Diary of a Single Mom
If anyone had told me that I would have children in the middle of mid-life crisis, I would have laughed. If they had told me that I would be a post menopause single-mom, I would have given them a good smack! Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever thought this is how my life would go. At this point in my life I'm supposed to be traveling, golfing, having lots of leisure time. But then I hadn't planned on my husband dying with cancer. And I certainly hadn't planned on re-marrying and having a whole new set of kids! Funny how things work out.
To be honest, my being a single mom started long before the divorce. I was responsible for everything that had to do with the children. I also had the heartache of having an autistic (although high functioning) child with developmental delays. Even though my husband had his own business and could arrange his schedule, he never seemed to have anytime to attend a parent-teacher conference, or attend many school events. If there were problems at school, I always had to handle them on my own. I can't say he ever really played with them. When the split finally came, there really wasn't much of a difference other than financial. Don't get me wrong, finances were a huge issue.
I am my father's daughter, and in this case, that's a good thing. A very good thing. My father taught me to be self-sufficient and to be able to take care of myself. Thank goodness! My father made me feel special and loved every single day of my life. My husband that died was the same kind of man. Had I not had the experience of having these two men in my life, I may have thought that my life was ok. But I knew better. Then came the day I went to a divorce counseling session with a friend to support her, and I recognized myself. It was scary. I realized what was happening to me, and, I saw the effect that being in an emotionally abusive marriage was having on my children and I knew I had to do something. I never once thought that I was not up to the task.
When you become a single mom, it amazes me how much your status changes. You know you're the same person you always were but now you're being treated as though you've just been diagnosed as HIV positive. You become 'less than'. People either pity you, or scorn you. You lose friends. You're the topic of much conversation behind your back, and you get a real lesson in just how cheap talk really is. It's a very difficult thing to have to go through. To add insult to injury, I was forced to go on welfare. The ultimate blow to my self-esteem. I didn't deserve any of this; it just wan't fair! What kind of impact was this going to have on the kids?
It was at this very low point that I was going to learn a valuable lesson. When I was able to leave my pity-party long enough, I observed that my kids were actually thriving. They always had a descent place to live, plenty of food to eat, and clean clothes. I never let them see me upset, so they always had a sense of security. They knew other kids at school who were going through the same thing; they weren't the only ones. As long as I was ok, they were ok. I finally learned to stop beating myself up. I also learned to stop caring what other people thought about me. This new me was going to have a big impact on our lives. You see, when I changed me , it caused everyone else to have to change how they related to me. People can only make you feel bad about yourself if you let them . I began to hold my head up. My kids did well in school and other kids migrated to them. They had many friends, some of whom took them to the places I couldn't, and gave them things I couldn't afford. And, instead of feeling embarrassed, I felt blessed!
Our house soon became the house that all the kids came to; I always had a houseful of kids. I also became the 'go-to' mom when there were kid issues in the neighborhood. Not too long after, I was accepted into the new nursing program at the local hospital and graduated at the top of my class. Being a healthcare professional, I became a mandated reporter for elderly and child abuse. This would eventually enable me to help a lot of children who were suffering, as well as a lot of moms who couldn't handle the stress of being single, and raising children. Had I not experienced what I had as a single mom and succeeded, I would not have known how to help these women. You never know how God is going to use you, or your situation.
Over the years we've had to move a lot, and have not had a lot of 'stuff'. But the children have never complained. They know how to handle inconvenience and deal with disappointment. They won't have to return home at thirty because they can't cope with life. They are kind, caring and compassionate people. My oldest son will be completing Marine boot camp in July. My daughter is working and getting ready to go back to school. My youngest, a daughter, is a Junior in high school. And my disabled son, he is amazing and is loved by all he meets.
Yes, being a single mom is hard. You will shed many tears, and you will wonder if you can make it. Only you can answer that. I do know that you cannot allow yourself to be swayed by the circumstances. When you adopt a 'do whatever it takes' attitude, you are headed for victory over your situation.
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