By Cynthia Walker Burton

This one’s for all the single moms out there. Whether you’re a single mom due to divorce, separation, the death of a spouse, or by choice, understand that THIS single mom supports, encourages, and admires you. Yes, I’ve walked a mile in your shoes. In fact, hundreds of miles! This is a judgment free article, ladies, and I applaud your energy, the boundless love you have for your child/children, your commitment and perseverance, your determination and courage. You wear many hats as a single mom: parent, teacher, counselor, financial planner, driver, provider, coach, cook, custodian, spiritual adviser, role model, doctor, pharmacist, optimist, travel agent, mentor, lifeguard, life guide, cheerleader, guide, consultant, therapist, hair stylist, interpreter, dietician, secretary, wardrobe wizard, banker, entertainer, enthusiast, and the list continues. I became a single mom when my daughter was 3. I filed for divorce and I never looked back. And that is a key factor to adapting successfully to a new, unwritten chapter in your book of life: you can’t change the past so embrace the future! The past is exactly where it should be – in the PAST. Yes, you will be both mommy and daddy innumerable times. You are the decision maker, you give the stamp of approval. You are the CEO and the buck stops with you. You may have to make many important, difficult, life changing decisions on your own. You can do it. There’s a reserve tank of mental and physical fuel that you’ll tap in to that’s super high octane to keep you going. You’ll discover inner strength, hidden skills and mom magic that you didn’t know previously existed. You’ll go through the proverbial “school of knocks” and graduate a scholar. You’ll fall sometimes but you’ll dust yourself off and get back up again. You may endure unfair criticism but you, my friend, will rise above it with grace. You will become a master of self preservation because you want to be there for your child, who is unequivocally the most important person in the whole world to you. Navigating life as a single mom is an adventure, an arduous journey, an opportunity to refine, redesign, and define yourself. It is not the end of the world but the beginning of an undiscovered one. There are books on how to cope but you’ll author your own book, and emerge with hope. In closing, I encourage single moms to shun the shame, get rid of guilt, dump the depression, and spare the sadness. You are worthy, you are capable, you are responsible, you are loved. God bless you.