For the last 7 years, I’ve always defined myself as a single mom. Nothing has really changed – I’m still not married although I am in a serious relationship. But over the last few weeks between my 34th birthday and the start of a new year, I’ve been thinking about my life and trying to figure out who I am & what I want. I’ve forgotten who I am outside of being a single mom. My life centers around my son, his school, activities, and doctor’s appointments. As do most parents. But I realized that by defining myself as a single mom, I’ve just been feeling sorry for myself. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s insanely difficult to raise a child on your own but it’s still hard to raise a child even if you have a partner as evidenced by all my friends and colleagues.
So it got me thinking – why do I need to define myself as a single mom? Am I looking for sympathy? Am I looking for a handout? Am I looking for acknowledgement or support? Why am I letting my relationship status define me? The truth is, I am looking for something. I’m looking for validation. I’m looking for people to look at me and say, “Wow, what a strong woman. Her ex-husband really missed out”. But here’s what I’ve learned: getting validation from other people doesn’t mean anything. At the end of the day, they don’t know me. And although I may feel like a superhero when I get a shout out, the only person’s hero I want to be is my son’s. And yes, I’m a slow learner since it took me 7 years to get to this point.
From now on, I’m just a mom doing her best. My relationship status doesn’t define who I am. So what if my marriage failed? I know I did my best and God blessed me with the most amazing son ever. My ex-husband did miss out but that’s his problem.For far too long, I’ve been letting society dictate my self worth based on my relationship status. By letting go of the ‘single’ in mom, it makes me feel normal. I’m just like every other mom that may have it more challenging at times but everyone has shit they have to deal with. And when things get rough, you call a babysitter or lean in on your support system.
What excites me the most about changing my perspective on who I am, it allows me to be more open to other possibilities. I can be anything. If you feel stuck, try looking at the situation through a different lens. Perception is reality and if you can condition yourself to be open to different possibilities, the opportunities are endless. Cheers to being normal. And just being a plain old parent.