Singling out single parents.
I'll be totally honest and say that for me, being a single parent is NOT a struggle. I would not describe my journey so far as a mother as a struggle. 'Struggle' implies difficulty and effort. For me, mothering my daughter has never been an effort. Challenging yes, exhausting yes, but an effort NO!
Maybe I am lucky that it has come so naturally to me, maybe I'm not normal (my loved ones would ask me why I'm even maybe-ing that!!), or just maybe becoming a mother means that a new found strength is born in you. There is quite simply no strength like it. I've found going it alone absolutely strengthens that strength.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it is easy - far, far from it! I'm sharing how I've personally experienced being a single mother and how it certainly does not have to be a negative thing. Regardless of how negatively society views this scenario, there are too many positives to come out of finding yourself and your baby in this situation. Maybe I'm an optimist, maybe my love for life is unusual, or maybe raising a child makes you value life for all its beauty.
Please do not assume from this that I have it all worked out because believe me I don't!! Does anyone as a parent ever truly have it all together? There is NEVER enough time, never a dull moment and never a day without a large to-do list. I live by lists and that doesn't mean I ever get through them each day either! I swear I still have things on my to-do list from over 2 years ago since my daughter was born that I still haven't done!! Despite all this, I DO have it together when it comes to focusing on what I believe to be the truly important parts of what makes being a parent. Everything I feel I should be doing/thinking about I pretty much am.
I feel like I've become a bit of a man in a way when it comes to relationships; pushing men away, not letting them in. I just love my little family; just me and my brave, confident girl against the world. We may be small in comparison to other families we see on a Sunday family day out but we are STILL a family, a unit - it doesn't make us any less of a family because there's only two of us. There is no right way to family. In fact, I might go against what I just said there and say that actually the only right way to 'family' is to be happy. As cliché as it may sound, happiness is everything. Otherwise, what is our purpose of being here in the first place? I wouldn't want to family any other way than happy.
There HAS been difficulty during my journey as a mother, much, much difficulty but that has been from what surrounded my darling daughter, not my daughter herself. Maybe this is why I’ve found raising my daughter a dream because of the living nightmare that certain people have tried so hard to make us endure. Maybe if the circumstances had been different, I would now be one of those mothers like 'the unmumsy mum' blogging with a 'fml' approach. I LOVE being a mother, I am PROUD to be a single parent. Society makes us feel like we should almost be ashamed, it’s too easy for people to look at a situation from the outside and judge. I feel the need to add here the 'I-feel-sorry-for-you' look or tone, or confused faces of Mums who can’t comprehend how you don’t have any time to yourself. The truth is it is what it is and I know no different. We are happy, we are healthy and we are safe. And we share a bond you wouldn’t be able to comprehend too; the sort of bond that could only have been formed from our situation. I feel like the word ‘bond’ itself doesn’t even touch on what we have together.
We are lucky enough to be part of a truly amazing and supportive family network and I have truly amazing friends that have all helped me to laugh through tears, express my fears and pay for the beers - that last bit was terrible but it rhymed! Just for the record I don't drink beer and my friends don't have money to pay for them. All joking aside though, I would be well and truly lost without these special people around us.
People have asked me if I would want it differently, the 'right' way. It's a difficult one to answer, I feel like I wouldn't want to change a thing about mine and my daughter's journey or life together but of course there are times when I wonder how different / easier things could be. Parenting is an experience that IS meant to be shared. All I know is sometimes I want to cry for my daughter because of certain things and then other times I want to scream with happiness and excitement for her and her future because I know the right choices have been made for the right reasons. She is free. It's just God damn s*** that it took a painful, exhausting and dangerous journey to discover that and finally admit defeat. Sometimes in life when we want something so bad we can make ourselves believe that we are doing the right thing for the right reasons. When in actual fact, what we are doing is the wrong thing for what we WANT to be the right reasons, only reality can wake us up from that. There are certain things that we can't make happen alone.
Whoever says single parenting can be helped or avoided obviously has no real understanding of what being a parent is, or of life even. Life is complicated, unexpected things happen as well as the expected too.
All I know is my daughter woke me the hell up in this world. And I love her even more for it.