Growing up, girls are raised believing that they will one day find their Prince Charming, get married and together have a beautiful family. Then, as the girl becomes a woman, and endures more than her fair share of slimy frogs. Where there should have been a white picket fence is a pile of bills, limited paycheck and a screaming, teething baby banging his head on the coffee table.
Events precipitating this scene aside, being a single mom is twice, if not thrice, as difficult as being a mom with a live-in partner. As if parenting wasn’t demanding enough, a break is graciously possible with a partner there beside you to say, “You sit down and relax. I’ll change his diaper/feed him/bathe him/coddle him.” Being a mother becomes a 24/7 job with no breaks, not even to pee. And, as fulfilling as motherhood is, there is no shame in admitting that it gets overwhelming sometimes.
When I first started this blog, motherhood was an idea of “one day, when I’m ready”. I never thought I would be a 30 year-old single mom living in Alabama, that’s for sure. I envy moms who have family living locally, but recognize that it is my choice to live 8.5 hours from mine.
And, here I am, having survived his first week of daycare, the subsequent first upper respiratory/sinus infection and celebrating my baby boy being healthy again. I’ve traded late nights with Jim Beam for up-all-nighters with Infant Motrin and teething tablets, a lullaby playlist on Pandora, and dancing my little man to sleep as the moonlight washes over us through the bedroom window. Bad dreams are dissolved when I receive that big, toothless grin at 6 a.m. and it doesn’t seem so bad to wake up before the sun.
Being a single mom has propelled me forward. It has forced me to examine what I really want out of life, who I finally want to be and what I want to teach my son. It has afforded me the opportunity to carefully select who surrounds us and the influences that are acceptable. The best part is knowing that my dreams are not unattainable simply because I have a child, and that makes all of the hard work and long hours worth it.