Lots of WealthySingleMommy is devoted to the challenges of single motherhood. But you deserve to celebrate why you, as a single mom, are so awesome! Let me count the ways…
- You’re raising a human being by yourself. WTF. That’s HUGE.
- You pay the bills and plan a future by yourself.
- When your kid does something so awesome, so adorable or sweet or hilarious or brilliant, you don’t have that other person to turn to to appreciate it. So you appreciate it double.
- You’re building memories alone. And you do it anyway.
- When your kid’s bad behavior is really about to undo you, when you don’t know what the hell you’re doing as a parent, when all you want is for someone to come over and discipline the kid and turn this all around, you figure it out. Somehow, you just figure it out.
- Many of you are raising boys to be men without fathers around.
- And raising daughters to know what to expect from men without fathers around.
- You embrace that are more than a mom. You are a sexy woman, a wonderful friend, a talented and hard-working professional. You are a spiritual person, someone who has a physical body that needs care, nurturing and exercise, a creative individual whose pursuits the world needs. You are likely a daughter, sister, cousin and niece, a citizen and activist. All, all, all of those things are important. My wish is you honor each one.
- You keep your bitch-hole closed when your married mom friends– the ones who don’t have to work — complain about being so overwhelmed and you don’t even know what their reality is. Because you have grace. Even if inside you’re about to punch them in the throat.
- Even though you make the money and care for the kids you still have time to give back and be a good friend and don’t use your marital status as an excuse to be less than the person you want your kids to see you being. Less than you want to be.
- Because even though society tells you that going on a date with a man who is not the father of your children makes you a selfish mother, you do it any way. And enjoy every minute of it.
- And even though society tells you that mothers who have sex with men whom they are not married to are filthy whores, you do it any way. And enjoy every glorious, filthy second of it.
- Because more than anyone you understand that “family” can mean many, many things. You know your family is whole.
- You are a revolutionary. No one teaches you how to be a single mom. This is crazy-making. But you do it anyway. No one teaches you how to be a single mom. But you do it. You do it pretty damned well. People see that. Your kids see that. Unhappily married moms around you see it. Single women who dream of being mothers but are unsure of whether they could do it on their own see it. I see it, and other single moms do, too. The world is watching you and me and we are making a difference every time we do it right. Which is most of the time.
- Because your example makes it easier for other women and your daughter to embrace their choices.
- You’re grateful. You’re grateful to live in a time when an unmarried woman can raise a family on her own, and earn enough money to have a good quality of life and pursue her passions and romance and raise amazing human beings. Even if your family doesn’t look like you’d initially hoped, or your neighbors expect, or your parents dreamed. You own it. You own this is your life. And it is pretty freaking awesome.
However, you might not feel so celebratory this Mother's Day
In general I find the holidays stressful, and the Hallmark Cards variety pesky. If you are like me, a single mom without a lot of extended family nearby — and therefore hardly any fixed traditions or planned events that my kids and I can blindly participate in — it’s a lot of pressure to not only plan the festivities, but invent tradition out of thin air that will define my children’s upbringing and establish custom for generations to come. That is too much for one person!
In the past my single mom bestie and I would take our kids out for brunch at a restaurant, and other years I held a gathering at my home. My friend is now in a blended family, and while I could invite myself along to whatever they’ve got planned, it feels a little like being a tagalong. Another family I’ve been friends with for 20 years has other plans, and I could host a gathering at my place, and while I love to entertain I’m just not in the mood. Plus, it is MOTHER’S DAY! This is supposed to be about celebrating ME! — giving me a break from the drudgery part of motherhood. Since my kids are little someone else would have to step in to take on that role. There isn’t anyone else.
And so I can cook up some super-fun-memory making event to mark the day. Or I can just chill out and do something I will enjoy — like having a picnic somewhere sunny and pretty and kick around the soccer ball with the kids. Maybe I’ll make a quiche and maybe the lilacs will be in bloom. Maybe it will look like Hallmark, or maybe not. Or maybe Hallmark can kiss my ass.
On a practical note, here are ways single moms can celebrate Mother's Day:
- Pair up with other single moms. You’re all in the same boat. Plan brunch/a zoo trip/shots. Make it special.
- Help your kids celebrate you. Depending on their age, you can guide them in various ways– take little kids shopping with you to pick out a special gift. If you suspect older kids have forgotten the holiday, remind them with appropriate degrees of that they should honor you on that day.
- If self-treating is a challenge for you, make plans NOW to honor ourself. The usual mani/pedi, massage, facial jam might be your thing. Or maybe you really need a good night out with your girlfriends. A leisurely swim? An afternoon reading trashy magazines? You know your thing. Do that.
- Don’t get too hung up on it. I don’t have anything particularly against Mother’s Day, but it is an over-commercialized faux holiday that can get out of hand and induce guilt and hurt feelings if not fully celebrated according to media-issued standards. Take it for what it is.
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On a spiritual note, here are my single mom wishes for you on Mother's Day:
- Dream really, really big — regardless of your family status — and know that you can achieve it. Listen to me: There are no limitations. There just aren’t. Do what you want to do.
- Embrace your freedom to create a family and romantic life that suits you. That you have the strength to ignore people who tell you what your family should look like, or what kind of relationship will make you happy, or whole or acceptable. Only you know that.
- Give yourself a freaking break already. Live it up a little! Dance — at the club, in the kitchen in your robe, in the yard with the kids. Go out with your girlfriends and laugh your ass off. Eat spaghetti with your kids not using any hands. I mean, really. Just be ridiculous, OK?
- Enjoy your kids. If you’re like me, it can be really, really easy to get into a rut of dragging the kids out of bed, shoving some semi-healthy food down their little throats, wrangling them grumpily into the shower-clothes-jackets-shoes-bus each morning before dragging our own selves into the shower and to the office … then repeating in reverse in the evenings. It can be easy to lose track of the fact that life is to be lived (see above). Kids are pretty freaking awesome, hilarious, full of adorableness and life lessons. They grow up really fast. I know you know this. But we all need a reminder now and again.
- Embrace that are more than a mom. You are a sexy woman, a wonderful friend, a talented and hard-working professional. You are a spiritual person, someone who has a physical body that needs care, nurturing and exercise, a creative individual whose pursuits the world needs. You are likely a daughter, sister, cousin and niece, a citizen and activist. All, all, all of those things are important. My wish is you honor each one.
- Get your sexy on. Moms are sexy. You know why? BECAUSE YOU’RE A WOMAN. You know why else? YOU ARE A PERSON! There are a zillion studies that show sex makes humans happier, healthier, richer, have sparklier teeth, walk straighter and have hair with that certain bouncy-bounce (I am editorializing on those points, but you know it’s true). The idea that single moms shouldn’t enjoy all those basic, life-sustaining and enhancing benefits is just inhuman. Rev up your vibrator, set up a Tinder date, whatever you have to do. Just do it.
- Remember that you are a revolutionary. No one teaches you how to be a single mom. But you do it. You do it pretty damned well.
- Know that your family is whole. You are not missing a parent. You have enough love and enough time to create a beautiful family and life. You are enough.
Tell: What are you Mother’s Day plans? Does it bum you out that no one is spoiling you today? Are you spoiling yourself?
Emma Johnson is a veteran money journalist, noted blogger, bestselling author and an host of the award-winning podcast, Like a Mother with Emma Johnson. A former Associated Press Financial Wire reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Glamour, Oprah.com, U.S. News, Parenting, USA Today and others. Her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was named to the New York Post's ‘Must Read” list.
Emma regularly comments on issues of modern families, gender equality, divorce, sex and motherhood for outlets like CNN, Headline News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, CNBC, NPR, TIME, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine and The Doctors. She was named Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web,” “Top 15 Personal Finance Podcasts” by U.S. News, and a “Most Eligible New Yorker” by New York Observer.