No Shame in My Game: Mental Health IS Related to Single Parenting

On Saturday, 9/23, I’m participating in an event in Bowie, MD: the HOPE Luncheon, A Celebration to Restore HOPE and to END Depression, Suicide and Bullying

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Today I had a coaching session.

Return calls. Meeting with my coach. Writing promo materials. Editing blog posts. Reading. Finishing that darned book I"m writing. Lots of things to do. At some point today, I began to re-think why I was co-hosting an event on mental health when my plate was already full.

Sure, I have years of experience in mental health administration, writing and delivering psycho-educational curriculum, and certification in various areas of mental health including completing a rigorous Certifed Addictions Counselor course of study.

But my passion, my assignment, is supporting co-parents and giving them tips, strategies, and resources to change their co-parenting dynamic. I know how to do that, because I’ve been there myself.

Earlier today while in the middle of a phone meeting, resolving some event questions, I had a revelation. You know, one of those “look at God” moments.


I realized that single parenting is a breeding ground for mental illness. Yes indeed it is. And if you’re a single parent, or you’re stuck in a co-parenting nightmare, you know exactly what I’m talking about. If you’ve been in the single-parent trenches, you know that your sanity was not a given. For many single parents, mental illness is just one conversation, one event away.

We don’t like to think of our depression as mental illness, but it often is. We don’t like to think of that feeling when you just want it all to end as suicide ideation, but many times it is. We don’t like to admit that the feeling of “can I just walk away from all of this”, or the times when we did just “walk away” could have been the beginning of situational mental illness. But often, it was.

Situational depression is when a person is unable to cope with events in their life, or when a person lacks the coping mechanisms to address a situation or series of events. Think, single parenting. Think, co-parenting drama. Think, custodial and child support issues.

When my husband left me, one sunny July day, with 2 boys under 12, 1 week remaining on a lease, and $100 in the bank, I experienced situational depression. Such that my parents came from Pennsylvania and took my boys home with them. It’s funny now - I guess they figured I needed some time to pack, right?

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When every 2 weeks I had to reason with children looking out the window at 11:00 – PM -  for a dad who was supposed to come at 7:00 PM to pick them up for the weekend, I went past “Calgon, take me away”. By 11:30 PM I was at, “Jesus, take me home”. Situational depression.

I was there. And then I read, and I prayed, and I went to counseling, and I took some classes, and did a lot of reading, and took some classes and got a grad degree and got a new job and underwent certification…And now I know what to do.

So that’s why I have no judgment. At all. I directed a few mental health programs in the District of Columbia, so there’s nothing I haven’t seen. And for many of our clients, mental illness was directly related to their lives, to situations that were not addressed, to choices they made as well as decision that were made for and about them. And those experiences have made me a better co-parenting coach.

You know that your children need to see and experience mom or dad working together and not attacking each other. If not, it shows up as academic failure, or drug use, or situational depression, or suicide ideation. You know it’s important, but you don’t know HOW to establish that positive relationship.

Been there. Done that. I can show you how to move from chaos to positive communication. Free giveaway -  download my 7 Steps to Academic Success for Co-parents. Start here!

You know that you need to respect that other parent in order for your children to respect them as well. If not, your children will disrespect the other parent, other adults, educators, their community, and then they will begin to disrespect the people with whom they are in relationship. Like their girlfriends and their boyfriends. Like you! You know parental respect is important, but you don’t know HOW to demonstrate respect for an adult who consistently acts like a monkey.

You know that you need to make co-parenting work, so your kids will grow up in a healthy and secure environment and become educated, empowered adults. You know language and cooperation is important, but you don’t know HOW to do that whole positive thing.

But some of you won’t get there.

You’re trying to fix it, but you have everybody in your ear and you have no clue what to do. You won’t give yourself permission to learn how to do it another way.

Some of you won’t get there.

Let me tell you that not only are your children at risk, your mental health is also at risk.

If you are experiencing clinical symptoms – you will do better under the care of a trained psychologist or therapist. If you want to go back to your childhood and determine what happened there, you may want to do so under the care of a clinician. But if you want different results, from right where you are now; if you want tips and strategies to move forward, the coaching services we provide at KidsNeed2 can help you. Schedule a free Discovery call and let’s create a positive co-parenting experience for you and your family.

I chose sanity, and it's a wonderful thing!!!