A Woman's Work

{image by Olukemi Kamson}

Too often, we as single mothers fall into the stereotype of being just a woman searching for someone to care for our child[ren] and us. Because the journey becomes tiresome, it is easier to fall victim to the fairy tale. We sit and wish for someone to come along and “save” us from having to do this alone, rather than taking the time out of our schedule to work on who we are as a person and decide what it is we actually want and need. What we should be seeking is something so much more than an extra paycheck to help carry the load. While that extra set of hands and that other paycheck could help pay the bills, could help put food on the table and could carry some of the household responsibilities, what we truly lack is the desire for a partnership that will help build the foundation needed to prepare our children for the road ahead. Perhaps it was inexperience or lack of maturity that consumed the aspirations to become the artist or the lawyer before you started your family. Maybe it was being caught up in what you perceived to be an adult relationship—one that the child you were was incapable of having—and finding your belly swollen with a new life while you were still deciding what to do with your own. Whatever your reasons, here you [we] are, lost in the shuffle of 9 to 5’s, daycare, homework, story time and trips to the park. As mothers nurturing our young we have forgotten our needs as women, letting them fall along the wayside. Our sons have missed the lessons of their father’s, which are supposed to teach him how to treat the woman he loves with respect and adoration. Our daughters have never seen how a woman and a man take care of each other and are the support system that keeps a foundation strong.

Have we also forgotten that we are queens and deserve not only someone to help in the child rearing, but also a king who truly understands the worth of his queen and treats her as such? When did we stop needing [or wanting] healthy and productive companionships that help us to be better people—mothers, daughters, sisters and women? When did we stop wanting someone who brings us tears of laughter instead of heartache; someone to point you in the right direction when you stray from your path and to constructively criticize; one whom will not judge, but love and support you in your efforts to grow and mature. So often, we settle for “some-one” rather than finding “the-one”.

As single mothers, we lead our children with the example of what a strong woman does to “hold it down”, but let us not forget that their young eyes are open wide to our mistakes as well. And they are destined to repeat those mistakes of ours if we do not also show them another way. For too long, we have put too much before our families. By settling for relationships that offer us nothing more than a warm hand to hold and no true commitment or hope for a secure future, we have denied our children the example of what a complete family really is. If they never observe a complete family unit, how will they know to except nothing less for themselves? I challenge every single mother who has settled for that “someone,” (including myself) to honestly re-evaluate your current situation and decide if you would want your child[ren] to follow in the footsteps you have laid in their path. Would you want your son or daughter to cease their search for Mr. or Mrs. “right” by settling for Mr. or Mrs. “right now”?

I am writing this in the midst of a re-evaluation of myself; a re-evaluation of the day-to-day decisions I make--and how they affect the life of my own child. Although I feel the decisions I make as a parent for the physical well being of my child are sound, I have failed to realize the possible long term negative impact that some of my personal decisions may have on my son as he grows to be a man. With this, I have begun to expect more out of myself, not just as a mother, but also as a single woman in search of Mr. Right.

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by Francesca Hargrove

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