Why Embracing The ‘Single Mom’ Title Isn’t Always My First Thought

I’m a single mom. It’s true. I’ve got two beautiful kids and no husband, at least not yet. (FYI: I do still have an open FTE in the spouse category and am actively recruiting in hopes of filling that role. And, yes, I realize that talking about my future soul mate using corporate human resources lingo could likely be one of the reasons why I’ve yet to snag a spouse.) But I digress. So, technically, I’m a single mom. While it’s true, it’s not always the category with which I most readily identify. It’s not because I try to distance myself from that part of my persona. It’s there, it’s just not always center stage.

What’s interesting, though, is that it often seems to be the top-of-mind part of my identity for others. And, sometimes, when people ask me for my opinion as a single mom or suggest that I speak out on single mom-related topics, I find myself at a loss for what to say. (And, trust me, I do not often find myself at a loss for what to say.) It’s just not the primary lens through which I view the world. The awkward silence becomes particularly loud when I receive the dreaded “Isn’t it hard to be a single mom?” question. I get uncomfortable at the oddity of the inquiry and brush it off as being no big deal and try to move on to another topic. Unfortunately that means I sometimes come off as acting holier-than-thou or as if I’m some sort of martyr. I’m neither of those. I just don’t know how to answer the question.

But, I’ll stretch myself and give it a shot. Is it hard being a single mom? Yes and no. Being responsible for another human being, or in my case two human beings, certainly can be daunting. Especially if you stop to ponder the magnitude of it. Is doing it alone more difficult or more daunting? Maybe? I know, I know — I’m being vague. But I’m also being honest. I really don’t know.

Here’s one thing that I do know, though. The sheer logistics of life can be particularly tough when you’re solo parenting. I think they can be tough for any family that’s balancing work and home, but being one working mom with two kids can, indeed, be trying at times. Some examples:

  • I’ve often got little margin for error when it comes to getting to and from work (with two drop-offs and pick-ups mixed in).
  • Fitting in the most basic of tasks can pose a challenge — I haven’t had a haircut in months because I just haven’t squeezed it in.
  • And, without a doubt, I sometimes wish I could just go to Target by myself or that I could stay a little longer at a work happy hour. But more often than not I’m heading out to the big box store with my two sidekicks in tow. And I’m usually the first to leave the happy hour, that is if I make it there at all.

None of these things warrant any pity or sympathetic looks, though. In fact, I hate the “you poor thing”-type comments (and trust me, they do come regularly). There are many families that face many more significant challenges, whether they’re headed by one, two or more parents.

Puzzle pieces

The fact of the matter is that, at this point in my life, my single mom title tends to be an afterthought for me. An, “Oh yeah, I’m that, too” kind of thought. It’s not that I’m avoiding that label, per se. I mean, it’s not that being a single parent is an embarrassment — it’s most definitely not. I chose, with full intention, to add each of my children to my family. Neither was an accident, an “oops”, or a mistake. I’m proud of my kids, am proud of the family that we have become, and am proud of our crazy life. I’m just more apt to identify myself as a:

  • Happy mom.
  • Funny mom.
  • Passionate mom.
  • Adoptive mom.
  • Working mom.
  • Crazy mom.
  • Busy mom.
  • Weird mom.

We’ve all got many parts of our identities and, what’s more, those identities are fluid. Single, working, adoptive, happy, funny, passionate — I’m all of those and more. That list will ebb and flow over time. What won’t change, though, and what’s most important in all of those descriptors is their common denominator — mom. That’s among my most treasured parts of my identity and something that’s here to stay.

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