I realize the majority who read this already know this about becoming a parent, hence the 101; however, there is a trend in the media right now calling, or perhaps shouting, for the fathers of this nation to step it up. Obviously, from my blog title, I am a solo mom. This post is not a male bashing, nor do I claim to know everything about everyone’s situation, and/or everything about being a successful parent. I do however know this: love is sacrifice. It is the nature of the beast. To love another is to put their needs ahead of your own, and in successful marital relationships both parties practice this type of love more often than not.
Loving a child is, more often than not, a one-way street. Not that the giggles, the I love you moms, and the smiles doesn’t melt away any of the exhaustion you feel from loving another so much. This type of love possesses a willingness to sacrifice so much during the daily grind that it can sometimes, I stress sometimes, feel utterly draining (ok, a lot of the time).
To love your child means to sacrifice your desires, even if only temporary until their needs are met. It means that instead of taking your annual pre-child vacation, you use the money to spend quality time with your off-spring. It means that instead of living in your desired city of choice, you move to a less desirable location to surround your child with a secure, loving village. It means working your derriere off to secure a job that isn’t necessarily your dream job to provide medical insurance for your child, and doing it with a smile of gratitude on your face. And lastly, but what I deem most importantly, when all you want to do is crawl up with a glass of wine and hide under a rock – because you can’t possibly give anymore of yourself – you muster up the strength and patience from wherever (mine is from the Lord Almighty), and you give your child the time and attention they need when they need it – not just when it’s convenient.
I hear you parents of the ones who “get it.” “Duh, what else would I do, he or she is my child after all.” This post isn’t for you. It is for the fathers and/or mothers <but let’s face it, there is a Good Men Project for a reason, NOT that I’m saying all mother’s are saints, but I digress>, who don’t get it. It isn’t honorable to vilify the mothers who work hard day-in and day-out, and reward the fathers who think paying up and showing up is enough. I’m here to tell you, that it isn’t.
I previously mentioned I am a research-Googling geek, so what else would I do when faced with the prospect of single motherhood… I researched. What I found through conversations with adults whose father’s didn’t make them a priority during their youth is that they realized it without their mother’s telling them. Applause to those women for taking the higher ground which can be lonely and extremely difficult.
The fact is, children are smart. They smell fear, mud puddles, sugar, and are able to decipher the truth without anyone explaining it to them. Lying and dishonesty are learned later in life.
So back to my initial motivation for writing this post: All those who find themselves living the solo parent life, you don’t need to give up your dreams indefinitely, you don’t need to hang on to the past of the should of’s, would of’s, and could of’s, but you DO need to put your child’s needs ahead of your own Every. Single. Day.