If You Ain’t Got You

Some people want it all, but I don’t want nothing at all, if I don’t got...”

ME.

It’s true, indeed. Being in and giving love is the best feeling in the world when it’s reciprocated and consistent and good. Full stop.

It is also true that there is nothing you can receive fully and completely if you are not already in a full fledged love relationship with yourself. Full stop.

Both things are absolutely true, but let’s talk about the latter.

Some people want diamond rings…

Since the beginning of time, women have received the social message that their most desired state should be married woman. Not healthy woman, smart woman, independent woman, good woman… but married woman. Our worth is most often tied to being with a man, and when we are single, our top priority should be being someone’s woman.

In an 1889 article, women who were unmarried were asked “Why are you a spinster?” , which was considered a negative term and brings to mind a homely woman, who looks older than her years, with a home full of cats. This woman’s response was brilliant,

While she was not the norm, her independence and desire to be emotionally healthy and not overburdened by the needs of others, was not common. During this time women were looked at as perpetual juveniles, needing to be told how to act, and needing a man to ensure she was taken care of, something she was considered ill-prepared to do for herself.

So there is no surprise that women were conditioned to believe they needed a man, and more specifically be married, as validation of their worth. And it continues today…

“15 Ways to get him to propose.”

“Why are you single and alone?”

“Being single too long ruins you”

Those are real titles of real modern day articles. But they are no excuse to be ringmatized.

So many women simply want to be married… not They want to be married so badly that they will diminish parts of themselves, silence parts of themselves, give up and damn near extirpate parts of their very being to fit into someone’s model of wife. They’ll do anything for the ring.

They alienate themselves from friends and family to be at someone else’s beck and call. They allow themselves to be groomed to fit into some made up version of matrimonial perfection. They grow their hair out, if he prefers it. They lose or gain weight, if he prefers it. They stop drinking, cursing, dancing, dressing sexy or comfortably, to appeal to him.

Is that ring or marriage more important than who you are? Are you willing to give up yourself so you no longer check the single box?

“Some just want everything…”

Yep, I don’t know about you, but I want it all. Not just a man. Not just a marriage. Never just a ring. And certainly not any of it at the expense of my spirit.

They make men as raggedy or as wonderful as you can imagine. Marriage can be as fulfilling or as empty as you and that man are willing to ensure it is. But you will never get the same you back that you gave up. Now you can heal her, but that takes a lot of hard and arduous work my friends. Think of all the unhealed souls you know. Many of them stay that way, stuck in the Matrix, for a very long time.

When you love yourself and treat her properly, you teach other people how to treat you. A healthy you is kind to herself, she protects herself, and she realizes her value. An unhealthy you believes she is incomplete. Choose health. You don’t have to heal from an illness you never had. And it’s called desperation. (I said what I said.) The willingness to put yourself on the line comes from the belief that you aren’t good enough, so when someone does pick you, you have to prove your worth through blind dedication and self-sacrifice. Nope wrong!

Instead, you can ensure that you enter into relationships with your self intact. You should not have to give up parts of yourself to be with another person. He should have picked differently if you weren’t his cup of tea with honey and crumpets. But if his pick was intentional, well… he wanted you… all of you… whole and complete and imperfect, but you! So be who you are. The world is better when we are who we are meant to be rather than who anyone else might want us to be! And we are better when we know our worth is not found outside of us, but comes from within, from our healed heart, loving soul, and intact spirit. Whether we are single af, taken, married, or in partnerships… we are worthy of His love and his love. Ain’t no ring worth this goodness!

“But everything means nothing, if I ain’t got…”

Me!

What is a “Single Mother”?

single adjective sin·gle |  \ ˈsiŋ-gəl   \

Definition of single

  1. not married
  2. unaccompanied by others 

A single woman is unmarried, she may be divorced or never married.

A single mother is a parent without the support of the other, typically male, parent, either due to choices or circumstances. She is unaccompanied by a co-parent in raising a child.

A mother who is a single woman is just that.

Being a single mother is inherently different than being a single woman.

I am a mother who is single. I am divorced. My ex-husband is present and active in my child’s life and sees him daily. I am not solely responsible for getting him to his destinations or coordinating his social activities. I do, as his custodial parent, make most of the choices regarding his daily life, and take care of the majority of his daily needs. I’m always on the clock. And while I am sure to include his father in the important discussions, often they are mine alone to make. Despite that, he and I have our disagreements about how he parents, but there is no doubt that he parents.

There is a fallacy that married women tend to have a monopoly on proper parenting and partnership. I disagree. Marital status does not dictate one’s success at parenting. That’s tomfoolish respectability politics. Furthermore, marriage is a choice. It is not the only legal designation that ensures that a woman has the legal rights to make choices about and be supported in case something happens to her partner. That is a misunderstanding that is propagated by ignorance of the law. Yes, marriage can be wonderful, but it’s not always the ideal situation for each woman, mother or not. Marriage should always be a choice, not a necessity or a sentence. Judge ya mama.

Besides, I know a lot of single mothers who are married. Yep, I’ll repeat it.

I know a lot of single mothers who are married.

Singleness in parenthood does not necessarily equate with marital status. There are plenty of wonderful men, married or unmarried to the mothers of their children who operate in partnership in parenthood. Likewise there are plenty of products of patriarchy that believe raising and tending to the needs of children is a woman’s role and his role is typically one of extremes… discipline versus fun or chastisement versus celebration, with not much else in between. He might be a parent biologically, but he’s not parenting. She is left alone in that role. Unaccompanied. Single.

If you can’t tell I despise this designation and it’s tricky definitions.

The truth is that because the percentage of single parent households in Black and Hispanic families are 65% and 42% compared to only 24% in White households (Children in single-parent families by race | KIDS COUNT Data Center”. datacenter.kidscount.org. Retrieved 2019-05-13. ), this entire topic is colored with stereotypes and assumptions not based in fact. In fact, that very set of data includes the caveat that the definition of single parent families includes a cohabiting parents (the two parents of the child living together) but not a remarried parent (one of the child’s parents and a stepparent). The entire discussion hinges on a set of inconsistent data and conjecture that serves to more easily label Black non-traditional families. It’s a bunch of bullshit, if you ask me.

While I might generally dislike the term “single mother”, I understand it’s general context. In the spirit of the use of single mother to mean an unmarried, divorced, or widowed mother, let’s be clear about who that woman is and what you should not assume about her.

Never automatically assume a single mother is…

  • alone
  • lonely
  • unpartnered
  • struggling
  • looking for a daddy for her kid(s)
  • financially unstable
  • available
  • unavailable
  • parenting alone
  • a charity case

So if she’s not automatically those things, what IS a single mother?

She’s a MF’in superhero!

Even with a co-parent in the cockpit, she flies that invisible jet over every obstacle, tear, disappointment, celebration, punishment, hug, kiss, tantrum, school project, broken heart, broken arm, and broken dream with her cape flying behind her. She has one uniform with an S on her chest, another one with a lasso and gold cuffs. Whether sewing on a button, giving a mid-week line up, playing tea party, or helping with significant numbers… she does it all while paying bills, organizing the house, and getting the oil changed. She’s a parent every single day, at every single minute, and that’s a sacrifice and a blessing unlike any other. She’s both super and a wonder.

She’s a business, man, selling water to wells. She’s a hustla baby… I just wanted you to know.

And just in case you wanna date her, don’t be stingy with dinero… cuz she already got to spend to go out with you!