Single mom. That’s me. There are many more of us now, it seems. Since Day One, my life as a mother has been pre-defined by these two words that carry a mixed review in the general populace, even in today’s modern world. Honestly though, some days I’m grateful for the simplicity of parenting when it’s only an adult party of one. Other days, however, are defined by what my sister exasperatedly said to me on the phone when her first born was under 3 months and she and her husband were sleepless in Chattanooga: “Props to you, sis! How the hell did you do this on your own?”
Mine is 8 and 1/2 now. Honestly, I don’t really know how I’ve managed this far to raise a fairly decent little human. So I thought about it. I thought about all you single moms out there. How do we do it? Caffeine, some wine, more wine, great face cream, and close girlfriends, to name a few survival tactics.
I think the answer also involves the misunderstood saying: “It takes a village.”
Recently, I had neurosurgery. It was 7 months after a clearly surgical MRI of my neck before I could accept that I needed to go under the knife. My issue stemmed from chronic injury of degenerative discs, pushed over the edge by the challenging life of a single mom working four jobs. Prepping for this large medical event, surviving it, and recovering (still) taught me that my often fierce independence to “get it done” was no longer the right answer for all situations as a single mom.
People around us heard the alarm cries for help. So the village came to me. There were meals dropped off, partial rent gifted by our church, nannies charging less to stay the night, rides for my daughter to and from, other parents taking her for overnights and extra play dates, an anonymous Santa who answered my girl’s Christmas wishes, gift cards, and the list goes on.
Reflecting back on this, my message to single moms is nothing profound, but necessary to point out perhaps, especially to those of us that may just need some help once in a while instead of literally muscling through and risking injury to mind, spirit, or body.
It’s okay to reach out. Cry uncle. Show some weakness. After all, we model for our kids 24/7. They should experience the village springing into action. See acts of human kindness. Experience unselfish behaviors. Altruism. They should help write the thank you cards to follow. And then learn to pay it forward.