Freedom Friday: In praise of the single mother

Mama C and the Boys/ Parking with ease!

Last week I was almost on a radio show. I was asked, by a new ether friend, and single mother sensation, Issa Mass aka SingleMomNYC, and Your Single Parenting 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:

What I was hoping you could bring to the conversation were the things that you do (or are discovering), to recharge your batteries, and allow you to find enjoyment, satisfaction and perseverance in this sometimes challenging job of Single Mom.  Whether it be mantras you repeat to yourself, physical exercise, time with friends, or anything else be that adds enjoyment to your journey as a single mom, please share your perspective on how you are committed to enjoying your time as a single mom.

Although, as is often the case in the big world, verses the humble world of the blog, things happen, plans shift. Although I was understandably disappointed that the show had been postponed the offer was a big boost to me in and of itself.

The morning before the show, 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? There was a man 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 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.

I am thinking of making one of my weekly posts, devoted to celebrating all this single parent goodness. Stay tuned on that. What are your some of your success as a single parent? What are you feeling particularly proud of today?


10 comments

  1. I’m not a single parent but a lot of the kids I know who were or are being raised by a single mother have an incredibly close bond with with their moms. And you’re so right about doing things that normally get left to the man in the household. I’ve become so lame when it comes to typical guy things like car tuneups, house fixits and so on. Although, I do LOVE good shoveling! I shoveled out entire doble block on the last snow day (which really only proves how little snow we get!).

  2. Like you, sometimes I am awed by my own resiliency, my own abilities to do what needs to be done. Sometimes I fall down on those responsibilities and don’t quite succeed like I’d wished, but more often than not, I’m proud of what been accomplished. I fully support the idea of celebrating single moms once a week. I’ve been doing it for 11+ years and it hasn’t necessarily gotten any easier, just different challenges.

  3. Bravo mama! Today, I am feeling particularly proud of the fact that I have the power to turn frowns upside down =). I have the ability to make my child radiate from the inside out with just a simple little hug. Its so true Karmavore, the bond between a child and mother who is at the forefront 24-7/365 is something of tremendous value. I’m all for the celebration!

  4. I love the idea of a weekly post dedicated to single parent goodness!
    I’m a single mama to one fantastic ten year old boy and find we have so much to celebrate, not the least of which is our incredible relationship. We have traveled the globe together, most recently two months in Africa, and are now traveling the path of international adoption together. Big brother to be is thrilled!
    I also marvel at how much we single mamas are able to accomplish. I tend to balk at something at first and then surprise myself with the ability to pull it off – patch the hole in the drywall, put myself through grad school, bake cupcakes and get them to my son’s school on time, eek out some moments to myself, raise an awesome kid, all those successes small and large deserve to be celebrated, go us!

    • Anne,
      I can’t tell you how much I love hearing that some other single mom traveled abroad–it’s far too rare. I took my kids to Vietnam for seven months in ’07 to volunteer at some orphanages. Best thing we ever did. So we returned in ’09 to bring more stuff to the kids there. This year my son is graduating and heading to SE Asia on his own. 🙂

      I think mamas are often scared to venture out, but nothing will bond you as a family like living a not-so-easy life abroad.

      Looking forward to following your adoption adventures. We’ve seen a lot of them from our work at the orphanages; congratulations.

  5. I love this post. I get proud of myself for little things like shoveling the driveway, or doing solo duty at an ER visit (I have a 15 year old son.)
    But I finished a graduate program last December, and though I thought about it, I didn’t by myself some flowers. This great post is reminding me that I should do that.

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