Sunday, March 17, 2013

My Love of Single Motherhood ~ Guest Post

I was born to be a single mom. I think I knew that was my destiny from an early age. I am a product of divorced parents since before I was two years old. I have never used 'Mom and Dad' in the same sentence. I have never known normal life with two parents. My weekends were counted by moms weekend or dads weekend. Even now, 32 years later I can't imagine my mom and dad being married and living under one roof. They are two totally different people.

My parents were the perfect divorced parents. They co-parented well. They taught me how to be a good single mom. They could tolerate each other when in the same room. They were friendly to each other. Their new spouses were always kind to the other. To this day my mom never talks bad about my dad and my dad never talks bad about my mom. That was the most important I learned from them and the thing I most appreciated.

I was married on October 17, 2007. Deep down, I wasn't sure my marriage was the right thing or would last forever. I knew I loved him and wanted to be married. I had a life long dream of being a wife and mother. Right away after our wedding I got pregnant and had our son. Our relationship was pretty opposite of normal marriages. When there was stress or life changes we came together well. Our marriage was the best during those times. When life was normal we had troubles. When my son was just over 2 I wanted to try for another. The main reason I wanted another child was because I knew at that time I was going to divorce my husband and I didn't want my son to endure the change alone. I grew up with a sister a year older than me and we went through everything together. I wanted my son to have a buddy. I delivered my daughter on 1-1-2011. My husband wasn't present for her birth as she decided to come rather fast and was born in an ambulance. He was hurt that he didn't get to see her being born and that caused some tension. Three weeks after her birth was the best time we had together. Abby was admitted to Children's Hospital of Minneapolis for RSV. Rob was there every step of the way. He supported me (as a nursing mom) and kept my emotions in check. We were never closer. Rob is a very hands on dad. I tell everyone I am glad I nursed my babies because that was sometimes the only time I got with them. He did all the baths, diaper changes, burping...he loved the newborn stage.

In May of 2011 I packed my bag and a bag for my kids and left. I am not going to share the circumstances of that day. I am not going to share the reason behind our failed marriage. I am not going to point fingers or blame. It happened. I am not going to dwell on it and just move forward. At the time I had no job, no car, no house and $58 in my pocket.
I broke down and got help from the local county and state. I swallowed my pride and asked for help. My family was supportive and my back bone. Within a few months I found a job, save some money, got a vehicle and back on my feet.

I am also the mom that woman hate. Okay, 'hate' might be a strong word...let's say 'cringe at'. I get several questions about how I make it work? YOU'RE a single mom? How am I so happy with my life? How do I handle the career I have with being a single mom? Don't you hate your ex-husband? I am not your typical 'single mom'. I can honestly say I LOVE being a single mom. I wouldn't change anything in my life. I have no struggles. I have no fears. I have no regrets. I am very happy and content.

There are several ways I make it all work and there are several ways I think other single moms can make it work as well. First and most importantly, I have a can-do, positive attitude. I battled depression in high school and mentored others with depression throughout my adulthood. If I let negativity creep through one tiny crack in my brain it toxifies everything. I don't have time for negativity. I don't have energy for pity parties. I have no option but to keep going through the hard times and celebrate the good times. Even the tiniest thing I will celebrate. The answer I have to most questions I get about being a single mom lie within my attitude. I focus on the positive side of being a single mom rather than the negatives. There are more good things about me being a single mom than bad things.

Rob is still a very involved dad. We split custody 50/50. He is a great dad and enjoys being with his children and deserves that time. I am not a spiteful ex-wife that would keep his kids away from him just to spite him. His children enjoy him and want to be with him and they deserve that relationship. We don't agree on everything and there are differences in parenting but we work well together when we can. I will continue to carry with me the precious lessons my parents taught me. I will never talk bad about their father to them or in front of them. My children will know they are loved and accepted by both parents. I am a successful single mom because Rob helps me to be. I also help him be a successful single dad.

I am blessed beyond belief with an amazing family. My mom and step-dad live 2 miles from me. They are my back up daycare, my taxi drivers, my go-to people, my 'last resort'. My dad and step-mom are about 15 miles from me and have always provided me the emotional support and intelligent advice. My parents have given me more than I could ever imagine. My dad passed on his used Ford Expedition to me when I was in need. My step-dad has allowed me to live in his second house he purchased to 'flip' several years ago. My parents have taken my children on vacations, cared for them when they were sick, helped them learn new lessons and given them experiences I couldn't have given them.

I have the career of my dreams as an Executive Director of a large senior living campus. I have been in the industry for almost 15 years and I knew my dream job would be managing a community. I work long hours, am on-call around the clock and have a lot of responsibility. My team knows I am a single mom and need to have a flexible schedule. They know my daycare days that I need to be out early. They know my nights I can work late. My Regional Manager knows I have two young kids and knows my limits. He supports my lifestyle. It is because of this career I am financially secure.

I can honestly say no other title in my life has fit me better than 'single mom'. I am not ashamed of it. I have the perfect balance in my life. I am able to be a good mom, a career woman, able to date or spend time with friends as I want. Yes, it is hard when I have to say good-bye to my kids for five days when they go to their dads. That is when I focus on my career or friends. I miss them but if I sat home and cried I would fail in other areas of my life. Many moms (single or not) think they need to be with their kids 24/7. If I kept my kids from their dad just so I could be with them 24/7 and never ever miss them that would make me selfish. That would damage my kids more than letting them split their time. It isn't my job, as a mom, to be joined at the hip with them 24/7 and protect them from every tiny thing so they never get hurt or upset. It is my job to teach them and help them develop into decent human beings and positive members of society. It is okay to miss my kids because it makes me cherish their time with them even more. At the start of 2013 I worked 7 weekends in a row with no break. We were going through some changes at work and I had to be there. Last weekend I took an entire weekend to myself to read a couple books, eat ice cream and watch Lifetime movies. This time away from my kids and my job allowed me to refuel and refocus. I am not filled with guilt that I sneak away to get an hour massage or go on a date. That time away from my kids allows me to be a better mom. I met with several attorneys when I started my divorce and had some harsh responses to my custody agreements. I didn't want my children full time. I didn't want them attached to me 24/7. I had to be honest with myself and know I would be a better mom if I had time to myself to keep myself sane. It was very hard to be honest about not wanting my kids all the time. I am not a bad mom for the decisions I made. I am a better mom because my kids get a relationship with their father they deserve and I am able to have a career and the perfect balanced life.

So, how do I have this perfect life that is balanced well? I stay positive. I stay focused. I stay honest and true to myself and the needs of my kids. I have an amazing support system. I work hard. I cherish every moment I have with my kids. Mostly, I keep a good attitude!

Guest poster!


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