I hate the term single mother… mainly because you rarely hear the alternative, single father. Chances are, I am a single woman who is someone’s mother and I may or may not have a co-parent, but my experience cannot even, at its most simple, be contained by such a limiting term…single mother.
You think you know…
I wake up responsible both for myself and another human being, completely. Yes, my child has a father, a present father, but he doesn’t live in our home and my child does not have a full home at his home. Anywhere he goes he has to pack a bag of the necessities and clothes that I purchased. I feed him all three meals. I provide the utilities he uses to do homework, play video games, watch tv, and see in the middle of the night on his way to use the bathroom. I buy the band-aids, cold medicine, deodorant (he’s 13, ain’t enough deodorant in the world), soap, and Oral B toothbrush heads. I paid for the braces. I rub his knees when he has growing pains, and kiss his face when he needs reassurance or just some affection.
You think you know…
I have had to be late to work or miss work when he’s sick, moving slow, and can’t find his left shoe… vacation time has never been used for a real vacation. My dates, until they were serious relationship material, were kept out of sight as my home was off limits. Kids fall in love too. I have missed concerts, parties, brunch…yep brunch is important because, well, mimosas. While I have a mother who loves to see her grandchild and family, friends, and sitters … often a quick, “I can’t go I gotta take care of…” text was just easier.
You think you know…
And yes, his father is present, but he’s not his primary caregiver so often, even when he’s been with his father, I am left to do all the giving. Being a mother is generally a full time job that never stops, and unfortunately when women started working, no shift in general thought changed that had men take on half the responsibility, even ones in the home. Provider meant financial… and there is so much more to parenting. And let’s be honest, if you aren’t in the home you likely aren’t taking on the full financial burden equally. We won’t even talk about child support.
I am the CEO, COO, and CFO. I am at and have been at every game, meet, or competition… my child has played seven sports over time… but ONE (I had the flu)! I have been to every parent/teacher meeting. I keep up with grades. I find and usually fund all his programs, opportunities, classes, and learning centered experiences… and they have been numerous because he’s a scholar. I have no holds barred talks about sex and relationships. I keep a stocked refrigerator. I keep the WIFI on and paid. I monitor EVERYTHING… no text message or drawer is off limits to my view.
I taught him to make a simple meal.
I taught him how to do laundry.
I taught him how to keep his Jordan’s crispy and how to shake hands and make eye contact.
I taught him how to write his name and I’m teaching him how to honor his name. I don’t do all of these things singularly but I do them all constantly and consistently, and I’m the only one who does so.
I am meal planner, jitney service, interior designer, the hospitality staff, school liaison, activity coordinator, safety police, health and wellness coach, stylist, entertainment specialist, and relational coordinator.
So often… I am not coming. I don’t know. I don’t care. I’m frustrated. I’m tired. I have spent all day working, prepared to get a call from school or that I don’t feel good call. I get home and have to make a meal, help with homework, check grades, and then hopefully take a shower and watch some Rachel Maddow before I fall asleep. I might not have eaten dinner. I might not have exercised. I might not have returned phone calls. However, I looked pretty good, smelled good, my shoe and handbag game was right, and my hair was whipped… Thank God I don’t look as dusty as my journey has been. But trust me, I have been busy AF and I’m tired. Period!
And that ain’t the half of it…