First off, the strength of a mother is unmatched, but it requires a little extra when you have to do it on your own. We always hear, “It takes a village” but what about the women who don’t have one? We truly underestimate the amount of work it takes to raise a child, now take a parent out the equation. Of course being a single mother can have multiple meanings, it could mean the other parent isn’t present at all, it could mean the mother is the primary caregiver with exception of weekends/ or some other schedule that’s been worked out … but we can all agree the term “single mother” is a loaded term with lots of social and political connotations.
You guys want to hear something crazy? My son’s father and I split some time ago and my job still think we are in a relationship living together, and I don’t even bother correcting them. Of course its frustrating because I am only one of four black people working for my company so some of my black single mother struggles wouldn’t be relatable even if I did tell them. They were already thrown for a loop when they figured out that I was not having a baby with my husband, so I figure I will give them some time before I break the news of our “split”. I think the idea of being a black mother in America is already a topic many people aren’t ready to discuss so going into the conversation about our “broken homes”… yeah count me out of that one. It is reported there were over 4 million single black mothers in America, it is estimated that there about 22 million black women in America, so you do the math. On the outside looking in I believe being a single mom is almost expected out of black women, I always appreciate the sudden influx when I let someone know my son’s dad will be coming if I can’t make it. It’s the response of Dad? That get’s me every time, as if they were surprised.—such a shame.
As a woman of color I think we can all agree, its in our nature to find a way or make one. Hell, it gets tiring doesn’t it? One thing I have realized since I have become a single mother is I am quick to try and make a way for my child on my own before asking for help even though he has a very willing and able father. In my head, (and understand my rationale is usually off so I get if this doesn’t make sense) but in my head I consider my schedule, I wake up a 3 year old 5 times out the week to get ready for school, so that means 5 morning arguments about not going to daycare, 5 breakfast/ lunches to pack 5 drops offs, 5 pick ups…. You get it, and not to mention I still come home work an 8 hr. day and pick up my son to do our night schedule. This is Monday – Friday. His dad and I have weekends worked out …. When its convenient for him anyways. So on those weekends you can say I get a “break” but truth be told when do moms really get a break? Not to mention I blink and its already Sunday and time to pick him up again. So back to the crazy thoughts in my head, “like damn would it kill him to offer just a little help” or even ask, “is there anything else I could help with”? I think as single mothers we are allowed to feel this way without discrediting anyone’s parenting. We become so used to being the primary caregiver that these feelings of I want, need/ deserve more help get pushed to the wayside because of he circumstances.—stop letting them get away with shit is my only advice, advice I’m learning myself.
With all that complaining of course I had to end this with some motivation. Nothing changes until we change it. That applies to our finances, our work schedules, our home schedules, our lack of resources… all the things that go into being a single mother. I can totally relate. I worked 2 jobs until my son was about 1 and a half then I learned to supplement my income so I could afford not to, working less meant spending more time with him. I harbored so much “mom guilt” about working so much at a point it felt like my family had him more than me; I had to revisit the drawing board and decide enough was enough. We get so stuck in survival mode we forget we would survive anyways. My second take away from all of this…. If you don’t have a village, build one. We all don’t have family, we all don’t have friends. There are without a doubt other women around you with the same issues. Find them, connect with them, build your own village. If there is one thing becoming a mother has taught me is just how resourceful mothers are, its find a way or make a way honey.
Thank you for reading,