People often ask if it’s hard being a single mom. Being my child’s only parental caregiver and financial support system certainly has its challenges, but that’s not what makes being a parent hard. School, sports, hobbies, and family are where the fun and magic happen. Checking the “required” boxes is the relaxed part of parenting because it’s the known part. The prepared, coordinated, planned part … most of the time. So the single part of being a parent is easy.
It’s the mom part that’s hard.
Nothing prepares you to be the supporting beam for your child’s emotions. Nothing prepares you for the email your child hasn’t turned in eight homework assignments. Nothing prepares you for how you feel when you see hurt and disappointment behind small brown eyes. Motherhood is a different responsibility. Motherhood is a choice. Motherhood is deciding to plant your center in an environment where instincts guide and emotions lead; where you harvest power, diligence, and balance; where you can feel the emotions of a little human … like Elliott and E.T. That’s the kind of power motherhood has. That’s the kind of power we’re entrusted to protect.
It’s a responsibility of the highest honor (yes, we are queens).
Motherhood is learning how to love yourself. Motherhood is learning how to listen. Motherhood is continuously learning patience! Motherhood is learning how to communicate. Motherhood is learning how to show kindness. Motherhood is learning to lead with compassion. Motherhood is learning grace. Where conflict thrives, we triumph. Motherhood is always orchestrating, so our only choice is to keep going. We never stop being a mom. And that is hard. It’s really hard. But we do it anyway. Because motherhood is our choice, we choose to be mom.
I don’t want to seem like I’m undermining the task of being a single mom. Life is challenging when every decision you make affects the well-being of someone else. I wish I shared responsibility in raising a child. But I don’t, and I never have. Accepting that paved the way for a life that is still good, rich in love and happiness. A life with a tribe that rallies and has helped me achieve some big goals. I embrace the independence (and control) that comes with being the single source of the known and choose to be vulnerable and open-minded with the hard. I am the parent. I am the mom. I’m just like you.