Most of my friends cannot relate to what it is like as a single mother. The criticism of why I didn't finish putting the laundry away and how it's sitting on the couch or in a pile on the floor when they come over to visit...it's a painful one. They don't mean ill-will, but you have no idea all of the responsibilities and short amount of time I have and how little of it I have for myself. It may sound selfish, but if you look at normal single people, their entire lives are selfish. That isn't meant as an attack, it's just a reality. You get to do what you want to do, there's nothing wrong with that. However, when you are a single parent, you don't get a five minute break from your partner watching your child, you're alone.
You get to play the toys, go on all the hikes, do all of the carpooling and pickups, all of the teacher parent conferences, all of the clothes buying, groceries, etc, etc, etc. And it is taxing. I had a hope, recently, that I would have someone to share these responsibilities with and I feel that I put too much pressure on that hope, in my mind.
There's no denying that I want children, but there's so much more that I desire in a relationship. I want a family. I want someone to come home to where there's an adult conversation. Someone that desires me and only me (vice versa). I want a partner that will throw E into the air and read her stories before bedtime. That will help with taking her to school so that I can go to work.
It's incredibly hurtful as a single parent when your family cannot help you out but expects so much more from you. My sister.... My mother would go over to her place (just ten steps away), sleep on her couch, get her daughter ready for school and take her to school every Friday. But when I lived with her, she would never do that for me. My sister is married. She has a partner, but as a single parent, I chose to leave my partner, therefore I have to deal with the burden.
Any little criticism is difficult for me, now constructive criticism there to help and provide ideas to help with organization, is always appreciated. I have a hard time with people calling me a good mother mostly because I know of all my short comings.
When I date, pretty much everyone thinks that I'm attempting to find a father figure for my daughter. That is far from the truth. Yes, if things get serious, I want to know if you will be a good person towards her and treat her well and could possibly be a partner in helping with childrearing, but she has a father figure, it's her father. Now, her father is absent, cancels last minute, and is irregular and denies child support any time he can. That is her reality. That will teach her many things over the years. No one can replace that for her. No one else can be that for her. And to think that she must have that in order to grow up and be a healthy child, it hurts.
To say things like, oh she really needs a dad in her life. She deserves better than that. She's a good kid. Even kids with dad's around act out and have similar issues. She isn't tainted because her father isn't around. She's a kid. I cannot protect her from the societal onslaught, but I can try by preparing her for it. I talk with her about these things.
I want a family and I have always wanted more children. It is hard for me to be around my sister mostly because her daughters are quite adorable and I'd love to be able to have more. I have always wanted to be a mother and to have a caring and loving partner. However, I cannot accomplish the second task alone.
After leaving E's dad and subsequently divorcing him, there has been a void. The void of someone to come home to that gets you, every day, that looks forward to seeing you. My entire marriage wasn't terrible, but it ended catastrophically. There's no denying that. I wanted to be able to have that again without all of the violence and emotional abuse.
I've been dealing with the reality that my immediate family will only consist of E and I. And is that okay? It doesn't matter how much I want more, it has to be okay and I have to find creative ways to make it okay. It's just hard. I thought I could've had more, I let someone in, in a way that most don't get a chance. It's oddly freeing.
Being with someone that doesn't want more children while I still have fertile years left, well, it shakes my core. Not being with someone while fertile, I can accept single motherhood status in a different light. I just wanted something more. I want what my Grandparents had, at least what I saw them have. They had their own issues, everyone does, no marriage, no relationship is perfect. After their ups and downs, they still loved each other unconditionally.
I want a partner and I'd love more children. No matter what people say about how you're a great catch and you'll find someone. It isn't about all the fish in the sea, it's the one that makes your heart sing just by the smell of him and how he gets you, surprises you, remember your favourite flower after all these years, kisses you, teaches E new things, and never makes you feel terrible or f'd up as a single mother, but as a wondrous status symbol to be cherished.
Someday, it may happen, but I have my doubts. I've been put through the ringer too many times. My heart isn't breaking, it was healed and I'm still in love and it's going to take time. I love E and I want what's best for her, so hopefully I can find a partner that will love my family and vice versa to the point where we want to be a family together.
This book also explains a lot of us single mothers and the struggles we face.