For most of your life as a parent, you expect to provide nurturing, support, and encouragement to your children. Often, you’re able to draw motivation from a desire to provide for your children and offer them every advantage in life.
This desire—and fear of falling short of it—grows only stronger for single parents. But while we may face more challenges as single parents, the same rewards are still possible, made greater by the feat of the achievement. If you’re operating as an owner of an interior design firm and as a single parent, you may feel daunted by the tasks in front of you. We’re here to tell you it’s possible.
And while you may not yet be able to envision yourself as composed and collected at the head of a major design firm, you should also know that, with the right breaks and a steadfast work ethic, you may not always be juggling myriad and never-ending responsibilities. You may find yourself having achieved more than you ever thought possible—and having passed along many of those lessons to your children during that process.
At this point, you may get to experience one of the most remarkable joys of parenthood: Your children expressing praise, gratitude, and a deep sense of pride for your achievements. Surely, your first reaction will be to wonder how your young children, so dependent on your provisions, have grown up to become fully functional adults.
But your second reaction will likely be this: That, in one flooding moment, you’ll realize it was all worth it. All of your long hours and frantic schedules have paid off, but not in their more obvious ways. The constant to-and-fro from one activity to the next for your young children taught them more through your effort to help them live a childhood full of experience than the particular skills obtained in any one task, be it piano lessons or soccer practice.
In fact, most of what your children will learn, in their independence and reverence for you as a parent, is due to your effort. As a single parent, some of that effort may have stemmed from early fears that, in a motherless or fatherless household, your children would irrevocably fall short in some capacity. But your relentless pursuit of professional opportunities for yourself and personal opportunities for your children can teach a powerful lesson—to them now, to you later.
Before this moment arrives, you may find yourself mired in the struggle. This can be true even if you’ve moved out of the most turbulent times. You may stay stuck in the past, lamenting your divorce and how it may have negatively affected the life of your children. But, to finally lift yourself from this place, you need to forego any sense of self-pity. Leaving those moments and challenges as past requires working in the present to actively build your future.
This message can resonate powerfully with young girls in a single-mother household. What stronger example is there of female perseverance, of the ability to break any cultural boundaries or ceilings on the achievement of women?
Even when your efforts haven’t translated into financial bounty, that doesn’t mean you haven’t achieved success. Success for your children can be spending time playing catch or teaching them to ride a bicycle. It can be a weekend hike through the woods or quiet afternoon at a nearby lake. These joys are not the five-figure offerings of a week at Disney World or a European tour, but they don’t need to be either. It’s a chance for your children to understand that so many things are more important than the material gains in life.
Through it all, few things are as helpful as a strong extended family. Having access to a family network may mean getting a break when you desperately need it or a quick loan when things get really tight. It can also provide structure amid the chaos that occasionally appears during the years of single-parent child rearing.
Many times, divorce is a choice to take a risk, a choice to avoid a financially safer but unhappy future in favor of striking it out on your own, accepting the added challenges but knowing the rewards will be there, too. And while, during those most difficult and hectic times, we almost certainly fail to notice the watching eyes of our children, we will find out later that they were paying attention all along.
Debbe Daley is the designer of choice for residential and commercial interior design in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and coastal Maine. Learn more about Debbe in the following, The Huffington Post, The Lowell Sun and WCAP - 980 AM Lowell, MA.