There are some paths in life that you can choose, plan for and be prepared for, and then there are those paths that choose you whether you are ready and willing, or not. They simply scream “pick me, pick me,” although sometimes those paths end up turning into a choose your own adventure instead of a happily ever after fairy tale.
Single motherhood was like that for me.
I was 23 when I found myself in a slightly stable relationship and decided I wanted a child. My partner had two sons already, both from different mothers, but still, I wanted my own child, and he was willing. It was early November when I went off my birth control pills and by New Years (give or take) I was pregnant. I was happy, even though I was sick daily for months. After losing sight of my feet that summer, being told I had giant cankles and feeling like a blimp, I was overjoyed to meet my child. I had a long, not ideal labor ending up in a cesarean section. The end result, my son, Ryan, was more than I could have ever imagined and I was complete.
A couple years later, Ryan and I needed a safe and stable place to live away from his father. We moved in with some friends for “just a little while,” or “until we got on our feet again.” That was November 2009; Ryan and I moved into our first apartment, just the two of us, in the fall of 2015. I needed 6 years of help to raise Ryan with my friends while I also helped them with their son who was a year older than Ryan.
It was the true sense of the expression “it takes a village” and I don’t think I would be where I am today if not for the village that supported me on my path to single motherhood.
Ryan and I have been independent since the fall of 2015. We have a great little apartment in a wonderful town full of caring people that have become like family. After a failed attempt at a relationship with a possible blended family, I realized once again that I have what I need and that is my son.
I am coming to terms with single motherhood and realizing how much I enjoy it.
There are times when I am a mean parent, but I am also the only parent, so I get to be the best parent too. I’m not going to say that every day is wonderful and we walk around holding hands and baking cookies (Ryan would rather bake a pie) but for every bad day, there is at least one good one to make up for it.
Single motherhood makes Ryan take on more responsibilities because I will not do everything for him, and it makes both of us realize how important everything we have and have worked for is, and the value of teamwork.
And on those nights when things just don’t go right, and there are fights before bed, I sit and listen to my musical mantras (The Lion King soundtrack, every blessed night) and drink some wine while telling the dog that there was no reason for the evening to turn like that. Then I always find myself going into Ryan’s room and climbing into his tent (yes, he sleeps in a tent on his bed, he says it’s safer and he can sleep better, and it works) to give him sleepy snuggles and whisper my apologizes and remind him that I love him. It’s that half asleep hug and “I love you, Mom” that makes all of it worth it in the end.
Single motherhood was not my main goal in life, nor even a close second, but this is the best choose your own adventure story I’ve ever read, and I can’t wait to see what the next pages will bring if this is what we have made of it so far.
Guest Blogger: Liz Smith
I grew up in Jericho, and after graduating from high school in 2002, I joined AmeriCorps and traveled the western United States for a year. I came back home to Vermont after a lot of soul-searching, and don’t plan on leaving this beautiful state again. I live in Huntington now with my strong-willed partner in crime, my son, Ryan, and his canine sister. I work at Krin’s Bakery and love it! I’m selfishly dreading the day Ryan goes to middle school due to the fact that I will lose the tight connection I’ve made with his amazing elementary school. I have a guilty obsession with the Food Network.