This post about my Mother’s Day in 2017 is clearly long overdue. But you know how the saying goes … Better late than never. Here is how I really feel about being a single mother on Mother’s Day.
*Sidenote: This post features the opinions of a woman who, at this point in life, only has five years of experience with raising one girl. Just in case you feel that makes a difference in what I’m going to write.
This past Mother’s Day was my first one as an official single mother. I didn’t wake up to breakfast in bed or a bouquet of flowers. That’s because my daughter isn’t old enough to cook by herself and I no longer have a husband to make those things happen. Yet it was fabulous, none the less. I had a wonderful opportunity to simply relax and enjoy quality one on one time with my daughter. It was awesome! We did absolutely nothing except lounge around the house all day.
But what about your Mother’s Day brunch!? Well since you asked… “Brunch” consisted of a delicious mix of “Let’s see what we can come up with from the fridge”. The truth is this was my favorite Mother’s Day so far. There were no expectations, no agenda for the day, no pressure. I loved it!
Society has placed a grossly false stereotype on single motherhood. (More specifically, single black motherhood). We aren’t all surviving on welfare with six kids in the projects while our baby daddy is locked up. That is just a plain wrong viewpoint to put on all single black mothers. I know that is true for a small percentage but it’s not my story.
God has truly blessed me to have a mindset of gratitude. Although it isn’t easy to maintain especially when I see so much of what could be considered greener grass. When I first became single I was envious of the friends whose marriages and families were still holding together. At times I felt that there was something wrong with me for not sticking it out. And of course I worried about the effects of Lily growing up with divorced parents. I mean, come on, Christians don’t get divorced!!!
Fast forward to now when I’m in a place where I have come to terms with my marriage ending. Yes, there was something wrong with me; with Terry; with our friends; with the world. That something is sin. I could have stayed but I didn’t. We were two sinful people who wouldn’t step out of the comfort of our selfishness to allow God to orchestrate the structure of our marriage.
So here I am, a single mother.
Let’s go back to God blessing me with a mindset of gratitude. I love my life! I love that God moves through and all around me everyday to constantly show me all that I have to be grateful for. The most important being my daughter. I know it sounds unbelievable but being a mother (and a single mother) is fun. It’s something I thoroughly enjoy. I love my child.
Not that raising Lily is a slice of cherry pie a la mode. Motherhood requires much of me on a daily basis. Loving my child means I actively stay present in her life. It means that I allow her the space to grow as an individual with a strong personality, feelings, and opinions. It means that I guide and discipline her with compassion and understanding.
Discipline usually isn’t associated with compassion but that’s what it is. To let a child live in an environment where they don’t receive proper structure and direction is reckless. Children need to be taught how to function as upstanding citizens in the world. At times these lessons are not easy to teach. Occasionally I find myself irritated or upset because Lily behaved in such a way that warranted correction when I really just wanted her to “be good” so she wouldn’t get in trouble. In reality what I’m saying is Lily’s undesirable behavior is an inconvenience to my wishes for her to always be pleasant and obedient.
Unrealistic standards for anyone! Much more so for a five year old. She’s an imperfect person. Inevitably she will not follow my directions. She will break something when I told her not to touch it. She will throw a fit because I said she couldn’t watch tv. She will have to be told repeatedly to pick up her toys. And I will have to deal with each situation accordingly. That is my job as a parent. I would be doing Lily a grave disservice to overlook or ignore times when she needed correction because I just didn’t want to deal with doling out consequences. Being a good parent isn’t about I want it’s about what Lily needs.
Also, speaking of “discipline” that leads me to another stereotype for Black America.
Black people do love their children. We hug and kiss them, play with them, read to them, help them with their homework, take care of them. We don’t spend all day giving them spankings, whoopings, beatings or whatever you call it.
Ok… Back on topic… For me being a single mother means accepting, with joy, the responsibility of stewardship over my daughter’s life as she, God willing, grows into adulthood. How dare I not cherish every moment that God blesses me to have with her! Now pause to realize that it doesn’t matter if you’re single or married, black or white, male or female, to make that lifestyle choice.
Choices. Isn’t that what it breaks down to? You as a person have the choice to live however you want. Just keep in mind there are rewards or consequences for everything. I choose to love my life. My single mother life.
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