Just recently, I was describing what I do to an old colleague that I had not seen in several years. As he further inquired as to the specifics of my job, a Cheshire smile swept across his face. He laughably said, “Dude, you’re in the right business with the right clientele! Any single clients you can send my way?” More amused, he could not have been. I did not share in his jollies. I was annoyed. I know why I chose to focus a large percentage of my coaching to single mothers and dammit if I’m going to be patronized or have my focus marginalized by ignorant people.
When I talk with single moms, I feel good about the conversation we are about to have and the end-state we will get to. More inspiring to me, however, is the singular focus of the heart of most single moms, they just want what’s best for their children. This is true even though the primary reason anyone would see me would be to figure out how to find an equal and authentic relationship for themselves. Truth be told, there are times when I struggle to get a single mom to think about herself for even half a second. But that is part of my love affair for this clientele.
- Single moms have been there and done that and yet they will do it again if the end state is a better life for their children. They tolerate the patronizing of the ex if doing so shows their 4-year old son who doesn’t know any better that there is a relationship between mommy and daddy. They give second, third, fourth and tenth chances to fathers who are late if it means that they can maximize the amount of time their children have with them. They will start at the bottom of the corporate chain or work a job that is beneath their experience level if it means putting food on the table.
- Single moms have pudding on their bottom and paint in their hair. They have replaced their cell phone and the curtains more times than they’d like to or can likely afford to. Despite this, they do not wrap cellophane around every nook and cranny nor do they treat their children like members of an over stuffy boarding school. To them, the initial consequence (kool-aid drenched rug) may be an unfortunate but necessary part of letting children be children.
- Single moms have needs that are often not met. This affects them for they are human. More important to them however, is being the human shield that actively protects their children from the pain they are feeling. I often reflect on the scene in ‘Love Actually’ where Emma Thompson’s character realizes that the necklace her husband bought was not for her. She is devastated but when her children are around, she is quick to put on a happy face. Now, I realize that she is not a single mother in the movie but the relationship coach in me always believes that if the movie went on for another hour, she would have left his caboose—so I’m going with it.
- Single moms will put aside “prideful” things such as hair, make-up and outfits when life has not made it easy to attend to them. I put prideful in quotes with the full realization that hair, make-up and outfits are not things that all women feel the need to attend to. The bigger message here is that what’s important becomes a matter of perspective for single moms when responsibilities must be met. Sacrificing and rolling with the punches becomes habitual.
- “Yeah, I’m just glad the lipstick isn’t too close to my chin. Besides, no one will notice it in laser tag, It’s dark in there.”
- “Kevin really needed to be at GameStop at 6:00, that’s when the game was put on the shelf, hence the make shift hair in a bun.”
- “I needed an oil change two months ago. I’ll get to it when I can but for now, Casey and I are headed to softball.”
Yep. I had absolutely no trouble writing these thoughts out. The ease at which they put things aside for the sake of what’s best for their children really moves me. Especially since there is nothing easy about raising children. I have missed dozens of other attributes and to that I am sorry. But I will never apologize or have trouble explaining why I focus more of my coaching space and time to single moms.