Every relationship has its ups and downs. Life is even harder when children are thrown into the equation. But I think being a single mother is the worst among all. So if you are going through some rocky times with your significant other, take a hard look at your situation and assess how mentally prepared are you at this single parenthood thing, before taking the plunge for single motherhood. Never say I never warn you, it is definitely not fun.
1. Everyone, seriously EVERYONE, will judge you.
Accept it, it’s just the way life works. Congratulations, you are now part of a new world where you hang in balance between old school notions and new school ideals. The worst part of it is that no matter which side you are on, you will be met with disdain and judgement. Guaranteed. The old school thinking perpetuate that there is no greater shame than a woman with a kid(s) and no man to support her. If that man passed on naturally, it doesn’t count. The new school thinking will insist that you should have known better than to fall into such a degrading situation, that you have single handedly ruined yours and your kid(s)’ life, and squandered your potential. Maybe they are right. Maybe they are wrong.
I have lost count of the number of people who remarked of how a smart woman like me would do such a stupid thing like choosing the wrong husband. Worst still, some even asked how could I let myself give birth to my son if I am going to fall in this situation. Duh, I am no psychic. One even went to the extend and chided me saying how can I not forced my son’s dad to get involved in his life, how pitiful my son is for not having known his father. Answer: You cannot force a horse to drink water if it doesn’t want to, similarly you cannot force a man to be a dad if he doesn’t want to. Even police officers could not help but pass snide remarks like how I must be a terrible wife because I have no husband. For your information, I chose to respect myself and walked out of domestic violence. Despite so, even I felt ashamed to go home because no one in my family is divorced like me. Nobody wants to be associated with me. That’s how I ended up living with my son in a different country. Home is where we are now because we make it ours.
Frankly speaking, I have learnt that people’s opinions don’t really matter. As is so often the case in life, it’s the way we handle the consequences of our choices that defines who we are more than the choices themselves. We can rise above the situation by proving others wrong. You are going to have to work twice as hard as just about anyone, and the end of the day, only a few people, if any, will praise you for doing a great job. No matter what, just do it anyway.
2. Dating is going to be tough.
You will be surprised at how many men out there thinks that just because I am a single mother, I must be desperate for a dick. It just makes me want to laugh when a complete stranger is so concerned whether or not I feel lonely without a man by my side (I am completely fine and fully functional without a man. C’mon, I am good before I got married, I don’t see how I can be completely damaged after I divorced.)
Action speaks louder than words. I have seen potential dates who would disappear when they knew I have a kid living with me. Friends and colleagues encouraged me, you are pretty, you are kind and people in Turkey LOVES children. I am sure you will find someone, it’s his loss if he walks away from you. But people did walk away from me for more times than I can take emotionally. I have thought how life is unfair, so unkind, and it did messed up with my self-worth big time. But I soon realized that the last thing I want as a single mother is someone who doesn’t understand, want, or embrace the level of responsibility I am carrying. Not wanting to help raise someone else’s kid (and no matter how independent and self sufficient you might be, kid(s) are a hugh influence) doesn’t make them, or you, a bad person. I start to appreciate men who were honest enough with themselves and me to know they just weren’t ready or willing to accept and care for a plus one. It is really tempting to desperately throw yourself into a relationship to share the load but don’t, it usually doesn’t end well. You, your date, and your kid(s) deserve so much better. That’s why I am giving myself a break for the time being.
3. Taking care of yourself is often the best way to take care of your kid(s).
I was an emotional wreck after each rejection. I hated myself, and even a part of me hated my son. I hated even God when my dad, the only man who accepted the quirky me, was taken away unexpectedly from my life. Sometimes I would come home and sob uncontrollably for almost an hour. I was that exhausted emotionally. I hated the life I am living in so much it comes to a point it made me a terrible mother and a miserable person. So I got help.
I have learnt to take myself and my happiness seriously. If I am happy, my son will be happy. Kids are adaptable, they will adapt according to the lifestyle you set for them. Most important thing is to take care of yourself, single mothers. You’ve got an incredibly important and very difficult job to do. If you don’t feel good about yourself, your children and your relationships will suffer. You matter, and if you don’t make yourself a priority, you’re in for a miserable, painful journey.
4. You’re stronger, smarter and wiser than you know.
Don’t let shame and fear hold you back. Don’t let criticisms of others tear you down and convinced you that you don’t deserve the best in life, that you shouldn’t even try to strive. Have confidence, be strong and determined. If you want something in life, take it, embrace it and grow from it. Teach your children having a conviction to achieve despite the difficulty of the situation is invaluable. Have courage and don’t give up. I don’t believe most single mothers ever planned on being single mothers. But life often sets us down the paths we never chose to wander down, so we just have to make the best of the journey.
5. Single motherhood doesn’t have to define you.
Actually I am proud to be a single mother because I want to encourage others, despite the difficulties, they still can fight for their happiness, and for other single mothers to never be ashamed of their situation or even themselves. You are not any less human just because you have to care for your kid(s) single handedly. But I believe I am so much more than a single mother. It is just a part of who I am and I am just building upon it. I can be a creative person, a woman in power, a successful career woman, a positive and humorous girl, in addition to being a single mother. You can be anything. Just be you.
6. No matter what, you are going to fuck up anyway. Might as well just keep trying.
As a single mother, there is so such thing as ”off” days. Dinner has to be made, laundry has to be done, dishes have to be put away, house needs to be cleaned despite working overtime and constantly lack of sleep. There are days when shit will just piled up on you and you have no space to breathe. The sad truth is there is no one to pick up the slack if you’re running low on steam. You can’t pass your responsibility to someone else even if you had a horrible day and all you want to do is curl up in that dark corner and die. You’re the lone soldier in the battlefield and that sucks big time. Trust me I know. You are going to fall down, you may want to simply give up, but I promise you, you can pick yourself up again. You definitely can do this and do it well. Life doesn’t have to be perfect. Mine is already fucked up but that’s shouldn’t be the reason for me to stop trying. Someone once promised me, things will get better and easier, if only you keep trying everyday to do a bit better than you did the day before. This world isn’t going to feel sorry for, but then, you don’t need their pity anyway. Just enjoy the ride.