This is the post I said I would never write, but I’m in Los Angeles for my daughter’s birthday and it always sparks reflection on her life – my life, and these memories always show up for me. She’s grown now, but the memories are etched into my brain. Time to share the truth.
I’m pretty sure that being a single Mom is one of life’s hardest things. Momhood is hard enough, but doing it solo is one difficult journey.
I was a divorced, single Mom for 8 years, but it felt like forever. When you work 40-50 hours a week to put food on the table and pay rent, because your ex doesn’t pay child support, you walk around most of the time exhausted, worried, and in a fog. And you pretty much do it alone, because once you get divorced, your couple friends seem to disappear. It’s the oddest thing how all those couples you used to spend time with have suddenly fallen off the face of the Earth!
Without my Mom…I would have been sunk.
After the divorce, my lifestyle and finances dramatically changed, like it does for most women. I went from living in a beautiful home in West Los Angeles to an 800 square foot apartment with zero amenities. I could barely afford it, but my girl and I called it our “cozy cottage.”
She didn’t know the nights I put her to bed and cried in the dark out of sheer panic.
When you have no money, you eat a lot of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. On good days I added hot dogs just for some kind of protein. I remember the day my bank account had 55 cents in it and I was too embarrassed to ask for help. I don’t really remember how we made it until pay day.
I Was Not Just a Single Mom – Rewriting the Story
We held on – my girl and me. She was a bitty thing, so all she knew or cared about was that Mama was nearby. I held her close to remind me that I was NOT JUST A SINGLE MOM. I was her mother and I would fight for her come hell or high water.
And fight I did – Five custody trials my ex put me through – just because he could. He wanted to break me financially and he did, but I still fought because the alternative was too much to even think about. Alcohol, gambling and driving intoxicated kept me fighting for her.
I fought hard. I was brave. I learned to stand up because you do brave things when you have to. I fought for her. I was NOT JUST A SINGLE MOM. I was HER MOM. And I fought for me.
But It’s Hard to be a Single Mom
One day I got off work early and planned a surprise school pick up. I had plans for ice cream and a stop at the park, but from a distance as I was pulling up to the school, I saw her face and I knew something was wrong before she ever got in the car.
You know that face that gives it all away…that face that says, “I’m so sad.” She had that face. She got in the car, burst out crying and then she hit me and said, “Why did you divorce Daddy? Because you divorced Daddy I can’t be a member of the rich and cool girls club!”
Wait..What did she say? The Rich & Cool Girls Club…this was happening in the 2nd grade!!!!!! Some adult taught her daughter that it would be okay to organize a Rich & Cool Girls Club and leave out little girls whose parents were divorced and who didn’t drive fancy cars. Some mother taught her daughter THIS!
The knife through my heart stayed there for a long time and I could have fallen down the rabbit hole into the Pity Party…but I wasn’t doing that.
I was MAD and really in there truest sense of the word, and I swept my girl into my arms and marched into the Principal’s office and in that moment – I WAS NOT JUST A SINGLE MOM. I was a WARRIOR!
The Rich & Cool Girls Club came to an end almost as quickly as it began.
But the attitude didn’t end. The comments didn’t stop. The girls didn’t get any nicer. The meanness was born because some Mama taught her daughter what it takes to be rich and cool. Cruelty at the highest level.
Your kids are watching…they’re learning from YOU and if you spew disgusting messages…the cruelty is on YOU!
Those were tough times. We struggled financially but because of LOVE we grew emotionally, and this Mama became more than just a single mom. Today we’re grown-ups – at least most of the time.
If you’re a single Mom here’s what I want you to know…
You’re going to have really hard days – days when you crawl into bed hoping to get a few hours of sleep and praying that no one throws up in the middle of the night.
You’re most likely going to struggle financially. Use that struggle to fuel your desire to succeed – whatever that means to you.
You will lie in a fetal position on the couch and curse life when no one is watching, but you’ll also get up and find your inner Warrior.
You’ll find yourself suddenly walking this new path without the same folks who called you a friend before you were single. Shame on them – not you.
Your priorities will change – Period!
At first you’ll feel like you made a mistake because life kind of sucks…don’t give in to your fear and doubts.
Going to Daddy’s house might feel like a vacation to your child in the beginning, but your babies you need you to show them the way. Life isn’t a weekend at Disneyland. Your babies need you!
Seek out new women and men who don’t judge you. Build your new community and pick your people carefully.
Reach out when you feel like your life is imploding. Don’t try and do it alone.
Let go of shame. Hard to believe but shame accompanies divorce.
No matter what – Bite Your Tongue and don’t talk smack about your ex. (Confession: I wasn’t always so good with this.)
Pray – a lot. Pray that God will guide you. Pray that God will watch over your babies. Pray for peace in your heart. Just Pray!
Speak Your Truth! This is not the time to cow tow to others and their judgments. This is the time to find your voice. Stand up for what matters. Judgers and shoulders are everywhere. Point them in the direction of a mirror.
You’ll make it. You’ll find a way because you MUST. Today my girl is grown and we made it – not without scars, but we’re standing. Our bond has no limits. And you know what we remember the most?
It was LOVE that showed us the way.
Love is messy and hard but when you let love lead…I think you’re going to be okay, because you are and I am so much more than JUST A SINGLE MOM.
Know anyone who could benefit from this…why not share and make a difference in her life?