Being a single parent, a single mother, it doesn't define me. I am a mother. A momma. That's what defines me. Being a single mother is not the hardest thing I've experienced. But I only say that because I've been alone in parenting since my daughter was 2.5 months old. Being a single mother is the only type of mother I know how to be.
Being a parent is HARD. With or without a partner, I imagine. I don't want to make my life as a single parent sound dreamy or like the ideal situation. For me, yes, I would have loved to not have gone through what I did and be divorced. But I can honestly say I've enjoyed mothering alone, with a few exceptions. Obviously everything being on you and you alone is extremely hard and stressful. Financially....it's not enjoyable. I have a very low paying job, I do get child support, but I barely make it. Because of my situation I do feel empowered to do everything alone and not ask for help...even if I need it. I look at my life as my life, my mess, my craziness....but all this makes sense to me.
In the beginning the thought of me as "single mom" scared the crap out of me. Considering I'd never been alone before, how was I ever going to be a mother alone. How would I handle life alone with a child. You can never imagine things clearly. Your mind will take you to the most negative, darkest places imaginable. But I live in the moment. I do what fits us best. I don't hide from this life. But I will not lie and say it's the most comfortable situation, especially in a world where what you don't have is what you see the most. As in I don't have a husband or "family" and that's ALL I see when we're out and about. But I don't shy away from the "family" situations...like the pumpkin patches for instance. I went full force in this area. I can shy away and be sheltered because I'm a single mother and I feel awkward or I can fully embrace it and make memories. I choose to embrace motherhood...single or not.
Being a single mother and having to work full time and then share your time with you ex is hard and stressful. The mornings get pretty hectic because my child and I aren't morning people. We rush and eat breakfast in the car on the way to daycare. I do the drop off every morning. Rush to work, most of the time being late. Work. Usually 3-4 days a week I do the daycare pickup. Home, cook, eat, clean, play, bath, snugs, bed, clean...SIT. Then I have major insomnia so I don't fall asleep until after midnight. I'm exhausted 24/7....But this is the only life I know. It's not bad. And in the craziness I'm still able to slow down. Play. Read. Embrace her and this life. Then every other weekend she goes to her dads...I feel selfish in saying I wish I didn't have to share her. Why should I anyways...I do it all. But no matter what, I know why. Because that's her dad and they need each other. As much as I need her and she needs me...they need each other as well. So I share. I go three days without my baby. It's unnatural for me...for any parent, mostly mothers I'm sure. It's one thing to choose to be without them for a night or a weekend...but to HAVE to give up time...not normal.
I'm lucky enough that I actually in general get along with my ex and try to communicate properly for my daughter's sake. I won't say that happens all the time. There is arguing and disagreements. Jealousy and moments of feeling left out. This is the reality of divorce and trying to co-parent. When I think of what my life would be life if I were to still be married, I often get to a place of thinking I would have missed a moment that Makena and I have shared because I would have had other eyes watching her, I would have been preoccupied cleaning a bigger house, doing more laundry, distracted by something other than her. I often think I could have missed many things with her if I was still married. Sounds bizarre right?
Nothing about this life is simple and nothing about it makes complete sense. One day it may get more complicated. One day it might not be as easy and go with the flow. But for now, single motherhood works for me. It's easy. I embrace the "label" and I will not let it define me. I'm just a mother loving her baby, living life.
I've often been told I make parenting look easy and not intimidating. I laugh. I run around like a crazy person and when she acts out I constantly think, "it's because I'm a single mother." I do have a pretty well behaved little lady and she's understanding...if you're not a nice girly and listen to mommy we can't do fun things. She needs to live life as much as I do. We would go out and about if I were married or single...so just because I'm single doesn't mean she doesn't deserve to see and experience like every one else. It may take us a little longer to get out the door. We may run back and forth a million times because I forgot something. We may have tantrums...I say we because momma has had many breakdowns. But this is life. This is the reality of my life as a single mother.
But with the happy of my life as a single mother...there are complications. Thoughts of the future. Decision making. Just because I'm "alone" doesn't mean I can really ever be alone in this...if I like it or not. I can live day to day minute by minute in this life...but thinking beyond that, slightly freaks me out. So for now, we'll just live. Breathe. Enjoy. Embrace.