If there is one term I despise, it is the term “single mom.” To me, it’s so….negative. I’m divorced yes, but nothing about the way I live says I do this all alone. While I embraced it for the first five years of this lifestyle change, I am choosing not to use it anymore.
My life is difficult to manage with three kids…but whose isn’t? There is an African Proverb that says, “It takes a village to raise a child.” That statement is for everyone. Married, single, gay, straight…everyone who has children needs to understand that. And once you do, and you start to live it, then you realize that you are not single.
Single parenting suggests my kids don’t have a father, don’t know their father, never see their father. While I would like the visits to be a bit more frequent, my Littles do know their father, they talk to their father, and they love their father greatly. They also have positive connections with male father-like figures who can handle the issues I won’t even try to. If I had to handle those issues, I’d be doing this single-handedly. Thank goodness, I’m not.
Single parenting suggests my kids have less financial resources than others. I am mindful of my budget, but I was doing that before the divorce. Nothing changed, except the fact that I no longer have someone to share the budget decisions with. If we don’t have something, it’s because I have deemed it not needed in my family…not because we are the poor little family without a man in the house.
But also, like many other children, my kids have very generous grandparents who would give them the world if they could. And trust me, they try to do that now.
I choose to live near others in my village. I didn’t do that when I was married, but doing it now reinforces my belief that I am not single. Living near your village allows you to have impromptu playdates, carpool to soccer games, shared dog sitting, and an adult to have coffee with. The benefits are there regardless to my marital status. So I don’t do this alone.
There is an obvious question that I am asking myself as I write this post. “What about when the kids are sick? What about when you are sick? What about when you have to pick them up from school?” In my married life, I was on pickup and sick duty because my ex-husband had a demanding job. I had to do all of these things when I was married. If I’m sick, I have the retired grandparents to come help me, or Tita, or the village.
I am a firm believer that having three kids and experiencing a divorce was not a coincidence. I think this is part of my calling. And while that calling can be difficult and sometimes frustrating, it’s what God thinks I need. So I seek guidance from Him, I live it, and I embrace it. Not as a single mom, but as a woman who is choosing to experience her personal charge into motherhood, married or not.