Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about other people. More specifically, their opinions about how we raise our children as single parents. I've been sitting on this post for a couple weeks and Ms Single Mama beat me to the punch the other day with her brilliant post, My Decision. Once again, we seem to be living in parallel universes. I guess at some point we all encounter this situation… single parents or not. Someone, somewhere always has an opinion about how you’re raising your child and the ways in which you are failing.
I became virtually introduced to Ms Single Mama a couple years ago when she first started blogging… blogging about raising her little boy alone. At the time, my daughter was very little and I was merely emotionally alone. I had a partner, who was doing the best he could. I just couldn’t see it. Becoming a mother was the scariest and most brilliant moment of my life and I sought refuge and gained strength and insight from her words.
I’ve been blogging for a while… December 2006, I believe was my first post. It originated from the notion of keeping family and friends on the west coast apprised of the change and discoveries within our life here in Chicago, but actually turned out to be a door to one of the greatest support systems I’ve ever experienced.
I’ve a handful of friends who get all dreamy when they think about raising their kids alone… no partner to appease, come and go as you please, etc. It makes me laugh when they see it as something glamorous. Wasn’t it just a few years ago being a single mother was the equivalent of wearing the Scarlet A?
Truth is there isn’t much that’s easy about this. There’s the balance between work and home – working just enough to keep the electricity on and still spend quality time with your kid. Questions you’re not ready to answer – why doesn’t daddy live here? The constant wonder of how your decisions will shape their future. And then there’s the dating. And most of us just give up on it. But then when we’ve no date for Thanksgiving dinner we’re up against all the looks and the age-old idea that a child needs two live-in parents in order to result in a healthy functioning member of society. It’s exhausting. But it’s still the best damn job I’ve ever had.
This blog of mine has now become my little corner of the world where I say what I want about whom and rant about the things that aggravate me and work through any lingering questions or emotions I might have while showing off the best of me; my daughter. It’s unrealistic to think that this blog accurately exemplifies my everyday life. It is simply the Swiss cheese representation. There are literally 2 maybe 3 other people in my life who get the rest of the “cheese”, if you will. They know the background stories; why becoming a mother was so scary for me; they know why, when and whom raised my emotional wall and they are fully aware of what it will take to tear it down, they see the interaction with my daughter, they know her and how stable and amazing she is. Point is… these are people who get it… the work, the dedication, the sacrifices, the emotional strain and triumph these Spencer girls have gone through.
Sure, I put my stories out here, let everyone draw their conclusions… and some fail to see the whole picture and take things at face value. But then there are the others, that read, ask and interact… and it’s your selflessness, intelligence and compassion that I love about this whole adventure. There are always nay-sayers, people who attack with prejudice and inexperience. There are always those that don’t understand your vision and appreciate your struggles… and being the stubborn woman that I am with the schedule that I maintain, I’ve just no time or patience for such arrogance.
Insecurity raises my defenses, but Ms Single Mama said it best in her post ‘when you’re up against a pre-conceived image of yourself how do you fight that?’ I’m a damn good mother and I’m not going to live in fear of a few sideways opinions. My daughter is healthy, happy and loves life. She’s intelligent and compassionate, stubborn and strong-willed. She’s resilient. Just like her mommy. And that’s the way... uh huh uh huh… I like it.
Hugs to all my readers; supporters and otherwise. You all keep me going… even if it is in different ways.