I was sitting at my computer today relishing that it’s the first day of summer vacation and going through all the things in my head I have to get to doing. first of course is a washing machine..I really need one, I can’t take the laundromat anymore or I’ll go bonkers.
I got to thinking what is different about this 2nd experience of single parenting that I am going through. I was sitting there wondering why my daughter doesn’t make great choices in men, and realized something. I learned from my mother just like she learned from hers. Now, my mother would NOT want me writing about her or judging her in any way, which I have to say is pretty ironic since she was a very judgemental person in my mind. However, she started her parenting journey by getting pregnant out of wedlock by a man she barely knew. She was rebounding from a long relationship. So, in the 60s, people got pregnant and most of the time, they got married. So they did. I am not sure if either one of them had time to contemplate whether they were happy with what they chose. They were only 21 and 23 years of age. That is terribly young to have a child, let alone with someone you hardly know. But that’s how it was done.
The inevitable end was another child and then divorce when I was 9 years old. My mother jumped right into another relationship almost immediately. She was married very quickly to her 2nd husband. There was no alone with mom time there. That ended in divorce very quickly thanks to domestic violence. That’s as much detail as I want to go into on that one. Then, very soon after that, it seems to me, she was involved again, this time with the man she stayed with for the rest of her life. The point I’m getting at is my mother was not really a very SINGLE parent. So I had no example of a single adult as a parent. My dad was in and out of many small relationships and then got married, but we didn’t live with him full time so I am not counting him as an example. I am my mother’s daughter. I really am, whether I like to admit that or not.
Point is, I followed very closely in the same pattern. I never got hit, but I got verbally/emotionally abused by my 2nd husband and it was a very short marriage. I jumped too fast into number 3 relationship and before I knew it we were having some kids and married. Now, in my mind, I’d settled down. This was IT for me, just like my mom. I don’t know how to be a single adult with kids as a result. I didn’t expect the marriage to break up, I really didn’t. I know, how naive I was!!
So, now, I’m doing something different than my mother, and I find myself really experiencing a lot of difficulty with it. When your kid doesn’t have the example, they don’t know how to do it. So, in one way, I’m sad not to be married and happy, but in another way, I’m happy I get to provide the example to my youngers, that it is entirely OK to be a single adult, not married, not looking for a relationship, not dating, just enjoying life as a single mom. It is so very new to me and I go back and forth a lot questioning my choice to remain single for as long as I need to. I figure when the time is right, if ever, a nice guy will show up in my life and it will work out like normal relationships do. None of this desperate not to be alone stuff, because by then, I will have been alone and happy for a while.
Also, whenever I hear my friends talking about their relationships I feel a big mixture of things too. I feel sad because I miss having a partner sometimes. I feel relieved that I don’t have to tend to another adult’s needs when I’m only just learning what mine are. I miss the physical portion of a relationship a lot. I miss romance. But I don’t NEED it any longer, which is the huge difference. I am rather happy being on my own and just dealing with my own messed up issues. I can go ahead and be fat and be annoyed and not worry about whether or not my partner finds me attractive enough. Since I’m not trying to get a man, I can truly concentrate on handling my own stuff without trying to help someone else handle his stuff. I can really grow up and heal and be and honor my own journey.
So, I am grateful to be alone. I think it’s a lesson that is not only good for me, but good for my young daughter, Sophia. She will see that people can be happy alone, that we don’t HAVE to be involved with someone to feel validated. This is a good thing.