To be a single mom.

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People often ask me what it is like to be a single mom. It is an innocent enough question but is not one that can be answered in a few sentences.  I usually tell people that it’s really hard but really rewarding because it is the simplest way to sum it up.

Being a single mom is so much more than what you see on the surface. It’s hard being the only parent and there really isn’t a standard answer to properly address the question. What does being a single mom mean? Well, it means a lot.

It means that I am the only parent who is present every single day. I am the one who gets up with her when she is hungry, scared, not feeling well or wants comfort. It means that I don’t sleep through the night and haven’t in a very long time. It means that I often go to work with less than five hours of sleep because there isn’t anyone else to take a turn or give me a break.

It also means that my income is how we survive. I budget, plan, coupon and shop sales so that we never have to go without. I am lucky; I have a good job which allows me to adequately provide. But lots of single parent families don’t and have to pick and choose between wants and needs.

Being a single mom also means that I don’t experience much alone time. My daughter is always with me when I am not at work. There are evenings when I would love to go to the gym, or read a book or go on coffee dates with friends, but often it just isn’t possible. Yes I could get a babysitter, but after being at work all day the last thing I want to do is spend more time away from her.

Then there’s the inevitable fact that my daughter will start to ask questions as she gets older. She’ll wonder why her family doesn’t have a mom and a dad. And it will be me who has to explain it to her. I will do my very best to be open and honest but no matter how I say it or explain it, it won’t be easy.

And the sickness. That’s all on me. Literally. A few nights ago my daughter wasn’t feeling well. I was holding her in my arms and trying to make her feel better when suddenly she vomited all over the two of us. It was awful. It was on me, on her, on my clothes, in my hair, and all over the floor. Being a single mom meant that it was me and me alone who dealt with that. I cleaned her and got her comfy, then cleaned the floor and finally myself. I often come last in this equation.

Being a single mom also means that I need to think long and hard about every decision I make. I don’t spend money without checking my budget; I don’t plan a night out with friends till I am sure my parents can babysit. I don’t go on dates or introduce new people into my daughter’s life because I don’t want people just walking in and out on her. It’s sometimes lonely but her best interests are always in my heart and I could never imagine making any type of decision without factoring in how it might affect the two of us.

I don’t think there’s any quick way to sum up what being a single parent is truly like. It’s exhausting, in every sense of the word. I think back to my single days and how my exhaustion then and my exhaustion now are so different. My exhaustion back then came from working two jobs and having a busy social life. And it truly was exhausting. But my exhaustion now is so much harder and much more chronic. And even though I sometimes wish I could go back to the exhaustion I used to know, I actually wouldn’t. Because those days didn’t involve my daughter.

So now matter how tired, overwhelmed, stressed, lonely or frustrated I can be it’s still all worth it. Yes, it is really really hard. It’s the hardest job I have ever had. But it is also extremely rewarding. Unless you’ve been a single parent, there’s not really a way for me to explain it to you. What I can tell you though is that being a single mom has made me realize I am stronger than I ever thought possible. And that feeling, the feeling of being strong and fierce and independent and fabulous (yes fabulous!), that is what keeps me going. That and my daughter, because when it comes to her, I will NEVER give up ❤

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9 thoughts on “To be a single mom.

  1. While I have never been a single parent, my husband as former military and now a police officer is often gone and works varied schedules so I definitely understand how difficult it can be during rough times where kids are sick etc. It is very hard to be the sole person that is there to take care of your children and all I can say is you should be extremely proud of the amazing job you’ve did and will continue to do. I really admire all of the single parents out there and you all definitely deserve praise for all the hard work.

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    1. I’m sure it’s difficult to have your husband hone for long stretches like that. It’s especially hard when kids are sick or we are parents get sick.

      Thank you so much for your kind words. It’s a tough job but I wouldn’t change a thing!

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  2. It is good you have your parents. I am married and couldn’t manage without mine near by! My hubby is a farmer though so certain times of year the kids go all week without seeing him and it can be hard and then transitioning back to remembering to include him in doing some things when he is less busy is hard too. Here’s hoping you aren’t both sick at the same time ever! That would be the worst!
    Thank you for the compliment on my blog. I have been discouraged by some submission rejections lately and it has been awesome to get nice feedback on my last post.

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    1. You learn to appreciate your parents in a new way once you have children if your own. Mine are amazing, I’m so grateful for them.

      Rejections are the worst 😦 I’ve had a ton of them lately too. I tend to get discouraged sometimes but I try to remind myself why I started writing ; to connect with other moms and to have a place to get my feelings out. I think your blog is wonderful! So glad I found it. Don’t ever give up!

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  3. I take this post to heart with being a single mom too. Moving out of our home back into my parents. Raising my daughter and being the full time parent for her. This was very touching knowing there is always a light at the end of the tunnel and it’s the most rewarding thing knowing it’s all because of us moms that our little ones are who they are. Xo!

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