Skip to main content

Why Being a Single Mother Is Freaking Awesome

Years ago, when I was a young single mother who worked two jobs and still had no money to pay any bills, wasn't receiving a dime in child support, had no other assistance from the father of my child; struggled to figure out child care arrangements so I could work, struggled to pay the medical bills for all  the required vaccinations, struggled to keep the electricity turned on, struggled to maintain my sanity, struggled to maintain my sense of self, struggled to maintain some semblance of normalcy in an otherwise completely un-normal situation, I received a phone call from my happily married cousin:

"I just don't know how you do it." I could hear her shaking her head through the phone line. "I just feel so bad for you."

Bad? For me?

I mean, yeah, I struggled. But so does everybody. Just because you're married doesn't mean struggles suddenly disappear. But bad for me? What?! Obviously she didn't know the perks of being single. And, so, I enlightened her:

Reasons Why Being a Single Mother Is Freaking Awesome

1. I don't have to share the remote with a man who lacks the ability to choose interesting television programming. No mind numbing ESPN marathons in this house! It's all PBS, HGTV and Sweet Home Alabama for the 14th time this weekend.

2. I can have six different types of shampoos and conditioners in my shower. Yes, my shower. My shower that has no scuzzy man razors or a 4-year old bottle of Head and Shoulders (seriously, use that shit up already). I can have flowery soaps and bath oils and it's all mine. (Plus, no hairs that aren't mine. There is immense pleasure in that fact alone.)

3. I don't have to deal with your crazy family. Yep. You want junior to spend time with Grandboppy then you get him ready, you pack the diaper bag, and you listen to the incessant ranting about how you failed at life because you didn't succeed as a professional football player and I'll be here drinking a glass of Riesling while watching Sweet Home Alabama for the 15th time this weekend. Enjoy!

4. FREE BABYSITTER! Twice a month I get an entire weekend to myself. Let that sink in: an entire weekend. to myself. Two times each month. Sure, I miss my kids. Yes, it's damn hard to let them go and watch them walk into the unknown world of Daddy's Influence and yes, I pray good and hard that they'll be okay, they won't be scared, and they won't be scarred - physically and emotionally. And then I give it all to God and call up my girlfriends to meet them out for dinner and drinks at my fave little restaurant by the lake. I come home when I want. I sleep in the next day as long as I want. I do the next day whatever I want. How many of you married Mamas get two weekends to yourself each and every month?

5. I can spend my money however I want. No thank you, I don't think I'll be putting any money towards the super-duper high-powered table saw that comes complete with neon light show coordinated with music. I think I'll be buying this here Wickford Sandpiper towel set for my bathroom, thankyouverymuch.

6. No one snores, kicks, moves around, mumbles or otherwise annoys me when I sleep. That's because I have this entire comfortable, cozy bed to myself. If you're a single mom and this isn't working for you then you must immediately (a.) buy a mattress you deserve and (b.) tell those kids that if they need to come into your room in the middle of the night they must sleep on the floor. No kid ever died from sleeping on some blankets at the foot of the bed; however, many children suffer at the hands of an exhausted, overtired Mama every day. You deserve your sleep. Make it your mantra.

7. Supper is infinitely easier when you're single. Does this have mushrooms in it? I don't really like spicy stuff. My Mom's lasagna is much better. Guess what? If I feel like having Kentucky Fried Chicken, I'll be having Kentucky Fried Chicken. If I feel like a Red Raspberry Spinach Salad, I'll be having a Red Raspberry Spinach Salad. Let's be honest, those kids only eat macaroni and cheese and chicken nuggets anyway.

8. My time is my time. If I want to spend it cleaning, I'll clean.... and I won't have to listen to anyone insinuate I don't spend enough time with the kids. If I want to spend it playing a mean game of Picturika with the kids, I'll play.... and I won't have to listen to anyone insinuate I don't spend enough time cleaning the house. I can spend my time reading or running or going back to school to get my degree in something you always thought wasn't a big deal but it is a big deal to me.

9. I don't have to unfurl any man's crusty, balled up socks in order to wash them. That makes laundry way much more enjoyable than it otherwise is.

10. My life is filled with hope. Being a single mom is a constant reminder of how strong and independent and vibrant I am. Some days are hard. In fact, some days are so hard I don't know how I'm ever going to get through it. But I do. Somehow, I find a way to drag my tangled, broken self through another day - sometimes with a lot of tears and fear and worry along with me - but I make it through. And then, when I'm lying there with my head on my fluffy pillow that doesn't stink of man grime because someone was too lazy to take a shower before bed last night, I think to myself, I did it. And no one can ever dispute that fact.

Being married isn't the cure all some people think it is. And being a single mom isn't the lonely pit of sorrow some people make it out to be. You make your life what you want to make of it. Either scenario can be hell if you see it that way. Go ahead; wallow in self-pity for a bit. Hold your pity party - I'm not judging; I've been there way too many times to count. But then get out of it. Embrace who you are in this moment. And let your children see your strength. Because that's how they'll learn to draw on their own strength when they get knocked for a curve later on in life. They'll be able to point to you and say, "I was raised by a single mother; she showed us what strong is." And no one will be able to dispute that fact.


Chris Stebnitz said…
Very cool message from an equally cool chick!

Thanks for sharing.
angie said…
oh dude. i love this post. thank you. i especially love the line "You make your life what you want to make of it." isn't that the truth? my mom repeated this to me constantly, growing up. i finally understand how completely true it is.
way to be an incredible woman, mom, AND role model to your children. they're lucky kids.
Becca said…
Excellent! I sometimes fantasize about my own space, my own shower, my own bed. I'm happily married, but I sometimes miss total autonomy!
Chiconky said…
I forwarded this to my sister, who is an awesome single mom but still lets her daughter share, and pee in, her bed. But other than that, awesome. And reading this I got a little jealous. Two weekends off a month? I can't even pee alone. And the money thing? See: My big ass tv. Don't see: My matching towels.

Popular posts from this blog

The House that God Built

in·stan·ta·ne·ous /ˌinstənˈtānēəs/ adjective 1. occurring or done in an instant or instantly.
synonyms: immediate, instant, on-the-spot

The thing is, she died so sudden.
I didn't have the chance to plead with God, to make all the irrational promises. If he would just let her be okay.... I would start taking better care of my health. I would be nicer to the neighbor that drove me crazy. I would always let someone else go in front of me at Walmart no matter how long the line was. I wouldn't complain. Ever. I would volunteer at the Homeless Shelter. I would clean up after pigs. I would clip the toenails of the elderly. I would do anything and everything He would ask me to do....
There is a box on her death certificate that captures the amount of time between the initial injury and the time of death. It reads "seconds." I wish it read "instantaneous" because she deserves a clever word like that.
Fast forward five years.... definitely taking MUCH longer than "…

Seeing Avery All Grown Up

One day I'll tell you about the freezing cold we left and the heavy bags we lugged, full of supplies and medicines. I'll tell you about arriving in Port au Prince and walking across a cracked concrete parking lot to board an old school bus with a flat tire. How the heat was suffocating after months of below zero Wisconsin winter weather, how the people crowded and walked too close to moving traffic as we searched for a tire shop that was barely more than a couple men sitting on overturned 5-gallon buckets on the side of the road next to a pile of old tires, everything covered in dirt.

I'll tell you about waiting on the bus while they removed the tire and I'll recall the loud explosion that rocked the bus and scared the life out of me and how I was relieved to learn it was just the tire blowing after being filled too far. (They didn't have any gauges.) And then I'll tell you about the fear I felt when I realized we didn't have a tire and we were stuck on th…

When Your Imagined Life is Nothing Like This One

There were so many ways I imagined my adult life would be....THIS is not one of them.
I posted that on my Facebook wall last night. It might have been seen as funny except my choice of hashtags gave me away:
treading water getting nowhere piles of disappointment not many successes worn out and exhausted out of options

I always imagined my life would be thrilling. Full of exciting adventures and people from all over the world. I would dine at Ethiopian, Thai, and Indian restaurants. I would write books, teach English, coach forensics and direct the play. My husband would be charming and funny and not care about gender roles when it came to household chores. He would beg for at least six kids and I would fall in love with him all over again each time I caught him giving good life advice.
I would take photographs and travel the world documenting the people I came across. I would adopt a sibling group of three or maybe four and work on foster care policies because the ones we have aren't work…