Delia, another single mother, explained that her ex-husband was not a part of her daughter’s younger years because of his on-going substance abuse. However, when Melanie was 17 years old, she cried like a baby for her father at the scene of a freakish car accident after the vehicle she was driving ended up in a canal. The accident had triggered a guarded or unknown feeling her daughter held. It was at that time Delia realized that though she was a confident and competent parent, there was a hole Melanie’s life that only her father could fill. So Delia put more effort into forging a relationship between Melanie and her ex-husband.
Although Delia strongly believes her ex-husband should stay as far away from her “as the east is from the west,” she is happy that Melanie and her father have reconciled. She adds, while “I never felt adequate as a single parent, I didn’t let that stop me from getting my daughter from point A to point B.” Despite the awkwardness and acrid feeling in the pit of her stomach, Delia understood that some communication and reconciliation were necessary for Melanie’s well-being. Today, Melanie is a successful NYU graduate in her mid-twenties.
Listen up, there’s no doubt that parenting can be difficult. It’s a downright strenuous task. Why even with two parents in the home, raising children is demanding. In fact, many would agree it’s a lot like running a marathon unprepared. So when a friend suggested that I write this article on Single Parenthood (yes, it deserves to be capitalized), I sprang at the idea. After all, I am one of those “Single Parent” people. I’m the single mom of an amazing 8-year-old. She’s thoughtful and caring. She’s playful. She’s angry. She’s selfish. She’s brave. She’s frightened. She’s all those things mixed together. In short, she’s a typical American kid. Her father and I parted ways when she was two years old for a number of reasons, and my little girl and I have “held it down” ever since.
What is the “it” that I have held down? In short, being loving and attentive, offering moral support, paying for babysitting, clothing, doctor’s visits, before and aftercare at school, school supplies and trips, family visits, birthdays for her and her friends, a few treats now and then, and, yes … just plain being there.
It is true that single parenthood is waiting on and for your children. It’s demanding their best and pushing them forward. It’s telling them, “No!” But it’s also allowing them to come into their own. It’s watching them discover and achieve. It’s hugging them and laughing with them. It’s saying, “Yes!” It’s having them understand and acknowledge their mistakes and taking responsibility. And it’s also recognizing when you, the parent, have committed an infraction, owning up to it, and making it right. Single parenthood is being vulnerable, disappointed, alone, scared, angry, happy…. In short, it’s all the things my daughter is… human; but with a much higher degree of control – because we’re adults, after all.