Four Flat Tires?

Family, Self

The Life of a Single Mom as told by a Divorce Coach

This morning started out as any other morning would, I got my older son ready for high school, fed our dog, and attended to my younger son at the same time. I was grateful that I had made lunches last night, that the dog did not throw up this morning, and that only half of my eye makeup was smeared down my face when I checked my appearance in the mirror.

My younger son’s friend appears in our driveway, the three of us hop in my car, and we’re off to middle school to make it in time for basketball practice. It’s the first cool morning of the school year and the boys are bundled in their jackets. They’re talking in the backseat about their basketball strategy when my car starts making weird noises and lights start flashing.

I see a warning that says I have a flat tire. I’m driving on “run flat tires” and the display says I can drive up to 50 mph and that I need to get to a service station.

I hit the “OK” button to acknowledge and keep driving. As a single mom I have learned a valuable lesson: take one request at a time, take one crisis at a time, and just take one minute at a time when you need to.

That ‘minute thing’ comes in handy because one minute later my warning signals start flashing to alert me that I have a flat tire again. Now I look and see that it’s not the same tire, but on the opposite side.

“Mom! What is going on!” my son exclaims from the backseat as I’m silently asking myself the same question.

“It’s fine,” I say calmly, “I’ll take care of it right after I drop you off at school.”

Less than a minute later the signals start again. This time it’s the third tire that’s flat! And, you guessed it, it happens again a minute later and now my car display is reading that I am driving on four flat tires.

FOUR FLAT TIRES? What are the odds? What is going on?

Then it hits me. I know what is going on. I start to laugh. I don’t have any flat tires. I just have low tire pressure from the cold weather change. I just need air in the tires.

I think about my life as a single mom and I can only smile. I remember when the same thing happened to me last year, only it was just one tire. I had called the dealership in a panic and they told me to come in for air or go to a service station. I had completely overreacted because I had no idea what was going on.

Not wanting to be dependent on someone else every year when this happened I had purchased an air pump. Now I knew exactly what I needed to do.

When I first left my marriage I quickly learned that I had a choice when things went wrong: I could learn to fix them myself, or call for help when they were too much to handle. Five years later I marvel at how much I can fix myself.

As a Divorce Coach it’s a similar process that I take my clients through: what can we fix and what do we need to build a team together to fix? Either way we are going to fix the issues, but we need to assess in a calm and focused manner how we are going to attack what is in front of us and use that strategy to get to the end result we want.

None of this was intuitive to me when I first left my marriage. Everything that broke felt like a bridge that would take years to repair. Every problem felt like a tragedy, every new solution felt like reinventing the wheel. It was exhausting.

So I know how my clients feel when they come to me. If I could have had a Divorce Coach then those years of struggle would have been so much easier. It is why I do what I do.

And I know just what I’m going to do first when I drop my son off: I’m going to go home and put air in my tires.

“Mom!” my son knocks on my window as I start to drive away, “I left my trumpet at home and I need it right now!” Ok, I know what I am going to do second right after I drop my son off.

This article was originally published at HuffPost. Reprinted with permission from the author.