Confessions of a former single mom

I didn’t choose the single mom life… the single mom life chose me 😅 I was 20 when I got pregnant with Brooke. I wasn’t smart with dating choices. I met Brooke’s at a time when “8 mile” was popular.. he found my dog.. we made a human. There wasn’t much more to that love story I was 20… he was cute.. I was cute we bonded on the typical things 20 year olds bond over music and Taco Bell 🤷🏾‍♀️ As the conversations grew it just became apparent he wasn’t what I needed at that time in my life. He wanted to pursue his dreams of being a rapper and I knew that wasn’t a Lifestyle I was into. I let him go live his life and do what he wanted. I found out I was pregnant shortly after Brooke’s dad left to be the next Eminem. He had a dream and well I had a baby.

Being a single mom in Temecula I felt immediately judged. I was young, black, with a fatherless child. Regardless of the circumstances people enjoy just shaming single mothers. Temecula is a very conservative town and in 2006 it wasn’t easy. My friends were starting their lives and going to college and I had to throw a plan together to make money fast. So I decided to go to nursing school.

I was also working in the Temecula Valley Unified School District as a paraeducator and at night I was a dancer at a strip club called “Club 215”

I’m not ashamed. I didn’t qualify for state benefits. I tried. I went down to the social services office and was denied because I had employment. I went to car and broke down crying. I always thought it was easy to get on state benefits and just get a little help. It’s not. At the time I had a little part time job making about $1500 a month but no child support.. (if the father refuses to work or works under the table you get nothing.. I didn’t care I relied on me🤷🏾‍♀️🤘🏾) I felt like the government was punishing me for having a job. Since I wasn’t going to get help from the state I had to get money so I danced. Between working in the school district, dancing and receiving money for going to school I was able to provide a great life for Brooke and I.

We always had a home, a car, lived and amazing life together. I was working and Brooke had everything she needed. If she wanted it. I made a way to get it for her. Brooke never knew our family was not like other families. I did though. That’s where the trouble started.

Dating

I struggled emotionally with not having a partner to raise Brooke with. I saw my friends falling in love and in my own mind I wasn’t worthy of love because I had a child. I felt like I was damaged goods. I felt I almost had to be “grateful” to a man for wanting to date me. For wanting to take on a woman with a child. I almost felt like I was just not good enough. I had this need to rush and have a husband to show my family and my town that “Hey I’m not a screw up, I’m not a single mom, look at me I’m in a relationship.” I was so tired of feeling judged for not having a father for my child that I was just grasping at anything that accept me at the time. I was just so desperate for love. I had spent my entire pregnancy alone. I had no one to feel her kicks, no one to share moments with. I was in a constant state of shame and loneliness. I was clinging to anything that would love us back and that was my greatest mistake. Thankfully nothing ever happened to my child but my desperation lead to me being physically abused, sexually abused. I endured so much to have “a relationship” so I wouldn’t be a “single mom” I felt like if her dad didn’t want to be in her like I would find a dad. I wanted someone to fill the void and just not be lonely. I would see my friends in these wonderful relationships and I just didn’t think it was real because I was pretty much experiencing hell on earth at the hands of men I was choosing to date at the time. It took me divorce and several failed relationships to figure out I was worth more. I didn’t want Brooke to think it was normal to be treated less than to simple have a man.

When Brooke was about 7 or 8 we found ourselves again single. This time I did single differently. I took time to heal myself and went to therapy and I dated, like fore real dated! That made the biggest difference. I had to forgive myself and release the single mom guilt I had. I had to make rules and guidelines for dating and be strong with them. I was always upfront that I wasn’t dating to just date. I was dating to be married and have a family. Some men went running and that fine they were not the man for Brooke and I. I had to realize I was dating not find a “daddy” but a husband and father. I had to find a man that was capable and worthy of being a father to her and good husband to me. I didn’t let anyone meet Brooke after my divorce. I felt like men had to really show they had the qualities I was looking for in a husband before introduced Brooke. Going through everything I had really made me see how important really understanding a person and their behaviors. It’s better to be alone and single mom than to be in a toxic relationship.

Society

Brooke didn’t know our family wasn’t “normal” until she went to school. Once Brooke was school aged that’s when it became difficult to hide we were different. Teachers would ask “what’s your dad’s name?” Or just questions about a dad in general and she would say “I just have a mom” I taught Brooke in kindergarten “Every family looks different and every family is special, our family has me and you, some families have a mom and dad, some families have grandparents as mom and dad.. it’s all family, and it’s all right.”

Society has a way of making you feel less than if you’re a single mom. I honestly think being a single mom has prepared me for so many situations and obstacles. I’ve had to think on my feet, learn to pay bills, sacrifice, budget. I had to grow up and be accountable because I had a life that mattered to me more than my own. I think I learned the importance of relying on myself (but is a gift and curse now that I’m in a relationship I find it hard to relinquish a lot of the control I had or to ask for help. I’m used to doing it all so I’m not used to having someone there to let me know I don’t have to do that anymore) society will make you feel that you have to feel as if being a single mom means your down trodden and full of burden. A lot of single moms are single moms because they didn’t want to stay in a toxic relationship or in my case a nonexistent relationship. I had nothing there so was I was supposed to try to force a relationship and baby on man that didn’t want us just so she could have a “dad” and I could have a “man” THAT’S asinine! While I am all for keeping a family together, if there’s no family and it’s not healthy, raise your baby alone and live your best life. If I could say anything to single moms I would say enjoy it. Brooke and I have a bond that is unreal. She’s my best friend. She’s my whole world and the reason I’m mom in the first place. She changed the entire direction of my whole life by simple being born. I’m not ashamed of the fact I raised Brooke mostly alone. The only mistakes I’ve made were in dating and not knowing my worth for so long. My mistake was hunting for a “daddy” and not being the best mommy I could be all the time because of that. I would tell single moms yes it get lonely and it’s ok to date that’s normal and everyone deserves real love and you will find it. Don’t be ashamed of your family. Brooke and I were a family! We added Chris to OUR family and made a new family. We weren’t broken, we were just a mother and daughter dynamic duo.

Now that I’m in a healthy relationship I still have emotional baggage to deal with and navigate through. Brooke loves Chris. She doesn’t call him dad because I let her have that choice if she wants to call someone “Dad” I’ve never forced that, that’s a title and relationship that has to be earned. Chris and Brooke are building to a father daughter relationship and that takes time.

There’s always something to get use to and let go being a former single mom. It’s all I know. I know how to take care of me and Brooke, so it’s very difficult at times to step back and let someone do what I’ve been doing for us so long. I just finally got to the point when I look in the mirror and don’t feel like “damaged goods” I’m proud of what I went through and where we are. We didn’t have support but we made it. We’re here and we’re thriving. I don’t want other moms to feel the shame I did. You’re not a failure. You’re not less than.. regardless of how you became a single mom don’t be ashamed of it. There’s a solace in knowing you did that! There’s in a peace in knowing you can provide. It’s great to have a partner now and I thank God for blessing me with the right one. I also thank God for the experience of being a single mom because that’s honestly where I get my drive from. Regardless of your circumstances or where you want to be love yourself and love your little (s) and everything will work itself out.. I promise.

Props to all the single moms out there. I’m rooting for YOU every last one of you.

17 comments

  1. Wow omg baby. That was such a lovely read. It moved me and bought a tear down my eye. It let me in on a deeper part of you. And just know I’m happy God sent me as well. To be part of yall lives and blossom as family. Muah I love you
    My Queen

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awwwww baby awwwww I love you so much. Thank you for taking the time to read my post. This post meant a lot to me and I’m so happy you read it baby

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  2. I don’t even know how to begin. But here goes. My mom is a single mother, even now. She has such an amazing drive, and I look up to her in many ways because of how determined, affectionate and strong she is. There are times when she implies that she feels she hasn’t been a good mother and maaaan do I steam! I’m like, “Woman!!? What kind of rubbish–!? You are exceptional!” My mother is a child of God, and by His strength she has been able to support an amazing little family consisting of me, my big brother and herself. She has even shown such wonderful motherhood to others as well, some of my own friends. If I may say so myself, she raised us WELL. I frequently shower her with affection and gratitude because she needs to know that she has made great and necessary decisions. Her even worrying about whether she is a good mother or not shows how much she wants to give us the best life possible. Well, she says to this day everything she does is for her two children. Sometimes, no matter what we do will have a repercussion here or there, but the love and care shines through. That’s the deal with single mothers who LOVE their child(ren) to world’s end.

    I know this is a long comment. All in all, this was a great read. I like the idea of saying that some families aren’t broken, just different; however, I do believe there is an optimal model for the family. That being said, things that don’t fit a model can still function. And many times better than a mirror image of an ideal family that is actually corrupted in some other way. I am happy that you haven’t settled just to have an addition to your family. You know Brooke deserves the best. So do you. I pray for your success and happiness. I pray you will have the utmost faith in God. He’s kept you and will continue to keep you. Woman, you are an INSPIRATION.

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  3. Shay you know I love you and your work but I’m legit sitting here balling because of this post. Chris was right it does show us a side of you some of us have never know. You’re an amazing woman and have been through so much and have come out on top! You’re such an inspiration to so many and hopefully a lot of young single moms!

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    • This was a hard post to write I realized it was something I never talked about that a lot of young moms go through. That judgement does something to you. That’s why I not judge folks I don’t know what they been through, but I know what I been through and what I been judged for and how that made me feel. So that’s why I’m so into helping single moms and young moms because I didn’t have that help or support and I want to be that for others.

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  4. Such a great post! It really shows how much you care for your daughter and what you would do for her! Single mums everywhere will always have a stigma, especially if they do choose to go on benefits as not work. But I really love how you didn’t let that happen and did everything you could to provide for that little girl 😘

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  5. You are an incredible, strong, and ambitious woman. You raised a beautiful baby girl, on your own, and did everything in your power to make a life for her – that hands down makes you super mom, never forget to be proud of yourself for that!

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  6. Thank you for sharing our story, really, thank you. Single mom here too! There are the struggles that come with it, but I honestly love it. I feel like I was meant to be a single mom. My daughter is only 3.5 but she really is my best friend. The part that is hardest for me is that I don’t know how to let go. Or how to trust anyone. I am not looking to date right now, but it scares the hell out of me! I don’t see myself ever trusting someone enough to let them into our lives so closely. Part of that has to do with my past, but it’s so frightening to me. And even if I did get to that part, I wouldn’t know how to share responsibility. I have speant so long trying to force people to respect me as a parent, I don’t know if I could ever let there be another one. Maybe eventually, when we’re more settled and she is older. I try not to worry about it too much right now, but it always seems to creep up on me!

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    • Girl I am you and you are me! I understand every word of this. I think single moms have a form of PTSD to be honest with you. We’re just scared! Scared for our hearts and our babies and we want to find love. It takes time but I know it will happen. Hugs to you new mama friend!

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  7. For once I am speechless and I have tears in my eyes. I have no idea where I’m going with this comment but I’m my heart is so full reading about you as a single mom. You inspired me before but your REALLY inspire me now. Your soul is so pure is shines all the way to where I am in the UK. You deserve all the best and you are genuinely a QUEEN (just like you husband to be commented 👀)!!

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    • Sorry took me so long to respond I was sick. Thank you so much for reading you and your Little’s inspire me. You are truly a courageous young woman and I’m always rooting for you!

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  8. Reading this post was like reading my personal experience. I had my daughter at 19. I got to a stage like you where it was evident her father and I had different paths in life we wanted to take. There is just too much in this post that I can relate to. I did what I had to do to make sure my daughter had what she needed. I got used to depending on me. I’ve been married for 2 years this month, but I’m still struggling with the single mum mindset if you know what I mean? It’s got much better, but as you say, when you’ve been doing things on your own for such a long time, it’s hard sharing the load. I’m so happy you have found your life partner and I wish you all the happiness you deserve. We deserve love too! Thank you for your honesty and sharing the real with us. Xxx

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