When I got married and had children and stepped into the world of parenthood and being a mommy, I never thought that one day I would be handling the majority of the parenting responsibilities on my own. I never imagined I would have primary custody of my children and that I would be living under the ‘single mom’ label.
I lived 3 years as a single mom and it was never easy but it was always rewarding. Some days I didn’t know how I would pay the bills or be able to provide everything for my children but by being blessed with great family and friends, we were always taken care of.
I was very blessed to have their father involved in their lives, so I did get breaks every other weekend and during holidays. Single moms who cope with no feedback or help from the father of their children are the true heroes. They are doing the work of two parents emotionally, financially and in every other way they can. Single moms and dads doing it alone deserve great respect.
The photo accompanying this article is of myself and my two beautiful kiddos and they are the reason I was able to get up every day, and do the right thing. They helped me to support them, even when some days I just wanted to crawl into bed and go to sleep after a full day of work and caring for them.
Here are 10 things you may not know about single moms:
1. We are resilient
We have experienced divorce or separation and watched our children go through the pain of a broken family. We have experienced hardships and situations we did not want or ever expect to have to go through. We continue to experience negative and challenging situations one after the other, and we just keep going with the main focus being our children. We know that it is our responsibility to do the right thing for them. Our motivation is driven by the fact that we are living for others now, not just ourselves.
2. We love to snuggle
We have children that love us unconditionally and we love them back. We sometimes just snuggle in bed with our kids and we love giving them kisses and hugs. Our moments spent together are precious, especially if we lose every other weekend with them while they visit their father. We love our kids as much as we can and those special times are the reasons we do what we do: it’s for them. The other awesome thing is that it is also for us as our children provide us with so much love it makes it all worthwhile.
3. We want relationships with others
Just because we have children doesn’t mean we don’t like to have friends or our own lives apart from our kids. We want to have relationships with adults, especially when more than half of our time is spent watching reruns of Spongebob, Dora the Explorer, playing games, or doing crafts with children. We still like to have fun and we really don’t want to spend every single waking moment with our kids. We still need quality time with friends and others outside of our relationships with our children so we don’t feel isolated.
4. We deeply value family
We know what it was like to feel like a complete family. We lost that, but we still long for it. We look at other friends or family members who have issues within their relationships and we wonder how on earth they can be unhappy – they have a stable home, beautiful children and no real drama or issues like the ones we experienced. We hope for, and desire to be a part of a healthy, and strong family once again. We would be so thankful and grateful to have another chance.
5. We want the best environment for our children
I could have stayed in my relationship to ensure that my children still had their father around. It would have been easier financially and easier for the kids to have their father around. But it was not the best environment for either of us, or the children. Single moms make hard decisions that many times will change our finances in a negative way. We choose the safest and healthiest environment for our children and we make decisions to protect our children as much as we can. Each and every situation is different but we truly want the most healthy environment for our children, and sometimes that includes hard decisions like ending the marriage if all avenues for working things out have been exhausted.
6. We don’t want pity
We do not want sympathy or pity for our situation. We accept where we are in our life as single moms, (even though we don’t love it), and we don’t want special treatment or for others to think that our lives are of lesser value. We do have a complete family, it just looks different than the traditional one. We just want love and acceptance. So, if you know a single parent that has no family nearby and you want to make their day, just offer to watch their kids for an hour so they can go to the grocery store in peace.
7. We wish we were always on time
We really do not like being late or want to be late. But when you have yourself and one or two children that need to be somewhere at a specific time, sometimes stuff just happens. We deal with scenarios like this: we’re about to walk out the front door but our son can’t find his other shoe, or, our daughter has to take that one special Barbie with her that she can’t find (rather than the 23 others she has in her toy box). Due to last minute issues like this, we get delayed. We sometimes need a little grace if we’re late. Just know that we really try and sometimes it just doesn’t work out like we planned.
8. We have lots of patience
We don’t have a person with us to reinforce boundaries or rules when our children are testing us. Often times we are disciplining on our own and it’s hard to keep rules in place every single time. We pick our battles to keep from losing our temper and we try as hard as we can to have an extra reserve of patience for those days that no matter what we do, we feel that the kids have won and we are completely defeated. However, one more day of self control and patience is a victory, and we need to celebrate that instead of beating ourselves up.
9. We have no problem being alone
We love our kids deeply, we really do. If you give a single mom a choice of staying with her kids or spending some quality time with herself, 90% of the time they are going to take the time to just recharge for a bit without their children. We would be so excited to go see a movie alone that is not animated and has a higher rating than G or PG. We would love to just drive around with OUR music on the radio LOUD because we can. I encourage the other 10% that might feel they need to be with their children every single moment they have them to just try this. We all need time for ourselves so that we can better care for our children. Let go of the mom guilt- it’s not a bad thing to take care of yourself as well.
10. We wish we had a clone
Single moms often wish they could have a carbon copy of themselves made just to accomplish simple tasks easily, like getting the weekly groceries. Or as another example, if we had a clone we could then work out in the morning before work, when the kids are still sleeping. Many single moms work 40+ hours a week and still come home to feed, care for, and nurture their children on a daily basis. Having a clone would just make it so much easier to do the small things involved with taking care of an entire household.