Dear Single Mothers,
In case no one ever tells you this…
I see how hard you work. Not just the typical 9-5, I mean those double shifts and overnights, followed by early mornings. I mean, the work it takes never to look as tired as you physically feel because you feel like everyone is always watching you, waiting to see you crack.
I feel your heartache and loneliness, even though laying beside your children keeps your body warm and fills you with a sense of pride and joy. I understand it’s the pain of the circumstances you find yourself in while wishing you could change ever putting yourself in a position to be alone raising a child, but still have that precious gift that is now all yours.
I understand the guilt you feel when your child gets old enough to ask why their father isn’t around. It is deeper than feeling bad that they are missing that other person. It’s sometimes the shame that sinks in because you know that you chose that man, and whether or not you ever thought he was capable of leaving you and your child (children), this is now not only your struggle but theirs as well.
I want you to know that I understand how hard it is then to put all of your hurt, anger, sadness, and frustration to the side to explain to this beautiful child, who is now old enough and intelligent enough to know that we all make choices and that their father should always have chosen to be there for them, that it has nothing to do with them.
They are amazing and the best thing in your life. Their father is losing out on what could have been his greatest source of pride and joy. I know the restraint it takes to explain all this without dragging that other person through the mud and sharing how you feel about their decision to be absent.
I need you to know that your circumstances may not be ideal, but I promise you that this struggle may have chipped away at certain pieces of you, but girl, it will make you so much stronger than you could ever imagine. I know because I have been there and made my way through to the other side.
The side where waking up and doing it alone no longer feels lonely.
Attending parent-teacher conferences and school functions doesn’t make you feel less than the seemingly perfect family with two parents, a dog, and the house with the white picket fence. You walk in with your head held high and maybe with the greatest sense of pride because you know what? Every amazing thing that child does is because of everything that you and you alone have instilled in them.
I will leave you with what my mother said to me as I cried about how much it hurt me to see how wonderful, intelligent, kind, and just purely good my daughter was, and how I wish her father knew what he was missing out on. She said to me, “The best part is that you get all of the credit, the same way you don’t have to share all of the hard times. You don’t have to share all of the great times either.”
It’s ALL you mama! It may be easier said than done, but replace that pain with pride instead of focusing on all you have to do alone. Every time you look at your child, don’t see the man who hurt you both; see the reward of all of your hard work. Continue to see the blessings that have blossomed despite any burden placed on your shoulders and any obstacles you have faced.
I am proud of you. Please start making time to acknowledge the pride you should feel when you look in the mirror.
There is a light for you and your children at the end of this tunnel.
Love, A Single Mother