I tend to like words, or more specifically, I really like the written word. It may be the introvert in me, but I feel much more at liberty to express myself through writing than any other mode of communication.
Motherhood, however, er, parenthood, requires an altogether different side of me. Words matter, but I certainly cannot raise a baby with words alone. This single mom thing is a both-hands-on-deck, take-no-breather kind of thing. This is action by way of a million in-the-moment choices coupled with a constant reminder this is a lone effort on my part with no tag-teaming by her dad.
Somewhere along the way it occurred to me that if I was going to do this single mama thing and do it well, I would need to be intentional. And the hardest lesson I have learned about intentional parenting is how much more difficult it is from simply having good intentions for our children.
I won’t lie. For my daughter I try very hard to live my life intentionally, but most days I find myself scrambling with every ball in the air. I am 32 years old and I’m not just learning how to be a mom, but I am also learning how to love and thrive for the first time. Facing parenthood and facing it alone has made me own up to some of my demons. It has made me aware of shortcomings I have from my own childhood. For one, I have discovered I don’t really know how to make (and worse, keep) friends. I don’t know how to take care of my body. I don’t know how to be in a committed relationship or handle rejection gracefully. These are things I never learned, I suppose because my parents were never intentional about teaching me.
My daughter has been called an accident or unexpected pregnancy. Some have even had the audacity to label her unwanted or a mistake. The truth is that she came as a surprise. She was in fact a miracle child for a woman who didn’t know she could even carry a baby to term. I suspect the truth is that she is saving me. From myself. From my selfishness. From an unexamined life. I am surprisingly responsible for another human being. I have surprisingly made it through these ten months and 19 days without tragedy. And that is something I take very seriously. I get a reason beyond me to be intentional and learn how to live an intentional life. A present existence.
It’s been hard feeling forced into being a single mama. I long for partnership. When I am emotionally drained or physically exhausted in what feels like a never-ending new job, I wonder who is going to hold my hand and fight for me. I long for emotional and relational safety. But I remind myself of the importance of the task set before me. The miracle of life.
Honestly? I haven’t handled my pain with grace. I have begged, pleaded, bargained, screamed for and written hundreds of thousands of words to get out of this place. Like I have said, I never wanted to be a single mama. Yet here I am. If I am going to honor my daughter and honor myself, I have to be an intentional parent. I have to decide what kind of mom I am going to be, what kind of mom I’m meant to be, and spend each day with that goal in mind. I get so weary and overwhelmed some days, yet I know that for the sake of my little girl, I cannot allow her father’s absence or my lack of money turn me into a different mom than the one I believe I’m supposed to be.
And so, I do what I feel I must do. Sometimes I am so slow and deliberate that it takes me a month to write one blog post. I am okay taking my time to speak my heart. I very much want to be intentional about Single Mama Comma because I want to be real and reach others in a positive way.
I hope you will continue this journey with me.