I was scared. Truthfully, the uncertainty of what single motherhood would be scared me to my core.
I remember the day I packed up my things and moved out of the house I once called home. Before beginning to pack up the few items from my son’s room I was choosing to take with me, I knelt by my son’s bed as he slept soundly and made a promise to him. A promise to not let him see me in my moments of weakness, to make this transition for him as easy as I possibly could, and to remind him every damn day how much I loved him.
You see, I was broken. In more ways than one. For some leaving a long-term relationship is made easy by entering a new relationship in order to cover up feelings or to avoid dealing with their new reality. For me, I chose to focus on me and my son.
I prayed often. I prayed hard.
Even though I was surrounded with the best support system, I felt alone. There were times where my son would be playing in the living room and I would be heavily crying in the bathroom in complete silence in order to shelter him from me processing emotions that were even beyond my own comprehension. I was allowing myself to get caught up in moments of self-pity. Now let’s not get confused, this is what I wanted. The struggle? Absolutely not. What I wanted was the chance to become what I always knew I could be. I was driven by the desire to make my son proud, fueled by it, and sustained by it.
Strength always comes from struggle.
I was content with the idea that it could potentially be just me and my little guy. Us against the world. You see, being a single momma is full of the most rewarding and memorable times. Almost every milestone my child experiences will be with me. Not through an occasional picture or video; I get to experience the real deal. From him being so proud of himself for going potty “like a big boy,” when he learned how to ride a bike, to his very first soccer practice and everything in between. I will be there.
According to statistics, I should not amount to much. My life should be filled with financial hardship and struggle. I refuse to be a statistic. My parenting goal is to be a walking middle finger to all societal gender roles and stereotypes that have set me up to fail as a single mom. When I walk across the stage in December, with my degree in one hand and my son holding the other, I will look over and smile at the only people that have believed in my ability to be more than what fits the stigma of single moms. You all know who you are and if you are reading this, thank you.
If you too are a single mom and feel as though you are falling to the pressures of society here is what I have to say to you:
When you are in the grocery store and your child is misbehaving and you feel as though people are judging your parenting, know there are other single parents like me looking at you with deep respect for the responsibility you are heroically carrying alone.
There are days where you will feel like a complete failure. EVERY parent feels that way at some point in time but the love you give your child gives them strength. So if you feel down and feel as though you have nothing left to give, know that your love is enough. God chose you to be their mom. What an incredible gift.
To many, your story is inspiring. The world will be stronger because of the hard work you put in to raising your children. Do not lose hope and never, ever give in.
Life is pretty grand, even on the worst of days. As cliche as it sounds, it was not until I began to rebuild myself that I found peace.
Now dust yourself off and get to work. For you and your family. The time is now.