This week’s Featured Mom is Erin. She’s a single mom raising a pre-teen daughter who has a busy schedule and a big personality. Erin decided to write about the ups and downs of this stage of her parenting journey – on one hand, she has more time to herself than she did when her daughter was younger, but she also feels somewhat alone as a mom navigating the parenting world solo. This is what she had to say:
“Yes, Emma. How can I help you?”
“I love you mommy.”
That statement is music to my ears and makes being a single-parent of a tween worth it. I am not, however, under any misconception that this is going to be a daily occurrence for the rest of my life. But for now, I’ll take it.
One would think that being a single parent is challenge enough. Throw in the idiosyncrasies of an emerging tween personality and the adventure truly begins. Luckily, I have a strong support system. I have my family and friends. When Emma was younger, making friends as a mommy was much more difficult then when she became school age. That was the hardest part of parenthood- feeling alone, tired and stressed out. That’s not to say that I still don’t feel those emotions. It’s just that they are not as prevalent in my life. Back then those emotions ruled my life. Now, Emma’s happiness rules it.
Time was not my friend when she was younger. Younger children are much more demanding. They require more attention. As they grow older, they don’t need as much time as before. Unfortunately. That’s when you realize that, even though the constant demand for attention was exhausting, there is nothing else like it. With that decrease in need comes more free time for yourself. This is when you can rediscover yourself, not as a mommy, but as a person. One thing that I think moms forget is to make time for their own health and happiness. We are so consumed with the happiness of others that we often forget about ourselves. As my free time increases, I am more aware of my own needs of health and happiness.
This is also a time when I can develop stronger friendships- mostly with her friends moms. But, after all, we do have things in common- school age female children. We compare notes, share joy, as well as tears. We discuss our lives. We share our lives. With that being said…. I still feel alone in all this. None of her close friends, whose moms have become my close friends, are single parents. Sure, their spouses may work a lot, but it is not the same thing. They don’t understand that no matter how many times I try to explain it. At the end of it all, they have someone else to bear the burden of child rearing. I don’t. I have a few single parent friends, but they are dwindling as they find life partners and start new families of their own.
Although there may be hardships in parenting, I think the good definitely outweighs the bad. In being a parent, single or not, of an older or younger child, it is important to remember that “every day may not be good, but there’s good in every day” (anonymous).