Being a single mom. Wow.
Let me set the record straight so this doesn't come off wrong. Two things:
One: This is written as a single Mom because that is what I know, but by all means pertains to single Dads as well.
Two: I receive child support. Financially my girls' dad does a very good job of supporting them and being very consistent in doing so. For that I am very thankful. When talking about being a single Mom, it's very much above and beyond child support.
I will say I've had a mindset that being able to support myself and my girls alone has been one of my top priorities since getting divorced in 2013. The mindset of being able to rely on myself is huge when letting go of fear.
I have to admit I am a little dumbfounded at where I am at now compared to 5 years ago.
5 years ago, three months after I had my third baby girl, something in me told me I had to do something for myself. I don't know what inside me it was, likely instinct, maybe my gut, maybe a higher force, whatever it was I listened. I sent a single email that changed the course of my entire life. I was given a small opportunity, and somehow managed to change it into the career I have today. More importantly that single email put me into a position that led me to find my passion. Photography.
I work my ass off (apologies for the language Dad), but every single mother does. No matter what her situation is. I feel very fortunate to be working my ass off doing something I love for little people that are my lifeblood, with clients that I adore.
Being a single mom means you’re exhausted, all the time. I spend lots of money on good concealer, let me tell you.
Being a single Mom is lonely.
You don’t have someone coming home to help you feed the kids and get them ready for bed,
You don’t have someone walking through the door giving you another adult to talk to (if nothing else) at 6pm. Your day starts at 6am if not earlier, and it ends when your kids' heads hit the pillows at night. And if I am being very honest, the day really never stops or begins. A single mom is on 24-7 with no relief in site. When you are being kicked by a 5 year old having a nightmare at 1am, someone needing a drink at 3am, someone too scared to walk downstairs to go to the bathroom alone in the darkest part of the night…your duty is never over. It’s a constant ON state. The switch just doesn’t turn off.
Expectations? Family life is all about expectations between the parents. All are dropped when it comes to single parenting. The only expectations are the ones you set upon yourself for the mother you want to be. I have high ones, and I am proud of that. I found I let go of a lot of anger when I faced the reality of being alone. I couldn’t get mad at my spouse for not helping, or better yet understanding, because the expectations that he was there to help were gone. It was up to me. Over time I grew to recognize, accept, and love only answering to myself.
The benefits? Oh hell yes there are benefits. I can feed my kids quesadillas two times in one week along with grilled cheese and no one will complain or question. A week of meals like that brings cheers! Ice cream for dinner?…heck yes. Best dinner ever. Besides being able to slack at cooking meals, there are truly amazing things….
I get to see my girls majority of the time and be with them at their weakest and best moments. They inturn get to see me at my weakest and strongest moments.
I get to laugh with them everyday.
I don’t see the change in their face because their face is something I see constantly.
I get to tuck them in, minus a few days a month, every night.
Kiss them every night.
And hug them every morning, welcoming them to the potential of a new day.
I’m far from perfect. I struggle constantly. My girls see it. And I am thankful they do. Maybe someday, they will take a chance, send an email, and end up in a place they know they are supposed to be. More importantly, I hope when they get there, they know they are loved and supported by me.
For all you single moms out there. Keep struggling, keep pushing, because eventually you will raise some badass independent kids.