“I didn’t plan on being a single mom, but you have to deal with the cards you are dealt with the best way you can.” ~ Tichina Arnold (actress)
Well it’s that time again. Mother’s Day. A day to celebrate mothers, grandmothers and mother-figures. We thank you for everything you have done for us. It’s also a day to remember the mothers who are no longer with us. Lastly, a day to remember the mothers we have never met, who may have been unable to take care of us and had to give us up for adoption. We celebrate all of you.
I work with women were abandoned by their father early in childhood and how it affects the way they navigate relationships. However, often we forget fathers also abandon mothers. When this happens, she doesn’t have time to pause, she needs to handle business. No matter how she feels, she keeps moving forward. She puts her hopes and dreams aside, to raise her children. When she wants to cry herself to sleep, she lays awake with her children, and comforts them, while they cry themselves to sleep. She is a hero.
For Mother’s Day, I want to honor single mothers. Here is a letter to single moms from your children.
Dear Single Mom,
Happy Mother’s Day to you!! We want to take this time to celebrate you and all that you have done for us. One must not forget how much you sacrificed when dad left. You didn’t bat an eye when he walked out the door. We are sure when it happened you felt so much emotion. Shock, fear, sadness, anger, shame, vulnerability, worry, betrayal, and loneliness. The day you sat us down to tell us daddy wasn’t coming back and that we were going to be okay, must have been the hardest thing you’ve ever done. You were able to hold it together during that conversation, however, later that night, we could hear you crying in your room. That would be the first of many nights we heard you crying in you room. The next day it was business as usual. You sent us to school and you went to work. Dad called a week later. You gave us the phone and went into the other room. Dad made many promises. He said he would come visit soon and send money regularly. When it was your turn to talk on the phone, we heard you yelling in the other the room. We didn’t say anything when you walked out of the room, teary-eyed and worn out. Dad sent money sporadically. Not enough to survive, so we had to move. You told us we had to scale back on purchases. Christmas and birthdays were going to be different. You had to work more hours, so we became latchkey kids. You taught us how to cook macaroni and cheese, Rice-a-Roni, Hamburger Helper, meatloaf and chicken. You weren’t going to be home because you had to pull double shifts. When we looked in your eyes, we could tell you were tired and overwhelmed. When you yelled us to clean our room, go to bed and get good grades, we knew you weren’t really mad at us, you were just defeated. Dad rarely showed up for his visits. The days we sat outside and he never came, you would come out and sit with us. You told us how much you loved us and dad maybe got busy or forgot. You would make us feel better with an ice cream cone and hug. You never spoke ill of him. I guess you knew, we would grow up and figure out who he was. You found that working 50+ hours a week was too much, so you decided to go back to school. You worked during the day and took classes at night. We did what we needed to do. We went to school, came home and stayed out of trouble. Well, sometimes we got into trouble. We felt so guilty watching you head up to the school for a meeting regarding our behavior. You let us have it as soon as we got home. We get it. We understood. You dated here and there, but you made it clear we were the priority. Teenage years came and it got a little wild. Puberty brought attitude. We wanted to do more than you would allow. Now we realize you wouldn’t let us do things out of fear. You were on your own and didn’t want anything to happen to us. Of course, at the time we didn’t see it that way. We snuck out of the house to try to find the love and connection that was missing from dad. We ran into the arms of friends, gangs, and lovers, who may not have been the best for us, but they kept us company. We may have tried drugs and alcohol, not because we wanted to, but because we wanted to fill the emptiness of not having a father around. We were involved in extracurricular activities, however, there were times you couldn’t make our activities. At times, we were upset and hurt, but now we understand. We managed to graduate high school and go to college. We moved out because we wanted more. Some of us ran the streets, got arrested and sent to jail or prison. Some of us got pregnant or married early. We just wanted to get away from that life. We didn’t want to be reminded of the house that was missing our dad. We ran from you, even though you were our rock. Now, many years later, we realize how much you did for us. We love you so much. When dad left you stuck around. You honored your commitment to love and cherish us. We have to remember, that dad left you too. You had no one to lean on like we had you. You could call a few friends here and there, but at nighttime, we could hear you crying yourself to sleep. Although you felt shame, fear, anger, sadness, loneliness, we saw you as brave, courageous, disciplined, strong and loving and we still do. Thank you, thank you, thank you for loving me and being our rock. Happy Mother’s Day! We love you.
Please share this with a single mother or single mother-figure that had to raise children on her own. Let her know how much you appreciate her and all that she has done in your life and/or the life of someone you know.
If you are a single mother or know a single mother who may still be struggling with negative emotions or self-esteem issues stemming from the abandonment of her children’s father, have her reach out to me at (510) 250 - 3091 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s time for her to get the support she needs.
I am a therapist who helps individuals who are motivated to transform their inner voice of self-doubt and self-criticism into a powerful voice of positive self-talk and self-trust. We help individuals recognize their inner worth, build their self-esteem and speak their truth.