When MIke and I did the Kanan trade-off yesterday so common to parents who have split up, I began sharing with him about my shopping experience at the mall. As I had mentioned in a previous post, I used to be a very fashionable and self-absorbed person, but that has changed since I’ve had Kanan and found the Lord. I went on to tell Mike that there were so many cute clothes that I wanted but those clothes didn’t fit my lifestyle anymore. Its not like I’m running around in sweats or anything. I still wear cute clothes, just not clothes that are meant for a 23 year old woman without kids. Short shorts? Not when you have a toddler you are constantly chasing and are constantly bending over to pick him up or kiss his booboos. Satin, sliver-of-midriff baring peasant blouses for 80 bucks at BEBE? Not if you go out on the town like once every six months and don’t have anything scheduled in the short run. It felt wrong to spend 80 dollars on a shirt I’d wear like once this year when I could buy 4 shirts I could wear a dozen times each. I suppose if my income were greater that shirt would be different, but that goes back to being a “single” mom.
I said to Mike—“I’m a single mother. Those clothes don’t fit my lifestyle anymore.” Okay, fine, those clothes wouldn’t fit the lifestyle of many mothers regardless of her singledom or not, but that is what I said, and in the end, that is not the main point of this blog. The main point of this blog is Mike’s response. Mike then said, “you are not a single mom. Being a single mom implies Kanan has a dead-beat father who is not around.” To which I answered, “No. Single mother means Dad and Mom aren’t together anymore.” He thought about it a minute and said he never thought of himself as a single father and still doesn’t see it that way.
So now I am wondering, when you, my beloved readers, hear the words “single mother” or “single father,” what do you automatically assume? Every word comes with the baggage of connotation associated with it. But do all “single moms” and “single dads” come with the same baggage? Do we live in a world with so many “deadbeat” mothers and fathers that they have tainted the very word “single parent?” In a world where divorce rates are at 50 percent and illegitimate children are prevalent, aren’t there more people like MIke and I—decent people who are not together anymore, but share equal custody of our children? Should there be a new word for folks like us? And finally, am I being too prude about the lifestyle of a single mom? Should I be buying sexy 80 dollar shirts I couldn’t wear for 6 months, or wear it anyway while I’m grocery shopping or at the park?
As much as it humbles me to even have to be writing this post given my values have changed, I am eager for an answer. Regardless, I am a walking contradiction to what I believe is the only way a family should be made and living proof that any other way increases the likelyhood of a broken family and broken hearts.To me, I am a single mother, for a lack of a more accurate word. I wish I weren’t. I never thought I would be. And if I could turn things around and have done things the right way, I would. But with God’s grace, I pray he turn lemons into lemonade and I won’t have to be one forever. And if I am one forever, that he change my heart so that I am content with it, regardless of the baggage that came with it.