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Accepting The Reality Of Being A Single Mom Does NOT Mean You're 'Settling'

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Five ways to be PROUD without accepting less than you deserve.

Being a single mom is hard — there are no two ways about it.

No matter whether you chose to be a single mom, or unexpectedly found yourself single at some point, some days you probably wish your situation was different.

Even if you proactively chose to be a single mom by choice, and went through great pains to get pregnant, it’s hard not to fantasize what it would be like if you had a partner, and difficult to stop beating yourself up for not having been able to find a partner with whom to have a baby.

And certainly, if your partner left, it’s easy to keep blaming and feeling betrayed.

Learning to accept your situation — letting go of regret, blame, and wishing it were different — can be a great struggle.

But not letting go and surrendering to your situation, prevents you from enjoying your current situation or at least making the best of it.

I understand how hard it is to fully surrender to a path that unfolded completely differently than I had always envisioned.

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I became a single mother in my early 40’s after struggling with infertility.

I spent many a night lamenting my situation — why couldn’t I find someone to have a baby with? Why did I wait so long? Why didn’t I realize my fertility was waning sooner? The list goes on and on.

In order to be present and enjoy my life and my son, I’ve had to let go of the regrets and sadness and simply accept my truth.

And, I notice the more I surrender and accept, the happier, more content and more present I become to my life.

Yet, there’s one very big caveat. Learning to accept the reality of your situation as a single mom, does not mean settling for less than you deserve or rolling over.

Here are some examples of accepting reality without settling for less than you deserve. 

 

1. You can accept that you are single now —​ but not accept that you will always remain single.

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You have not taken yourself off the dating market just because you have a child and no longer need a man to provide you with one.

If you are in the thick of infancy or toddlerhood, it may feel like several years before you are ready to date, but the day will come when you have the bandwidth to go on dates and fall in love again.

And when you are ready, I venture that you will be both smarter and more cautious, a combination that may invite wonderful men into your life.

 

2. Accept that people are curious about your child's paternity, where the father is, and what his role may be — without accepting rude questions or assumptions about your life.

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You do not have to tell your story to every person who asks.

Some people ask with genuine curiosity and good intentions. Others may just be nosy and judgmental.

It’s ok to ask questions to screen out the nosy ones or to simply keep it private. And, it’s ok to give different answers to different people and different circumstances.

For example, your preschool teacher and even the parents in the class may benefit from knowing the details of your story, how you refer to the donor or father and how they can field questions from other kids.

But the man at the gym doesn’t need to know and, in many ways, probably doesn’t care.

 

3. Accept that, when it comes down to it, you're going to be the only person you can rely upon —​ but don't accept that people will always let you down.

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You are the only person you can truly control. But do NOT accept that all people are going to flake, by their nature.

That means when you encounter unreliable and flaky people, you do not have to settle for their behavior.

It’s ok to set limits and boundaries about what is acceptable behavior. You can still surround yourself with reliable, fabulous, supportive people.

 

4. For the single moms by choice, accepting that you did choose to be a single mom and that means that most things fall to you and only you —​ but not that you need to be lonely.

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But not settling for friends who can’t empathize or listen to you complain from time to time.

Let’s face it, motherhood is extremely challenging.

Even though most women who proactively choose to get pregnant alone have thought through most of the issues, it is impossible to know what being a mother actually entails.

And, even if you did garner a fairly accurate view of motherhood before becoming one, at times, it’s still much harder than you can handle.

So, yes — it’s ok to admit that it’s difficult or not what you imagined.

You need friends who are willing to empathize with your struggles, who will support you through the good times and the hard times. If you find you have friends who say, “you chose to be a single mother so why are you complaining”, you can quietly walk away cause they aren’t your friends.

 

5. For those that are single because of a recent breakup or divorce, you can accept that you this is not what you had anticipated —​ but not settle for bitterness and regret.

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You cannot change your child's father, force him to act a certain way, or control how he behaves.

But that doesn't mean you have to settle for abusive or inappropriate behavior of any kind.

You can choose to live in the present, set appropriate boundaries for you and your child and let go of any blame and regret.

 

There’s a fine line between accepting your situation and settling for less than you deserve.

It’s important to accept what we can about ourselves, our path and others, while still maintaining appropriate boundaries and faith in others.

What do you need to accept and reject in order to be happy and content with your situation?

 

Sarah Kowalski is an author, and coach at Motherhood Reimagined.  She helps women who are struggling find their own unique path to motherhood, even when it looks nothing like they previously imagined. Her memoir Motherhood Reimagined: When Becoming A Mother Doesn't Go As Planned will be released Oct. 17th, 2017 by SheWritesPress. Reserve your copy now.

 

 

 

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