So, I’ve been a mom for nearly two years now… O.K fine, Just over a year, since nobody wants to count the first nine months of
horror wonder. But I’m still alive, and my son is still alive (actually doing much better than I expected), so I think I have enough authority to write about motherhood now. (Lord I hope none of those Barbara’s with the two vegetable-eating, kindergarten-honour-roll kids find this blog). I’m going to share with you 5 things that other moms, nurses, friends, and even complete strangers (who I never even asked) have said to me casually, that have not turned out to be true so far. Bear in mind, I don’t have any close single mom friends, so this is a single story. Barbara and her Brady Bunch might be just down the street from you living her best single mom life.
1. You will become Super Mom
First of all, I want my money back for my SuperMom subscription. I still haven’t gotten the cape yet, let alone the skills that should have come with it. I still look at Kymani crying and ask him what’s wrong repeatedly, knowing full well that he can only say Da-Da (and whatever he says to the cat). I didn’t get the superpowers needed to hold down a job, keep dirty laundry at a minimum, clean up messes in a breeze, fix proper meals, get enough sleep, teach my baby cute tricks, and apply my make-up flawlessly everyday. They sold me a dream that I don’t even get access to in my dreams.
At best, I make a proper dinner on Sundays. Apart from that, though, the stove only comes on for mac & cheese, frying an egg or plantain for breakfast, and porridge when I feel guilty. And let’s not even talk about how my clothes keep piling up because I keep washing baby clothes when I find a little time. I found a dress last week that I don’t even remember owning before. I no longer have a floor – it is an obstacle course, and I have to hop over toys, clothespins, bottles, and whatever else Kymani feels should be there. I often go to sleep with them there. No shame.
The truth is that these superpowers don’t come. You just have to thank your lucky stars that you don’t have a man coming home every night and arguing with you on top of it.
2. You can do it by yourself
It sure is comforting to hear, especially when you didn’t set out to be a single mom, that “It will be tough but you can definitely pull it off by yourself.” It’s not true. You need help. Not necessarily a whole village like our parents would prescribe, but you need a support system.
Being the rolling stone loner type that am, I had to learn this the hard way. I grew into myself after having the baby. My friends from school were starting their careers and families (with partners), and I just felt like I was on a different page from everyone around me. But while I waited for everyone to get married then divorced then come find me, it got pretty lonely. I also needed help, ranging from someone to listen me rant or brag about Kymani, to a babysitter, to someone to go out with and feel young and carefree again… just kidding, there is no such thing as feeling young and carefree again.
The truth is that you can’t do it by yourself if you’re going to do it well (or reasonably so). Swallow a little of that warrior princess pride and give others a chance to lend a hand sometimes.
3. Your child needs only you.
You probably have said something along the lines of “My baby and I will be fine without you!” to someone in your recent past. You probably said this after you got dumped, or after you caught him cheating with Barbara down the street, in a blaze of fury and hurt. And you felt pretty confident saying this because you have heard the glorious stories about parents who actually choose to be single (there is probably a mental condition for that), and parents who lost their partners to death and are managing pretty fine.
But here you are, with a child, who has a known, living father, telling yourself that you you will love your child enough for two people. You can’t. You just cant.
The truth is that you can be the best mom in the world, (even better than that sneaky Barbara), and your child will love and adore you. But your child is growing up, and will soon be asking questions, and you can say whatever you want to those questions, but the child will grow some more after that, and seek out answers for themselves. Now if a man is not interested in being in his child’s life, there is nothing that you can do there. But ensure that you don’t let your hurt blind you when making critical decisions. He can be in the child’s life and not be in yours. It’s not easy, especially after heartbreak, but I presume it’s possible. I have a pretty long way to go.
4. You can just get back out there.
So maybe this one isn’t a lie, because some women have. But I don’t know how they do it! I cannot, for the life of me, find a serious enough interest in anyone. And the odds of finding someone worth finding aren’t stacked in my favour, either. Most days I look the way I feel (think The Walking Dead here), so I’m not turning too many heads… or getting any for that matter.
The cobwebs don’t bother me, really, but there is a lot of anxiety in my head when I think of dating again. Where do I find him? Will I even have time for him? Do I even really want him? Do I want to let him in my son’s life? Will he want a child? Do I want another child? Marriage? A step parent (shudders)? What if he leaves, too, and it was all just a big waste of time?
The truth is I just don’t know if it’s possible. But I thought I’d have been able to get back out there by now, and I haven’t. So I know it’s not as easy as Amber Rose and Ciara make it look. I’ll let you know if it happens, mama! (Comment below if you know any eligible sugar daddies).
5. It gets easier.
People make it seem as if the older the baby gets, the easier he is to take care of. I disagree. This is perhaps because my little bug is rolling up to the ‘Terrible twos’ party waaay before he should. Yes, he gets more independent, but that means instead of feeding him the Mac & Cheese, I now get to clean up the Mac & Cheese from every imaginable surface (and a few you can’t imagine, too). And I predict that when he gets older and knows how to clean up after himself, he will have little to no interest in doing so. Then there will be the tasks of teaching discipline and responsibility waiting for me.
The truth is, it doesn’t get easier, but you get more experience, which teacheth wisdom (I hope). The needs of the child will change, and so must your response. You might perhaps end up doing less physically (hallelujah), but they still need you to make sense of the world around them, no matter how old they get.
But despite the lies you’ve been told, you’ve made it this far mama. Cheers to surviving this far and those clueless people who think you have it all together!
– Candiece, Mother of Ky.