There was a time when I very much cared about what other moms thought when I brought store-bought cookies and cakes for the class Christmas party or for the social at work. I had a boss that loved to bake and seemed to have lots of time to do it. She would almost always turn up her nose when you brought in anything store-bought. Then she would make a snide remark about never ever giving her kids anything store-bought. “I cook and bake everything for my kids”, she would say. “I never let them eat anything store-bought”. Before I became widowed, that would leave me embarrassed as I stared down at my grocery-store cookies.
Now?? I COULDN’T CARE LESS! Here are 5 lessons early widowhood taught me about the petty things in life that others stress about:
I Don’t Care What Others Think
If other moms want to frown upon my store-bought cookies and cakes – then they obviously haven’t had the privilege of experiencing transformational personal growth. People who make others feel bad about themselves simply by making themselves look good or superior in some way, are usually highly insecure human beings. When I became widowed, I couldn’t keep up with the moms baking everyday and doing D.I.Y crafts to send for the entire class for Halloween. I had to learn (as a single parent) to save my time and energies for the big stuff. I couldn’t sweat the small stuff anymore. Instead of two pairs of hands to help around the house, there were only now two – mine!
Planning every detail of my future
Until my life unraveled a few years ago, I loved to plan and scheme. I think it gave me some sense of control to map out my life. Plus, it’s just fun to brainstorm where we might live, the kind of house we would buy (and decorate!), the career feats I could accomplish. Today, I find more meaning in working hard, enjoying everyday things as they come, and being open to surprises. Call it the transformational power of grief, but it taught me that life is unpredictable and so I appreciate everyday that God has given me to spend with my kids. I have learn’t not to sacrifice today for tomorrow.
That People Don’t Get My New Perspective on Life
When I first started telling people that I didn’t want the executive position, that I wanted to be a writer and I wanted to help young widows, they just didn’t get it. Since my husbands death, I’ve wanted to make my mark on the world. Helping others who have travelled the road of widowhood while still young, juggling very young kids and trying to build a career, is now my mission. I get that others are busy trying to climb the corporate ladder and be the next CEO but I now value MISSION over SELF and I am now more selfless more than any other time in my life. This has been one of the hidden gifts in grief.
What Your Husband Does For A living
Many women get wrapped up in what their husbands do for a living. Their very identity is wrapped up in their husband’s job title. It’s great that your husband has a cushy job and is a seemingly great provider but seriously – I don’t care. Early widowhood has taught me that the job and the husband can evaporate within minutes. A car accident, a massive stroke, a heart attack – can take life in seconds. I now relish my identity as a woman and I most certainly don’t live under the cloak of my husband’s job title to gain bragging rights, power or prestige over other women. Life has taught me to be grateful for the little I have – even if that no longer meets the definition of other women’s “success”. Every widow – has overcome the most tragic EVENT that life could offer – and I am proud to be in the company of others who’ve had the courage to get up, brush themselves off and are now making a difference in this world.
That You Don’t Get My Parenting Habits
As a young widow raising two young boys on my own, I would worry endlessly about how they would turn out. With no father in the picture, coupled with the grief they went through, I would have sleepless nights worrying about their future. Until one day I learn’t the power of adversity. Children learn coping mechanisms, they learn to be resilient and they learn to arm themselves with the different tools needed to confront various situations. My boys would make it! And, in a world where jobs are being wiped out as new technologies are created, having resilient kids means everything. So, for those single moms out there – whether by divorce or widowhood – pat yourselves on the back – you are a shining example to your kids of the very definition of GRIT and RESILIENCE, and I salute you!
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