I became a single Mom at age 22 when my only daughter was two years old. Becoming a single Mom is nothing you plan for, but sometimes life just turns out that way. I was teaching high school during the day and attending night classes in college to earn my Master’s Degree. As I look back on those days of young single motherhood, I realize the only way my daughter and I made it through was by being surrounded by great friends and family who helped us.
Being a single Mom was challenging on several levels. I did not date much because generally twenty-something guys did not want an instant family. I hired my dependable high school students to baby sit so they could earn extra money and I could continue with my college education in the evenings. When my daughter got the Chicken Pox, I had to rely on my best friend’s Mom to keep my daughter for 10 days while I was teaching since her day care would not allow her to attend while she was contagious. When Christmas came and Santa left that new bicycle or the play kitchen furniture, I had to call on certain grown elves to come over late at night and help Santa with the nuts and bolts.
When you are a single Mom, your children learn responsibility at an early age. I remember waking up one morning after a late night in college classes, and my now five-year old daughter was frying herself some eggs for breakfast because she was hungry and I was sleeping. I totally freaked out because I thought she would hurt herself, but actually she did fine at frying eggs. My daughter liked to help with household chores like helping to load and put away dishes in the dishwasher, washing and folding clothes, and turning the BBQ chicken on the outdoor grill.
Single Mom’s and Dad’s learn to hang together for social activities and child outings. Some of the best times of our lives were spent with other single Mom’s who would host Halloween parties, birthday parties, Easter egg hunts, Christmas parties, skating parties, sleepovers, dinner parties at Chuck E. Cheese, and vacations to the beach. When you are a single parent, finances are limited and you have to make the best life you can for your children in the most creative and entertaining ways possible. Sharing this challenge with other single parents can prove to be very resourceful.
Single Mom’s are also more resourceful in finding financial assistance programs. When I became a single Mom attending college, the county we lived in had a social services program that paid all my child care expenses as long as I was attending college. There are state programs now, like CHIPS that help with health insurance and medical expenses. What I realized as a single Mom is that you CAN make it if you do some research and make some phone calls to get help.
One very memorable story of hope for all single Moms is that of my best friend that I taught with in high school. She was a single Mom with four children and we did a lot of things together, like go to school football games and fly kites in the neighborhood park. She ended up meeting her husband at the Big Brothers Big Sisters program where they both volunteered. She has been married to him for 30 years now. He adopted all four of her children, and together they adopted three more children.
As for me, I married a wonderful man when my daughter was around 10 years old. We did not have any more children, but he was a wonderful stepfather to my daughter. My daughter is now 32 years old, has been married for 10 years to a wonderful man, and is a CPA with a Master’s in Accounting. She was accepted into the United States Air Force Academy when she was 20, which was one of the proudest moments of my life as a Mom. The proudest moment as a single Mom was when my daughter told me I was the best Mom in the world.
The moral of the story is when you think life as a single Mom is more than you can bare, you can always find a way to make life happy. Things will turn out great with some hard work and love. The reward of having your children in your life is greater than any hardship you will have to endure. Best wishes from this single Mom to you.