Most women as they set their goals in life one of their top priorities is becoming a Mother. They create a life and begin to set molds on how they should be and the things they will need. One of those things is the “perfect” husband. If these women come from homes with a steady male figure they begin to fantasize about one just like him. A provider, the head of the household, one who takes care of everything.
But is that really the truth? As young children watch their parents and begin to form their own ideas is a two parent household really an obtainable goal or just unrealistic? Are our parents really happy or are they just putting on a show? With some studies going back to 2017 showing there are more than 12 million single-parent families in the USA, I tend to go towards putting on a show.
I remember growing up seeing a variety of “families”, mom, dad, and a few kids, mom, dad, kids and grandma, mom, grandma, and the kids and so forth. One thing I always noticed was that the parents weren’t as happy as I “thought” they were supposed to be. I saw a lot of unhappy women and men equally and I just couldn’t understand why.
I personally was raised by a single mother until the age of ten or eleven so I really never knew anything else but one thing I knew for sure was that I didn’t want to follow in these people’s footsteps. My dad was always a part of my life as a child but I knew that what I saw in other people’s houses was not what I wanted for myself. That became extra clear once I reached H.S. and began to expand my circle of friendships and began to visit even more families. I began to see the lies and I began to see the sacrifices most of these moms were making.
I didn’t set out to be a “single mother” I never thought I’d raise my child on my own but when my daughter was around twelve years old and I accepted that my relationship was no longer serving anyone I chose to move forward alone. Better alone than in bad company, that is a hard choice for many I have also learned on this journey. Many women choose to struggle on than to do it on their own. But for those of us who have these are a few lessons learned along the way.
Three mistakes to avoid as a “Single Mother”…
-Guilt, right off the bat it is by far the most persistent emotion. Am I doing enough, am I giving enough, will this be enough…Enough is what you make it. If you try to follow someone else’s path you will surely fail. Once you accept your limitations your successes will become endless. I made a choice to provide my daughter with a loving home. A home that was peaceful and stable, a home that reflected caring for one another. A home that didn’t blame other’s for our shortcomings and once that was established the guilt went away. She would always have two parents that loved her just not in the same home and that was totally ok.
-Indulgence, humans as a whole have a tendency to overcompensate as a coping mechanism. We overeat, over exercise, over spend, over over over. We don’t want anyone to think of us as “lacking” anything, so we cover things up no matter the cost. Being a single mother especially pushes things to the edge. You want to show others you have a handle on things, you don’t need anyone’s help, everything is “always” fine. But in truth, while most times it is sometimes it isn’t and that is ok too. Our children don’t require quantity, they require quality. No amount of anything you buy can replace the nurturing and love they need to flourish. So don’t fall into the trap of indulgence as a replacement for the parent that no longer lives at home.
-Shame, though we are living in far different times some people’s mindsets never change. The stereotypes of single mothers still creep up ever so often. Disrespectful comments, unsolicited advice, underestimating our abilities, and unfair assumptions are just a few of the things encountered. Add to this the struggles to provide for your family when government programs are cut or wages aren’t fair and you create an atmosphere of shame. Don’t lose sight of yourself. Don’t let words and comparisons shift your focus from your goals and all that you have already accomplished. There is nothing to be ashamed of if you are providing for your family. Just because your family does not look like the one next door to you it doesn’t mean yours is not a family none the less. Remember what I said earlier about lies? Don’t fall for what you see, you never know what is really going on inside.
I have been a single mother now for over twelve years and honestly,I don’t even care for that label but if it makes someone else feel better go ahead and call me that. I just happen to be a mom who is currently single. Who had a relationship, we had a child, it didn’t work out and we both moved on. That is life. Sometimes things don’t work out and you must move on. Single motherhood is a challenge there is no lie in that. But the truth is much more rewarding when you have raised a well balanced, caring, human being who is mindful of how plans change and that parents are just doing the best they can with what they are dealt.
If this has been your experience I send you love and understanding, if this is something you are currently in the process of I send you love and understanding, if this is an experience you have frowned upon in the past or have no real understanding of, I urge you to start a conversation and open the lines of communication with your fellow community and neighborhood parents. Perhaps find ways to show support and uplift instead of judge and tear down. Single parents, because even though I addressed mothers here today we do have single fathers who need our support as well, should always feel respected, appreciated, and loved.
What are your thoughts, what has been your experience? What other mistakes should single mothers/parents avoid?
Always stress-free xo,