Hi guys! This is Ashley, writer and creator here at Single Mama Thrive.
How did I get here?
I started this blog a few months ago and I’m loving every second. In a former life I published a cooking blog. However, I had no idea what I was doing and taught myself everything from the tech side to the cooking to the (oh so hard) food photography. It never really took off the way I had hoped and when I was unexpectedly left by my husband, 9 weeks pregnant, I walked away from that hobby and never looked back.
But things in my life have settled down a bit since then and I started to itch for something creative in my life. I did some research this time, took an online course, and decided to start up another blog – enter, Single Mama Thrive. I have high hopes. I really want to connect with others and create community among my readers. While I’m writing from a perspective of a single mom, I know a lot of my material will relate to parents, or people, in general. I love single moms and their strength and will. I welcome everyone.
Don’t hide behind your blog
I was recently reading something about tips for new bloggers (I’m constantly trying to learn!) and read this tip: Don’t hide behind your blog. It immediately spoke to me because I never became personal on my old blog and have a tendency to be private when it comes to my blogging. The advice makes sense though. I can’t expect readers to engage with me if they don’t know me. So I’m making an effort to really open up and show more of myself here on Single Mama Thrive. Which, is why I’m starting these monthly reflection pieces. You can get to know me better and I hope readers will start to engage and communicate with me too!
So here it goes, my first monthly reflection here on Single Mama Thrive and …
January was ROUGH people, rough.
January starts with no heat and lots of vomit
A few days after ringing in the new year my heater broke. I was so gung-ho about starting a new year; having spent a lot of time reflecting and setting goals, I felt so optimistic about 2018. But when you’re home with a busted heater and can’t find anyone to come out to fix it for days … it has a way of messing with your optimism. Not to mention it broke right around the same time we got snow. So it’s freezing and I’m stuck inside with no heat. I finally find someone to come out and 30 minutes – 30 minutes! – after they leave (and I write them a bit whooping check) the heater breaks again. Long story short, I ask them not to cash my check because they provided no service, but they cash the f-ing check anyhow and I feel screwed out of money.
Now I’ve been stuck inside because the weather sucks. My heater is broken. My girl and I are surviving with sweaters and space heaters. What could make this even better? My daughter gets a 24 hour stomach bug and is vomiting all day. There’s nothing worse than trying to help a toddler handle vomit. I felt horrible watching her little body deal with whatever was wrecking havoc on her stomach. January keeps getting better …
Finally, after five days, I get heat back and to celebrate take my daughter to the mall. I figured she could run around indoors where it’s warm and we could get lunch. We hit a pizza joint and have cheese pizza and I have a cold pasta salad on the side. Not 30 minutes after leaving the mall I could tell my stomach was not happy with the food choice. Fast forward a few hours and I’m in the ravages of intense food poisoning. Daughter was in full vomit mode yesterday and now it’s my turn! I force myself to get to work the next day and feel like absolute shit. Ab-so-lute shit. But I made it and I keep telling myself … January will get better. 2018 will get better.
Word of the Year: Fierce
Speaking of better … In my optimism about what 2018 will bring, apparently after January, I decided on my word of the year – FIERCE. I love choosing a word to meditate and focus on throughout the year. It always centers my goals and provides a sort of “hub” to everything else I hope for the year. Anyone else choose a word of the year? Share in the comments!
It took me a while to decide on one word, but when I thought about everything I wanted to accomplish this year – mind, body, and soul – this word kept coming back to me. I want to love fiercely, including myself. I want to mother my daughter in the most whole-hearted and strongest way possible. I want her to be fierce and to love fiercely. I want to approach my work and my passions with clarity and self confidence. I want to be the best mother, friend, sister, daughter … person … I can be. I want to let go of regret and for that I know I will need to be fierce in fighting my own negative self talk. I can be brutal to myself and this year I want to fiercely love myself. I can’t be the role model I want to be for my daughter if I don’t first become fierce for myself. This year I want to continue to strengthen my own personal faith. Fiercely discovering what I believe and how I want to be in this world. I want to live with fire, finding beauty and awe in the small moments that make up most of our lives. I want to travel and make more memories with those I love. I want to explore and push myself to continue to learn and grow. Everyday I will remind myself – I am fierce. I can do this. I am worth it.
A very, very sick babe and the anxiety monster
2018 came in with a punch to the gut. I struggled a lot with my anxiety and felt knocked off the high I was riding into 2018. It was hard to be optimistic about the new year with so much stress. Then, the end of the month decided to force me into the ring for another round. My daughter got extremely ill with some type of virus and had a combination of a severe cold, ear infection, and pink eye. We spent 7 LONG days indoors fighting her sickness. Those days included a ton of anxiety for mommy, very high fevers, crying, fighting about medicine, figuring out new tricks and bribes to get the medicine down, cuddling, and finding new ways to entertain and occupy a sick toddler.
I go through bouts of bad anxiety, and this period was some of the worst I’ve had in years. I felt horrible about missing so much work and ran through all my sick days. I constantly worried she wouldn’t get better or that she would get sick again after recovering. I worried I would get sick. Anxiety can physically overwhelm you. I often found myself clutching my stomach without realizing it because I was trying to calm down my nerves and the accompanying nausea. As a single mom my anxiety has taken on new heights. I am it. Sometimes I am overwhelmed with the feeling of responsibility. I have no one to lean on. There is a certain feeling of security I had as a married person (although ultimately it was faulty security) that I no longer ever feel. This can be a harsh reality to accept. Even when I mentally reassure myself of my strength and ability to do it all on my own, there’s a anxiety monster lurking in the background. It creeps up and takes hold and no matter what I tell myself, I am still scared that something is going to just destroy the stability I’ve created on my own. It’s scary and overwhelming. And all I can do is fight it.
Hiking, sledding, and enjoying the little moments
Even after the rough start to 2018, I tried hard to enjoy the little moments that can make life beautiful. This included some fun playing in the snow with my daughter and a beautiful, very cold, hiking date. January was rough, but I have to remind myself how lucky I am just to be healthy and secure. I’m constantly pushing myself to focus on gratitude. It’s such a great way to fight against anxiety and depression. And as I close out this reflection I’m so grateful for:
- a beautiful, loving daughter that brings me SO Much Joy!
- a safe, comfortable home
- the ability to sit down at my computer and write this post
- anyone (and it may literally be just one person 🙂 reading here and giving me a chance
Here’s to a fabulous, fabulous February! Take care, Ashley
Want a beautiful ultimate bucket list journal to start crafting the life you desire? Subscribe to Single Mama Thrive and get a free PDF Ultimate Bucket List Journal delivered to your inbox.