When I was going through my divorce, I found this book by Carolyn Call super helpful. It is by no means religious and would be beneficial to anyone going through divorce. They say divorce is the second most painful life event, after losing a child. If you’re looking for a book to help guide you through, this is a great one! It pushes you to explore what is going on, how to heal and move past the pain. There is a lot of journaling, thinking and feeling. It’ll definitely push you to move out of a place that one could get stuck in.
The other day I came across this article,”The problem with single mothers,” via the HuffPost Divorce page. Naturally, I wanted to find out for myself what this author’s purpose was with writing this article because the title itself pretty much disgusted me.
My initial response to this article’s title alone was exactly my reason for starting this blog of mine. Is there a problem with single mothers or is the problem actually society’s response TO single mothers? There are so many stereotypes and negative responses to us when we say we are single moms. I say we because most single moms I know personally have similar experiences as I do. After further reading, the author does explore the current trend in our society in terms of the numbers and research polls. The overwhelming result is that society has a problem with single moms who do not actively choose to single parent by themselves, however, single parents by choice receive a different response. First of all, I believe this article is wrongly titled. There is no support that there is something wrong with single mothers. The problem is bigger than that.
i’m in this super ironic place in life. my *new* job has me doing self-sufficiency work with families, particularly women and children. many families have so much on their plates and in my role, i help them get on this path where they can proudly be self-sufficient. so much irony. i, myself, am working on self-sufficiency. i left a relationship where there was abuse- a few physical incidents, but i can safely say a lot of emotional abuse, financial abuse and there were times where he pressured me or made me feel bad for saying no to him for sex. last spring the harassment got to a point that i was able to secure a protection/no contact order against him. i didn’t even feel safer, necessarily, i just really felt like i had something in place should he continue to harass me when i had repeatedly asked him to stop and told him i would take action if he did not stop. it was hands down, the BEST THING EVER, even though i go through life very cautiously, afraid of what repercussions might take place. the good news is, so far, he has respected the order.
so, back to self-sufficiency. as a single mom with four kids, being self-sufficient is vital, but quite difficult, especially when you just can’t rely on the child support to help take care of the kids. i get really tired of these memes i see talking about moms shouldn’t get child support, but i’m here to say that just because you’re no longer together, one parent doesn’t just get to walk away, living life free as a bird. the children deserve to have a good life where their needs are met regardless of the parents’ relationship. i took the job i have because it felt like it would be a good fit and it offered flexibility that i feel is necessary to be a mom as well. i felt like i could really relate and know what it takes to build relationships with people who would appreciate a positive voice coming from their child’s school. the reality is, i am no where near self-sufficiency. i ask myself, who am i to advise these people on self-sufficiency?! i live paycheck to paycheck. i have a very tight budget. i do a really good job of making food from scratch that is healthy and money saving. we are a minimalist family and so my kids have what they need, and now and then, i can get something they want, but for the most part, i’m trying really hard to teach them that our relationships in our family and with others are far more important than any toy i could buy.
often times, i get really afraid i won’t be able to maintain a household on my own. my anxiety is OFF THE CHARTS lately. it feels impossible when i think about how i will get through this time. i doubt myself. i lose momentum in my plans and goals. since i’ve started working, i am physically sick to my stomach most days at work. it is so stressful knowing i am working so hard and am not even really making it. the good thing is i have reliable child care that is working with me so i can maintain a job. i have strong children who understand that i am working so hard for all of us and they are really doing an amazing job of stepping up and doing their part. my family and friends are AMAZING and really have been by my side since forever. i have a boyfriend who is sweet and kind and caring. he also supports me as best as he can, but sometimes my anxiety gets the best of me and i shut down. thankfully he is learning i might ‘go away’ a little bit, but i always come back.
there are really just so many ups and downs when you are a single mom. there are so many hard days that i seriously just take it moment by moment. sometimes i am able to tell myself to just get through today or the next few days. sure, i had ups and downs as a mom when i was married, too. the difference is knowing he was coming home and would be able to help out with the kids somewhat. now, it’s all on my shoulders, ALL THE TIME. no matter how someone became a single parent, that doesn’t change the reality of the situation.
my dream is to have a business that can support us. something that excites me and i believe in. i want to be able to give my kids a better life. i’m not saying so i can buy them everything under the sun. i’m saying i want to be able to pay for my kids’ lunches at school. i want to be able to buy the quality of food i desire. i want to be able to save money to make improvements on my house. this house is good for us and so it’s not even about wanting a bigger, fancier house. (okay…maybe just an updated/expanded kitchen with new appliances?!) what it comes down to for me is making a life where we don’t have to rely on the child support (that doesn’t seem to ever come). a life where i am making enough to give us all we need and maybe a vacation together now and then. a life where i am available to them and support them in their goals. i’m working on it, though, and i won’t be satisfied until i get where i want to be. it scares the shit out of me, but i’m ready.