“One Day at a Time” – I loooooved that show when I was a little girl.
I’m dating myself but who didn’t want to be Valerie Bertinelli (Barbara) back then? I would have even been Mackenzie Phillips (Julie) – minus the drug problem of course. They looked like they had the best life in that little apartment. The girls shared a bedroom and the mom slept on the couch – but they were just so cool.
Even the mom – everyone wanted Bonnie Franklin (Ann Romano) as their mom. They had their problems but they always seemed to work them out (yes I know it was TV). If I remember correctly the father was around a little in the first season or two but after that he just seemed to disappear.
Here I am – a single mom with two girls just like my favorite TV show.
I certainly never imagined nor did I want to be here. And I did not get here the same way Ann Romano did. She was divorced and I am widowed. There are other differences between us of course. My girls and I are each lucky enough to have our own bedrooms. I think Ann was MUCH younger than I am. Thankfully neither of my girls are as troubled as Julie. And of course we do not have a Schneider.
But sometimes I do see similarities to the TV family. Obviously we are three girls just like they were. The mom was very close with her girls – they seemed to be able to talk to her about anything. I think that I am also close with Amanda and Lily – I hope they would say the same thing. My girls can certainly fight like Julie and Barbara did.
We definitely have our problems and hard times like they did, but I have to admit that sometimes it’s fun living with just “us three girls”. My girls and I can talk about girl things without anyone getting uncomfortable, and we have gotten used to walking around dressed in a way that might not be appropriate with a man around. Sometimes just being girls is a good thing.
But the words “One Day at a Time” mean more to me than just a TV show. This is how I have learned to survive.
I try to take each day as it comes and not look too far into the future if I don’t have to. This piece of advice was given to me very early on and it has helped. I was even told to take one hour at a time if one day is too much. The future can look scary, especially right after your world falls apart. If you don’t have to look that far, it’s a little less frightening.
It is now somewhat easier for me to look ahead than it was five years ago. I can now plan ahead for certain things, but for others it still is easier to just deal with today and not think about what will come tomorrow or next week or next year. I know that makes me difficult to make plans with, and don’t even think to ask me what I will be doing for a holiday that is months away. But this is what works best for me – it gives me less stress.
I know it was just a sitcom, not real life, but sometimes we can learn from TV even when we don’t realize it.
I think “One Day at a Time” was trying to tell single moms that they can do it, although it may be difficult.
Just take it slow, and deal with only as much as you can in that moment. That advice has helped me get through a lot of hard days. I hope Ann Romano would be proud.
Stacy was a stay-at-home mom/part-time preschool teacher whose life was turned upside down in 2011 when her husband passed away suddenly of a heart attack. She is raising her two fabulous daughters, now ages 18 and 20, who are turning into wonderful young women. In 2016, she started a blog about her experience as a young widow, The Widow Wears Pink. This led her to write for other publications including Huffington Post, Today.com, Scary Mommy, Grown & Flown, Kveller, Modern Loss, Thought Catalog, and many more. In 2018 she started Living the Second Act with fellow writer Mimi Golub. Today, Stacy and her daughters are happily living their “new normal” while always keeping her husband’s spirit alive.