Yes I’m a Single Mom Part 3:Don’t Punish My Kids
****This will be my last installment on being a single mom. While my blog is partly about my single momness(yes it’s a word I say it is so there), I do not want my blog to only focus on this. While I’m happy to provide encouragement and feel like I have I want to take a minute to talk about one of the the down sides of being a single mom.****
I’ve mentioned before that after becoming a single mom I moved down to Arizona to “find myself.” Obviously finding myself involved moving to the desert of Phoenix AZ in the middle of August. Yes to top that off my air conditioner went out in the car our first week there. Hello 115 degree weather and 4 very young kids!
The other part of finding myself included looking up old highschool friends. WHY I even thought this was a good idea I still will never know. The one person I did reconnect with among many was my old highschool flame. After 6 months living in the hot desert and dating him on and off we decided to blend our families and me move up to Northern Arizona ,where they do in fact get snow. Now I did live separately from him for another 6 months,but eventually we moved in together.He had two young boys so together we had 6 kids that I homeschooled.
All of the dirty little details escape me now. Mostly because I’ve blocked them out. Mostly because it doesn’t really apply to this blog post. However I can say after 2 years of emotion and verbal abuse that was quickly turning physical I packed up my kids and myself and moved to an apartment in the same town.
I remember that day and how good I felt. I had been very blessed that two of my very good friends from our local homeschool group had offered not only their help but also their husbands. I didn’t have a lot of stuff so one flat-bed trip later all of our stuff was piled in the corner of our two bedroom apartment.
You see my homeschool group I had belonged to for those 2 years had been intricate in me getting enough courage to leave this guy. After the last year of being cowarded in a corner being yelled at over “go on just leave but no one will want your sorry ass with 4 kids anyways” , or that I was fat and lazy if I could only squeeze my butt into a size 6 instead of a size 0 or 2, my self-esteem was non-existent to say the least. They had seen me care for all 6 of these kids, and bring them to various functions all on my own.
After moving, the kids and I would show up for different homeschool functions and everyone would ask how I was doing. If it was a “family” event I would muster up enough courage to go. You see it was hard for me, as it is I’m sure for a lot of single moms to go to events where they see “happy” families,dads included.I knew however how important it was for the kids to go, so I would put my uneasiness aside. However I always ended up feeling blessed because the dads at these functions would take extra time to talk with my kids and encourage them, they would then ask me if there was anything I needed. Me being the stubborn person I am(yes yes I’ll admit it) would never admit needing help with anything. I mean I was after all an adult I could figure most things out.
So slowly the kids and I started piecing back together our lives. We lived in a nice small community, I had my other single mom friends, a good church, and life was good. Summer came and the kids all played baseball, where we ran into other families from the home school community. The dad’s took time to help out my kids knowing I wasn’t the most athletic of people.
Towards the start of the school year, the leader of the homeschool group contacted me and asked me to pray about becoming the leader for the following year. She was stepping down. I met for coffee with one of my friends that had helped me move and excitedly told her about what I had been asked. This kind of role was exactly what I needed to boost my self-esteem,plus I had already been homeschooling for at least 3 years at this point so I had a lot of good ideas.
This is where she shared with me a conversation she had with another homeschool mom. I guess the other mom had asked if I had been dating. I laughed and told my friend I had been on one date that had ended badly VERY badly. My friend then shared with me that this other girl had told her she didn’t think I’d be a good leader because I was a “single mom” (gasp oh I know the HORROR) and that it made her and some other ladies uncomfortable having me in the group as a single mom. My friend felt so horrible telling me…you could see it in her face. I assured her(at least I hope I did) that there were no ill feelings towards her from me. I then got into my car,feeling like I had been slapped in the face,and drove home.
Really? I made the other ladies uncomfortable because I was a single mom? I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. Neither could I wrap my head around the fact that me being a single mom would make me any less qualified to be a leader in the group. The homeschool group was for the kids. It had nothing to do with my living situation. Plus weren’t these the same ladies that for the last year of that horrid relationship,had encouraged me to leave him and move out on my own?It just didn’t make sense to me. They were fine with me being in the group knowing I was in an abusive relationship, but not ok with me being in the group as a single, healthy, mom?What did that even have to do with homeschooling in the first place?Through it all I had continued to homeschool and put my kids first in every other aspect of my life. How did the two even mesh?
I remember getting the kids inside the apartment then sitting out on the front steps and just absolutely losing it. I sat there and cried and cried. I cried mostly for my kids,knowing that this whole time being in this group they had been known as “that single mom’s kids.” It was bad enough that almost weekly I was asked in front of the kids if they all had the same dad, but now these group of people who were supposed to be our friends, we made uncomfortable. In my mind still to this day, one has nothing to do with the other.
It made me angry. No angry is too kind of a word. It royally pissed me off. If people wanted to punish me because I was trying to make a better life for us, then fine do that. If people wanted to punish my kids though…..how fair is that?
I remember sharing with my kids we were not going to be part of the homeschool group the following year. We would still get together with the other friends but not the group as a whole. I remember them asking why and my reason of “just because” was not enough to feed their curiosity. So, I told them the truth. I remember one of my kids saying,
“Isn’t that racist?” to which we launched into a lesson of, no being a single parent is not a race but it is discriminatory.
My kids amazed me all agreeing with me that we should no longer be apart of a group that we made “uncomfortable.” My kids constantly surprise me with their grasp on human interactions.
So yes punish me if you see so fit. I know not everyone will always agree with my decisions in life, but please don’t punish my kids. I write this post not to bring you down, but to be real. There will be times in your life when people don’t agree with you being a single mom. Try to remember though through it all,it doesn’t really matter what other people think as long as you keep putting your kids first.