Being a single parent for as long as I have been, there have been some really frustrating moments. I remember the day that I realized I was going to be raising my sons alone. My eldest was five, and my youngest was two. I had recently gotten a divorce, and their father relocated to another state. There was this overwhelming fear that I wasn’t going to be able to provide enough food and shelter that was sufficient. I looked at my boys and started to cry. I thought, “I had become what I feared the most at that time, ‘being a single mother.’” That label was very intimidating and daunting, and I didn’t see a lot of good coming from it. In society, I viewed it as a woman/man that wasn’t desirable, going to have hard time finding a date, lonely, broke, stressed out, and a number of other titles that I have heard.
With all of these thoughts swimming around in my head, I had to learn to take each day one day at a time, which is very cliché but true. Each day that I woke up, I knew that I just had to make it back to sleep with my sons living with me underneath my roof. There were times that I would have to take a “mommy break” to be able to assimilate what were my next steps.
When my kids came home with homework, I panicked with the idea of assisting my children to “look good” before their other classmates and teachers. I didn’t know how to show my kids to get the right answer, especially with the way that schools were “modernizing” kids into taking tests properly. Also, math wasn’t my strong suite. So, my boys would ask me questions, and I gave them the best answer that I thought would continue to get them the good grades. They would come home and ensure that I knew that I had gotten them the wrong answer. “Hmmm, this is what my parents must have felt like when they were assisting me with my homework.” I had to let out a silent chuckle to realize that I finally understood my parents’ frustration.
Then, dealing with being the “bad guy,” while spending summers with dad, it was just another thing to add to my list of frustration. “Dad is so much more fun than being with you. Dad lets us get away with doing this and that. I want to spend Christmas and Thanksgiving with dad. Dad told us that you need to get a life and a boyfriend. Dad has a wife, and you don’t have anyone.” These were the things that I heard while flying back home from picking up my kids after all of the water works were done. I thought, “Oh, great. Just great. Besides having to spend the little money that I earn to ensure my sons are with me for the school year, now I have to deal with all of the stuff that dad and stepmom talk about.” I swore I got the raw end of the deal on this divorce.
After summer, the school year seems to drag and go fast at the same time. I had to keep my sons going to their tutors to help them in ways I knew I was “too busy” or felt too dumb to help them with. I was going back to school to get my AAS in Project Management full time, while still working full-time. Talk about having a full plate without rest. The nights were long without sleep, the emotions were high, and I caught glimpses of my sons growing up. I was there for them, but I was still very distant. I would enter the house from work and knew that it was going to be a long night of homework from every side with little sleep.
Dating wasn’t even in the view for me. I feared bringing someone home that wasn’t going to love my sons the way that I had hoped. Also, I had that unsettling feeling that no one would want to date a single mother with two boys. I know that I used to hear men and women say that they found the love of their life and now they are living together “Brady Bunch” style. So why was I still single? I was waiting for this “One” that was going to love us correctly. I was waiting for the man that was going to accept our life and want to be there for us.
As the years carried on and the nights alone stacked up, frustration was surmounting, and I was swimming in a sea of negativity towards my life. I felt cursed and undesirable. I knew things had to change, but how? How was I going to finally get the lifestyle that I dreamt of? The answer kept coming back as I don’t know. I read all of the self help books, and looked at the “positive” videos to “get me back on the right path.” Yeah, that sounds about right. I prayed, cried, prayed, and then kept myself as busy as I possibly could. I took on so many tasks, that I couldn’t realize the voice of loneliness reminding me of my circumstance. I am not saying this is the correct way of going about life. What I am saying is that I am still going to keep giving it my best, even if my best doesn’t match up to other people’s standards.
I hope this post reaches a lot of people to know that you aren’t alone in your thoughts. There are a lot of people out there that are just trying to survive. Know that you are loved, even if it has to be you loving yourself at times. Your kid(s) need you to stay strong and stay in the game. The choices and decisions you make are not only affecting you. It affects them by telling them they only have these tools to deal with. Yes, as a parent we can tell our child(ren) to reach for the stars, but they learn from us digging for the dirt. Life is not like the movies or television shows. Life is waiting for each of us to make conscious decisions that will benefit ourselves, our children, our community, and the world around us. Yeah, we can’t afford to buy that one thing that we always wanted (for the time being). We can afford to wake up and keep trying to take each day one day at a time. We aren’t always going to make the right choices, but who in the world ever does. No one is perfect. Nothing happened overnight. Heck, it may take years for us to get back “stable (whatever in the world that really means to you or I. My stability is going to look a lot different than yours due to my personal beliefs).” If you don’t give up, you will find that you are a lot stronger than you ever thought. You will look back and wonder how in the world you made it to this moment of reading my post. You made it, not anyone else for you. Yes, people could have assisted you along the way, but you are the one that is doing it. Remember, you only have today. Each day that comes is another today.