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Lone Parenting in the Pandemic: Week 12. #Rest and #Unrest

Uncategorized Jun 07, 2020

 I have started this blog many times this week, and stopped because I do not have the words to adequately respond to the injustices and inequalities of our world. I know I do not understand the experiences of my Black and Brown sisters, I have far more to learn that I can possibly have to say.

I stand with you, in every way my heart can - and every way my business can support you, I will. 

To all wonderful Mothers of Colour, I know I do not have the words to speak for you, or indeed for any group of people other than mothers who are parenting alone.

So it is simply to mothers who are parenting alone today I am going to speak. 

To all mothers who are continuing to parent through this tumultuous time without school, childcare, a workplace, the community of friends or family you usually lean into, or any of the services or entertainments your family usually get to enjoy, I'd like to offer a hand to hold.

I want to speak to you if you are feeling overwhelmed, uncertain, afraid and lonely.

To speak to you who feels not enough, unsupported, unimportant and in grief. To all lone mothers of all ethnicities, with all our various experiences of what is happening in the world.

To each of you feeling grief or pain or sadness, I'd like to reach out to you and be with you, to see you in the personal ways that global events are affecting you and your family. 

So many feelings of grief, sadness, anger, fear and loss are triggered for us on a deep, intimate level when a family breaks down. 

These feelings we see expressed in our communities, on the news, among our peers, in our teens, our families, our friends... they are arising everywhere people feel the loss of love, of community, the loss of a sense of security, the loss of belonging. Loss, and denial.

Being denied these human needs hurts.

When world events amplify and intensify feelings that you are already intensely experiencing on a personal level it can feel impossible to know what to do next.

The combination of personal grief and feelings of loss-of-safety become tangled up with the community level grief and loss-of-safety. The rage and the sadness and the paralysis get mixed up with a driving energy for change that brings wiped-out-exhaustion hot on its heels. 

I see you in your grief, your anger, your overwhelm and your fear. 

We are all in our own way participating in the emergence of a whole new way of being. What is happening to your family as you move through divorce or separation is being mirrored in the world on a macro level.

Relationships are breaking down.

Agreements are being dissolved. Contracts are ending. Identities and communities are changing. We are ALL un-learning right now. There are no absolute answers to be found about what comes next. 

I don’t have a map and neither do you. 

In the stillness that stands between the ending of an old way of life and the building of a new one what I do know is that making space for the pause is not wasted time. 

In this still and quiet place, where you admit what you thought you knew about the world, about yourself and about other people is no longer true, but you don’t yet know what comes next, creativity and a space for integration of what is can take place.

Perhaps what is real right now is not what you want. Not personally, not globally. If you’re frightened or searching for a guide right now, or a purpose or a solution, try to slow down. Be still. Become quiet for a little while.

Stillness and quiet can be so hard to come by in a home with children and no other adults. I understand how hard it can be. I want you to know that it’s ok to accept peace and quiet when it comes. It’s ok to embrace rest and space when you do find that time for you. 

Even when you KNOW there is work to do. Even if you have jobs and responsibilities and demands coming out of your ears!

The work will not go away. Your capacity to do it relies on your willingness to work AND rest. To learn AND to integrate. To speak, AND to listen. To act AND to pause. 

Even if you know that you want to contribute something of worth to the world; even when you hunger to support the change out there. Especially when you know you have work to do to bring your own children and yourself to a place of security and safety right now

I promise you that if you take the time to do the work IN HERE, you will be bringing change. 

In here means internally in you, in your home, with your children. 

The work means deeply listening to your heart, un-learning any of the things that life-experience has taught you to hate about yourself, or fear about yourself, or hate or fear about other people. Educating yourself, educating your children, identifying what YOU value and building a life for your family that expresses those values authentically. 

When other people express their urgency and their needs - be that children you care for, your ex, your family, your community, all the way up to campaigners in the streets outside - listen, then pause, before you act.

Be aware if the needs of others consistently trigger you into an inner state of emergency. This is a trauma response, not a healthy one. When you consistently react to life from a state of emergency it will deplete you beyond your capacity to repair. 

You need strength, courage, persistence and faith to steward your family through tremendous changes. You need no less than this to participate in the tremendous changes required on a global scale. We are all stewards of our community right now, moving through deep and painful transformation. 

Be gentle on yourself and on other people, please. 

What you learn on a personal level as you move through your own family transformation will become skills you can eventually teach your children, knowledge you can bring to your communities, and resilience that both you and others can lean on at times of global change. 

None of us can transform our personal lives overnight, nor will the global transformation we are witnessing right now happen in a heartbeat.

We have work to do. 

So rest, please. 

Rest when rest is offered. 

Give yourself permission to be unavailable every now and again. 

Pacing ourselves is how we manage to bring about enormous change over time. Your contributions are worthy, and so are you.

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