I heard a quote the other day that upset me more than I anticipated it would. “Ladies, if your children’s father is financially and emotionally available for your kids, you are not a single mother, you are a single person.” I can’t find the source (it is likely it was anonymous) but I would like to kindly disagree.
I suppose I have taken a different perspective since becoming a single mother to two kids, and it is one I am happy to have. However, I will absolutely argue that I am not SIMPLY a single person, I am a single mom as well. The responsibilities and daily happenings when my kids are with me are 100% MINE, with no other partner to lean on for advice or an extra hand. Granted, I love being a single mom more than I ever loved being married. I appreciate the hard work it takes (and that I eventually failed to provide) to make a marriage work. No one wants their family to be in two parts, it wasn’t a goal I set out for. I didn’t want this single life when I made the choice to bring my babies into this crazy world. But I have to say, now that it’s here, I am making the best of it, and bonus: my kids have a happier and more involved mom now too. While I’m making the best of it, I am doing it without a partner. I haven’t taken the easy way out and taken in a partner that wasn’t right for me AND my daughters just to give me a set of hands. I haven’t introduced my kids to people I feel so-so about. I am doing this “alone”. As single people, us moms and dads have to seek out help in the arms of family and friends, hopeful that the village we know will help us raise our children. But this doesn’t provide a constant partner-type sounding board, one that will be a shoulder for you when you second guess the latest drama filled fight between your 6 and 9 year olds. It doesn’t provide a second set of eyes when you think your daughter is flirting a little too hard with the neighbor boy. It doesn’t magically create a school lunch while you shower in peace before work. So no, anonymous quote maker-I am not just a single person. I am a single MOTHER.
I actually don’t give a shit that my ex husband helps financially bear the weight of our daughters clothing needs. I could care less about the five bucks I saved because he helped pay the insurance payment-that I too foot the bill for. What matters is that our kids are emotionally stable, physically cared for, rallied for, empathized with, taught, guided, supported, and that they know I am a safe space for them to land. This is MY job. ALONE. Without the help of a partner, I am a single person, mother, daughter and sister. Even when (and IF) I bring a partner into our lives, I will still be a single mother. I will still have all of those responsibilities that I will not magically pass off to a partner. But I will no longer be a single person. I will have a person to be MY partner, a person to hold my head when I cry from the weight of the day, a person to bounce crazy ideas off of, like building a tiny house to live on a commune in Spain. But no, this will not be their other parent, those responsibilities will still be mine, as they were before. It will be easier with a hand to hold, but it will not miraculously make me an un-single mom.
As my children grow older I realize, we can do anything. We CAN do this as a three girl unit. Its empowering and intense and heartbreaking and fun and silly and we talk and feel a lot. But I am a single, solitary, romantically alone, only me to wipe the asses, bad ass mother, god damnit.
This author has chosen to publish her work anonymously.