On My Own by Amanda Carroll

The mad rush of packing is over. The house is quiet. The kids are with their dad. Now what? You’re on your own.

Single moms, I don’t know about you, but one of my biggest challenges after my divorce was what to do with the free time that came during visitations.  At first, it felt like I was missing an arm.  I was almost zombie-like trying to get things accomplished around the house while the kids were gone.  I would make these to-do lists two pages long complete with trips to Home Depot, stock-ups at Costco, and scrubbing every floor and toilet in the house, but I was never able to fully cross anything off my to-do list.  Not accomplishing “the list” was making me feel like a failure.

I was miserable and would sit on my couch, pray, cry, and watch too much TV.  Then, I realized I had an amazing opportunity that most moms never get, free time!  I free you from the guilt of enjoying your OMO (on my own) time.  It’s okay.

It’s all about perspective.  You have a choice.  You can wallow in your OMO time, or you can seize the day!  Whether it’s every other weekend, one night a week, or 6 weeks over the summer vacation, decide to enjoy it.

5 OMO Rules

  1. Thou shalt not make endless to-do lists. Choose one thing to tackle, one thing.
  2. Thou shalt sleep. Do not stay up all night watching movies!  Turn the TV off and catch up on sleep.  Ahhhhh….
  3. Thou shalt do something fun. Call your girlfriends and plan a lunch or even more fun a girls night out!
  4. Thou shalt carry a small purse. This is one of my favorite things of OMO time.  Little cute purses.  There is no need to carry a huge bag that holds diapers, snacks, first aid kits, and a change of clothing for your children.  All you need is your ID, cash, and lipstick and you are ready to roll, mama!
  5. Thou shalt read and write. Curl up with a great book that will further your relationship with God, inspire you to go for your dream, or help you become a better parent.  Use this time to grow and learn.  You could even track your progress by writing all your thoughts and experiences during this time in a journal.  That way years later you can look back and have evidence of how far you’ve come.

You were designed to live a life you love. You should not feel like you are living a half-life and have to go “underground” during those times you are OMO.  The truth is you are never really OMO.  There is a God that is crazy about you.  He wants to be your first love. He wants to live your life with you.  He wants you to trust Him, not worry so much, and allow Him to work out the details.  You are not wasted.  You were not thrown out with the trash.  You matter.  If you commit yourself to His design for your life now, you will never feel OMO.

Jesus said, “I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).” –John 10:10

So go have some OMO fun!  You deserve it.

2016-10-17T16:13:54+00:00 May 19th, 2013|Amanda Carroll|27 Comments

27 Comments

  1. ZombieMommySaves May 20, 2013 at 4:33 pm - Reply

    Do something fun. Some twelve step programs call it self care.

    If you practice a little self care (and not 24/7 Martyrdom) then you actually will be a BETTER caretaker.

    Jesus calls us to suffer, yes, but don’t take as a rule. God also calls us to love our neighbors as our self. If you don’t love yourself, you can’t love others.

    PS And by no means am I saying to go crazy with this, but some of us can’t even take 2 hours on a full free weekend to do something fun. You are not gonna be fun mom if you are bitter from cramming it in.

  2. George May 20, 2013 at 10:19 pm - Reply

    Great ideas! Way to find a blessing in the middle of something that could be very sad. I pray for single parents, I know that it is hard on them in so many ways. I know that it is harder on them than on married parents. I hope churches will get more serious about reaching out to single parents and that they will do what they can to help these families!

  3. Missy Hyatt May 20, 2013 at 10:48 pm - Reply

    What if your the single mom that doesnt have that help from their father, and your have your child all to yourself all the time? Dont get me wrong, I love your blog, but Im one of the ones that doesnt have OMO time. And Im not complaining. Just, might want to broaden the topic to those type of single moms. Again, not complaining… Thanks for all you do.

    • Jennifer Maggio May 23, 2013 at 5:06 pm - Reply

      Hi Missy, thanks so much for your feedback. The Life of a Single Mom Ministries writes a variety of articles for single parents from Featured Experts who are divorced, never married, widowed, military, and more. So please, be sure to check back with us, as we always have new articles posting for encouragement just for you! 🙂

  4. Lisa Douglas-Guidry May 20, 2013 at 11:08 pm - Reply

    I am a single mom (2nd round… after a 24 year 2nd marriage. 3 of 10 kids live with me), The first few months were horrible. Just like you said. But then a friend suggested I go back to school. I did. That was 3 years ago. 2 weeks ago I graduated with my BAS in Criminal Justice and will begin my Master’s in the Fall. Studying and writing research papers helped me focus on something other than the silence and emptiness on our home. The other thing I did – I volunteered at my church – especially doing things that children could not participate. I also had girl’s night with friends on occasion (but this was sometimes hard as 90% of my friends are still very happily married). I now live in the country and those visitation times are now welcome. I sit on my porch and watch the wildlife stroll past, kittens playing on the steps, and just enjoy the presence of God. I enjoy the uninterrupted bubble bath, and maybe a special meal that I would not be able to afford to feed all of us.

    Being a single mom is not always easy, but I have learned to embrace this new season and to find joy in the silence.

    Thanks for the encouragement!

    • Sara Linder July 10, 2013 at 3:02 pm - Reply

      Thank you for your comments… I am a single Mom too after 25 years of my first marriage.. 2 daughter’s age 14 and 7. Their Dad is very involved but I am the one trying to find my way. I don’t like OMO time.. but I am finding ways to make it through it. Financially, I am a mess but I am in survival mode as we speak. I will be praying for you. Thanks again

  5. Lauren N May 21, 2013 at 1:32 am - Reply

    What an amazing article. 3 years out from divorce myself and many weekends OMO, I see so much difference in what I do know than what I used to do. Some weekends are still not easy, but when you finally realize the things you said in your article, you become so much happier on those weekends. There is hope out there for you Mom’s who are just starting visitation or may be soon. God is there. He always was and always will be, no matter what. Sometimes it’s so hard to see that when you are hurting. One day and one weekend at a time …. 3 years later I’m far from getting my weekends “perfect” in my eyes, but I’m thankful for all of them.

  6. Randy Ferguson May 21, 2013 at 1:36 am - Reply

    I am a single dad and this does help me I don’t think I’ll do the purse thing but the eliminating the to do lists and getting out is good. I still have a road ahead of me but things like this do help. Thanks 😉

  7. cindy reiter May 21, 2013 at 7:30 pm - Reply

    I Loved this article. I wish I had it when I first became OMO. I have learned through trial and error to establish the same rules. Now, four years of being OMO every other week I have come to cherish the time with my kids AND cherish the time without them. It’s a reboot for me so I can come fresh with energy, vigor, and patience to deal with a pre-teen and a teenager who know everything and the battle of I who know nothing (according to them).

  8. Bethany LeBedz May 28, 2013 at 10:23 pm - Reply

    This is the hardest concept for me right now. If my kids are with friends or at an event, I’m totally fine. If 1 kid is home, and 1 kid is with her dad, I’m fine (sorta). But when both kids are gone with their dad, I’m a complete and total mess! I feel (even though I know better) that they’re choosing him over me. After all, he’s the fun dad, the one who bought a car and a kitten to buy his daughters’ time. He has no chores. I’m sure you can guess what I have: rules, bedtimes, curfews, and homework. My girls are teenagers, so they do have more of a choice. Holidays are the absolute worst, because if my girls are with their dad, I have no one. He at least has his family in the area if the girls are with me. Why do I feel so awful when my kids see their father? I know they need him!

    • Annulka Shipp July 1, 2013 at 9:24 pm - Reply

      I feel exactly the same way. I work full time, have physical custody of my three small children and go to school full time. When they see daddy all they do is have fun. No chores, they eat junk food and stay up late. When they are at home they have to eat healthy, do chores, and I always have homework. It hurts my feelings that I am working so hard to make a better life for us and he just gets to be the fun dad. I pray for guidence everyday………I am finding that the more I follow how God wants me to live my life the better I feel. It’s ok for him to be the fun dad……….I am their rock, The stability in their lives, the one who they turn to. As long as we live for God first, we can’t go wrong.

    • Lisa July 3, 2013 at 5:56 pm - Reply

      I understand how you feel. My husband left when my youngest daughter was 9 months old and it ended up being for another woman. Until June of this year, I had not let him take her overnight (she’s only 2). I have only let her spend one night. I’m okay when the oldest is with him because I have my baby with me and since my oldest is 12 there is a different bond between us then I have with my youngest. I also feel like they are choosing him over me when they are with him especially because this woman (who is someone who worked closely with my oldest daughter) is the fun one and not MOM. I don’t know what type of rules he has but I’m really trying to work out routines and schedules and I know that doesn’t happen at his house because he can’t follow them when he is with them at my house til I get home from work.

    • susan October 16, 2013 at 4:16 am - Reply

      bethany,

      i so appreciate your honesty. i am going through a divorce {it’s really a deliverance}. he won’t leave, didn’t mediate well, and we are going to trial in jan. by all accounts, he’s a parasite, common among narcissists. i’m not being mean, it’s the truth. he will have a very difficult time moving on, hence the reason he refuses to leave and looks for every delay he can find. he is a slave to the kids and does whatever they want because he wants them to pick him. i’m leaving it up to the judge. i am very secure and respect my 2 boys 12 and 16. both have “acted out” {been extremely mean to me… he loves that} but then we get past it. i refuse to bow. i am the parent, he is the buddy/slave. i get annoyed when i see the kids be manipulated but he did it to me for 28 years. it’s hard not to be disturbed when the kids are with him and having “fun”. he’s not “real” and has been a social predator to me. a wolf in sheep’s clothing. when this is over {will it ever be over?} i will relinquish those weekends. we have no control there. pray hard for yourself and your girls. i believe most people {and kids} can see and feel real relationships in their life. if dad is really a shallow poor parent, your girls will have a shallow materialistic relationship w/ him. be the real person, it’s worth it. you’re teaching your girls how to live, he’s teaching them ……how to be shallow. BUT, you can be fun too. if you’re an exciting person to be around, {know your strengths and use them} they will be attracted to you, and you probably won’t be thinking about the times they’re w/ him. no matter how you slice it, i think our hearts will hurt over this. be strong, others feel the same. i think God’s heart hurt when He had to let His son die for a wicked bunch of people.

  9. Sylvia June 7, 2013 at 6:06 pm - Reply

    I miss my kids every time they go to their dad’s which is half the time. I feel like I am missing half of my kids lives. I can’t stop missing my kids and it has been 3 years now since my husband left me for another woman. I will try to do one thing on the 5 day stretch when my kids are gone. I will try. it is so hard since all I can think of is my kids and see their empty rooms in my house. I can barely clean up while they are gone. I mostly try to be in my bed or if I have the energy to go out and away from my house to see friends or family while my house stays a mess. I don’t know what else to do most of the time.

  10. Sylvia June 7, 2013 at 6:09 pm - Reply

    I wish I knew what was wrong with me that I can’t be like the other moms on here to have been through this for 3 years like I have. I just can’t do it!! I just can’t!!

    • susan October 16, 2013 at 8:04 pm - Reply

      sylvia,

      how are things now? stay with us. you will be able to do it. use your courage. do you have a church family? if not, get one. that’s one of the keys to making it. you’re not less of a person now, you’re going to be more…..a better you. we’re not rejects and now without strength.
      “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you” isaiah 46:4.
      Be strong and do the work.”
      1 chronicles 28:10

      praying for you,
      susan

  11. Kimberly Hunter June 17, 2013 at 3:09 pm - Reply

    I am a single mom of three. I work a lot and sometimes I too get overwhelmed emotionally.
    Remember, the devil is a liar and will do anything to keep you down so that God cannot use you. God uses the hurting. This is where He has you to mold you FINALLY into what He desires for His kingdom.
    It is so hard not to listen to your own destructive thoughts as they race through your existence- trying to strip away any shred of confidence you may still have.
    Please friends, don’t waste the time you have been given to be molded in His image. Go out and serve and share what God is doing within you through your season.
    “Let patience have her perfect work. That you may be perfect, entire, wanting nothing.” James 1:4
    Oh to be at that place.
    I will wait on You Lord as you continue to work on me.

    blogforsinglemoms.blogspot.com

    • Holding on to grace July 3, 2013 at 6:01 pm - Reply

      keep it up!

  12. Reina America July 2, 2013 at 6:34 pm - Reply

    just what I needed today. I’ve learned to adjust to my girls’ weekends with their dad, but this is our first week on week off summer and right now they are three days in to their two weeks straight with him. This is the longest I’ve been apart from them since the divorce six yrs ago. It’s hard to make time to do things simply for myself when so much of my life is doing for my girls.

  13. Holding on to grace July 3, 2013 at 5:57 pm - Reply

    I do understand. It was so easy to sleep but i did feel bad not doing much but i felt wonderful sleeping in. I then realized i need to do something more than be a hermit and catch up with life. That was the almost easy part. The hardest part is accepting that my child will not have a consistent part in church attendance and faith building. I know i can trust the Lord but somedays i feel like i am the only one running this race. The world is changing and so are the ways, i just need to keep focused and remember that we are a peculiar people in Christ.

  14. Cyndi garza July 20, 2013 at 2:07 am - Reply

    I’ve been divorced 1 year. my kids go visit your dad at another state for the whole summer. I miss my kids. when they don’t call or communicate with me I feel left out. I watch TV go to movies spend time with my friends and relatives but it’s just not the same. it’s just so painful see him be so happy and me feel so miserable.

  15. Lorraine July 28, 2013 at 3:29 pm - Reply

    I can so relate to this article. I wished I had something like this website 6 years ago. When I left my ex after almost 20 years of marriage, I was left with my family and one close friend. All our friends from the church I went to no longer talked to me. My kids attended a christian school and I was treated as if I had a plaque. I felt like I walked around with a scarlet ‘D” on my chest. I cried most of the time the first year. Especially when the kids were with there father. The apartment was so empty and quiet. Since I was little all I wanted to be was a wife and mom. I was no longer a wife and felt like half a mom. I felt like a fish out of water. God, my family and a close friend are what has seen me through. The more I leaned on God the better I felt. I still struggle at times with my ex being the fun dad and able to take the kids on trips, while I struggle financially. But the words I have told my kids ring in my ears…’Don’t worry about what others are doing. Worry about what you are doing. Make sure you are doing what you are suppose to and do the best job you can’. I hate it when my words come back to slap me in the face, but it’s true. I need to not focus on my ex and focus on me being the best mom I can be to my kids, even if I feel very limited. My ex is moving 5 hours away, so next summer will be interesting since the kids will be gone half the summer. I’m planning now on how I can spend that time wisely. I have learned more and more to lean on God. He is my source. And when I feel that God is so far away, I put on some worship music and read the Bible. The more alone I feel the more I read my Bible. I have stopped struggling with the fact that my relationship with God is not where I want it to be and just read my Bible. As I let go of what I think are my failures the closer I feel to God. Letting go of the failures, the pain and the struggle has not been easy, but I push through knowing that one day I will be free from the bondage of low self esteem and the pain that my marriage and divorce has caused me. I am now looking for daily opportunities to show God’s love to others. He is the only reason why I am here and am in a better place in my life than I was before. The more I seek God the more I become the person He intended me to be and I’m starting to like myself again. My heart goes out to single moms and I pray that they will seek God. He loves us more than we know and is just waiting to mend our broken hearts. But more than anything I want to show my kids what a loving God we have and how to walk in His peace no matter the circumstances.

    • Katherine September 10, 2013 at 1:37 pm - Reply

      These words just ministered to me. Do you lead a single mom’s group? If not, I think you should.

  16. Sara Linder July 31, 2013 at 6:21 pm - Reply

    WOW… This took my words right out of my mouth… Thank you so much for posting… I mean really… this is me to a tee….. God is good..

  17. Bethany October 16, 2013 at 11:56 am - Reply

    Susan, Thanks for your response and your encouragement. I love your description of your husband as a parasite. I think that’s what mine is, too, although I might say he’s a private parasite. He puts on a good show; it sounds like our husbands are very alike! Blessings to you!!

  18. Robert Wilson March 20, 2014 at 4:09 pm - Reply

    I’m a single Dad, and have had some of the same emotions, thank you for sharing this helps us Dad’s!!!

    Robert

  19. Loree December 15, 2016 at 11:32 pm - Reply

    It has been 2 years since we separated but since my kids were so young at the time (son was 10 days and daughter 15 months) I didn’t have any OMO time because I had full custody. Recently they go with their dad every Sunday for 7 hours. At first it was awful because I had no idea what to do. Now the only times that are tough are the days when holidays land on a Sunday like this year. They will be with dad all Christmas day. What I decided was that I was going to make holidays a “season” not just a day. That way it doesn’t crush me and I can be a better mommy. It’s still hard making friends since I was alone so much for the last 2 years raising the kids. I have a church however we are a small church so I ended up leading a group because there were no women’s groups. Its still a work in progress. But I am slowly learning to reach out to people and really begin investing in my friendships again. I just lean on God and know he will bring me the right people at the right times.

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