Traditions & Celebrations

I Choose You

This will be my first Mother’s Day as a single parent. It is bittersweet. I would joke and say that the only thing that will be different this year is that I won’t have a husband to half-ass a last-minute grocery store gift on behalf of my young children. Which, by the way, has totally happened. But there is so much that is different.

In a way, when you are a single mom, every day is Mother’s Day. You are it. Their single parent. They need you to be “on” and at your best all of the time. You are a rock and a rock star. Because your kids need you to be. You make mistakes. You learn. Your kids grow, and you grow with them.

I have always had tremendous respect for single parents. But, I never thought about the daily challenges they face. Ever try to put two young kids to bed at the same time? During a thunderstorm? Or to clean vomit off your preschooler, while your baby cries? How about to eat a well-balanced diet, workout and get enough sleep when you have competing priorities and only two arms? I have had to alter expectations and strategies. And forgive myself. And laugh a lot.

katy sand angel

I also never thought about the discrimination single moms face. Every time I tell someone new that I am a single mom, I get a raised eyebrow. I can see the questions behind their eyes and sometimes, if they are forward, hear them come out of their mouths – Are you a widow? A lesbian? Or my favorite – one of those liberated women who, when finding themselves lacking a man and hearing the ticking time bomb of their biological clock, decided to acquire a turkey baster and some sperm?

Because I have the privilege of being an educated, white professional, people tend to not assume that I had my children out-of-wedlock as a result of unplanned pregnancies. And the last thing people think is divorce. And certainly not a divorce after leaving an abusive husband. I just don’t look the part.

So, because I don’t wish to tell my painful story to every stranger I meet, I simply say – I am a single mom to the two best kids on the planet.

In a way, I am a single mom by choice. I chose my kids and my safety over a bad marriage to a bad man. I chose them. There’s a Sara Bareilles song – I Choose You. Every time I hear it on the radio, I think of my kids and tear up. I am tearing up right now writing these words.

We are not perfect we’ll learn from our mistakes
And as long as it takes I will prove my love to you
I am not scared of the elements I am underprepared,
But I am willing
And even better
I get to be the other half of you

Tell the world that we finally got it all right
I choose you
I will become yours and you will become mine
I choose you
I choose you

Because my children are young, I may not get breakfast in bed on Sunday or a trip to the spa. I might get handmade gifts from daycare (which I will cherish), but I will most definitely get hugs and kisses and laughter. I have an opportunity to create new traditions with them and to move forward in my life as a single mom, with hope, healing and most of all, a lot of love.

To all the moms, especially the single ones, Happy Mother’s Day!

Image credits: Steph, all rights reserved.

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Steph

Steph

Steph recently traded single parenthood to two awesome kids (3 and 7) for marriage to a great guy with two awesome kids (5 and 10). Their adventures in parenting are set in a tiny town in the middle of a corn field. Their newest edition is due in February 2017. In late 2015 she left her stressful, more than full-time job with a victim services agency to pursue writing and activism. When she's not busy writing, chasing kids around, cleaning up messes and engaging in social justice warfare, Steph enjoys snuggling, making pies, engaging in debates on the internet, yoga, and fitness. A recovered natural parent, Steph now considers herself a semi-crunchy peaceful parent and trusts science, evidence and common sense to lead the way. She has been actively involved in the reproductive and women's rights movements for more than 20 years and is a passionate pro-choice feminist.

2 Comments

  1. May 9, 2014 at 10:42 am —

    This is really beautiful, Steph. <3

  2. May 25, 2014 at 2:10 am —

    I know mother’s day is long past, but I keep finding myself returning to this post because it is, as Em says, beautiful. Thank you so much for it.

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