One day at a time, single moms.
Sometimes I have to laugh at how life works out; if you had told me a few years ago that I would be living the life I have today, I would not have believed it. As a teenager and a young adult, I remember thinking that I specifically never wanted to be a single mother. Being raised by a single mother, I had witnessed the struggle on a very personal level. My mom parented with tremendous strength and love, and sacrificed everything to give me and my brothers a consistent life, as well as meaningful relationships and experiences. However much I respect and love her, I did not envy her circumstances. I do have to say that even if you were raised by a single parent, you cannot know the pain and stress and guilt that is reserved for single parents until you become one yourself. After years of watching my own mother navigate parenthood and life alone, I still did not know exactly what it meant to be a single mom.
I am extremely fortunate to have the help and support of my entire family and many good friends along the way. I am grateful that my family and friends accepted me and my daughter with arms wide open, because I know that not all single moms have the support that I have. I would say that a community and a support system is crucial for single parents, and I know that that is sometimes the most difficult thing to do. When you must support and care yourself and your child or children, finding or creating a community around yourself sounds like a lot of extra time and energy that you do not have. But it is truly worth it; it might just be the most important thing you can do for you and your children.
So, I write this today to recognize all single moms, as well as the struggles and joys they face. I am sorry you have to know the pain and heartbreak of being a single mom. I am sorry if you face judgment from both loved ones and strangers for not being with the father of your children. Sideways looks, offhand comments, blatant statements of disgust. The truth is that those people do not know your situation. They have NO place to judge. If you are a single mother because you realized that it was the best thing for both you and your children to leave their father, you did the right thing. It is better to be alone and struggling with some chance of happiness, than it is to be alone, struggling and absolutely miserable (or worse). If you are a single mother, not by your own choice, but because of someone else’s selfishness, my heart goes out to you. If you are a single mother because the nightmare of losing your spouse became a reality for you, I imagine there is no greater pain than what you experience, except maybe the pain of losing a child. I cannot know your exact pain, but my heart aches for you all, single moms.
If you are reading this as a single mother, know that I see you. In a world where mothers in general often remain unseen, unheard, and misunderstood, single mothers in particular are perhaps the most harshly judged. If you are reading this as a single parent, know that you will sometimes be alone in making your parenting decisions, but I can guarantee there are mothers, both single and not, that would welcome you into a community. Don’t give up on finding a niche for your family even if your family might seem a little broken and battered at the moment. A single parent family can absolutely be and feel whole and healthy.
Are you a single mom or do you know someone who is? Share the good the bad and the crazy with us in the comments or in an email. We always love to hear from our readers!
With love from a fellow single mother,