To the single moms
My mom raised me on her own, pretty much from the moment I was born. She did it so well I didnít realize most kids have two parents until elementary school. Thatís when I started making friends and having sleepovers, where both parents were present. The more I got to know kids my age, the more I saw differences between my life and theirs.
It was just my mom and me, so we could do whatever we wanted when we wanted. Mom would sometimes wake me up on Saturday morning to spend the day in town, going to lunch and to see a movie. She gave me lots of small luxuries like that, because I was her only child and she didnít have to answer to anybody about the way she spent her time or money.
Even as a child, I could tell she relished that freedom. I did, too. My childhood was filled with vacations and weekend trips and impromptu days at the pool with Mom and Nana. I loved it. Looking back, I canít think of any other way Iíd want to grow up. Of course, I didnít realize how hard it must have been for my mom. She had all this freedom, yes, but she was doing everything on her own. She didnít have somebody to fall back on if she needed a break. I was a pretty clingy kid, so she didnít get very many breaks anyway.
The hardships she faced didnít become clear to me until I graduated from college and got my first job and apartment. Keep in mind I did all that with Gideon and no offspring, so it was exponentially easier for me than it was for her. That doesnít mean it was easy. It took months for me to figure out how to budget my money properly. I was 22 at the time, just a year older than my mom when she had me. To think she went through all that with a 1-year-old astounded me. I gained so much appreciation for her then, and that has only increased over time.
Now, I know it wasnít easy for her to raise me alone. I know she struggled with money, scheduling and loneliness. Above all, she struggled to keep her struggles from me. I appreciate how she made it look so easy, but I hate that itís taken me so long to figure out all the things she was really dealing with.
Like most kids, I thought my mom was superhuman. She was this perfect person who did everything the right way, and I never had to worry about having clothes or food or shelter. She took care of all those things and much more. It never struck me that she was human just like me Ö that she had days where she didnít want to get out of bed and go to work and make dinner for her kid. But she did it anyway, because she had to. She was the only person I could depend on for anything, and she always came through.
Some of you understand where Iím coming from, being raised by a single mom, too. My mom and I have a unique bond because of the way she raised me. I feel lucky every day to have the perspective I do. I know I wouldnít be as independent and driven if my mom didnít model that for me every day. Iím sure youíre grateful to your mom for similar reasons.
To all those single moms out there, keep going. Keep doing what youíre doing. If my mom taught me anything, itís that you can do anything you set your mind to.
Sometimes, that means doing it alone, and thereís nothing wrong with that.
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Samantha Jones is associate editor for Carroll County Newspapers. Her email address is Citizen.Editor.Eureka@gmail.com.