doubt you will want to join them.
Kick your feet up and enjoy a movie night. It’s quite easy for us to put a movie on and let our children watch alone while we finish cleaning dishes or doing work, but try cuddling up with your kid(s) and getting your fingers greasy with popcorn and pickles. Make it even more exciting by building a fort with pillows and blankets to watch the movie comfortably. A good fort, great movie and snacks galore … what a great escape with the great love(s) of your life!
Being a single parent is not as tragic as some people make it seem, or as we might feel at times. God has great plans for all of us, and while we might not understand all of His plans, they are plans to give us a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11 ESV). Learn from the tough times, but never stop living and enjoying life.
Your kids will not remember the things you bought them, but they will remember the time you spent with them and the memories you made together.