Nerissa is a member of the Diary of a Single Mom bloggers network. Real women. Real Mothers. Real Life.
Recently, a friend called me seeking my advice about hiring a babysitter for her little girl. I quickly supported her desire for some free time to take for herself without the guilt of not giving her child 100% of her attention.
A babysitter, nanny, and maid, are on my list every year but just not in my budget. I don’t bother feeling guilty anymore about needing time to myself. I deserve it and require it to be the best mom, and I don’t make a big deal about finding the money or the quiet moments to breathe. Those quiet moments and the resources find me right on time.
I wish I could say I always thought this way, but I’ve cried too about feeling tired and cranky because all I wanted was to be able to get my nails done or as some other bloggers have noted afford to buy new underwear. But stacked up against the needs of my four children, underwear just wasn’t in my top ten needs for my household.
When I was married, it was a given that the children were with me. There were never any offers to “go spend some time with your girlfriends or get your hair done while I watch the children”. Any requests I made to do such were rebuffed. So upon my divorce, I didn’t expect to have those options. I just kept doing what I was doing all along -plan my work life and every other activity around the needs and schedule of my children.
Life always gives you what you expect and believe for. I knew there was more to be had than to be the lowest priority in my own life. I began to expect to have some free time and be able to afford my personal needs without having to sacrifice what the children needed.
Changing my expectations brought me more options and offers. As I raised my expectations to include some time to myself, friends began to offer to watch the children so I could have a Saturday afternoon to spend as I chose. I made a conscious effort to plan my budget and include one of my personal needs to the monthly shopping list. I’ve had moments when I play ping pong with the item putting it in the cart, taking it out and then putting it back again. Walk to the counter with it, take it all the way back, drive off without it and then go straight back to get it. It’s been a fight to include me in my life list, but it’s getting easier.
More and more it has become apparent that increasing my expectations and desires draws those offers to babysit, pedicure gift cards, ladies night out, even a date or two. Being willing to add myself to the shopping list brings me gifts that were only on that mental list in my head. Having a desire to embrace the love and generosity of others makes me as generous too.
The greatest expectation and reward has been the knowledge that I am not parenting alone. Above all others my Heavenly Father who has promised to be a Father to my children and a Husband to me is consistent about His commitment. More often than I care to admit, I go headlong into my plans and problem solving mode and begin to stress out before I remember to ask for God’s advice.
The minute I say I am worried about my son or one of my daughters, he is quick to remind Him that He promised to Father them and I can literally feel the load life. The fact that they all needed shoes and new clothing was panicking me but I know that is a piece of cake for Him. My requests never faze Him. In fact, He is so quick to respond I chastise myself for waiting so late and stressing before sharing my concerns and needs.
Everything in our life today is a result of a conscious or unconscious expectation. My desire is to keep believing and expecting that only good will come to me and those around me. As I wait expectantly, I give to others what I desire to receive in my own life and for my children.
Nerissa Golden is the mother of four amazing children and lives on the island of Montserrat. She is the author of Truly Caribbean Woman’s Guide to Good Love and The Making of a Caribbeanpreneur: Strategies for Overcoming Fear and Building Wealth. Find more of her writings at www.trulycaribbean.net.