Single Moms: Ditch The Disney Land Guilt
Scrolling through Facebook and Instagram feeds, there's a high chance you'll see family photos with children grinning, their hands full of goodies and parents posing with Mickey Mouse ears on.
You might run into a friend from your child’s daycare, complaining how difficult it is to get the beach sand out of their car after a busy 4 day trip to California.
Your children might come home, gushing about a pricey summer camp their friends are signed up for.
It's very, very easy to let guilt hit you hard. If you're a single mom and still getting on your feet financially, trips to Disney Land, expensive summer camps and jet-setting across the country isn't feasible (at least not yet!). You just want the best for your kids and you feel like they're being denied experiences because of your single mom status.
You can let that guilt go and I'll tell you why.
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1. Quality time is called quality time for a reason. While you might not be taking lavish trips, the quality of time you spend with your children will easily trump those expensive vacations and gifts anyway. Yes, those trips can be quite a thrill and make some awesome memories but guess what? So can a seemingly regular moment too if you're truly bonding and having fun together. For example, when I was a preteen, my family would load up in our van and take trips to different Walmart’s outside of our city. We'd sometimes drive as far out at 3 hours, just to go roam a different store and pick up Wendy's afterward. The "road trips" were always a blast and I have fond memories of these moments, singing out loud to a new CD my parents would pick out. It wasn't where or what we were doing, but the laughs I had with my family, the time my parents devoted to us, and the closeness I felt.
2. Fun doesn't always equal money. The amount of money you spend isn't proportionate to how much fun you or your children will have. You can spend $1000 bucks on a huge party and everything can still go wrong, turn out to be 95% stress and ultimately suck. Don't think you can't have fun doing something free or cost friendly. Take a look around your city and see what events are going on, when they're having specials, or get creative and find something to do for free, especially during holiday seasons. Lots of organizations and places put on family friendly and free or low cost events for their communities. You can just as easily create great memories at a $5 pumpkin patch as you can at a $500 resort.
3. The Insta worthy photo might not be all that it looks. The old saying goes “the grass isn't always greener on the other side”, so you just never know what people are hiding behind their social media. Now, that's not to say you should relish in the thought that a family is smiling in Facebook pictures but falling apart in real life. I would never want or wish that for anybody to make myself feel better and neither should you! Every time I post a picture of me and my son I certainly wouldn't want people trying to take away that moment by pointing out negativity. The point is you shouldn't be worried about someone else's metaphorical lawn in the first place. Whether "their grass is green" or not isn't relevant. You can't water your own grass is you're focused on someone else’s. Instead of fixating on someone else’s life, laser focus on creating your own awesome moments with your family.
4. Your Mom Lens perspective is rarely how your kids see it. There's this adorable YouTube video following the day in the life of a mom. It starts off showing the mom’s hectic day, waking up early to her little’s ones call, spilling cake, frazzled grocery shopping, etc. Then it gives the child's perspective, which is completely different from the moms. The child recalled her early morning snuggles, racing to the car in the grocery cart, licking cake off her fingers with mom in the kitchen after the cake fell. It's a great reminder that where we feel we're failing, our kiddos are often filled with awe and adoration at our commitment to them. They might not be able to express it yet (or if they're older it might feel like they don't like you at all sometimes!) but they know how much you love them, and they love you for it.
5. This won't always be your reality. Or it doesn't have to be if you don't want it to. I'm a firm believer that we can design the life we want for ourselves and our children. Start planning now for the life you want today. Find ways to raise your income, look into changing into a career and gaining more education, start saving and stick to a budget and most important, reframe your thoughts to match the life you want. If you believe you'll never be able to take your kids to Disneyland, then that will be your truth, so decide to believe otherwise.