I have read a plethora of articles and books on Motherhood… Single Mothers…Working Mothers…Professional Mothers… you name it, I have read it.
And all are centered around the Helen Reddy cry of, “I Am Woman. Hear Me Roar!” And then there are those centered around the slogan of. “I can bring home the bacon…fry it up in the pan and …well, I just can’t bring myself to write the rest of that line because it’s so darn dated.
But the notion that you are an Amazing Woman who is also an Amazing Mother who can also take care of her man should be rewritten entirely to now reflect the theme of partnership. Married or not. Working single moms need some kind of partnership in parenting their children with the man who once needed her to fry his bacon! Alas…often times this is not the case.
When I threw down a general Google search of single parenting coping skills it came back with the following.
I then felt compelled to add my additional thoughts to them.
- Look for affordable housing. Hmm, No kidding Sherlock!
- Seek Help. Alcohol usually works best for me. Oh, you mean HELP. Got it. I’ll work on that.
- Create a Budget. Well, I can create one, but after being financially hemorrhaged by a divorce, I guess I can start a lemonade stand now.
- Get childcare help. Okay, this one I have to be serious about. I was lucky. When my children were small, I had a profession that allowed me to afford childcare… albeit barely. And my parents were an amazing support to me. This is mission critical.
- Save money and pay bills ahead if you can. Save money? Get ahead of bills? Did I mention I was a single mother? The only one in this equation that is saving money is the man who fled the scene looking for someone else to fry his bacon!
- Take advantage of Federal programs... so yes there are Federal programs like WIC (Women Infants and Children), CCAP (Child Care Assistance Program), and NSLP (National School Lunch Program) and the list goes on and on. But these are targeted to single mothers with the expectation that they have to stay stuck in order to get the support. Why do you have to be destitute to qualify? How about Federal programs that celebrate, appreciate, reward, and support single mothers as working women who make daily sacrifices to give their children a stable home so they will grow up to be decent and productive citizens of the world? Ever heard of Barack Obama? He became President of the United States. His single mother raised a very productive citizen indeed.
- Find a support system. Find a real support system too. When I became a single mother, I might as well have had my picture on a poster that read, “Feel Sorry for This Single Mother”. My children were 4 weeks and 4 years old when my husband left us. And we were in the middle of remodeling our home. Oh, how I needed support. Sadly, the support system I thought I had, wore off after the gossip of his affair wore off. Those left standing by me and supporting me are still there 20 years later. They were and are my true support system. And they are Gold.
- Take stock of your situation. Well, I guess that’s all you can do right? Your children are your best Blue-Chip Stocks. They are forged in a solid foundation and have a great potential for growth! Just try to stop that growth! Your next stock should be anything to do with children’s clothing.
We Just Keep On, Keeping On!
Okay so I know I went on a bit. But I am so gall darn tired of Divorced Moms always being met with a sad face and an expected pathetic vision of a bleak future. I remember shortly after my husband left us, I had to attend a wedding shower. It was the first thing I had attended. My daughter was just a baby in her bucket. One woman walked straight up to me and said, “I think what happened to your life is just tragic!” Upon hearing the woman say that to me it prompted every other nosey female in the vicinity to ask frantically what happened to me. Of which I could hear exasperated sounds of shock reverberate throughout the party. I took a deep breath and “took stock” in myself. I was dressed nice. My baby daughter was dressed cute. I drove up in a nice car. I had a good job. What was so tragic?
I was a strong woman who came to a party after my husband abandoned us in the middle of a home remodel. I was still standing and smiling. I failed to see the tragedy. So, I picked up my daughter, clicked her back into the car seat, and drove to In N Out for a burger because I left before lunch was served. All that tragedy made me hungry. I had a perfectly fine day too. Oh…and I didn’t go to the wedding either!
The moral of my story, or in this case…the moral of my article is to encourage you to find your strength through a lens of how you want to see yourself. How you want to see your family. How you want to see your life. Yes, get help, but don’t buy into the destitute, pathetic memes that society has thrown at us. Surround yourself with people who support your strengths. Reach out to community organizations and support groups that can indeed offer you what you are looking for. Courage. But most importantly always know how much you can do. Don’t give your energy to what you feel you can’t do.
You got this! Just Keep On Keeping On with your head held high!