Dear single mom,
I see you.
Your cheeks are distinctly colored—a crimson shade of stress. You are juggling, struggling, and doing the very best you can to hold it down while your world spins and swirls. It’s hard as hell to find balance when the ground keeps shifting. Am I right?
I know your fears. I’ve had them, too. I have been where you are; I’ve watched bowls of soggy cereal face plant on the floor and felt my frustrations mount with my to-do list. I’ve been the magician who made food, money, and solutions to all kinds of parental problems appear at the eleventh hour.
I just thought I would tell you (in case you are weary today): you got this, mama.
With one foot in front of the other, you will walk through the fiery hell of single motherhood. And that fire is going to burn away the chaff, leaving you bullsh*t-free with a thicker skin and a sturdier soul. You’ll emerge a wiser woman. In the meantime, here are some reminders you’ll probably need—every freakin’ day.
I know it’s hard to remember these simple truths when you’re sleep deprived and hella anxious. So here ya go:
1. Mom shame is lame.
Looking back on my years as a single mom, I realize I spent way too much time steeped in shame and feeling unnecessary guilt over things that didn’t matter. So my kid got lost in the supermarket―whose kid hasn’t wandered off? Truth bomb: Moms don’t really have eyes in the backs of their heads.
I know it’s tough to let go of the shame that comes with single motherhood. We get snickered at in supermarkets when our kids are loud and wild. We get side-eyed, and assailed with unsolicited advice.
Take Tay-Tay’s advice and shake it off.
2. It won’t always be this way.
Okay, so I can’t say it will ever be easy, because single motherhood is hard like last week’s gum. (Who gave them gum again?)
When I attempt to explain what it means to be a mom, I use this analogy: I have this wound that lives outside of me. Our children are our wounds, and when they’re pricked, we bleed. This will never change. But they will change. They will become smart and stable individuals one day. And just when you’re tempted to wish they needed you more, they will call and ask for advice: “How long should I cook this casserole?” You’ll realize they are fully capable of googling such things, and it’s likely they just wanted to hear your voice.
Remind yourself that every day (even on the worst days), you’re teaching them this comforting truth: They may outgrow your lap, but they’ll always have a place in your heart. Rest assured, they will never forget that.
3. Motherhood is the best job you’ll wish you could quit some (many) days.
But you won’t. You’ll cry until your face hurts, scream until your voice cracks and a hideous vein appears on your temple. You will lose your sh*t.
And you’ll survive.
Your kids will too. Hell, they may even be happy and relatively normal. So as you spend your days scrubbing stains and setting appointments, remember to breathe in the moment. They will never be this glorious age again. And while that may sound like the best news ever, it’s also a little sad.
From one single mom to another, I salute you. And I see your invisible cape.
Author: Rica Lewis
Image: Abi Porter/Flickr
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Copy Editor: Lieselle Davidson
Social Editor: Danielle Beutell