That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet. Emily Dickinson
New Year. New Opportunities. New Start. In single parent and stepfamily life, the new year is an important time for us.
But I think we arrive at it differently than other kinds of families.
For instance, the holidays for our families have the additional stress of transitions with children, perhaps issues with the ex, and the feelings of loneliness that may come with being without your children for part of the holiday or overwhelmed by all the kids/stepkids. All of these are manageable issues, and you can learn to work through these issues for better holidays in the future.
But what doesn’t go away is that I can’t seem to catch my breath about the New Year until the kids are all back in school, even now that our children are in highschool and college.
Anybody else know what I mean???? Once normalcy has returned to our schedule, then I have the time to really think about the old and the new… and our hopes and dreams for the coming year.
So while you’ve been receiving Happy New Year’s for the past 10 days, allow me to chime mine in on January 10th!
This time of year is also strange for while there are many who feel good about the coming year, there are always those who have questions and concerns about what this year holds for us. And who are still having trouble dealing with last year’s stuff.
Remember the quote above?
I love the quote above because it was sent to me more than a decade ago during the early years of our stepfamily life, and we were having a tough time.
My first reaction to the quote frankly was… frustration and sadness. “Great, it will never come again, and it’s not good. I’ve missed the chance to make it good. I will never get to do this time over again.”
But then, I realized that it didn’t say it was sweet because it was good. It was sweet because this was the only time for this time.
My thought changed again: “If it won’t come again, I better make it as good as I can- even though I’m struggling. I better make it as good for my children as I can- even though they are struggling. How can I make it sweet?”
The first part of creating a good new year’s feeling is to just realize that you are doing what you need to be doing – taking each day as it comes.
The second part of finding the sweet life is getting clear on what you need to help you during this year. Over the course of the past 16 years since I divorced, 3 years I was a single parent, and 13 years (coming up in Feb) of being in a stepfamily, I have learned that the most important thing I can do to help myself and my family is to get all the support I need. To be intentional about creating a specific support system.
After all, single parenting is not supposed to mean “alone” parenting. And stepfamily life is more complex.
Our families require more than just a few friends, your mom, and a therapist.
If it is okay with you, I would like to suggest that your first goal of this new year is to intentionally create the support you need, so you can create the life you want, love your kids, and embrace the year with whatever comes your way.
How the heck do you do that? I can guide you each step of the way, really.
But you’ve already taken the first step with your intention, your understanding of the need for support, and staying in touch with us at The Bridge Across. While creating support takes a little time and intention, it will help to guarantee that you can conquer 2014.
Stay tuned for the first kind of support you want to focus on… Friends and Family. It’s not just about having them. It’s about knowing the kind of support you need from them.
Happy New Year to you, and here’s to the sweeter life that can be yours with the right support.