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Five years ago, on February 3, I became a solo parent. My husband lost his too-short and too-devastating battle with brain cancer, and our family of four became a family of three.

My first days as a solo parent were marked by terror, confusion, and a general sense of doom — which sounds dramatic, but is nevertheless true. I hadn’t signed up to parent two children by myself, yasmin tuncel and I didn’t know how. I wasn’t used to making all the decisions without input, doing absolutely all the things without support. I had no idea how to parent alone — without the person who loved my kids and knew them the way I knew them.

Five years later, I can’t claim to be an expert on solo parenting — solo parenting is too complex, too unique of an experience for anyone to ever claim “expert” status — but I have learned a few lessons as my kids have grown from little kids to big kids to tweens and almost teens, which are worth sharing.

Live In The Moment

As a solo parent, it was easy for me to get bogged down in the worrying, planning, and strategizing. It was easy to spend nights judging my choices and mornings trying to control what happened next. It was much harder to live in the moment, to be present right then and there.

But living with one foot in the past and one foot in the future was exhausting — and solo parents are exhausted enough from the day-to-day tasks of raising kids and running homes by ourselves. What we need, among other things, is peace mixed with a little joy and time to breathe. Living in the moment is the path to that peace.

I had to choose to live in the moment — and the choice wasn’t (and isn’t!) easy — but once I made it, and committed to it, I found that I had a little more peace and a little extra joy in every day.

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