When I became pregnant with my son, I was in a relationship with his father and it was alright. We were making it work. We had our ups and downs but like most people that have kids will tell you, children change relationships. Some survive and some don’t. We did not but not for a lack of trying. I love my son’s dad and we will always be great friends and we are actually extremely close. That is all fine. I have reconciled with the fact that we are young parents evolving and trying to figure out the dynamics of our family.
Here is where I feel the noose of life tightening around my neck, cutting off all possibilities; what about my son? It is one thing to lose a relationship and it is an entirely different thing to realize what your child (or children)will also be losing. I will never be a person that will force a relationship under the cloak of the sake of the children. It almost always backfire and the misery is palatable. I want Miles to see us happy, loving, and supportive; not the arguing mess that we would have been. That is what my logical brain understands very well. But here is what my emotional brain has to confess:
- When I see married couples with children, I am hopelessly jealous. I am jealous that they seem happy. I am jealous that they have that sure thing. I am jealous that they get to hold hands and laugh about how little Johnny shit himself and it got all over Rufus the dog.LOGIC: I am totally manifesting their happiness and they could actually be just going through the flow, sleeping in different bedrooms, with a loveless marriage. I have no clue. Folks show you what they want you to see. They don’t show you the lies, cheating, coldness, and frailty of their union. I see some married folk with children and thank my lucky stars that I am not them.
- I feel like a failure. I do. I am not going to be afraid to say it. I feel like I failed my son. I failed to make sure he was not a statistic. I failed to keep a Black family together. I failed to create the two parent household I promised myself and him when I was pregnant.LOGIC: I didn’t fail. He is not a statistic. He has 2 loving parents that think the world of him. Black, White, Asian, Latino whatever– that is more than a bunch of kids have.
- I am embarrassed to admit that I am a single parent. I know what the stereotypes are surrounding single mothers especially those of color. I am poor, uneducated, promiscuous, and probably unsure about my child’s paternity. I feel like when I say that I am a single mother, my son’s dad disappears. Respect for me as a parent goes down. There is this cloud of struggle that overshadows me as his mom with a dusting of sympathy.LOGIC: I am not an embarrassment. The opinions of others truly do not matter. No matter what I choose to do, someone will judge me for it. It is hard enough being a parent; worrying about what others have to say about it is not necessary.
- When people assume that I am married, I am flattered. Because of my son’s name, people automatically assume that I am married. Or maybe they assume I am married for some other reason. Whatever the case, I breathe a sigh of relief when they do because I think that at least they don’t know the truth. At least they don’t know that I am actually a failure that couldn’t keep my son’s dad around.LOGIC: People assume good and bad things. Being a [single] parent is none of their damn business!
- I spend countless hours, laying awake, worrying about finding love. I know it is possible for other people. I know there are beautiful blended families and loving stepparents. But, I don’t feel like I will ever have that opportunity. Maybe I am not worthy or maybe I feel like no man will be able to love my son. Maybe I am scared that I will allow the wrong man into my life that will threaten the well being of us. On some level, I feel like I have to settle for the first man willing to be with me because who knows when the next one is going to come around.LOGIC: There is someone for everyone. I am still very young, in the retrospect of life. I have enough time to date and move at my own pace.
- I will never be able to afford the kind of life Miles deserves. The fact is that having a child is expensive. College was expensive (and I will be paying for it forever ::CardiB voice::). The thought of owning a house and Miles having things, the same kinds of things I had growing up, seems impossible. How? How will it happen? How will I ever have enough? How will I ever dig myself out and provide all by myself?LOGIC: Stressing about how everything is going to happen will get me absolutely no where. I am honestly doing my best and I am working very hard so that some day, the things I want for Miles will come into fruition.
We are all doing the best we can at the end of the day. Being a single mother doesn’t make me less of a parent. It doesn’t makes Miles’ family less valid. It is not indicative on the kind of person I am. It doesn’t make me a failure. I really need the other single mothers out there reading this to understand that and believe it.
Single fathers are held up on this pedestal as incredibly responsible people that sacrificed everything to provide. Single mothers are ostracized and made to feel like they are not good enough or selfish or irresponsible. Being a single mother means I am not in a relationship with my son’s dad but I am not doing it alone.