I’ve read a variety of articles and books about motherhood … Single mothers … Working mothers … Working mothers … you name it, I read it.
And they all revolve around Helen Reddy’s scream: “I am a woman. Hear me roar! “And then there are those that revolve around the slogan of.” I can bring the bacon home … fry it in the pan and … well, I just can’t bring myself to finish the rest of this line write because it’s so damn out of date.
But the idea that you are an amazing woman who is also an amazing mother who can take care of her husband too should be completely rewritten to reflect the partnership theme now. Married or not. Single mothers need some kind of partnership to raise their children with the man who once needed them to fry his bacon! Unfortunately … often this is not the case.
When I did a general Google search for coping skills for single parents, this came back.
I then felt compelled to add my extra thoughts to them.
- Look for affordable housing. Hmm, not kidding Sherlock!
- Searching for help. Alcohol usually works best for me. Oh, you mean HELP. Got it. I’ll work on that.
- Create a budget. Well, I can make one, but after being financially damaged by a divorce, I think I can open a lemonade stand now.
- Get help with childcare. Okay, I have to be serious. I was lucky. When my children were young, I had a job that enabled me to take care of children, albeit rarely. And my parents have been an amazing support to me. This is business critical.
- Save money and prepay bills when you can. Save money? Bills ahead? Did I mention that I am a single parent? The only one in this equation who saves money is the man who fled the scene and looked 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. However, these are aimed at single mothers with the expectation that they will have to get stuck to receive support. Why do you have to be penniless to qualify? How about federal programs that celebrate, value, reward, and support single mothers as working women who make daily sacrifices to provide stable homes for their children to grow into 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. You can also find a real support system. When I became a single mom, I might as well have my picture on a poster that said, “Sorry for this single mom”. My children were 4 weeks and 4 years old when my husband left us. And we were just about to remodel our house. Oh how I needed support. Unfortunately, the support system I thought I had weakened after the gossip of his affair wore off. Those who stand by and support me are still there 20 years later. You 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 on a solid foundation and have great potential for growth! Just try to stop this growth! Your next inventory should have something to do with children’s clothing.
We just keep going, keep going!
Okay, I know I carried on a little bit. But I’m damned tired of divorced mothers always having sad faces and an awaited pathetic vision of a bleak future. I remember shortly after my husband left us I had to go to a wedding shower. It was the first one I attended. My daughter was just a baby in her bucket. One woman walked up to me and said, “I think what happened to your life is just tragic!” When the woman said this to me, it caused every other curious woman around to frantically ask what happened to me. I could hear annoyed shock noises from this throughout the party. I took a deep breath and took stock. I was nicely dressed. My little 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 left us in the middle of a house remodel. I still stood and smiled. I did not see the tragedy. So I took my daughter and pushed her back in the car seat and drove to In N Out for a burger because I left before lunch was served. All of this tragedy made me hungry. I had a nice 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 penniless, 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 actually provide you with what you are looking for. Courage. Most importantly, you always know how much you can do. Don’t give your energy to what you can’t.
You can do it! Just go on, go on with your head held high!
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