Single Mom Nation is where single mothers of all experiences, women seeking divorce, ending a relationship, deploying with the military or supporting a deployed parent, who feel alone in a marriage or partnership, who are considering parenting and relationship options or some other circumstance that lifts them up as the primary person raising a child.
I was huddled over a near-flat tire, fumbling with an ancient air hose at a rather scary Speedway gas station in the middle of Strip Mall, Indiana yesterday afternoon. My pants were leather, my heels were high, my blouse was sophisticated, my rose gold hair and hot pink lipstick were somehow still perfectly in place.
But my hands? They were covered in grease, dirt, and God only know what else lives in the underbelly of family SUVs.
All I needed to do was refill the tire, slip into some yoga pants and boots, and turn left on to the interstate home. That's not what happened.
Instead, after a lovely but immeasurably long weekend celebrating my grandmother's 99th birthday (and this fierce lady is not slowing down!) with my parents and kids and cousins and a giant Costco cake I sliced for 30 people with a butter knife, the air nozzle kissed the tire valve, which snapped it off, hurled it toward my face and sprayed every bit of remaining air from the tire into the ether. The tire was totally out of commission.
Outfit – amazing. Hands – dirty. Tire and energy and outlook – immediately deflated.
I felt the stress rise up.
"What do I do?! What do I do?," I called out to no one, as a flash of my family spending the night in the car by the fluorescent light of the Speedway overwhelmed my brain.
"You're going to call AAA," my dad said calmly. He was standing over my shoulder, peeking to see what was holding up our caravan home.
Right, right. I could do that. I could call for help.
And so I pulled out my roadside assistance membership card, dialed the number, explained the crap situation, and accepted the wait time until Joey from Joey's Auto Service would pull up and save my ass (and tire). Then I dug the spare tire out from under four suitcases, a haul of reusable bags, and enough American Doll clothing to dress all of our children's lovies, and changed into my comfy clothes.
I was more prepared than I realized in the oh, shit moment as my tire valve flipped me off.
I pay my annual membership dues faithfully (a few days ago, in fact) just for times like that, so that I have the resources and sense of safety I need, and so that I don't have manage kids, parents, and lack of Starbucks on my own AND change a tire, too.
My dad was there to remind me of that, and I know I would have eventually found space in my stress brain to recall that it'd all be OK.
And it was all OK. Repair guy Joey gave me a stern warning about only driving 50 mph on the spare for the entire 150 miles home. There are times that would have added to my stress.
Once we hit the road (slowly), I lost track of my parents' car almost immediately. Most trips, that would have irritated the hell out of me.
Thank goodness, the deep-sigh reminder that I was well prepared was still coursing through me, because I shrugged it all off. I would just drive 50 mph (OK, 58, but I did not want to be plowed over by every semi and self-righteous fast-driver), rely on my GPS instead of my dad's directions, and we would get home when we got home.
We did get home. Just in time for dinner (and glass of red for me), laundry and a solid night's sleep. We made it, in part because I was prepared, and in part because I told myself I could either cry or I could just drive (both at the same time is obviously an option for skilled multi-taskers).
I know you've had your fair share of those crappy moments yourself when all your plans go sideways and you're left clutching a collapsed tire or barfing kid or soaking wet cell phone. What you really want to do is lose your ever-loving mind, scream all the swears, and run as fast your pointy-toe kitten heels will take you.
Instead, you let in just enough oxygen so you can remember you've got skills, resources, experience, and even a few membership cards.
Because AAA or red wine or even our dads can't save us from every mishap, and because it feels so freaking amazing to prepare for good stuff – adventures! travel! changing jobs! making all the money! snuggling into love! creating a safe, beautiful, bright home! – I made something to help all of us single moms move through the crap and the crazy and the celebrations with deep breaths and creativity.
I created IGNITE, a creative course just for single moms like you, to help explore, think through, doodle, and list how we can navigate nine critical areas in our lives:
As an IGNITE member, you will receive: * one email each day for a month with * words of encouragement as well as creative * and thought exercises that you can whip out in five little minutes or linger on longer (your call).
You will also have direct access to me to: * share your insights and inspiration, * ask questions, * and get coaching if you're stuck or want more out of the course.
I am pretty sure that feeling prepared is worth 63 cents a day and a few minutes of quiet self-care time.
You are going to love IGNITE, not only for each moment when it arrives in your inbox, but also in days, weeks, and (oh, yes) long, long time to come when your reaction to the unexpected is the sweet smile of knowing you're completely prepared handle it all. Even if it is at a super-slow speed. Especially in your highest heels.
IGNITE is available right now, just for you and for the many other amazing single mamas you know who you'd love to gift this to as a kickass New Year present. Start today, thank your badass self all year long.
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Did we miss your favorite episode? Let us know in the comments what it is! We’d love to hear why you replay that bad-girl so often.