Single motherhood – turns out, not so easy, but not so tough either.

Being a single mom is tough. But like anything else in life – you get used to it. you adapt, you become stronger and you survive. You also have the power of love on your side – the love you feel for your child is stronger than anything you’ve ever felt – it compels you and drives you day in and day out.

It’s the day in and day out duties you assume that can catch up to you if you don’t surround yourself with friends. It’s why I usually have them over two or three nights a week. This way I save money on babysitting and get some healthy adult interaction.

I’ve already told you why I love being a single mom. And I would never have it any other way but today I need to vent about the downsides. Just need to blow some steam.

The toughest aspects of single motherhood:

It’s all on you. Everything. The groceries, the doctor’s appointments, the clothes shopping, the bills.
I haven’t slept in (for free) in 10 months.
I have cleaned the kitchen and bathroom every night, by myself, for 10 months.
I have done every load of laundry, every bathroom scrub down and cooked every meal.
I have to discipline him on my own.
He gets bored with me …this could all be in my head, but I just think if he had more than one parent around he would be a bit more entertained.
I can’t give him enough attention. As a single mom you have to make choices. Cook the kid’s dinner or play with him. Hmmm….food. This is just one example.

Okay, now I feel a bit better. And now looking at that list – it doesn’t seem so tough.

The hardest part of all is the idea that I am the only one, the only one who truly knows my son. But even that doesn’t sound harder than being with his father – that was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Being miserable with his dad is much harder than being a single mother – I can guarantee it.

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my son

The sweetest of the sweets. Even when he is covered in goo and smelling like – you know. I’m thankful he has the patience to forgive me for not being perfect, to love me no matter what and to accept me as the mom that I am.

reminder

We all need reminders that life is precious. If we all had more, perhaps our relationships would be different, our lives and our existence. It’s a bit of a black fortune, I think, to know what true loss feels like.

The fortune is only that now you truly appreciate life. We all say “life is short” but now you know it is and you live your life differently than you lived it before. There is a stark difference in your life between that before and after and it’s very hard to explain to those who have not lost or experienced such a tragedy.

why do single moms have commitment issues?

1). Because we have discovered that we can live happily ever after solo.

2). We haven’t found that “spark” and are holding out of that same fire we felt before.

3). Even though we may feel “over” a traumatic experience like losing your ex-boyfriend to cheating, there is still hurt there. We have found happiness and it seems so scary to risk ever feeling that hurt again.

So, yes, this is normal. What should you do about it? Keep dating. Because it’s fun! But from here on out don’t let the relationships make it to two months, eliminate them faster to make room for some of that spark.

my path

After leaving him, I couldn’t bear to look at them. I would see the pictures and tuck them away, back into their hiding places. I made myself save them so Jaden could have them. So, that one day when he has questions upon questions and wants to “see” that his parents were truly in love at a moment in time, for the reason of creating him – he’ll see that he was a product of something beautiful.

And fortunately, for him, he never witnessed what came after that day. Now, a year later, I can look at the pictures. Hold them in my hand. Bring them closer for inspection. I look at the girl who thought she was a woman in the photos. I remember exactly what I was thinking, too.

“This is forever. I will be with this man forever and although I’m scared as shit about that, I love him and love is enough.”

I don’t call myself foolish. I don’t even feel any shame for making such poor judgment. In that moment I followed my gut which was steering me down the path I’m on now.

Revolution from Within

I pick up the book and open the cover. I love the smell of books, and even more I love feeling them in my hands. The pages of this book are dusty, the corners folded.

It’s an impossible standard because the more I learn about something, the more I realize I don’t know about another. But still, I wonder often how much shorter that list would be had I never allowed my life to be derailed by men. During high school, college and the career that followed I always had a boyfriend or a man I was dating. The relationships, all failing, ultimately took time away from other pursuits.

Why have I always been so vulnerable to being completely and absolutely distracted, often to my detriment, by the men who enter my life? Do I have self-esteem issues? And what does that say about me as a mother? I had been dating the wrong men my entire adult life. I vowed to never choose a man again for the wrong reasons.

I have felt ever since that my choices and subsequent relationships have improved dramatically–but, here I am, still single. Nothing wrong with that and I’m not kicking myself with regret. Here, where I am now, is a very good place to be. But, I am still feeling little echos of need. Of needing someone just to have someone, to feel wanted. And that scares the s&*t out of me, because that feeling of need, that feeling of filling some void inside of me that no man can ever really fill is what always gets me into trouble.

I want it to go away and I can’t afford the therapy bills, so I start reading, hoping this book has some answers.

She has me within a few seconds, gripped by a quote from her own Mother that “Children don’t belong to us. They are litle strangers who arrive in our lives and give us the pleasure and duty of caring for them–but we don’t own them. We help them become who they are.”

Jaden, my little stranger. “I love you more than anything and no matter what.”

I had always assumed he knew that I loved him no matter what, but it was my dad who enlightened me to the fact that I had to say it out loud. That with children that young, as Steinem explores, unconditional love is the only thing that matters.

I feel drained enough with just Jaden, constantly keeping my temper at bay. It’s hard; modern motherhood and it’s a wonder half of us are as sane as we are.

His eyes seem to sparkle, the bright hazel brown eyes jumping right out and into my heart where I’m smiling back. Forever connected, and it all starts in the beginning of a child’s life.