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.
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.