any atheist/free thinker single mama out here? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 11 Old 08-18-2010, 04:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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ok so i wasnt really sure where to post this. however i am really interested in teh single mom experience which is why i posted here. i hope those reading this would understand what i mean by 'single mom experience'.

and i am not really sure how to word my question either.

so i wanted to talk to some of you atheist single mamas directly.

i went to an atheist meeting yesterday. and i understood so much - their views against spirituality and religion.

and i realised how freely i use the word spiritual about my experience.

i am asking because i feel esp. as single moms personal growth is soooo much important to us. i know personal growth does not include a belief in god...

but i was thinking to myself that for one reason as a single mom that spirituality or religion works for me is because the concept of 'god' makes me feel less alone.

i was sooo shocked to actually hear how persecuted these people are. how they are scared to ever say they are atheists at certain places.

for me its a huge shock. many times its that idea of someone out there that's what keeps me going. how would i feel if i dont have that.

mind you i was in a v. strict atheist group. i came back here and read whatever i could find here on MDC about mamas and was shocked to see many as UU - mainly as protection which i can understand.

'god' is my core foundation. what is yours if it isnt 'god'. this is a fabulous learning experience for me and i'd love to discover more. i hope i dont offend anyone.

i think this is the first time, truly the first time i have come across something that is truly different than i am. more so than mainstream parents or cio or any of that.

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#2 of 11 Old 08-18-2010, 06:10 PM
 
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I'm not an atheist per se (I don't believe in an all-knowing, power figure God, but I do believe that there is an "energy" in all living things), but I am very much against organized religion.

I do attend UU church, however, for the community aspect. A lot of ppl in my church are atheists. Very rarely is the word "god" mentioned in the sermons; instead they focus on self-growth and "spirituality".

Rox, HAPPY homeschooling AP single mama to the three joys in my life, DD (6), DD (4), and DS (2 months), and birth and postpartum doula.
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#3 of 11 Old 08-18-2010, 06:47 PM
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I'm an atheist and always have been. Even as a child, I pretended at believing in God, but never truly did. I basically would think of God as some kids think of an imaginary friend.

I am not a single mama at present but have been in the past.

My core foundation is the natural world and the people I share love with. I don't feel the need for anything supernatural. Natural is enough. It's real. It doesn't go away when I stop imagining it.

Douglas Adams said, "Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?"
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#4 of 11 Old 08-18-2010, 08:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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aaaaaaaah hadnt thought about that. yeah so true.

reminds me of one of my inspirations since i was dd's age.


"Daffodils" (1804)

I WANDER'D lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretch'd in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed -- and gazed -- but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

By William Wordsworth (1770-1850).

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#5 of 11 Old 08-18-2010, 11:38 PM
 
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I'm not really an atheist per say, more of an agnostic. I was raised Catholic and stopped believing in it when I was 11. I had a lot of anger at organized religion through my teenage years and early 20s. I don't really feel that way anymore. I like the idea of some kind of god or spiritual power existing, I just don't have any overt faith.
I'm a big humanist. I believe really strongly in ethical behavior. Right now, in terms of personal growth, I just try hard to live a life that I can be proud of, and model for my son with no regrets or shame. I try to surround us with good people who are also living ethically sound and joyful lives.

Jen, journalist, policy wonk, and formerly a proud single mama to my sweet little man Cyrus, born at home Dec. 2007 . Now married to my Incredibly Nice Guy and new mama to baby Arthur.
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#6 of 11 Old 08-19-2010, 06:21 AM
 
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I can't say for sure that I am an atheist because I do believe there is an energy or something that was the original creator, although even that gets tangled up in my mind if I spend much time on it at all (like who/what created the creator type thinking). I was raised Baptist and was very upset and dissatisfied by my experiences in childhood and teen years. In fact, I now have a strong aversion to church/religion period. I couldn't categorize myself beyond the very vague label of "spiritual" at this time. I don't want to be forced into a box where my choice is to comply and be rewarded with acceptance by people who didn't really get me or to not comply and be an outcast but happy within my self? So right now I don't have a spiritual community. I'd like to. There is a womens pagan circle that I know of in my community, but I was told that they are not very accepting of children during certain rituals. Well, I'm a single mom, what am I supposed to do? Yes I could get a sitter, but the point is that I don't want to exclude my DD from the experience. She may or may not believe as I do as she is still only a toddler, but at least she should be free to be a part of the experience in all of her innocence. I know I could go to a UU church and I did last year, but it still felt so "churchy" to me and I was really uncomfortable with some of the traditions/rituals which were very similar to what I had experienced in childhood.

So anyway, the fact that this group can be not accepting of young children is upsetting to me and I've never attended because DD is 2. I discovered a different spiritual tradition later in my life (pre-motherhood) where it didn't matter if a newborn baby interrupted the talk by crying to be nursed or if older (yet still young) children made unnecessary noise or other "disruptions" by adult standards. I am not in that place any longer, but I wish to find a place that see's our young children as innocent and only able to enhance what ever spiritual proceeding is happening. Children are not a distraction, they are our next generation and there are very few things (in a safe, healthy environment) that they should be excluded from.
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#7 of 11 Old 08-19-2010, 02:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Theia View Post
There is a womens pagan circle that I know of in my community, but I was told that they are not very accepting of children during certain rituals. Well, I'm a single mom, what am I supposed to do?
theia - sorry to be a little upfront but arent you being a little harsh here? all they are saying is certain rituals. and that is the case with almost any kind of activity - whether spiritual or not.

no i do not think your child has to be involved in EVERYTHING. you dont want your child to disrupt meditation.

however note that if a child can be quiet then they are very welcome.

i have broken many traditions like that. when i started meditation when dd was 3. she wanted to stay with me. i told her she could if .... otherwise she would have to either go to childcare or stay with her father. i asked the group if they were willing to try and they were kind enough to do so. at the end of a long work day, dd would fall asleep. so no one ever stopped dd coming for anything. i joined a womens group. on some days i'd have to take dd along. most of the time they were very welcoming and enjoyed having her there, but certain times it was just not appropriate. however being involved there i met some other moms and they were willing to have my dd stay with their kids and their mom if i needed childcare.

at 3 my dd wanted to be involved in a Samhain ceremony up in the mountains. she loved it. however she was quiet as a mouse during the meditation and was respectful enough to follow and do the ceremonies - so they bent their 'no child' rule.

at that time i HAD to do something otherwise i would go stark raving crazy. whether dd was going to be a part of it or not, i knew i needed to take 'care of myself'. however i also kinda waited till i knew if dd had to wait or be quiet she could, IF she put her mind to it. i gave her the opportunity and she ran with it.

i would say just go and join the pagan circle and see what its like. do you truly enjoy it. stay home or if you find childcare leave your dd there - till she can handle those ceremonies.

i know what another group did. they all wanted to go for meditation. all single moms. the moms took turns. one stayed back with all the kids while the others went off to meditate and they all took turns. you never know what kind of help you could find related to childcare.

and for all you know you might not even emjoy the pagan circle. you just never know.

but i cant think of any religious/spiritual place which will allow children for EVERYTHING. for that matter even our community gardens had adult events where children were not allowed.

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#8 of 11 Old 08-19-2010, 04:40 PM
 
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On the pagan group, I think they only allow families a few times a year. For me that's not enough community interaction. I'd like to be involved at least on a monthly level. And I may not even enjoy the group, but it just kinda turned me off to know I could only attend with DD a few times a year or at all since I don't have an evening sitter.

I do know of a meditation where the leader specifically said that noise (distractions) are not a barrier to good meditation. Yes they didn't allow children in the daily meditations but the children were included in so many other ways, not just a few times a year.

Eh... My biggest challenge is really getting myself out into my community, PTSD complicates my life and I isolate a lot. And I have a very hard time coming to trust someone to leave my DD with due to our personal circumstances. I'm working on it in counseling though and have made progress, so baby steps. Slow and steady wins the race, right?
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#9 of 11 Old 08-19-2010, 09:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Theia View Post
Slow and steady wins the race, right?
not for me.

just do it - is my thing.

my most difficult part is just taking the first step.

just one step.

if i can do that then i can jump in completely.

slow has never been my thing. slow brings in more fear. with everything in life (OMG my dd is just like me too i just realised) i am SLOOOOOOOOOOW in the beginning and then... boom i race full on ahead.

and the worst worst part? the ones that are the hardest to begin, the ones that bring out my greatest fear.... it always turns out i am GREAT at it

good luck mama. it is so hard just getting out there that i can imagine how doubly harder it is with PTSD.

you know i am shocked at that pagan group. that is v. surprising. the ones where i am and around they are sooo much open to children.

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#10 of 11 Old 08-20-2010, 07:02 AM
 
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See, I struggle with that exactly. In my weekly group session I said that "I can remember running and I wish I could do that again." And while part of me thinks it should just be as simple as forcing myself to actually take that first step, I'm not completely sure that it is. Lately I've been thinking, "when the H3!! did life get so complicated, and how did I slide so effortlessly into a motherhood identity when it is something I resisted for all of my 20's and then some?"

I know I'm going beyond the scope of the thread, and I apologize. It's just stuff I'm working on. My DD isn't even 3yo yet and so given the abuse and other craziness I faced upon entry to motherhood, in someways I'm not sure how much I've accepted that this little person who shares nearly every moment of my life is someone other than my child. IDK if that makes sense?

I am a very spiritual person and really wish to find a community or group of friends who are at least supportive in the "free thinking" spiritual way. I don't care if we all agree 100%, I'd just like to have a conversation were we discuss potentials and mull over the possibilities as we try to find what works and doesn't work for each of us. IME in organized religion there isn't much room for that, accepting what works within ones own value system over the greater value system put forth by the leaders of said group is looked down upon. But in my world, provided that we approach each action with love and goodness in our hearts, doing what we believe is for the highest good of all, there isn't much way to go wrong. I know I'm not the only person who believes as such, yet I also know I'm not a majority since I don't ascribe this believe to any strict standards much beyond what I've already stated. What is best for one person in one situation isn't always applicable to another in a similar situation. As long as each person is truly trying to do right, to do what is best, to not bring unnecessary harm, then in my world and belief system, it is good.

I hurt my abusive X when I told him I was leaving, but it was the best thing for all of us. It doesn't negate the pain that any of us felt (or will feel) wrt my terminating of the relationship, but I know in my heart that I did it for the right reasons. And that should be all that we ask of anyone, IMNSHO.

If I could find a community to support me in my spiritual growth in such a way as I've described, I'd be very happy.

eta - Thank you for the encouraging words, meemee. In someways part of what I have to deal with in PTSD is just getting out and doing it. And in someways I believe that I'll have good experiences. But there is this deep ingrained fear in me that I let hold me back because I don't know any other way to stay safe, or to keep my DD safe from the pains that I experienced and even she experienced earlier in her life. But thank you for being encouraging, really. The more I am encouraged with love, the more likely I am to follow through with seeking out those things that I desire to bring into my and DD's lives.
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#11 of 11 Old 08-20-2010, 10:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I know I'm going beyond the scope of the thread, and I apologize. It's just stuff I'm working on. My DD isn't even 3yo yet and so given the abuse and other craziness I faced upon entry to motherhood, in someways I'm not sure how much I've accepted that this little person who shares nearly every moment of my life is someone other than my child. IDK if that makes sense?
oh dont worry about the scope of the thread theia. its one of the reasons i posted this here and not in hte FYT or even the religious section of Spirituality. Yes I understand. being mama hen. its hard to let go. esp. when dealing with trauma.

I am a very spiritual person and really wish to find a community or group of friends who are at least supportive in the "free thinking" spiritual way.
I wish you all the luck finding it theia. I never did. In fact i only found it online. a group of truly supportive females. a group where i could truly go and express my sorrows and get the right kind of support. but otherwise to meet someone who 'gets' me - again not expecting to understand 100% - happened this summer. and its funny. its my anthro proff in magic and religion. ONE person IRL after over 6 years.

i just never fit in anywhere. to the level i needed to. i cannot truly talk about my faith to anyone IRL. i can talk about pieces and parts, but not the whole thing. and i have met some people who are kinda similar but then they are so different in the other realm that i dont just get it.

i mean actually for me its not even truly about faith. its been more about tolerances. aargh this is the one that gets me sooooo deeply. just accepting people for who they are.

that is why my inroad into atheism has been sooo fascinating. and i totally see where they are coming from and understanding the basis of their philosophy.

However i will say i did find something that met a lot of needs within me. i found a teacher who was willing to trade with me - training in NVC (Non Violent Communication). i am not asking you to join it. but its been a HUUUUUGE tool in my life. it gave me tools to create the world i could live in. to see the hidden meaning behind their words. my own words. it is a great conflict resolution tool, as that's the path i am following.


I hurt my abusive X when I told him I was leaving, but it was the best thing for all of us. It doesn't negate the pain that any of us felt (or will feel) wrt my terminating of the relationship, but I know in my heart that I did it for the right reasons. And that should be all that we ask of anyone, IMNSHO.
THAT is exactly how it was for me too. and while i have been able to deal with 'this is life' ex is still sooooooooooo angry with me. soooo angry. it was the best thing for dd and me to get away from emotional abuse but even today he doesnt see he is being abusive. he used to rant and rave until one time i told him i had gone to see a DV counsellor and they agreed it was emotional abuse and he finally shut up about the abuse.


If I could find a community to support me in my spiritual growth in such a way as I've described, I'd be very happy.
have you thought about instead of trying to find a spiritual place if you do the kind of things those type of people do? like community garden for instance? i dont know how to say this theia without coming across as judgmental. i live in my head. so in a sense i am a nerd, who does horribly in social group because i cannot do small talk. i like taking an issue and learning about it. before i even planted my garden i spent a month on research as i cleared up my plot. i crave some - for lack of the right word - 'intellectual' stimulation. its not about book knowledge, but something that comes from dwelling in it a lot or book knowledge. like the farmer who said you create a forest out of 4 trees. it even stumped the Ph Ds working with him. he was astonished. you dont know this. well just plant 4 trees in the 4 corners and over time the birds will eat the fruit or nest in your tree and bring seeds from other trees and in a few years your fallow plot of land will be teeming.
i can so so so relate to the need for community. i grew up in asia. a v. community focused society. even there i was a misfit though as i am here. however it was easier to have true friendships - even if we didnt have too much in common. i miss that here so so so much. and yet i cant go back. for a long time i looked at the world as no place is home. but then i realised i was curious so every place was home. because i could settle down and explore.

you know it is so important to at least have just ONE to help you walk your steps. just one. and i am so grateful that i had that. my xmil who was so fair. who didnt always take my side or butter me up - but told me the truth without taking sides. she is an amazing person herself whom i admire soo much. no one, not even my mom has done as much for me as my xmil has done for me. i mean emotional support.

btw theia i didnt do anything till dd was 3. i didnt venture out of my zone to find others till seh was 3 and a little more manageable in public. or that she reached the point in her life where she could be what society demanded of her. till she was 3 my world was kinda

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