‘She’s my best friend, but she knows I’m her mother. She has a safe space when she needs one.’: Single mom shares growth journey

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“I was always a good mom but there was a point I was starting to dislike the person I was. Most of the time I was optimistic, but then there were those times when I was miserable. I never took that out on my baby girl but kids know, we just don’t know they know. I had to get to the bottom of the problem because I didn’t like what it was unintentionally teaching my daughter. On one hand, I was teaching her the value of marriage and to work through it even when it was hard. On the other hand, I was teaching her you have to sit in the problem. How could I verbalize to her ‘getting knocked down was a part of life but it is not okay to stay down’ when I was modeling the opposite?! I was tired of that, so I had to make some decisions to get me to a better place mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

I decided to leave my marriage and start over. For the first time, I was a single mother. Her entire life, my daughter had always had both parents in the home. I was married for 11 years and in that relationship for 16 years when I decided to step away. That was one of the toughest decisions I had ever made in my life. He was all I had known for my whole adult life. We grew up together but I lost myself, as most of us women do, yet that was not the only reason why I decided to leave. I say we did not grow apart because we never grew together.

mom dancing in the kitchen
Courtesy of KiKi Williams

Going through a divorce made me sit back and reflect on the things I did towards the demise of our marriage. I’m not perfect because no one is, but that reflection made me realize I wanted to change some things and so I began. I’m on a personal growth journey to be the best person I can and to live the best life I can. I’m sure there are other people out there that want to do the same so I began my blog where I started writing about my experiences as well as about my learnings. I am navigating life in a different way and I am bringing my teenage daughter along with me. We’re learning and doing life together and keeping our experiences as positive as possible.

The most important way I try to teach my teenage daughter positivity is by modeling it for her myself. You know the old saying ‘lead by example?’ I try to keep my attitude controlled by seeing the positive outcome in situations. She also sees me be kind to people. She sees me take the high road and be the bigger person, even when it is hard to be. Likewise, she sees me apologize when I do wrong. Children, especially teenagers are so impressionable and vulnerable. I would prefer for my daughter to look up to me more than any other person and I would only be proud if I knew I was doing everything humanly possible to be a great role model for her. I do not want my daughter to be like me, I want her to be better than me.

mom and daughter smiling
Courtesy of KiKi Williams

There are a few things I’ve incorporated into my life to make my life a better one and to set an example for my daughter. Each thing I have done has become so crucial to the success of my evolution. I knew I wanted my transition to be in the form of mind, body, and soul and I wanted my daughter to unknowingly watch me as I was transitioning so I could model it and we could transition together.

The first thing I began to do was to choose happiness and joy over everything. I was already in this place but at this point in life, it became extremely important to truly have the mindset of happiness and to just walk in it. I choose not to allow things or people to get in my space and allow that negative energy in it. It has the possibility of happening but I choose to walk away at all times because everything we do is by choice.

I also chose to begin working out six days a week and I began a healthier diet. I cut out sugar, I cut out caffeine, and I even went vegan for about 6 weeks, but I continue to stay meatless. The more I cut out processed foods and incorporated fresh fruit, whole foods and got my body moving, the better I began to feel. I believe the food we consume has a lot to do with how we feel internally. I needed my daughter to begin to see me flourish in every single way. Cutting out the ‘bad foods’ and working out somehow allowed me to clear the clutter in my mind.

Every single morning when I wake up, before my feet hit the floor to begin my day, I say a prayer. I thank God for waking me up and for everything that’s in my life. I started a gratitude journal I write in daily. I’m pretty strategic about what I write. I write three things I’m grateful for, but I also write about things I want in my life, call it manifesting, call it praying, a combination of the two, whatever it is that’s what I’m doing because I want to live the best life I possibly can. My daughter keeps a journal as well and she knows the importance of manifesting, praying, and gratitude.

mom posing
Courtesy of KiKi Williams

I also began to integrate social gatherings into my schedule. I have been stepping out a little bit more and when friends invite me to do things I go, I actually go. I didn’t do that before because I’m such an introvert and social gatherings exhausted me but now I go, I stay about 2 hours because that’s kind of my max (before the feeling of fatigue starts to set in), and then I leave. I’m satisfied that I got out, stepped out of my shell, and interacted with people. My daughter has even begun to accept invitations to hang out with her friends and is opening up to welcoming new people in her life. Do you see how modeling certain types of actions start to unconsciously set examples on behavior?

I stopped saying no to opportunities but I also started saying ‘no!’ I started saying no to things that would not serve me or my purpose and things I just didn’t want to do. ‘No, I’m not going to do that’ became a thing for me. And I was very comfortable saying so.

My daughter sees me push through tough things and yeah, at the moment I may complain, maybe even say a curse word but I keep on pushing and she sees me conquer. I give myself the grace that is necessary at the time and she watches from afar. Everything I do, I know I have these two eyes watching me at all times.

woman smiling outside
Courtesy of KiKi Williams

To help my daughter along her journey of life and to keep her on a positive track, I let her know I support her. I ask open-ended questions to her and we assess the problem together but I allow her to express her viewpoints. I give advice, sometimes unsolicited, but she listens and we come up with a solution together.

I allow my daughter to express herself through her clothing, her art, her makeup, including but not limited to the eyelashes I do not like. I allow her to wear them because she likes them. I guide her but I give her freedom. She told a friend, ‘My mom is not strict but I know not to play with her. She doesn’t let me run wild and I don’t want to.’ She talks openly to me about everything because I allow her to express herself and her opinion without shutting her down.

I say she is my best friend, but she knows I am her mother. I believe it is okay to be my daughter’s friend because she has a safe space to go to when she needs one. My daughter knows she can call on me for anything and I will not judge but I never have any worries because my daughter makes good decisions.

I am a listening friend when I need to be and I am a mother when I need to be because I have set boundaries. My reason why I do everything is to make myself a better person, but I do it because of my daughter. She is the person I look up to the most. Even though she’s my daughter, she’s such an inspiration. Who says you can’t look up to your kids? Because I have set examples and communicate with my daughter, we have an open relationship where we can talk about everything. She trusts me because we try to keep it positive in our home. You can call us a glass half full kind of duo. Because we keep it so positive we are well on our way to being better people and living our absolute best lives. It’s happening for us right now.”

mom and daughter doing the "shy" hand gesture
Courtesy of KiKi Williams

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by KiKi Williams. You can follow her journey on Instagram, Facebook, and her website. Submit your own story hereand be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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‘My daughter grabbed my face. ‘You got this, mom. It’s time for you to move on.’ I signed the divorce papers, and finally put myself first.’: Teen mom divorces after 12-year emotional battle with husband, ‘Never be afraid to start over’

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