Single Motherhood: so many different circumstances
One mama friend has two children, both under the age of 2. She was never married to their father and - it looks like - she never will be.
Another mama friend has two children, a bit older, again never married to their father, but really, really, REALLY tried. It didn't work, and she has been single-mama-ing it since the beginning.
Some mamas make the choice, from the beginning, to single parent.
In every one of these case, so much moreso than our partnered-parent counterparts, "it takes a village". The recent Portland Tribune article says "a growing percentage of Multnomah County's new moms are unwed", with about half of the women younger than 30 are having babies out of wedlock. Considering moms of all ages, in Multnomah and Clackamas counties, about 1 in 4 babies are born to unwed mothers.
Single parenthood is a reality for a variety of reasons, but one thing is for sure: single parenthood is here to stay; it is growing. And, I would venture to say: the single mamas & papas among us need our help, need support.
Yet another friend, single mama, reaches out every now and then; she asks for help. She recently recounted a night with her toddler that was just. too. much.
Right now I should be sleeping. Last night, my toddler woke up at midnight. Four hours and some pretty intense tantrums (on my and her part) later we were both asleep for a couple of hours before facing the day. I spent the entire day feeling jet lagged and nauseated.
So, on the way to school I had no choice, but to run over an old bottle of colt45 the broken pieces of which were strewn across the width of the bike path. What was already one of those "Oh fuck I am totally behind and there are two trainees waiting outside the door of the office!" mornings turned into one of those Wiley Coyote cartoons where I half expected an anvil to fall from the sky.
Things just kept getting worse and more ridiculous, and in all honesty I could probably have handled it emotionally were it not for the fact that I've been burning the candle at both ends.
And then she reflected on what gets her by: support from friends, whether it be help with her business, a chat on the phone/online, maybe someone coming over to have a glass of wine
I ran into a friend, who gave me a hug and offered a ride. Another friend, herself the mother of a toddler, let me blubber to her on the phone and gave me some much needed perspective. A busines consultant, the woman who does my books and who started just two weeks before I gave birth, called to go over the year end books during which time she reminded me how well things were going for my business when she started, traced the arc of what I've gone through and based on that progress, reassured me that things would improve again. She mentioned that she'd seen me go through some nail biting setbacks and was impressed with my pluck and ability to make it through a tough time for all businesses (including her own).
None of this is a cakewalk. Single mamahood, for sure, is not. As my friend puts it:
I feel like single motherhood is walking a tightrope with no net. 99% of the time it is totally fine. You can't slack off, but as long as you are keeping things in balance it is ok. Heck, even fun. But one little slip and there's blood all over the place and the recovery time from every mistake seems to take so long.
We all have moments in life where we attempt something at the bleeding edge of our ability and mental stamina. Your continued love and support in the moments where I have asked you for help, has sustained me and emboldened me. Thank you.
Single mamas & papas: what helps you through to the other side? How do you make it through the day when you've been up for 6 hours in the night soothing a colic baby? The single mamas I know have happy, balance families, but they absolutely don't do it alone. Who do you call on?