10 Things Single Motherhood Has Taught Me
What you thought was a MISTAKE could be your MIRACLE. You don't realize it until later, Much Later!
I became a mother at a very young age. I was pregnant at seventeen during my senior year of high school. I was embarrassed and ashamed. I was so worried about what others would think of me. Not just the other students, but I was afraid of what my teachers and coaches would think.
After high school graduation in May 2003, I gave birth to my daughter, Destiny, in August 2003. That same month I began college at Tennessee State University. I thought my life was over. I didn't think I would be able to start college, finish college, get a great job, travel and explore the world. I almost let fear and doubt stop me from being great.
I read so many teen mom struggle stories. I wondered, "If they can’t do it, who am I to think I can be any different?" As I continued to research more and more, I found so many teen mom success stories. People who overcame the negative statistics that were placed on them.
At that moment, I began to have a little hope. Hope that I too can become a woman that was not only a teen mom, but a woman who is resilient, intelligent, determined and successful.
Throughout the single motherhood years, I was the support system for my daughter Physically, Mentally, Emotionally, and Financially. I understand that having two parents in the household or having two parents who are able to co-parent doesn't necessarily mean that life is 100% better, but I know that two parents is always better than one.
When you're a single parent, it’s just you. You're the one working, paying for everything, picking them up from school, taking them to extracurricular activities, taking them to the doctor, staying up late helping with homework, creating new ways to make sure the child is living a life that is fun, but also educational and fulfilling. The list can go on and on.
I enjoy doing all of these things for my daughter, but there are times when parenting can get overwhelming. When you’re a single parent, that level of frustration becomes even more difficult because there is no one else to help or give you some relief. If you have children and the other parent is actively involved, you are blessed. Always be grateful and thankful because it's so many children and single parents who wished they had the other parent involved. Not just to help the other parent, but to be there for the child.
Parenting is the most difficult job in the world, but it's also the most rewarding. Why? It's difficult because you don’t get time off. You 're a parent 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. It's rewarding because a child can bring joy and fun into your life differently than anyone else can. From birth until they become an adult, they will continue to make an impact in your life in a way that no one else will ever be able to do.
Now that my daughter will be fifteen this year I just sit back and think, WOW! I did it, I made it, and I didn’t give up. I didn’t allow the lack of support from her other parent bring me down. My daughter and I have had so many amazing experiences because we were not afraid. I wasn't afraid to leave my comfort zone. I trusted myself even when I didn't know how things were going to work out. Single mothers and single fathers are all around us. If you know one, call or text them some words of encouragement. Single motherhood has also provided me with the insight, wisdom and tools to be great in other areas of my life.
10 things single motherhood has taught me:
Statistics Doesn't Define Your Future! Don't allow "research" to decide how your life will turn out. It's great to have research to learn from, but just because someone else failed at smething doesn't mean you will. Even if you do fail, it doesn't mean that you won't eventually reach the level of success you truly desire.
Everyone Makes Mistakes! EVERYONE MAKES MISTAKES. I dislike when someone is giving someone else a hard time. There is a difference between constructive criticism and being mean and rude. No one is perfect. We are all a work in progess to reach the next level. Who are you to judge?
You Don't Have To Know It All! Experience teaches us many things, but once we master something we find out there is more to learn. Don't beat yourself up for not knowing everything. Our world is evolving every day. As long as you're will to keep learning, you will be fine.
Don't Depend On Others! If you expect others to do things for you all the time or even sometimes, you could be spending more time being disappointed when they don't show up for you. Learn how to depend on yourself. When someone else does something for you, GREAT! If they don't, GREAT! Let that something they did be extra and not something you're dependent on to be happy.
You're Not The Only One! We all have a story. Whatever you're going through, someone else somewhere is too. There experience could be easier or more difficult than yours. Connect with others to share your story. Encouraging others will inspire YOU.
With Every Negative There Is A Positive! Every negative experience I've had, I've realized there is always a postive to gain from it. When you're in that negative situation, it may not feel like there is any positivity at all. In order to live life with a purpose, we must always find a positive. This is what will take us to the next level.
Struggle Builds Character! How can you truly teach someone else how to overcome someting if you haven't done it? How can you thrive in this world if you have't learned from your past? Don't be ashamed of your struggles. Appreciate them. Some opportunites you have now may not have come if it wasn't for those struggles from the past.
Everything Won't Be Difficult! Sometimes things will come to you very easily. We may have a natrual skill, talent or gift that doesn't require as much work as others. Celebrate those wins too.
Don't Engage In Drama! Some people enjoy negative reactions from you. They feel better knowing that your upset. Don't let them win. Ignore them. If you choose to engage, keep it professional. You will win every time.
Success Silences The Naysayers! Don't entertain what others say. They don't know everything about you or what's best for you. There are people who said I couldn't do certain things. Some told me to my face and some said it behind my back. I know who I am, what I've done and where I'm going. When those naysayers see my success, I either get a fake "congrats' or just crickets. I love it!
What has single parenthood taught you? If you have children and the other parent is actively involved, what has this experience taught you? We all can learn from each other. Share below!