Do you know how you feel about single mothers? Or are you one? Have you heard these before?: She is lazy, her kids are out of control, she’s selfish and ignores her kids, she’s a slut. I’ve heard every single one. Said right to me by family, strangers, neighbors, and some not so awesome friends.
I often wish to give back and have nothing to say. No message. And then I realized, yes I do. I want to speak publicly to small and large groups or even one person. To give back. To empower those who feel like they are stuck and spread the message that single moms are some of the strongest people on the planet.
How would I know? Well I am one. And here is some back story:
No little girl sits down when she is little and thinks, I can’t wait to be a single mom. In fact, it is shamed in us. Ingrained in us from very early that being a single mom will destroy your life. There is a difference between teaching our teens safe sex to protect them from diseases versus teaching them abstinence because if they become a single teen mom, it’s over. Then again we have shows dedicated to glorifying teen pregnancy such is the duplicity of our culture.
I did everything right. I did. I got married and within a few years we decided to start a family. And that was when it all fell apart. They often say a baby changes everything. It does. No one told me that my husband would completely change his personality to abuse and control. No one told me that my baby and I would nearly starve because of his insecurity of having a fat wife and unhealthy child. No one told me that my son would barely survive birth and that he would have lasting effects. I would think to myself it isn’t supposed to be this way. Obviously for self-preservation and protection of my child I left before he was nine months old.
I had a supportive family so I was lucky. Some mothers don’t have that option. After a decade and more working with women of domestic abuse, and in the world of birthing babies, I can tell you there ARE options.
Now fast forward. My oldest is 7 and I meet a guy who seems decently kind and perfect for what I wanted in life which was a companion but not anyone I would bring home to daddy. (All of you dear friends just did the proverbial UH OH!). And you guessed it. That man took off as soon as I had a positive pregnancy test that shocked my whole system and rocked my world. Right when I needed the most support, I got crickets. Ghosted by a grown ass man. (Not deserving of the word man).
Myth No. 3: You Want to Steal My Husband
Truth: We just either got dumped or we dumped our husbands. We really don’t want yours, I promise. Half the time I don’t even know if I want to be in a relationship or get married again. So, please, for Pete’s sake, stop thinking we are on the prowl for married men, especially yours. Girl code, hello.
Do you know what happened friends? I was the one judged. I was unfriended on social media, I was given the silent treatment at work, and my neighbors stopped speaking to me. All but one couple who I am grateful for. When I had to go on bed-rest he came over and mowed my lawn every week. I was considered a slut, a gold digger, irresponsible, stupid. And what could I defend that with? I am a single mom of two kids by two different dads. Did it matter it was over a span of a decade? Did it matter at all? No. I was brave enough to stand up and say, I am taking this moment to do as I always have and survive from my own work and tenacity.
So each week I will add to this anthology of changing the world one single mom at a time. Most of us KNOW we are so much stronger than the world gives us credit for. We are not lazy, we are exhausted with no back up when our kids don’t listen. We work long hours to feed the kids and barely eat ourselves some months if there isn’t enough to go around. Our kids are not out of control. They know how to push and push until we give up because we are so worn out with caregiver fatigue and no help. We are both mom and dad. We are the sole breadwinner. We are the front line and the last line. That hardly gives us time to be a Pinterest mom or a Disney dad. Some moms swing those things. I am not that girl.
And by the way. When you see us posting a selfie because we are out with our friends late on a Friday night instead of being home with our children keep this in mind. This perhaps was the first time in six months we have gotten away to just be an adult and be ourselves. And if I look damn fine doing it? All the better. Come the next morning, regardless of the late hour we will be back at it. Up at the crack of dawn with the toddler, up in the middle of the night with the infant or one that had the nightmare. Up all night with the one with the flu and yet facing work in the morning. Well unless we are fired because six days off a year just doesn’t work with sick kids.
To make sure that your children are happy, you have the responsibility of being happy. That is what your children will learn from you when they see what a happy and positive person their mother is.
Maybe I won’t change the world. But I want to send a clear message to that exhausted single mom who cries into her pillow at night: YOU CAN DO THIS. YOU ARE DOING THIS. One sleepless night at a time. One unpaid bill at a time. One bad day of work at a time. There are options out if you feel trapped. There is hope for your small income you stretch. There are a lot of options out there for you right this minute. Being a single mom does not mean you are always poor and worn out. But it happens more often than not in our world.
Each week I will build on this idea. I will have a small snippet though I have no cute saying yet to go with it. What is my Why? As Simon Sinek would ask. My WHY is all of you. Each and every reader. I might focus on the single mother because I see their plight most in my life, but I want to speak to all of you friends. That is why I call you friends. I am not afraid to call you that. Love me or hate me. Agree or not, you are still a friend to me.
I appreciate you when you read the short posts, the fiction, the prose, and the long posts like this. I appreciate you in the community I have found here who support one another and make all of us brave in some way. September is about being brave. Here I am world. I am a single mom with two kids from two dads who are not my husband’s. I am a recently fired nurse who wasn’t given the sock of freedom.
I make mistakes. I take chances. I am the girl who faced down over 56k in debt and paid it all off in 15 months. I have a car I have to blow the tires up on every single day and smells like the swamp monster owned it last. I have clothing with holes and that barely fit and are probably from the 80’s. But my kids are dressed in clothing that though gently used, aren’t like mine. But I also have a village. A support group I have built around me from the author’s circle, to family, to my excellent new partner in life. I have a good paying job that I just started. I am not a victim of my circumstances, but a champion of them. I can’t wait to lead. I can’t wait to grow. I can’t wait to see what I do with life because each day is such an adventure to me.
If any of my friends out there would like to know more about how to get out of debt, how to make a strong village, or how to navigate leaving an abusive situation feel free to private message (PM) me. I am happy to help or listen. Sometimes all we need is someone to listen. And thanks for reading the long post. Especially on a mobile if you used that.
My two babies.