Are you a single mom? Single mom by choice What advice do you give women thinking of having a baby on her own?
Not a week goes by that I don't find myself in conversation with a childless woman in her 30s worried about whether to have kids, wondering about being a single mom. The typical scenario: She's not dating anyone she really likes, or is in a relationships she's not sure about, and really wants to be a mom.
But she is:
a) worried she won't find the right partner.
b) fears she does marry and they have a kid, but divorce.
c) considering having a baby on her own, but that it could turn out terribly because single motherhood is universally terrible.
My advice is always the same to women thinking about being a single mom by choice:
Have a baby! You will never regret having a baby! Yeah, divorce is hard. Being a mom alone is hard. But it is not full of regret. Having kids in a tough situation is way, way easier than denying the very thing that your body is biologically designed to do and is screaming at you to manifest. Some women's bodies do not scream that at them. Yours is. Listen to that!
Do not live with regret.
Regret is the worst.
Have a baby!
Here's the thing with babies. You have no idea how much you will love them. I know one or two moms who will occasionally say they wish they didn't have kids. Or so many kids. I appreciate that. Totally human. But 99% of the moms I know will tell you:
Your love for your baby will blow your fucking mind. You think you have been in love with men. You think you love your family. You think you love Patrick Dempsey and Sephora.
You don't know shit.
Wait until you have a baby.
What about waiting around to marry “the one,” or whatever? Read my How many divorce stories started with ‘I knew he was the one!' Your fertility is finite. The years you will have the energy to parent little kids is limited. So go ahead and have a kid or three with your really nice boyfriend you're not 100% sure about because, listen — you have no idea how you will feel when you see him changing poopy pants, or when he steps in and takes over when you have crippling post-partum depression and your milk won't come in and you haven't washed your hair for 11 days and he spoons you in bed anyway. And that guy who you're waiting for who with whom you imagine you will have that thing when you just connect and really gets it? Well, he might just check out and not really be interested in family life start spending long nights at the office/with that really pretty colleague and you have no way of knowing that right now. Because he isn't in the picture.
And if there isn't a really nice guy on the scene, well, you are an adult woman and you know the ways you can have a baby.
Because life is about taking risk. Marriage is risk. Having babies is risk. There are no guarantees. The best things are hard. All cliches. All true.
Have the baby.
Then you will be a single mom. And that is scary, and you will be afraid of being poor, and messing up your kids. But married moms worry about that, too. And half of married moms end up single moms. And you have so many amazing opportunities as a woman to earn a great living and control your schedule and bring up awesome children and still find romantic love. So just do that. I'm here for you. And other moms, too.
How about you? What do you tell women contemplating motherhood — or single motherhood? What is your advice to them? Share in the comments.
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.
A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Read more about Emma here.