This is Jen from grace, for single parents where your parenting and God’s grace collide. Welcome Kamini. I’m glad to have you on today to talk to us about self care and forgiveness and boundaries with single parents. And if you would just introduce yourself to the listeners.
Hi, thank you so much for having me. I am Kamini Wood. I am based out of North Carolina. I am a mom to five children. They range in age from six years old to 18. I have boys and girls and I am actually a certified life coach that works with women as well as teens on overcoming stress, anxiety, and overwhelm with trying to do all the things and do them all perfectly. So my job is to really help these individuals, realign who with, with whom they are authentically embrace their uniqueness and to give them tools to help them work with that stress, anxiety, and overwhelm.
And that’s definitely something that I know I can relate to when you say trying to do everything as a single parent. And definitely I know my listeners too, when it feels like you’re being both mom and dad to your kids and dropping them off at daycare at school, then coming home and taking care of the house and putting them to bed, helping them with schoolwork and doing everything. So if you can just take some time and tell us maybe what we could do to help us with that overwhelm. When, I mean, literally we, we don’t feel like we have in a, even probably 30 minutes to ourselves, especially when we have young kids and putting them to bed and they’re coming up constantly, and then we have to turn around and wake up early the next morning and do it all over again.
Yeah. So that overwhelm is it’s a real thing, you know, especially for single parents, because you are exactly to your point, you are, you are having to do the role of mom and dad all in one in one, you know? And so the one thing that I really do hone in on is this concept of self compassion and self forgiveness. What do I mean by that? Self-Compassion we tend to have so much compassion for our children, right? What they have are feeling upset or stressed out or sad where it’s very easy for us to go and tell them that it’s going to be okay, but we forget to do that for our own being. And so the concept of self compassion really does involve being forgiving of oneself, really learning to when things don’t go the way that we wanted them to go, or we feel like we dropped a ball, it’s slowing down and stopping ourselves from getting into that judgment mode, but rather recognize that we are just spiritual beings having a human experience.
And we are doing the best we can with the information that we have at any given moment. And so when things don’t go the way that we wanted them to go, it’s recognizing that we’re okay, our children are okay and we can take with us, whatever we didn’t go our way, we can slow it down and say, well, what did I learn? What can I do better next time and use that to move forward. And beyond that, it’s recognizing that we are part of this humankind. We’re not alone. There are people who have had similar experiences to us while nobody can actually have the same experiences as us because our thoughts become our reality. We can recognize that we are not isolated and recognize that we can reach out to, to our support system, figure out who we can trust, who can we get vulnerable with and share with them so that we’re not alone.
We don’t isolate ourselves because what happens when we isolate ourselves is we do end up in these places of self judgment. And we do end up in these cycles of negative thought and how things are not going to work out the way that we want them to. And instead, if we can get vulnerable and reach out to those who can help support us, we realize that we’re not alone and we’re going to be okay and looking to move forward. And then the third part of self compassion is really getting mindful and present because as single parents, there is so much to do, you know, there are so many boxes to check. There are so many tasks to get done. And what happens is we keep going down our task lists and we almost become robotic. And it’s a process and a practice of slowing down in a given moment and just taking in what’s happening presently, you know, when you’re with your child, taking a look at them and really taking in just, you know, almost using your five senses as an anchor, you know, what do I smell? What do I hear? You know, what, what taste is in my mouth, just really getting present in the moment so that you’re not just a robot going through the tasks of the day, but you’re actually living your life. And then of course this process of self forgiveness, which is, again, this concept of when things don’t go the way that you wanted them to recognize that you’re okay and you’re doing the best you can.
Yeah. And I mean, going back just a second to what you said about isolating yourself, I think that’s really big. It’s really easy to, to isolate yourself as a single parent, because you are so incredibly busy and you don’t feel like you have time to get out. And so it’s just, it’s easier to isolate yourself. You can tell yourself that very, very simply. And so you feel like, well, I don’t have time to go anywhere. And so you just tend to just go from, from the work school home, wake up, do it all over again. And then you find yourself just scrolling on, on social media in between the times when you do have a minute and then compare.
Yes. Yes. I was just going to say the social media, it’s like the biggest way to end up in comparison mode and judgment mode because we’re being, we’re seeing snippets of somebody else’s life. And it’s so easy to go down that rabbit hole of, Oh, look at them and look what they have. And, Oh, I’m, I’m either not good enough or I’m dropping the ball or, you know, just the list goes on. And you’re absolutely right. That it’s so easy to say, well, I don’t have time. I don’t have time to go out and see people. And it’s not even just going to see people. It’s just reaching out, just reaching out and saying, you know, and it’s getting in touch with yourself. It’s almost slowing it down to say, how am I feeling? And what do I need in this moment? And then figuring out a way to honor that.
How can we then move forward? Once we feel like that we’re starting to come out of a place of self isolation or we’re starting to feel a little bit better and we’re starting to feel like we can start to begin to work on ourselves and we’re, we’re ready to begin new relationships. What are our next steps?
Well, the first thing that I always say before starting a new relationship after coming out of an old one is really sort of give yourself that time to heal, recognize where you need to heal, what patterns and, and how did you show up in that relationship where it no longer served you so that you can make the choices as you enter these new relationships, how you want to show up as well as how you’re going to continue to honor yourself. You know, there’s an analogy that I use a lot of times. We’ve all heard the analogy of put your oxygen mask on first before helping others. I also use this analogy of like a coffee cup, right? Like you, you have to fill your cup up first before you can share with other people. And as single parents, I think that is so important to make sure that we are taking care of ourselves, recognize it’s not selfish.
And when we are ready, we don’t have to rush into anything. We can give ourselves the grace and the space to honor ourselves and to make sure that we are continuing to to take care of our needs. So it’s so easy, especially as moms, like I know this personally as a mom, it is so easy to get caught up in. I have to take care of my child’s needs before my own. And I have to recognize that when I’m empty, I don’t have anything left to give. And so, as we are entering into this new stage of, okay, I think I’m ready. Part of, one of the tools that I give my clients a lot is to journal. And some people don’t really like to journal, but it’s almost like a list and each night go through and figure out what are the things I’m grateful for, but also not just gratitude, not just a gratitude journal, but it’s also a, what were my victories today? Like three to five things that I did really well or that I sort of one at. And then three to five things that I forgive myself for because this concept of self forgiveness, and when we can really get into that practice, it actually allows us to continue moving forward. Because what ends up happening when we don’t have a practice of self forgiveness is the moment something doesn’t go our way we shut down again.
Yeah. That’s a really good idea because I think we say that and we hear it once and then we might try it once we might think at once, but then, then we forget.
Yes, yes. And that’s what they say, right. Is that you have to, you have to, you have to do things for a certain amount of time. And now granted I’ve heard do it for 14 days, do it for 21 days, do it for 30 days. Truthfully it’s do it for a period of time comes something you almost look forward to, it becomes part of your routine become part of your routine. That’s when you know that subconsciously you’re starting to do it as well. But what happens is we try it once or we try it for a week and we’re like, okay. Yeah, I forgot. That’s where actually the test of self forgiveness comes in where it’s like, Oh, I forgot, but that’s okay. I’m going to start again. And I’m going to get on the bandwagon again and I’m gonna keep doing this. And I’m gonna, I’m going to do it until it becomes a pattern and it becomes second nature.
So that when something doesn’t go our way, we don’t automatically go into this. I’m a terrible mother, or I dropped the ball again. And instead it’s a thought process of, Ooh, that didn’t go the way I wanted it to go. What did I learn? You know? And especially at raising teens, I think we’re constantly in this need to practice forgiveness because there’s so many times where you have, you’ll give your child advice or they do something and you take it on as though as a reflection of yourself and you have to recognize, Oh no, they’re their own men. And they have to experience certain things. And you just, at that point, you almost have to learn to be that support system. And it’s no longer your responsibility. You know, you learn that concept of, it’s not my responsibility to make them happy rather to contribute to their happiness.
Yeah. Yeah. That’s tough.
It’s very tough. It’s not an easy task, but we can learn it
And children don’t let you down easy either.
No, no, they’re very, they’re very harsh with their feelings. Very true. Very true. I tell myself routinely they will make you humble in an instant.
Okay. So shifting gears a little bit if we talk about boundaries, what do you see about what we can learn about boundaries? So for single parents, not just getting into new relationships, but I also see it with single parents with trying to please our own children. And some of that comes from guilt, getting out of old relationships or just, we also often have guilt from just being a single parent. And, you know, we don’t see our children all of the time. So there there’s a lot of guilt that we carry from that. And I think we also fall into traps of the people pleasing. And so we, we cut tend to have trouble with our boundaries, whether that’s subconsciously or not. I feel like,
Yeah. And you know, boundaries are, they, I think across the board are so difficult to manage, especially if you’re a people pleaser, but then you add on the fact that now you’re a single parent and you feel like there’s somehow you’ve let your children down. And it’s remembering that saying no is okay. It can be a beautiful word, because again, this goes back to when we don’t set boundaries, we now end up depleting ourselves. And then when we’re so depleted and we don’t, we don’t have those boundaries in place, there’s we end up running on empty and then we’re almost left with nothing. We were left with nothing to give. So it’s so important to recognize that it’s still loving to say no to somebody it’s, it’s okay to say I can’t do that right now, but I can do that. You know, later for instance especially as a single parent, there’s only so much time in a given day, you know?
And so one of the stories that I’ve heard from my single parents is you know, wanting to get involved at school for instance. And then you almost feel like, like for an example, one of my clients was talking about how she would continue to give time in the classroom, but she was also trying to hold down a job. And she had created this almost a story for herself that if she didn’t give time in the classroom and volunteer, then somehow she wasn’t showing her child that she was still there and that she still cared and loved him. And we had to work through this concept of it’s okay. If you don’t make the brownies for every single class activity, you know, it’s okay to say, I’m sorry, I can’t do it this time. That doesn’t, it doesn’t mean that you love your child any less. And it’s, it’s okay to actually say no, because when you are saying yes to all of those activities, for instance, then when your child is with you, you’re so preoccupied with all of these things that you’ve said yes to that. You’re not actually with your child when they’re there with you. And ultimately when they’re with you, they want to be with you and they just want your love. And so when you are able to set these boundaries in place and you aren’t depleted, then when you’re with your child, you can be present.
I think a lot of it goes back to what you’re talking about at the beginning, which is, you know, finding time for your own self compassion, which is kind of all ties together.
It definitely all ties together. All these things are so intertwined, but the base of it all is what are you doing to care for yourself? Because if you are whole and complete, you then show up as a whole and complete person and you have, you have the energy and you have the ability to give to your children.
That’s great. So, so practically, would you just suggest, like starting out to kind of going back to what you said earlier to begin to begin trying to do these things, maybe just doing every night, doing like the, the list of things you’re grateful for, but also the things that you forgive yourself for, would you think that would be like a great starting point for people?
Yeah, that’s actually where I ended up starting. Most of my clients is, you know, the list of things that you’re grateful for, but then the three to five things you forgive yourself for. And then the three to five things that you’re proud of yourself for injuries your victories, whether they’re big or small, because it’s forgiveness itself and it’s celebration itself. And just anchor into that and know wholeheartedly that as you anchor into that, it is the epitome of love for your children. When you can do that, and you can take care of yourself, you are going to exponentially grow your relationships with your children, because you’re going to, you’re taking by taking care of yourself. You are going to have so much more to give.
Okay. That’s great advice. Thank you so much for being on. Can you tell everyone where they can find out more about you?
Absolutely. I am reachable on the internet at www dot it’s authentic me.com, but also via email at contact at itsauthenticme.com. I actually answer all of my emails personally. So if somebody wanted to reach out and just wanted support or wanted more information on any of this, I am more than happy to help.