Being a single mother for so long, I sometimes get moments of sheer frustration. Even though I do my best every day, I still feel I don’t do enough, or not well enough. In addition, I would love to find the time and courage to follow my own interests. But, those get put on the back burner a lot.
Being single for so long, and raising a very sensitive, loving, intuitive, yet temperamentful and stubborn child is really hard. Especially if you don’t have the support you need. I know, I hear from many women who say, that their husbands are not much of a help raising their kids either. And other’s say, I should be glad I don’t have a partner who has another parenting philosophy, creating arguments and disagreements in raising the kids. Some even say I should enjoy the freedom I have, being able to decide whatever I want, and do whatever I want with my life, and parenting. But, it’s not that easy. Being single might have some little advantages, although it also creates a lot of extra challenges.
It’s been 9 full years that I live alone, do everything alone, decide everything alone, moved around alone, even moved from one continent to the other…alone…have three rescued dogs I take care of alone, have all the responsivilities alone, and am raising a kid alone.
Not having someone who gives you a pad on your back, telling you you’re doing a good job once in a while… or someone who’s there for you when you’ve lost your last nerve, and who backs you up when it feels like the whole world is against you, or helps you take off some of the load when everything just feels too much, is a real task. It leads to moments of dispair. Moments when you just want to give up. Thankfully, those moments only last for about a day, and next day I get myself back up and going again. But it’s tiring and trying.
The only thing that gets me going is my son. My love for my son. My wish to give him a good life, and prepare him for an awesome future. I do my best to teach him all the important things: to become an honest, decent, strong, correct, cultured, intelligent and loving person. I teach him right from wrong. I teach him to be fair in all situations. I teach him to appreciate our planet, our nature, our animals. I teach him to standup for himself. And I teach him the value of life.
Teaching those things to him aren’t the hard part. They come naturally. The challenge is that he’s so stubborn, and is a very strong willed, almost 9 year old boy who already talks back like a pre-teen. So, the whole going to school thing, is a big issue for example. Even though I help him with homework every day. I read books with him to improve his reading skills. I do math and explain it to him a hundred times. I even got him private lessons to help him with school work….nothing seems to help. And that is just the school part challenge…. And, at times I could really use some help… some support, before I reach a moment again, where I get so frustrated that I want to give up.
Raising a kid alone is not the only challenge a single mom faces. The child is number one, no doubt, but with that, and all the other responsibilities, there’s little time left to take care of one self. To get spoiled once in a while, relax and ‘escape’ the daily stresses for a moment, in order to recharge the batteries. And… to follow one’s own dreams.
Yes, I firmly believe that in order to have a healthy balance in life, one needs to be able to follow their own interests, hobbies or dreams. But mostly the energy, or the time, for it is missing. So those personal interests usually get lost amidst all the responsibilities and challenges. And at the end, you end up asking yourself…who have I become? Who am I really? Is this really my life? Is this it? What do I really want?
Most of the time, my essential question is…”What do I really want?”, and, “Who am I really?” Aside of being a mother, which also means a homemaker, chef cook, personal chauffeur, playmate, personal counselor, manager, landlord, personal shopper, nurse, and a substitute dad… I’m also a share holder of a family business, a dog walker, a member of the PTA, a soccer mom and an ex-wife who has to bring her son to the USA every year so his dad can see him…As a result, in stressful moments, it seems I’m loosing my true identity. And my true being is just wanting to be a an artist, who wants to open her own little specialty store, while she assists and watches her son grow into an awesome adult…but, how do I go about it, all alone, with all the other things going on? Where’s the time for that? And, Who’s going to watch my son after school, or on Saturdays when I’m tending to my store? Who’s going to watch, and walk my dogs? Not my immediate family, that’s for sure. And what if I don’t succeed in following my dream of opening my own little business? What if it fails? What if I fail?!?!
The fear of failing, in all facets, drives me to stay stuck where I am, and just daydream about my personal goals. Staying in a “secure”, comfortable position, where I don’t risk anything, is the easy way out. And this way I procrastinate my dreams, year after year. But where does that leave me? Where does that leave Nathalie? The adult woman who has an urge of self-realization and the wish to unfold and thrive in her talents….the drive to live her dreams, before it’s too late.
You only live once, and I firmly believe that you should make the best out of your short life. You should make your kids priority number one, yes, but you shouldn’t forget yourself, your dreams, your goals in the meantime. You should follow your dreams, so that when your life comes to an end, you can say “I’ve tried everything I’ve ever wanted at least once. I’ve lived! I’ve had a great life… the life I wanted. I’m happy and satisfied. I can rest in peace now.”
But, with the challenges, facing any mom, especially single moms, time passes by…and suddenly, it might be too late…
So, I guess, I need to give myself a pad on the back at times, being proud of myself for overcoming all the challenges and rocks that are being put into ones way. And stop feeling guilty for wanting more, than “just” being a mom. I should probably also start to accept the support from people who are willing to offer it. And stop hoping to get it from the people whom you’d expect it to come from naturally (and whom I love most…), but aren’t capable to give it. For whatever reason it might be.
I’m not asking for anyone to raise my child for me, nor to solve my problems. No. I’m just longing for some kind of support. For love and understanding. And for an occasional confirmation that I’m still doing a good job, when I feel like I’m not. To give me strength. The strength I need to go on, to look forward, and also follow my own goals.
And having a partner, who can bring a bit of balance into your life, through romantic moments, love, and all that good stuff a partnership brings…wouldn’t be a bad thing either. Isn’t that right my fellow single ladies? 🙂