In Praise of the Single Mother

I recently was asked to be the voice of the single mother who celebrates that role and finds the joy in it. I was asked to share things I have learned along the way that make it easier, the things that I do (or am discovering), to recharge my batteries, and allow me to find enjoyment, satisfaction and perseverance in this sometimes challenging job of Single Mom.

Shortly after that question was asked of me, when I was looking out at all this snow I had to shovel, on my own, I felt pumped up. Here was a challenge: how do I remove eighteen tons of snow from the neck of my driveway with a bum foot, and two sleeping children I don’t want freaked out if they wake and I’m not here? The story ends with two sleeping boys, a shoveled driveway, and me sitting with my bare feet in the snow on my front steps sipping my instant coffee, thinking; “I amaze me.”

“What were you doing? Your brother was in the house, and you were shoveling snow? Not uh. Not me. You deserve all the pain you get today from your foot. Stubborn!” my southern friend N declared later that morning. Yes. But the whole time I was thinking, this is one reason I LOVE being a single mother. Not because I have a crazy chip saying I can conquer the world (partially true) but because there is so much satisfaction in problem solving, organizing, and when I need, asking for help. (My brother had shoveled the driveway, twice the day before, without me asking. He enjoys snow.) Being a single mother can be for me for me, the opportunity to prove to myself, and my children, how capable I am. And, I love that.

So if you’re a single parent by choice, or circumstance, I believe there is almost always reason to celebrate what we can do. Enjoy when people marvel at your resiliency, and success in pulling it all together. Buy yourself flowers after shoveling the driveway, or make yourself a card that says; “Brava!” and tape it by your bed. Take great joy in your ability to do what some partnered people can barely pull off with two on good day.

It’s not easy, but one thing I have learned to do, is sit with the success of it, and tell my children often, how proud I am of myself. And, they’ve learned how to play right along; “Way to go Mom!” I often hear. “Your really parallel park well!” Hey, I’ll take it.

Catherine/Mama C

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“I used to think that becoming an SMC was my plan B, but it was the best decision I ever made. My son is my pride and joy. I can't imagine life without him. I am thankful that I had support along the way through the SMC community. I no longer consider it my plan B.”

– Anonymous