Nobody tells you that you have to be ready to raise kids without a partner, but that you could never do it on your own. I said, “I do, and ’til death do us part,” expecting it meant I’d never have to go this parenting thing alone. Still, I turned out to be a single mother. We all know single mothers, but we don’t expect it’s going to be us. It’s like malaria, or a tax audit; it’s something that happens to other people.
I’ve learned I have to keep a tribe of amazing women in my life, lest I go mad for lack of stimulating adult conversation. I need these people in my life. I have needed them through every major event and through the everyday ups and downs of parenting. I don’t know how I could do it without the loving help I get from my support crew. They should issue you a tribe of women as soon as you get pregnant.
When my son has decided, “No” is his answer to everything all day long, I need a friend to call. When I’m back in college struggling with studying for exams while a four year old talks my ear off about Minecraft, only another mother will understand. Staying home with a kid is hard work and thankfully I can get together with other parents to let our kids play while we chat. Over a cup of coffee and a few laughs I learn I’m not the only one. They too struggle with their patience. They too have days that feel like they will barely survive.
If you’re a single parent, you need these people even more. There will be days when you have to fight back the tears and hold it together, and there’s no one to tag in for you. I especially felt this way when I was going through my separation from my husband. I wanted to lay in bed and eat Oreo’s between sobs while watching chick flicks. Instead, I was picking up toys, preparing snacks, answering twenty questions, playing with trucks and watching cartoons like all was well. I was also locking myself in the bathroom to cry a few times a day. It was a lonely time.
It isn’t only the sad times that can bring on loneliness without a support network The fun things long to be shared. My kiddo says something hilarious, or I have a cute picture of our trip to the zoo. I turn to tell my partner, but he’s not there anymore. In moments like these, I need friends to share my joy with. They say it takes a village to raise a child. It also takes a village to raise a mother.
Let’s not forget the days I’m tearing my hair out. All mothers have these days. No matter how great of a mom you are, the day comes when your kid will push you to the brink of insanity. When you’re thinking terrible thoughts about the same kids that seemed so cute yesterday, having a friend to call will be what gets you through the day. I’m pretty sure the life expectancy of toddlers would be nil if it weren’t for the fact that other parents commiserate.
|The Road To Motherhood | What No One Tells You|
There are so many ways a tribe of other mothers can be there for one another. When the kids get sick and we’re not sure if it’s bad enough to take them to the doctor, we tend to call one another for advice and reassurance. We confide in one another about the ways our kids irritate the crap out of us while we manage to smile at them. We love one another when someone in our group has a miscarriage or is struggling to accept that their child has just been diagnosed with a disability. We swap recipes and share hand me downs.
I wish someone would have told me how much I needed these women right from the start. I needed them before I became single. I just didn’t realize it until I found myself all alone and struggling. I scurried to put together a support network out of desperation. I should have been building a foundation right from the start. Women are breathtakingly strong and supportive of one another. Never deprive yourself of having that in your corner.
I hope you all enjoyed this great guest post by Erica Svendsen! It’s been so great to connect with her and work with her on this blog post. In case you missed it, be sure to check out the other posts from this series; My Birth Story, Finding My Son’s Father & The Intro!
|The Road To Motherhood | My Birth Story|