This is a guest post from my friend Lauren Sweeney, a 27-year old single mom, marketing strategist, and blogger at Millennial.Mom. She lives in Connecticut with her daughter.
When I was newly pregnant, my now-toddler’s father bought me a book on the law of attraction. It wasn’t totally out of the blue — he and I were both newly interested in using the power of our thoughts to create the lives we want, which is exactly what the law of attraction. I knew that if I read those 1,000+ pages my life would be the better for it. What I didn’t realize: he and I would part ways sooner than later, and that volume would help me live my best life as a single mom.
We broke up when my daughter was about six months old, just over a year ago. I make more money than I did then. My daughter and I moved into a nicer house this winter. I have a ton of exciting, concrete plans for the next few months and beyond. Sure, there are things that could be better, but I feel more empowered to create the life I want.
5 keys to the laws of intention that single moms can use to manifest their goals:
Allowing There are two sides to this coin, both essential. The adage, “When people show you who they are, believe them,” is true. I didn’t waste my time or sanity trying to change my ex. He’s having the experiences he’s meant to have, and so am I.
Here’s the fun side of the coin: In allowing others to be who they are, we open up to new breakthroughs. My life is what it is now because the universe to bring me the opportunities I need to provide for myself and my daughter. In letting go of attachments to the answers I’m able to conceive of on my own, I allow amazing new opportunities.
For single moms, “allowing” means accepting that the family life we might have envisioned when we became a parent isn’t the reality. We can choose to make that a good thing. When you find yourself resisting the way things are, catch yourself in the act. Silence all of the “shoulds” and “if onlys” with a reminder that by releasing what doesn’t work, you open yourself, your kids, and even your ex up to new possibilities.
Possibility Speaking of possibilities … single moms are often sent the message that ours are limited. Many times, the prospect of self-sufficiency, a new home, a new job, whatever, seems so far out of reach we might be tempted to affix a prefix to the word “possible” (aka impossible!). When we resist the urge, and stay focused in the belief that anything and everything is possible, it is.
We’re all here to experience the joy of infinite possibility — yes, even those of us who have more responsibilities than your average mama bear. If we’re able to imagine a possibility, it is indeed a possibility. Of course, it’s much easier to imagine when we have “proof,” which is why I’ve found other women’s stories so helpful in my own journey as a single mom. For me, listening to other women’s stories helps me develop my own beliefs about what’s possible. There are some truly badass single moms out there. Listen to their stories and believe that yours could inspire other women, too.
Inner Peace Those big, possible dreams might come true today, tomorrow, a month from now, or a year from now. In the meantime, remember that you don’t have to wait for that moment to be happy. Happiness is for now. It’s not something that needs to be earned. I’m about as competitive as humans get, so I’m lucky I have a role model here. She’s about two feet tall, spills milk frequently, and isn’t waiting until tomorrow to be happy. As a single, working mom, I’m often tempted to put off happiness until after the laundry is folded, the emails are all responded to, and the pigs are all flying. A well-placed post-it reminder that says “happiness is for now“ works wonders.
There are more concrete ways to put this into action, too. You don’t have to wait to go after the promotion, write the book, start dating again, whatever it is. If there’s something you think would increase your happiness, go for it! Of course, remember that whatever it is isn’t bringing you happiness; it’s an expression of happiness that’s already yours.
There’s an exercise that really helps me get to “happy” on days when I’m running late and I just got bad news and it’s raining and my toddler keeps asking for milk then spilling it on the grey velvet living room sofa then immediately asking for more. THIS is what helps me through those days: I imagine a clock. Me and my negative thoughts start at 12 o’clock. To move to 1 o’clock, I pick a slightly better feeling thought, like “at least this day will be over eventually.” As I inch closer to 12 o’clock, thoughts get more positive. Maybe I even throw in a little gratitude for the milk my daughter spilled or for the daughter spilling it. By the time I get around the clock, I’m happier and I feel like that happiness is authentic.
Awe Miracles happen in all of our lives, every day. So much happened in just the right way to bring us to where we are now. We can barely perceive all of the magic going on around us, all of the time. This is why I love synchronicities. They’re like little breadcrumbs we find along the paths we’re on, letting us know our inner and outer worlds are connected.
Something happened a couple of weeks ago that illustrates this point so perfectly it freaks me out a little bit. Just before I moved into a new place a couple of years ago, I was talking with a shaman who told me my grandmother “visited” me as a cardinal. The whole time I lived there, there were always cardinals in my backyard. Sometimes, there were 3 or 4 at a time. Earlier this year, I moved to a new house and I stopped seeing cardinals so much. There are always robins, crows, hummingbirds, but not a lot of cardinals. At the end of April, my aunt died. Just after hearing the news, I saw a cardinal in my backyard.
The more you ask for and pay attention to signs, the more of them you’ll get. There’s a number I see when I’m on the right track. It’s absolutely insane how much it shows up some days, usually when I’m really feeling in alignment with my purpose. A couple of nights ago, driving home to Connecticut, I was thinking about the direction my life is taking and saw my “lucky numbers” twice, in quick succession. It bolstered my confidence in the decisions I’m making. For me, these signs are like a little wink from the universe letting me know I’m headed in the right direction.
Sometimes, the signs are more straightforward. Last weekend, I was out in New York with a big group. After dinner, I got into an uber with my cousin’s friend. Almost instantly, she and I discovered we do similar work. Now, we’re talking about working together. Sometimes, the universe communicates through plain old good luck.
Navigating my 20s with a toddler in tow and without a partner to confide in might be scary if I didn’t feel regular connection with source energy, which shows up in my life to remind me there is much, much more at work than what I can see. We can make the most of it by remaining open to all possibilities, holding onto the belief that the universe is always conspiring in our favor.
Appreciation There’s a reason Oprah has spent the last decade or so extolling the virtues of gratitude journals: they work. Appreciation brings about positive feelings and confirms that we are capable of attracting what we want, which inevitably attract more to appreciate. During the more difficult chapters of my life, the things I found to appreciate might now have seemed like much from the outside. The feeling matters more than the “things.” The power of the feeling is transformational.
When I broke up with my daughter’s father, I was afraid I’d lose our apartment. It was on the small side and the kitchen hadn’t been updated in forever, but to me it was everything. It was a symbol of my ability to provide for my daughter. I was grateful for that home every day I was able to keep a roof over our heads. I believe my appreciation for that home helped me attract the house we live in now, which is more than I could have dreamed of just a year ago.
A gratitude journal is likely to alter your course towards the best possible future, but the benefits begin as soon as you begin keeping one. Gratitude journals can elevate living situations, coparenting arrangements, careers, and parent-child relationships to their highest potential.
I’m delving into all of these topics in further detail on my new site, Millennial.Mom. If you have questions or you’d like to share your own perspective, get in touch with me. I’d like to use your feedback to make my future posts on these subjects as useful to other moms as possible.