The truth is that the majority of my "speaking engagements" I give are most effective from the Heart of a Single Mom. This is no simple task. Take a woman like me. I don't look the "role", at least not the role of the so many labels put upon single Mom's. I live the "self empowerment" role, but the heartstrings of this single Mom sing a note so high, because they are pulled so tight, that there are days when "breakable" is the only word I can use to describe my heart. When you live the "self empowered" role, it is a huge, heartbreaking endeavor to separate yourself from it's strengths and to allow the heart wrenching pain in your heart to be actualized into words. Yet I do it, not because I want people to know about me, but because I want people in the position to help, to know that there are a lot of women just like me. That the labels and stigma attached to us by society are not earned by us, but placed upon us through ignorance. I enjoy the look of revelation on their faces as I tell my story. However, I think my heart breaks a little more each time I relive the struggles of me and my Monsters.
I have heard many comments of late, regarding women abusing the system. That the system is broken because there are too many women just having kids to stay on the system. Some of it is true. Most of it isn't. In fact, I am not going to comment on all the issues that could be discussed on this. What I will talk on is my experience, like so many other women and by opening it up, displaying it's struggles, obstacles and achievements providing a life like so many others that should be labeled as achievers! full of life! hopeful in the face of adversity! hard working! losing hope! These are true labels. Helpful labels.
Today I had to say "no" to my son. This isn't a new thing and it isn't like I think other Mother's get to say "yes" all the time. What I am tired of is in saying no to what other children take for granted. If I had all the money in the world, I wouldn't say "yes" to everything and truthfully it is less about me than it is about him. So let's paint "his" picture.
He's a good boy, everyone says so who meets him. He is polite, well mannered, well spoken and very considerate of others.
He has specific chores. Dishes, Kitty Litter and mr. Pooper Scooper. Makes his own breakfast & lunch. Does his own laundry most weeks and like his siblings, tackle hugs me when I am too stressed.
It definitely helps that he is a cutie as well.
In order to return to school, I was obligated to terminate my current employment and to apply for OSAP. I asked my children first. It was put before them, either I continue with this rollercoaster of commissioned income or I return to school and receive a proper education that will increase either my employable potential or educate me in the progressive structure/functioning of GTOC. Without a second breath they all voted in favor of schooling. They knew the restrictions involved. It didn't matter. They love like that.
Today I discovered, my OSAP will be over a week later than everyone else's. More stress. Not like we haven't "portioned" grocery money before while the bills pile up. And of course I said "no" to my son and explained to all my monsters that left overs were not compostable, they are edible with a little creativity. In fact they would have no choice in this matter, I only purchase what we need for each day. We shop at the local "dive" of grocery stores. We are re-negotiating phone bills, insurance bills, mortgages and utilities for both Rose Hall and LTH.
You know, it really isn't the fact that I have to say "no". It's the fact that my son is too accustomed too me saying "no", to the point where sometimes he doesn't even ask to go on a class trip when the rest of his class simply expects to go.
It's the fact that my children know that if their father supported his end properly we wouldn't have the obstacles that we consistently face.
If you are not a good parent, it is still your obligation to support your children.
If you are both good parents, show it. Your needs are secondary to the needs of your children and they need both good parents.
It's the fact that their mother works the hours of two full time jobs just to make ends meet and play/cuddle time comes around while Mom falls asleep in exhaustion.
It's the fact that my children give from themselves before I would ever ask them too.
And, it is the fact that sometimes, like all Mom's....I just want to say "yes" .
Life is hard. Nothing wrong with that. The largest percentage of women are forced to live in poverty due to divorce and the husband/father not supporting properly. I have made my choices and I live them now. Children don't get to make the choices but are made to live with the choices adults make. Something I shared with a good friend, " it takes both parents to be positively responsible for the well being of their children". What ever the parent's circumstances the children must come first. I have seen parents positively do this and to act as adults not only in support of their children but in support of each other. I am so encouraged to witness this in my friends.
However, in the past few weeks I have witnessed many single parents attempting the struggles so bravely and enduring the pains so completely. I know what it is like. I am living it still with my Monsters. I may have had to say "no" today but together as a team, we sacrifice now in support of a better tomorrow.
Hearing all of this. Know I put this forward freely in response to some of the judgemental, undignified, stigmas I have seen offered up towards single mothers. Now, I know you put them forth not knowing, I was/will forever be, one of the women you have placed judgement upon. I will also the boss one day given my future goals. Instead of your negative words, know you can make a true difference and give hope. Hope that they too will have the opportunity to become self sustaining citizens in a community that will stand strong in support of you one day, should your world fall apart around you. V xo