I have so many feelings about being a single parent. It’s hard, deeply overwhelming at times, scary yet also extremely rewarding. I’ll admit that during the past year of adjusting to life after divorce, the hard stuff has felt, well, really damn hard.

One of the things I struggle with the most is the realization that I am totally on my own. There’s no one to tap if I don’t feel like doing the bath time routine. There’s no one to tap during a tantrum. There’s no one to tap during the morning let’s-get-out-the-door rush.

Don’t get me wrong, I am so very lucky to have incredible friends who do things like watch my daughter if I have to work late. I don’t generally feel alone but I feel very alone in the tough moments of parenting. I’m doing this on my own. It’s my responsibility to help my daughter work through her emotions. It’s my responsibility to get her up in the morning, dressed for school, to get lunches and breakfast made. If I don’t do certain things they simply will not happen.

That’s a lot to shoulder. Being a perfectionist I can be very hard on myself and feel like I should have all of this figured out and that it should feel easy. When it does feel challenging I sometimes have a hard time allowing myself to feel upset, or validating that yes, Michelle, being a single parent is actually difficult. I’ve been thinking a lot about this idea of leaning into my new-ish life. Something about complete acceptance of my situation sounds so very peaceful, and yet I find it difficult to do. But I know in my heart that lasting happiness comes from letting go and perhaps from leaning in and allowing myself to authentically feel whatever emotions I’m experiencing.

If I can lean into and validate myself when things feel tough as a single mom, maybe I’ll be able to work through the difficult emotions and ultimately let them go.