Y’all. Mommin’ ain’t easy. Even on a good day, particularly if you have littles or kids with special needs, your role as a mother is physically taxing. Add to that being a single mom and you have one tired human being steering this ship.
I found myself in the role of single – mom in October of 2018. It’s an experience I’ll never forget but I’m so glad to tell the story now that I’m on the other side of heartache.
My son’s birth was incredible. (Long but incredible.) I waited an entire 28 years for his birth. Being his mother is a dream come true but it was REALLY hard to be a good mom with an excessively unstable partner. I did not realize the burden my marriage was putting on motherhood. I was striving to make an unfaithful and unstable person happy while tending to the needs of a newborn.
I didn’t put my son on a schedule or routine until after he left us. Our nightly routine varied because of my ex-husband’s job. Never knowing if he was coming home early or late making dinner and setting a bed time so he could see our son was a big challenge. It created a great deal of instability for my son.
When he left most of the hardships I had experienced as a mother went away. The self-doubt that gripped me as a mom basically vanished. It only took three weeks to get my son on a regular schedule. He even slept in his own crib.
What it took for me to be a better mom was for a bad marriage to end. Motherhood is SO MUCH easier now that a key player of instability has been removed from our lives. A great deal of my life is better without the presence of someone who is mentally abusive.
Did I ever imagine single-motherhood would be easier than doing motherhood with a partner? Absolutely not. It’s why I didn’t have kids in my first marriage. I didn’t want to have kids AND have to meet the needs of a spouse who couldn’t contribute in practical ways.
Single motherhood offers the following benefits: you prepare dinner at a time that’s timely for your sanity and your kids. You can prepare healthy meals to assist with dietary needs for your kids without having to succumb to the meat and potatoes narrative targeted towards American men. When it’s time to do laundry, you are only doing laundry for yourself and little people who literally can’t fold their own clothes.
These things sound trite but motherhood and being a wife are roles of constant servitude. When you spend your days being demeaned for the way you serve, uncertain of how your serving, and wondering if that service will keep your partner faithful, those acts of service become exhausting. You lose yourself in unsafe ways.
When he left my dad asked me, “Is your life better now?” I said, “Dad, it’s so much easier to be a mom. It’s so much better.” There were a good number of reasons my second marriage failed but the beauty of it: I get to raise my kids in an environment where they can THRIVE. They don’t have to come in second place to turmoil anymore. Their needs can be met and we can create SOLID family identity now.
At some point I might remarry, but for the moment I’m very content being the captain of this ship. Having healthy, strong, growing kids brings so much value and satisfaction to my life. It brings a sense of security and identity I hoped I would find in my marriages. Is it hard? Yes – always. Motherhood by definition is hard. But it’s much easier to be a single mom than be an emotionally depleted mom scrambling to make a marriage work in the midst of consistent infidelity.
My life looks so much different from my dreams but this mommin’ part – mommin’ as a single woman – is so much better that I thought it would be. It’s better than my dreams.