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No One Wants To Be A Single Mom (10 minute writing)

This is a 10-minute streamline writing, check out what that’s about here.

No one wants to be a single mom. No little girl I know plays with dolls imagining what it’ll be like to be a single mom. As if there’s something glorified about the experience. No, little girls carry their baby dolls tenderly, pretending to nurse them and change their pretend little diapers. 

There’s nothing super hero’ish about being a single mom. It’s hard and no amount of imagining what it’s like prepares you for what it’s like. It’s like becoming a mom x’s 1,000. Becoming a mom is hard enough, but at least there’s support for this transition. La Leche, books, playgroups, mommy friends. There’s a normalcy  to the process. But, becoming a single mom is unspoken of. The freaks, bad luck ones, the ones you never thought you’d be. What I thought.

I’m not talking to you single moms who have established careers before becoming a single mom. Or you single moms who have a co-partner or ex who sends child support and supports your child with regular visits and time together. I’m talking to you single moms who are piecing together $$ to pay bills and don’t have the kid’s dad in your life. Maybe you call him a ‘sperm donor’ or a shithead or a loser. Maybe you don’t know who he is at all. Whatever the case this is you. That was me is where this is going.  

The days are long, the nights longer if you have a baby up all hours of night. Juggling 10 balls and you know you won’t be able to catch them all. Damn you try because the kids are one of those balls. The sucky thing is that it’s often the ‘kid ball’ that has to fall so you can hold on to the slippery ball of survival – making money and taking care of yourself good enough to make it all work.

Kids + work don’t go so good together. That’s the hard part, sticking your kid on the back-burner even when it burns you up inside. You do though, because you have to go to work to make the money that is front and center to keep life together. Making $$ has to come 1st, no matter what you intact and full-timing moms think. And if you’re the only one making $$, then no matter how sick your kid is he still has to go to ‘sick day-care’ with other feverish kids because if you miss one more day of work you lose your job. It doesn’t matter that you were up every 20 minutes all night long cleaning up vomit and spoon feeding chicken soup.

What matters is that you show up and do the job, they don’t want to hear about your sick kid. But, as far as you can see…taking care of your kid is supposed to be your job. Rightfully. But, you know by now that there’s no money in that. So, you suck it up and pay someone else to take care of your kid so you can make more money to pay the bills. But not too much or your welfare is taken away.

Being a single mom is falling asleep while you map out the next day minute by minute because your days are that tight. Waking up each morning praying that none of those mapped out pieces move out of place and screw up your plan. Moving through days upon days that eventually break you in, break you down, split you into two.

A single mom with no support financially or physically. Unless you call a drop-by-visit once a week, month, year support. Nothing to depend on. You’ve learned by now that you can’t depend on anyone. A good lesson to a certain degree, but a horrible experience if that person is the father of your child. 

So, you figure out how to become the mom AND the dad. You weave the two together, even though you so know the look doesn’t look good on you. You are “the nurturer”, being the best you can be to a child that you hardly ever see. You are “the provider”, bringing in money that has to trump all if you’re the only one bringing it in. But, the one that really loses is your kid. They might not know what they don’t have when they’re too young to notice. But you, you know. Mom always knows.

You know it’s not fair for a kid to have to go to two day-cares in a day or be picked up by the neighbor of a neighbor because your kid’s dad forgot to pick him up and his mom is in the middle of making a four-course meal for a cooking client across town. You know it’s wrong that your kid can’t find you when he’s hurt. Because you’re not there. Or that when he does find his mom, her face is scrunched up so tight that he doesn’t know how to approach.

You know those good kind of available moms. You’ve watched them all your life. You’re surrounded by them. Always thought you’d be one of them. You never really second-guessed that you wouldn’t be one of them. You know the ones…they hold their kids tenderly with plenty of time to give. A good, available mom doesn’t drape her baby over her shoulder while she cooks, cleans, and gets ready for work. Wishing you could put the kid down. Put him way away somewhere so you could do what needs to be done. But there’s nowhere to put him, but a day-care that costs half your paycheck, or in his room where he’ll cry endlessly as you stuff in ear plugs and rush to get the menu down for the day’s work ahead.

10 years later and there’s a bitterness in my throat. Anger that I didn’t get to ease into motherhood and experience the softness of my baby’s head. That I can’t for the life of me remember what my baby felt like in my arms because I was too busy trying to put him down. Angry, that I didn’t get to be the type of mom that I saw everywhere and still see today. Angry that I couldn’t forget the clock of time while I bathed and loved on my baby because I was too busy counting down the minutes for him to just close his eyes and go to sleep. Knowing he’d be up in two hours to nurse and resenting him for even that. 

It’s hard to juggle more than one ball in each hand. Taking care of the kids and taking care of you (mom). If you’re real good you might be able to juggle three to take care of the house. But, that order of priority gets spun on its head and turned upside down when you’re a single mom. The kind I’m talking about. When there’s no body else tending to the big needs at hand – making $$ – then suddenly that whole taking care of the kids thing is an inconvenience, a hardship, a full-time job that you’re not getting paid for.

I’ve been there and my kids are old enough now that I don’t have to go back. I’ve done my time. I carry my anger at the base of my throat. Where every now and then it’s hard to swallow and keep it down and I take pity for my self and my kids. Where I wish I could go back and make better choices. Where I wish I’d have known that the father of my child would be an addict to gaming and choose to dumpster dive for food than make an honest living. But a woman doesn’t always know how a man will react to becoming a father.

We women who become single mom’s out of necessity, we soldier on. Swallow down the pill of regret. Swallow down anger and self-pity. Spend as little time as possible with other mom’s who seem to have it all. Do what it takes to keep the balls in the air and the puzzle together. It may not be the ‘healthy’ way, but it’s the only way some of us moms know.

Written by Tara in 10 minutes.

My Automatic Spirit Writings

Your Life Isn’t Better Than Mine (spirit writing)

Trashing Trump: Through the Mouths of Children

Try this kind of writing out for yourself; It’s a fun, uplifting way to bring understanding to an issue that you’d like deeper insight into. If you’re feeling daunted, try your hand first at a 10-minute writing and ease in that way. If you have a spirit writing to share, please send in word.docx ✨

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