Mother’s Day just happened, and we all love our moms, right?! Even if we had a Dad instead of a mom, we love you too! But this blog is for the single moms out there who need some extra love.
Let’s face it, most of you probably feel or have felt alone on this journey. No matter what got you into this status of being a Single Mom, you are all equal. Even if you are no longer a single parent (like my Mom), you know all too well how if feels. This is an open letter to all of you from someone who lived this & turned out just fine. Let me show you what we–your kids–see.
As I become an adult, I meet more and more people who are single moms. Most of them have that common worry of not being enough for their child. But they are wrong….
You ARE enough, and you’re not alone.
Here’s a little story. In my family, my “grandfather” left my Nana when my Mom & her siblings were teenagers. It was rough for all of them. Years later, my Mom was pregnant with me and long story short, my “dad” didn’t want to be in my life. What happened when Mom had me surprises me every time I hear it, because I had no idea until a couple years ago….
Apparently, my family wasn’t in the best place– as you could guess with a father recently running out on them along with any other drama. I mean, what family doesn’t have drama?? The siblings were fighting & my Nana was not only depressed, but trying to keep the family together. When I was born, the fighting stopped…. That’s what babies can do. They are miracles all on their own! From there, my life started.
The best thing my Mom & Nana could’ve done for me was have the family’s help. And I mean the ENTIRE family! My Great Grandma (whom I just call Grandma) & Grandpa watched me a lot when Mom & Nana had to work. My Mom’s siblings (and some significant others) lived with us in the very beginning. It was like Full House but with 1 kid: me! My Aunts & Uncle watched me a lot too, including my Great Aunt (Nana’s sister). It was a family effort to raise me for a long time. Honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I was the only child in my immediate family until I was 12. I had a few cousins (5 to be exact), who I saw every once in a while, until my other cousins & sister were born after age 12.
And we did all this without my “dad”. I put parentheses around it because he’s not my dad, he’s the sperm that helped make me. Sorry Mom, but it’s true! People have always asked me about “my dad” since I was little. When I’d simply say “I don’t have one”, EVERY response was like this: “Oh I’m so sorry. What happened to him?” or “Oh, why not?” Gee, I was 8 when these were asked, do I look like I would know? Oh, and these questions were from parents of my friends. My friends would just say “Oh” and move on, as kids often do. There’s not much else to talk about is there? Apparently to adults, there was. Good job random adults of my childhood, you’ve now made it into the story… lol.
When I turned 13, my Mom told me about “my dad”. Then she told me I could go find him & meet him if I wanted. Now, most people think my response would’ve been YES. But it wasn’t. I simply said, “Why? If he didn’t stay, than I don’t wanna meet him.” I think Mom took it pretty harsh, but she had a Dad most of her life. I didn’t have this gaping, upsetting hole in my heart because he wasn’t there to fill it. Instead, my heart was full from all the love I had in every direction. Not only did I see my whole family a lot, I had my Nana to replace that void for my entire growing up life. I got to have another Mom instead! Mother’s Day in my family has always been a big deal. And I personally have never once celebrated a Father’s Day. Don’t get me wrong, I will when I have my own kids, & my little sister celebrates it with my step-Dad, but I will never forget where I came from.
As some of my Aunts have put it, I was the child of the family at that time. So this is where I get to the single moms out there now. You aren’t alone. Find those family members or close friends who can be there for not just you, but your child. Yes, it’s true that we all need somebody to lean on. So why not lean on someone who already loves you, no matter what?? And if you want to do it alone, more power to you honey! That’s even cooler because you can claim both roles! Haha
I don’t know if Mom even did this, but it seemed like there was just no question about dad. This was just how it was. I didn’t know better and the family kept it that way. I know many LGBT couples probably do the same with their kids: this is our life, and it’s perfect the way it is, no matter how different. We have our kids & that’s all that matters. It doesn’t matter if the father is a deadbeat, or even if he passed away. OR even if there is no Mom (for the Dad’s who are reading this). The kids don’t know the difference unless they are told. Yes, it’s difficult and not what you planned, but your child doesn’t know that. All they know is you, their family & how much they are loved. Even if Dad is a little involved, play it like it’s normal for the rest of the World! I can’t speak for divorces, but maybe try the same kind of positive thinking, and things will be better. Keep the love involved, and there won’t be problems with you & your child’s relationship– at least until they are teenagers. You will have a very close relationship, which is great!
I know a lot of you have experienced this question or are afraid of it coming from your child: “who is my dad?” You can choose how to answer that, even if it’s a lie! I don’t remember asking this question. I remember asking Mom about her Dad, but that’s it. Remember how in school the whole class makes a Father’s Day gift for their Dads? THAT was what I got confused on. I remember sitting in my 1st grade class with a blank Father’s Day card, thinking to myself “Who the heck do I give this to?” My teacher asked me what was wrong & I said “Nothing, I just don’t have a Dad…” She went “Ok, well is there someone else you love besides Mom? We can save her for Mother’s Day..” The teacher left me to my thoughts. That year, I gave it to Nana. I crossed out the Father & replaced it with Nana. This made the front of the card say “Happy Nana’s Day!” Btw, I think that should be a thing. Anyways, she loved it! I made one for Grandpa one year, but most of the time they went to Nana.
So, when you cross this bridge with your own child, they may come up with a solution all their own like I did. If not, you decide what you want them to know while they are young. It is ultimately protecting them from some drama they can’t understand yet. You can tell them when they’re older, or just not mention it. After I turned 13, I knew the story, and that was it. I didn’t need the option, or want to know more. Mom told me he has other kids. Didn’t need to know that, or them! How messed up would it be for his wife if I showed up & ruined everything she knew about him? Ruined his kid’s lives because I was being selfish & making myself feel better? I don’t need it. The less drama the better! Do you want your child to do this? Sure, you may hate the guy, but what about the wife or other kids? If you do it right, nothing bad will happen on all sides. TRUST ME!
It’s true, as Mom, you are our everything and more. Coming from someone on the other side, it’ll be ok! We just want you. You are always enough.
Don’t ever doubt it.
As an adult now, my only stumbling point on this “no dad” thing will be my future wedding. But I have lots of choices for people to give me away. I have my Uncles, Aunts & even Mom to choose from! I will probably have Mom do it if she wants to. If my great grandparents are still around, one of them could even do it. I’ve seen that before! This is for me to figure out, and is not anyone’s fault. It is part of my life. My special day will just be THAT much more special than a normal wedding. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m already pretty unique, as each one of us is!
So to all you single moms, new or older, we’re fine and we will be. We–your kids–just need your love, and maybe a little extra from you or anyone else. Don’t ever put blame on yourself please, that’s the last thing we want.
You can do this…..
Love you Mom,
Love your daughter/son/children.
Happy Mother’s Day everyone!