Posts Tagged ‘single mom’

[Lessons From A Student Mama] The Mistake Of Trying To Do Too Much While Balancing School And Family

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For years before I graduated from college in 2011 I imagined my graduation day.

I’d wrap myself in a long gown, and attempt to fight back tears, tears of years of sacrifice and struggle. Trying to steady myself on the seemingly long walk to the stage to accept my diploma I’d search in the crowd for my loved ones and my daughter waving frantically wanting to ensure her Mommy saw her. I’d close my eyes, hear my name and slowly walk on the stage, praying I wouldn’t fall. With a frantically beating heart I’d smile wide all while thinking I did it. I did it. I finally did it.

My graduation day was a dream I had ever since I re-enrolled in college two years after my daughter was born.

Every student dreams about their Graduation day, a day of celebration and excitement. It can seem out of your reach when you’re in the midst of studying for exams and burning the midnight oil. And for those who juggle parenthood and employment alongside being a student the journey to securing a degree can at times seem daunting. That image of walking across the stage to accept my college diploma was, at times, the only thing that kept me from walking away from pursuing a higher education.

As I look back at the five total years I spent being a student, I’m in complete awe that I was able to prioritize my education. Though I had two older siblings that were in college, it wasn’t something that was ever pushed on me or encouraged. I figured I should go because I didn’t want to be stuck in my small town forever, but I didn’t take it seriously. It wasn’t until after I had my daughter that I realized having a degree would open more doors and could help me provide a brighter future for us.

 

Read the rest of [Lessons From A Student Mama] The Mistake Of Trying To Do Too Much While Balancing School And Family over on The Young Mommy Life.



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[Co-Parenting Matters] Talking To Your Child About Your Ex

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As much as I have grown thorough my experience co-parenting over the past six years there are still much for me to learn.

I admit, I can be quite stubborn and there are certain things I will not budge on, and this causes severe tension between my co-parent and I. It’s fair to  say I hold quite a bit of anger towards him, which is quite unhealthy and has affected both my personal and professional life. Most importantly it’s affected how I communicate about him with our daughter.

I have the ferocity and strength of a mama bear protecting her cub when it comes to my daughter. And over the years I’ve felt the need to protect her…from her own father. Her little heart can only take so many letdowns and she shouldn’t cry over him and his broken promises. I internalize all of how she feels, and at times I feel like a ball of rage. At times feeling absolutely unable to console her or to make our overall situation any better.

When she talked about him, my body language changed, my eyes shifted and became just slivers. There was no conversation, she would talk and I would listen. But not really. One night while home watching the child he and I made sleep the night away, I wept. I wept for the man he wasn’t. I wept for her sorrows. I wept that I couldn’t protect her.

Read the remainder of my post over of The Young Mommy Life.



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Celebrating Christmas As A Single Mom

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With Christmas just 22 days away, I feel an unusual sense of calm this year. This will be my sixth Christmas as a single mom, and I think I’ve finally gotten to a stable place in my life where I can balance the additional bells and whistles of Christmas with everyday life. And I’ve learned not to expect anyone else, even my co-parent to step up and participate during the holiday season.

I look at my life now – a full-time job, a college degree, a nice apartment in a good city, Christmas presents hiding out in my closet…and I get goosebumps. Things but a few years ago weren’t so seemingly put together.

Being a single parent has required me to be extremely creative during the holidays, even to get the most basic of items. I watch every dollar that comes in, and now paying my student loans off there hasn’t always been a lot, if any, extra funds to spend during the holidays.

I didn’t grow up with a lavish Christmas; it was the opposite in our house. With four kids, and often foster kids, a single mom working at times with two jobs, we were happy for what we had at the end of the day – each other. And when I became a mom there was a sense of excitement to have an extravagant Christmas, for her Dad and I to really provide for her what we didn’t have ourselves. And then I struggled being a single mom and that dream seemed further from my grasp.

Read the rest of Celebrating Christmas As A Single Mom over at The Young Mommy Life.



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Adventures in Co-parenting: Its. Not. About. You.

*First written for The Pushback blog*

This post was inspired by my friend Deesha Philyaw of Co-parenting101.org and her new book Co-parenting 101: Helping Your Kids Thrive in Two Households after Divorce.

When my seven year old daughter comes home from visiting her Father’s house she’s either overjoyed to see me, and ready to cuddle and share with me all the fun she had that day. Or, she walks by me without saying a word, throws herself on her bed and tells me how much she wants to live with her Dad. My daughter, the drama queen, usually reacts the negative way.

The thing that gets me is that I never thought she’d react like this. Why would she when she’s got me? I give her everything she could ever ask for. I sacrificed my anxiety (and some of our savings) to take her to Disney dammit! I’m the incognito tooth fairy who gently places a dollar underneath her pillow as she sleeps. I’m the one taking her to see the movies she wants, visit the parks she wants, making smores with her. I’m front row in school performances. I’m the one breaking my damn back to provide a roof over her head, good food in her stomach, and an abundance of toys and books. And SHE wants to live with HIM?

See what I just did there? Me, me, me. Though only seven, I find myself at times dumbfounded that she doesn’t see how dysfunctional and unsupportive her Father is and how much pain he causes her. The uncontained rage I feel when she tells me she wants to live with her Father frightens me. My body tenses. When her big brown eyes full of sorrow and despair look up to me, and her toothless mouth tells me she wants him not me, I crumble. Wait, you don’t want me? After all I’ve done for you? I feel defeated, as if all I’ve done to build a life for her has just blown away with the wind.

Co-parenting over the past six years has been the most horrifying and enlightening experience I’ve ever had. It’s no secret that my daughter’s Father and I are not co-parenting seamlessly. I’ve felt hurt, pain, disappointment, loneliness, and anger. I feel ever so protective of my child, even trying to shield her from her own Father.

But, it’s not about me.

Encouraging my daughter to talk about and engage with her co-parent was at one time impossible for me to do. Over my dead body would I let him infect her with his lies and instability. He was going to mess everything up, I was sure of it. It has been a rocky journey to stop feeling like the victim, to stop thinking it’s all about me. Because it’s all about her. My daughter. Our daughter. I needed to give her wings and allow her to love her co-parent and his family. She needed me to support those relationships, and I’m trying. I’m learning. Children are incredibly resilient creatures, and as most parents know, pick up on so much, even when words are not spoken.

The bottom line is: she loves her Dad. I want her to love her Dad. Her Dad loves her. And I love my daughter, so I will continue doing my best to support their relationship and provide a judgment free zone where she is able to talk freely and openly about how she is feeling in regards to him, because I love my daughter.

And because it’s not about me and my feelings.



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Single Mom Not Seeking this Valentine’s Day

Please let me preface this post by saying I am not a bitter man-hating woman, I don’t curse happy couples on V-Day. I was not recently burned and looking for revenge. I’m just a woman and mom giving her two sense in on 2.14.

It’s cute. From the freshly trimmed bouquets of flowers, to neatly wrapped boxes of chocolate, to plush singing teddy bears, to mushy cards, Valentine’s Day is truly a cutesy day. Supposed to be a day where lovers unite to rekindle their love over expensive dinners and bottles of wine. Where lovers who have gone astray once again remember the love they shared. A chance to spoil your Valentine and show them how much they mean to you. It all sounds GREAT, doesn’t it? It sure does! But, not for this single mama.

Regardless of if I’ve been in a relationship or not, 2/14 has never been my cup of tea, or box of chocolates (haha). I’ve never been able to fully wrap my head around a day dedicated to showing love and affection to those that live within your heart. Just like with Mother’s Day and Father’s Day I’m a big believer in consistently letting people in your life know you care about them, at every opportunity you get. Maybe this stems from my not being as affectionate with my Grandfather as I wanted to be before he passed. But this day full of drawn out love songs and pink and red hearts kind of just gets on my nerves, as a woman and single mama.

Yes, I’m a single mama, and damn proud of the life I’m building for myself and my daughter. But, riddle me this, why do some think that because I don’t depend on a man, live with a man, have a man on my arm, mean that I MUST be unhappy and bitter and lonely. It MUST mean that I’m on the prowl desperately searching for some arm candy to open the door, buy me dinner, and some chocolate covered strawberries?

In the words of my new friend via YouTube, Sweet Brown:

Do I want to eventually a forever kind of love? A partner to romance and share life’s beautiful memories with? A loving father and husband to grow old with? Hell-to-the-yes!! TRUE LOVE is a beautiful beautiful thing!! However, as a woman with dignity, I refuse to be sucked into believing that because I am single and not seeking on Valentine’s Day means that I’ve got my priorities all messed up and backwards.

So Valentine’s Day, you can keep your sweetheart candies, red artificial lollipops, and overpriced Valentine’s cards. This single mom is happily not seeking this year, and is oh so very content with me, myself, and I!



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