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I see you, single mama—and I know how hard you're working

I know some days you will question your sanity, this life, and how you got here. But please know that even in your darkest hour, you are so bright and such an incredible human and mama.

I see you, single mama—and I know how hard you're working

By Shelley Hopper.

Dear Single Mama,

I see you doing everything, literally everything , with all your heart and all your will.

Nursing all night or warming up bottles. Doing each diaper change, outfit swap, kitchen cleaning, toilet scrubbing, meal prepping and cooking, lunch box packing, dog walking and pooper-scooping (little humans and fury friends).

I see you doing every pre-school drop-off and pick-up, getting your little one to and from activities, play-dates, chaperoning field trips when you can or leading carpools to and from soccer/dance/football/karate/girl-scouts/boy-scouts.

I see you helping with homework after a long day at work when you're exhausted but still hands-on being your little one's number one tutor and fan.

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I see you having to call out sick from work one too many times to stay home with a sick baby or toddler because it's just you at home. I see you trying to balance it all, and you are doing a freaking incredible, amazing job.

Because whether you've been a single mom from the start of your pregnancy, or you experienced the loss of your significant other, or went through a divorce or an intense custody battle, or got walked out on, left to fend for yourself and your cub, you are a mother and a great one.

I know some days are SO hard. So exhausting. Seem to never end or go by way too fast.

I know the loss of a spouse, physically or emotionally, is one of the hardest things to go through as a human, as a woman, and as a mother. But you are still here. Your kids are fed and kind and smart and talented. And so are you.

Whatever you've been through that got you on this road called "single parent" avenue, you are navigating it with such grace, courage and strength.

So, single mama, please know you are so loved, cherished and appreciated; whether it's through the eyes of your best friends, your family, or your little ones, they see you, too.

Everyone sees how hard you work to provide, to educate, to be there—ALL IN. Night after night and day after day. Even when you don't see it in yourself, others most definitely do.

I know some days you will question your sanity, this life, and how you got here. But please know that even in your darkest hour, you are so bright and such an incredible human and mama.

Whether you're in the midst of custody or into a new season of single mamahood healing after the loss of a partner or divorce, you will get through this. As the quote goes, "a ship is safe in the harbor, but that's not what ships were built to do," by William Shedd, the same goes for your journey of motherhood and co-parenting or single parenting.

Adjust your sails, face the winds, and grab your compass and your heart. You will get through the stormy seas and feel sunshine again. You will learn that as each day passes, you are stronger than the day before. You will learn to let the wall you've built so strong and so tall down a little when needed. You will learn to love again, trust again, and truly believe that you are where you're meant to be and that everything happens for a reason.

Don't be afraid to be sad. Don't be afraid to cry. Don't be afraid to get angry.

Learn to be vulnerable.

Don't be afraid to lean on your friends and your family for support.

Learn to ask for help and trust that people want to actually be there for you.

Don't be afraid to read 12387 articles on single parenthood so you can relate to someone.

Learn you are not alone.

Don't be afraid to get into therapy and join a support group.

Learn to navigate and express your feelings; be open to freeing yourself from your past.

Don't be afraid to try meditating, acupuncture, or breathing exercises for stress relief.

Learn that you need to take time for yourself.

Don't be afraid to TREAT YOURSELF.

Learn to budget and save where you can—go see a financial advisor. But, also make time to invest in self-care—schedule a massage, mani/pedi, facial, go out just "because", or attend your favorite concert if you can plan ahead.

Don't be afraid to get back into the dating scene when it feels right—let your hair down and get dolled up, because, you deserve it.

Learn to let your guard down (when and if you're ready).

But also, don't be afraid to hide from the world if that's what you need right now (big fan of Katy Perry Grace of God as an anthem to cry it out in a closet or blast in the car).

Learn that being a single mom isn't easy, but you won't feel so stuck forever.

Don't be afraid to be the best mama you know how to be, simply by doing what feels right and when.

Learn to have faith in yourself and your situation.

Don't dwell too much on your past, and stop focusing on your flaws or questioning how and why you got here.

Learn to let things go (in time) and trust that everything happens for a reason.

Remember a healthy happy woman is a healthy happy mama who can raise healthy happy babes.

I see you single mama, because I'm in your shoes.

I know how it feels to want to rip the eyeballs out of anyone who says "OMG it was so hard to be a 'single/solo mom' it when my husband was gone on a work trip!" (Because, how dare they even think that's the same thing as being an actual single mama?!)

Being a single mom typically means not having a partner to come home and ask you about your day, tell you they're proud of you, help you live off a two-income pay check, help you run errands or watch the baby and kids, cook a meal for you, or emotionally support you via texts and phone calls throughout the day or after a sleep regression.

I know how hard it is to go through the rollercoaster of change, grief, loss, anger, pain, feeling alone, facing heartbreak, stress, tears, anxiety, depression, trauma, the quest to seek "balance", and all the sleepless nights tossing and turning causing over-exhaustion.

I know how it feels to ask WHY and HOW.

I know how some days life seem so unfair and painful and like everything was taken away from you in the blink of an eye (no matter how many warning signs there may have been leading up to divorce or separation). But I also know how beautiful it is to have a special one-on-one bond with your babes and to let go, move on and heal. Because YOU deserve it, first and foremost.

And I know there are bright days ahead where you look back on this chapter and say "I did it." You'll look back and see how many obstacles you faced, but you still kept going. You'll look back and see all the sacrifices you made, but see how they paid off.

You'll look back and say I AM STRONG. I AM CONFIDENT. I AM LOVED. and this was just a page out of my book that's not done being written yet.

Originally posted on FIT4MOM.

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With babies and toddlers, bath time is about so much more than washing off: It's an opportunity for fun, sensory play and sweet bonding moments—with the added benefit of a cuddly, clean baby afterward.

Because bathing your baby is part business, part playtime, you're going to want products that can help with both of those activities. After countless bath times, here are the products that our editors think really make a splash. (Better yet, each item is less than $20!)

Comforts Bath Wash & Shampoo

Comforts Baby Wash & Shampoo

Made with oat extract, this bath wash and shampoo combo is designed to leave delicate skin cleansed and nourished. You and your baby will both appreciate the tear-free formula—so you can really focus on the bath time fun.

Munckin Soft Spot Bath Mat

Munchkin slip mat

When your little one is splish-splashing in the bath, help keep them from also sliding around with a soft, anti-slip bath mat. With strong suction cups to keep it in place and extra cushion to make bath time even more comfortable for your little one, this is an essential in our books.

Comforts Baby Lotion

Comforts baby lotion

For most of us, the bath time ritual continues when your baby is out of the tub when you want to moisturize their freshly cleaned skin. We look for lotions that are hypoallergenic, nourishing and designed to protect their skin.

The First Years Stack Up Cups

First year stack cups

When it comes to bath toys, nothing beats the classic set of stackable cups: Sort them by size, practice pouring water, pile them high—your little one will have fun with these every single bath time.

Comforts Baby Oil

Comforts baby oil

For dry skin that needs a little extra TLC, our team loves Comforts' fast-absorbing baby oil aloe vera and vitamin E. Pro tip: When applied right after drying off your baby, the absorption is even more effective.

KidCo Bath Toy Organizer

KidCo Bath Organizer

Between bathing supplies, wash rags, toys and more, the tub sure can get crowded in a hurry. We like that this organizer gives your little one space to play and bathe while still keeping everything you need within reach.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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