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.
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.
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.