Huffington Post asked me to write about the parenting lessons I've learned as a single mom, to be compiled as a part of a series for Mother's Day. I was thrilled to see it at the top of the Parents page and for all of the comments that added to the conversation (maybe not for the debate about whether or not I am really a single parent, but that's a whole other topic...to be covered over cocktails and riotous laughter). Here's the HuffPost link. What follows is the post in full. Happy Mother's Day to those who mother in all ways, and no matter what parenting status you claim. xo
If you ever leave me and turn me into a single mother, I will totally kick your ass. I was joking when I said that to my husband as I stepped into our apartment, loaded down with suitcases and a toddler and exhaustion of managing a Labor Day weekend away on my own. I’d like to say I was intuiting a fracture in our home life, or maybe that the humor was a preparation for the avalanche that would fall, not slowly. But weeks later, when my marriage was crumbled at my feet and I could no longer hold on to my son and myself and still pick up all of the pieces, I realized I was already a single mother.
Some friends and people who backed away steadily from it all may say that it takes leaving a marital home or finalizing a divorce to become a single parent. The term is certainly not one I wanted to claim -- I heard that in my sarcasm at the end of a long and lonely summer. But once I did, once I saw what I had to do and how quickly I needed to move to save both my son and myself from more pain, betrayal and uncertainty, I felt the earth solidify underneath us.
That was more than five years ago, and now I have officially held the title of single parent for twice the amount of time I was a married mom. Once I left and saw the situation more clearly, that I was doing nearly all of the parenting the whole time I had a husband, it shifted how I saw single mothering. It has not been easy. Or simple. Or all bliss. But I love the family I’ve made, the home we’ve created and the kind of mother I am always becoming.
Here are the some of the very best lessons I’ve learned, re-learned, made up, studied, been advised of and run with in the years I’ve been a single mama.