Let me say this now. Being a single mom is hard as fuck. You rarely get free time, your kids don’t appreciate you, society doesn’t respect you, and you’re literally doing everything by yourself. But there’s actually something beautiful about it too. When you’re doing it all by yourself, you’re calling the shots. And when you have all the control, no one can tell you what to do. Even on the days when it is so hard I want to curl up in the fetal position and cry, I’m happy being a single mom because I get to do whatever the fuck I want.
I’ve been a single mom for pretty much my son’s entire life. And while his dad is very much in his life, he doesn’t really get involved in the details. I’ve made all the important decisions about how I’m going to be raising our son. Granted, if my son’s dad ever chooses to take an interest, I of course would welcome that.
But until that actually happens, I’m the HBIC. Early on, one of the biggest things that made me happy being a single mom was breastfeeding. I always knew that nursing past the age of one was important to me. And as long as my son was still interested, I didn’t want to stop simply because of his age. Even though my ex never said outright that my extended nursing bothered him, there would be comments here and there like, “Oh, you’re still doing that?” or “Aren’t you going to wean him?”
“Nope,” I’d cheerfully reply, knowing there was really nothing he could do. Especially since we didn’t live together.
A lot of the things that make me happy being a single mom seem pretty basic. For example, I get complete control over my son’s wardrobe. Whenever his dad buys him things, it’s clear he doesn’t really pay attention to what our son normally wears. For instance, he bought our four-year-old shoes with laces, knowing full well that our kid can’t tie his damn shoes. Which means he expects me to tie his shoes all the time and/or he expects me to be the one to teach him how to tie his shoes on top of everything else. Needless to say, the shoes sit in the closet (thankfully he bought them like two sizes too big).
And I get to make sure my son is learning all of the things that are important to me. Mainly things that would be abstract if he lived in a house with me and his dad. I identify as queer, and living in a hetero-presenting household would make it harder for him to understand that not all romantic relationships look like a stereotypical hetero coupling. But seeing me dating a woman, and being around that, normalizes it in a far more tangible way.
This may not be something people think about, but having the freedom to just pick up and go is another amazing benefit of being a single mom. Say, if we’ve been stuck in the house for whatever reason and I whisk him off to an afternoon at Target, or maybe out for a cupcake, or a late night at a friend’s house, I don’t have to get home because someone is expecting us to be there. I don’t need anyone’s permission to do whatever I want with my son.
The freedom is definitely something that makes me happy being a single mom. I have always needed to have control over my life. And when I was in a relationship, I would happily make compromises, but now, if I don’t want to, I don’t have to — as long as my kiddo isn’t in danger. Because of this, it’s kind of hard for me to fathom the concept of having to check in with someone about things like dinner or how much money I spent on groceries.
I’m most happy being a single mom because my son gets to see me kicking ass. Having my son see his mom as a strong, independent woman who is handling her shit means the world to me. I want him to know that women are fucking badasses who can do whatever the fuck they need to do. And honestly, I don’t know a better way than raising him by myself. Sometimes he sees the not-so-great side, but mostly, he knows Mom is doing everything for him by her damn self.
But perhaps the biggest reason I’m happy being a single mom is when my son throws his arms around my neck and tells me how much he loves me. Sure, he would probably still say that if his dad was more in the picture, but hey. I have no problem admitting that I’m super petty. Doing it on my own usually makes me feel like a boss.
I say usually because of course there are days when I feel like I’m literally drowning.
Being a single mom will probably never get easier. I know I’m lucky to have support from my kid’s dad, but gosh, it’s not enough. Sometimes I do wish that his dad would take more of an interest in the details. It doesn’t have to be all the time, but getting to occasionally share the mental load would be nice.
Ultimately, though, I’m happy being a single mom, if for no other reason than I get to call all the shots. And that means a lot.