Overcoming Challenges of Stress as a Single Mother


Hello, and welcome to the Zappley Family’s Blog during this exciting 8 week Fit Family Challenge. Just to give you a brief background about myself, I am a single mother, age 39, of two, Ariana (8) and Christion (12).  When I registered to be a part of the Charlotte Parent Family Fit Challenge, I thought it would be pretty cool to get some outside advice on how to engage my family in physical activities that we not only can all take part in, but also install a routine that we can enjoy as a family unit long-term.

With this in mind, let me first briefly touch on my overall goals that was set-forth when me and my family met with Dr. Adkins, and Nutritionist, Tonda Gridley.  One of the Zappley challenges discussed were eating food that appeased to everyone’s taste and my lack of interest in cooking healthy meals as a result of this household issue.  Another challenge that I faced was how to get my 12 year old son engaged in activities that would bring our family together.  Both experts were very helpful in listening to my challenges and addressing them, while setting a few goals in place that would hopefully bring some of these items together.

The first goal was to have both children take part in choosing a meal and have them assist in meal planning as well.  I thought this would be pretty cool.  While another goal was to take time with each child and relate to them (particularly with my son) individually, and give them one-on-one time. The real challenge was to find something relatable with my son I thought.  I really had to think on that because since he is a male, I know he doesn’t like shopping and getting his nails down, so this was a bigger challenge than I ever thought of.

Well one of the good things is that my son is involved in taking golf lessons at the First Tee League of Charlotte.  So while he decided that this was an interest he would like to pursue, I decided to take golf lessons with a great Living Social Deal myself.  Now that he is a certified advanced par player, I may be a little behind, but what a great way to have family time than on the golf course or at the driving range I thought.

Now, back to meal planning…I haven’t gotten to that because I have neglected to go grocery shopping. You may ask why that is.  Well, as we all know sometimes life throws its share of curve balls.  So in the midst of my first week, I meet the second expert, personal trainer Devan Kline, who came to my house and worked the bazooka off me and the kids.  His 15 minute preview to MamaBurst Bootcamp was intense, while rewarding.  He challenged me to meet him every Saturday morning for Bootcamp, and to follow his nutritional guide while working my way to great health in 60 days.

I absolutely bought into this idea until I realized I have schedule conflicting on Saturday morning’s due to my kid’s golf lessons.  Not only were my intentions to go grocery shopping based upon the kid’s meal plan choices, I also planned on attempting to make a way for Bootcamp on Saturday mornings.  Simply put, I failed miserably.  Again you may ask why?  Well, when life throws you a fast ball that you were not prepared for, sometimes you strike out.

This week I simply struck out because I became increasingly overwhelmed with stress from an array of sources ranging from relationships, scheduling, finances, kid’s MAP testing, final grades, etc.  You name it and I was stressing it!  By the end of the week, more bad news hit me like a train wreck.  However, the one thing that I know about health is that not only do you have to be physically fit, but also emotional and mentally fit.

So how does this relate to the Family Fit Challenge?  Very simple.  You see, not all times does life go as planned or as we’d like.  Being a single mother is more than a commitment to your children, but a commitment to yourself to stay healthy and strong for them.  If you are a single mother with minimum support or have no support, you should know by now that your children depend on your whole well-being, (mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual).  The kids only have you and when you’re down, everything is shut down.

During stressful times some parents may choose to turn to a higher power or practice their faith-based religion; however, I don’t necessarily turn to prayer or Church in these instances.  So for me, during these high stressful times, I handled some days healthy and some days not so healthy.  So on the healthy days, being somewhat social in my Adult Coed Kickball League, Goombay Charlotte,it allowed me to keep my mind clear for a few hours.

More so, I leveraged my best friend each day (on high alert) so that I can call on her and text her as many times as I needed for added support, while working out at the YMCA just to walk my thoughts away on the treadmill.  I asked my best friend to hold me accountable each day with 3 things that I needed to get done, one being personal for myself, family-oriented, and priority.  That helped me a little until I received additional bad news than I really hit what felt like a bottomless emotional pit (a little chuckle as I type this).  So on the non-healthy days, I slept until the kids got home, only to run to get them fast food because I myself did not feel like cooking nor eating, and then only to go back to sleep.  As I visualize this moment, I smile at my sweet daughter that was very concerning and my son even chipped in to respond to my high priority email.  Glad to have children at an independent age!

To say the least, I was consumed with coping with life and just telling my little ones that I was sick and not feeling well (which technically was not a lie).  Although I am still dealing with some residuals of this stress, it is not in the same form because I allowed myself to feel whatever pain or suffering I was enduring, while forgiving myself for my mistakes.  I looked at the present and embraced my children each day, being thankful for their existence, while having gratitude for the friends that have provided me support, no matter the distance…thankful for technology.

I did allow some days to pass by where I was totally unproductive due to my mental and emotional state, but I figured I always have time to address household chores and it might not get done today.  I have to say one of the best releases for me was attending my favorite Hot Yoga classes on Friday for $5 at Flex and Fit because I challenged myself in a more difficult pose that I would have otherwise shied away, while leaving feeling accomplished for attempting to and achieving that task.  Furthermore, my daughter came home with great news that she met her benchmarks for 3rd grade testing so I would say I am moving through my stress hopefully in the right direction day-by-day.

In closing, I hope that each of you take something from this post, in what I originally thought would be a rather standard first post…you have definitely got an inside glimpse to what the healthy struggle actually looks like in the Zappley home, while working toward progress each day!  In yoga practice, they teach to take care and acknowledge you, so that is what I am hoping that each person does for themselves today!  Love yourself!

Looking forward towards progress in the following weeks ahead with the help of Charlotte Parent Fit Family Experts!

Living Life….


Zappley Family