“Try to go through life with as few regrets as possible.” This is something my dad told me a long time ago. I thought it was odd that he would say something like this to a relatively young child and of course chalked it up to “old parent stuff” that would never apply to me.
I don’t know how many regrets my dad has had over his 93 years on this earth. What I know for sure is he regretted retiring from his music teaching career too soon. While the day-to-day was sometimes a source of frustration, I know he loved the packed auditoriums for his concerts and the continual compliments of his musical prowess. He left his calling way too soon.
For the most part, I’m not a regret type of person. While I have had a few, I try not to bemoan my past mistakes or carry them with me on a daily basis. It’s a waste of time and energy. Though a few of them creep into my everyday life and remind me that my decision-making skills are a work in progress.
For example, I regret listening to my son’s pre-school teacher who told me to enroll him in public school at age 4. I think she just wanted to rid herself of a kid who potentially had AD/HD. I should’ve heeded my sister’s advice who said he was not emotionally ready.
I regret my decision to put him in special education after said diagnosis as he continues to struggle with his college classes. I should’ve listened to my instinct which told me he was a smart kid and just needed extra help.
I regret not listening to that voice who told me THREE times to go home when I decided to make a pit-stop prior to bringing my daughter to Girl Scouts. That decision resulted in a car accident that totaled my car, left me with multiple injuries, and my daughter with a traumatic emotional scar.
I regret not showing my mom my baby journal during the last days of her life when I had a perfect opportunity to do so as we spent time alone in the hospital.
I regret not staying with her during those days because I naively thought she still had a few months left to live.
I could go on and list a few others, but what would be the purpose? The fact is, it is done. I can’t go back and change anything. All I can do is learn the lessons and pay better attention to my decisions to ensure they are informed by a more trustworthy source. I’m about to do just that.
I have been writing my blog for over five years. I have hundreds of posts ranging from my parenting foibles to memories of my childhood to sharing opinions on current events. I’ve been blessed to receive many compliments and personal stories of relatability from my subscribers.
Many times, I was asked, “Jennifer, how do you do it? How do you work full time, raise two kids, take care of a home, write a blog, this, that, this, that, as a single mother?”
Well, one reason is that I’m a great multi-tasker. I’ve also had a lot of practice after nearly 13 years of being a single parent. But there’s really only one reason why I’ve been somewhat successful at it.
He’s the one who gets me through the everyday when I feel so overwhelmed, all I want to do is run away. He’s the one who miraculously works out the details of my complicated, multi-faceted life when I can’t figure out how to get from A to B. He’s the one who’s gotten me through financial struggles. He’s the one who comforted me when I lost my mom and now, when I have to cope with the deterioration of my dad’s memory due to Alzheimer’s disease.
It’s Him. It’s not me.
So, why am I sharing all of this with you? Simple. Statistics say that 50% of all first marriages end in divorce. It’s even higher for second marriages. There are a lot of single moms out there who, like me, are struggling.
They are under immense pressure from society to be the perfect parent. They spend hours on the Internet looking for answers, tricks, or tips to make their lives better. But, it’s not better. In fact, it’s worse. They still struggle. They still have no answers. They still need help. I want to help.
For me, it’s been God, not Google who has had the answers that help me stay sane and deal with the enormous responsibility of being a single parent, working full-time, and handling modern life’s nearly everyday hiccups and challenges. That’s how I get through the day.
That’s my message. Sharing this with other single moms is my calling; my purpose.
I know this because it won’t leave me. On a near-daily basis for the past year or so, I have been provoked to talk about my spiritual practices and all the good things (sometimes great!) they have brought me. My desire to help other single moms is the motivation. That’s what feeds my spirit.
So, why haven’t I done it? Fear. Plain ol’ fear. Fear of rejection, judgement, or simply the unknown has prevented me from sharing what I know in my heart will help other single moms.
Well guess what? Fear feeds regret. I don’t want to get to the end of my life, knowing that this calling has been put on me and I didn’t follow through because I didn’t want to lose subscribers, or friends, or whatever other ‘worldly recognition’ there may be.
2016 is a year of transformation for me – to step out of the old into the new. My plan is to approach this thoughtfully and deliberately so that my words have meaning and impact to you. I want you to benefit from the tough lessons I’ve learned and be able to apply this to your life, if you are so inclined.
In a nutshell, I want to help you have a better parenting journey and a better life that you likely didn’t know you could have.
In honor of my father who advised me to live a life with little regret, I’m taking this leap of faith. I’ve put it off for far too long. It’s time to step into who I really am with no regret. Hitting “Send” on this newsletter is about the scariest thing I’ve done since becoming a single mom. But if I want to live a life with few regrets, a life on and with purpose, then I have to do the scary things.
You’ve heard the saying on the lotto commercials – “You can’t win if you don’t play.” Well, I’m playing and I know there will be many winners because of it.
I hope you will come along for the ride. It may be bumpy at times; my words may not always be eloquent or inspiring but know that that is my intention. I welcome your feedback and would love to hear from you about your particular challenges and how I might help.
I thank you for your continued support as a subscriber. Whether or not you choose to stay, I will continue to pray for your well-being and continued abundance. May God bless you always.
Jen’s Gem: Trying something new is scary. Do it anyway.