Being a Single Mother is...
Being a single mother is...
.... making every.single.decision, every.single.day. Big or small, life-changing or mundane- decision fatigue is your constant companion. ... not having someone to pass the baton to in the middle of the night when your babe is sick or unhappy; it's knowing that no matter what comes up it is ALL on YOU. ... looking around for someone to share your joy and excitement when your little one conquers a new skill, and realising there's just you (being a single mother is also delighting in the extreme privilege of getting to keep all of these firsts and memories to yourself) ... wanting to run screaming from anyone with even the slightest snivelly nose because you're already running on empty and the thought of a sick babe and all-night-snot-sucking fills you with existential dread.
... very different to having a partner who goes away a lot for work. I'm not saying that is easy either, not at all, but there IS a difference between someone with no significant other to offer emotional or financial support. Both can be challenging and painful, but they are different.
... feeling invisible.
... skirting around the "I love my Dad" books in the bookstore and silently dreading the day when your babe looks at a book or TV program or friend's family with "Dadda" present and asks where hers is.
... the utter relentlessness of the dinner/bath/bed routine. Day after day, night after night, nobody to handball that one too for a break.
... constantly wondering if you're really doing the best you can and how many different ways are you causing life-long trauma.
... mum-guilting about the amount of TV they watch while you try to keep on top of things and sometimes escape reality in the pages of a book.
... days going by with no solid adult interactions and so when you're finally let loose on the general population you feel awkward and uncoordinated.
... worrying about getting your car serviced (or God forbid, repaired) or that dentist appointment you really need or the fact you need to buy your little one new shoes (AGAIN, SERIOUSLY)
... being compared to a single mother someone knows or was raised by, who had 4 kids under the age of 5 and still managed to work and cook and clean. So, you're amazing, but it could always be harder, apparently.
I'm tired of single mothers being so invisible in our society. I'm tired of the stereotypes and prejudices and lack of community support. Being a single mother is such a varied experience with as many individual expressions as there are people in the world- some are single mothers because they're escaping violent partners, some are widowed, some have a loving co-parent, some receive no child support, some receive, some are surrounded by friends and family, some are completely alone.
I don't feel like I can speak for every single mother out there, I don't think any one person can ever be an adequate spokesperson for a group of people as we're all so unique. But I would like to create some more visibility, even if it's in my own small digital and in-person space. I believe that my life circumstances have lead me to this point for a reason and as part of my soul's work in this world and even if (when!) I have a loving partner and present father for Rumi, I still feel passionate about community involvement in supporting single mothers. If you've read this far, thank you, and all I ask is that if you know a single mother in your life that you give them a call or message and offer support in whatever form you can. It could be a cuddle (dear lord sometimes I go days without a solid hug), money for petrol, an offer to babysit so they can do something JOYFUL, groceries- anything. Just let them know they're not alone and that you See them for all of the work they do every day xx
(first posted on instagram and FB on February 6th, 2021)