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Self-Love: A single parent’s approach

Our internal world shapes how we view the outer world. This is not a new concept and I’ve heard it in many variations through multiple sources. And I get it. The way I perceive the happenings around me has a direct correlation to how I’m feeling inside.  

One day, I’m able to handle the tornado of teenage emotions with grace and dignity but the next day, it knocks me off my rocker and drags me through the trenches. The only difference between those days is how my inner world is doing. Take the other day, for instance. I was working and my kids were home. I had plans to go to lunch with a friend and invited the kids to come.  

Only one wanted to (with their friend) so we all headed to lunch. Afterwards they had an appointment but they made the decision to cancel it. And I (very strongly) voiced my concern and demanded they go. By very strongly, yes… I mean borderline yelled. In front of the friend. Yea… not my proudest mom moment.  

I could put all the excuses here and expand on why I was right but ultimately, I was wrong. I messed up. And in return, they’re mad at me. All with good reason.  

I fully admit that my mind-space was not a good one. I felt under pressure from looming deadlines. I was concerned about when the last time I balanced my checkbook. I had a bad case of the “should be’s” and perfectionism paralysis. Among other things. Combine that with the negative self-criticism after that fall out, I felt defeated. I felt like a bad mom and beating myself up way more than I should have.  

Until I paused to take a moment to breathe. Enter “self-love.” Listen, I don’t do bubble baths or spa days. Those were the first things that came to mind when I was first introduced to that concept. Nope. Sorry, doesn’t resonate with me. What does resonate is when I heard someone pose the question: “What would someone who loved themselves do?”  

This simple question shaped my approach to the whole self-love movement. Maybe it just takes me a while to understand some things and how it applies to me, but self-love means loving me. As I am: a human trying her best. It sure as heck doesn’t mean beating myself up for having a moment of human-ness. In that moment where I paused to breathe, I could release some of that horrendous inner dialog. I could release the self-imposed perfectionism demands. I could allow the feeling to pass through and not get stuck in my body.  

More importantly, I could see my part in the situation and what I needed to do. So I apologized and do what I needed to in order to repair the relationship. Another lesson I’ve learned I had to do that was an act of self-love was to forgive myself. I’m human. I’m trying my best with what I know now. I’m not going to be the perfect parent I would like to be. And that’s ok.  

The cool side effect of this lesson is that now I can observe the feelings I used to be imprisoned by and allow them to pass. This one I’m still learning. Does my heart still feel the heaviness of the fall-out? Sure. But it doesn’t mean that I live there anymore. It doesn’t mean that I have to live that moment over and over again. It simply means that I am acknowledging it happened and trying my best to move forward.  

I strive to be as honest and transparent while writing these blogs and while I’d love to write about unicorns and rainbows, life happens. Life can be difficult and parenting has been the hardest, most rewarding job I’ve ever had the privilege of having. Sharing this journey with you all, in all the ups and downs, is truly a gift. If you’re in the same boat as me, you’re not alone. We can (and will) get through this.  

If you’d like to connect with Beth Montgomery, she’s active on social media. You can also find her blog at 


Beth Montgomery
Beth Montgomery is a single mom of teens and is a Jill of all trades who lives in the Harrisburg area. While she wasn't born anywhere near here (or even in this country), she calls Central PA home (for now) and writes about her journeys through adulting... with kids. Visit her online at or connect with her on the socials.

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