"I could never do what you do"
"How do you do it?"
"I'm not as strong as you"
I used to hear these things a lot when I was a single mom with two young daughters. These days my little girls are grown women and I'm happily remarried. Back then though, I would say things like "thank you but, I just do what needs to be done"; "you'd do the same if you were me", and other such things to deflect the discomfort I felt taking credit for doing something I didn't feel I was doing. Why? Because in my mind, I was getting credit for doing everything myself when, in fact, I had a village helping me. You see, I was blessed with a group of friends who were not just there for me when something was wrong. They were there for me when real life happened. They were my second set of eyes, hands, and feet. We had each other's back, period.
"I'm heading to the store, do you need anything?". "I'm running late at the office, so can you pick Suzie up at dance class on your way home?". My girls are home alone and there's a storm coming. Would you mind if they head over to your house until I get home?". I lived and live in a virtual village where these things are not favors; they are just what we do on a daily basis. There are a thousand examples of the little things that need to get done on a daily basis to make a family function smoothly. Single moms often think that asking for help on these little things means asking for a favor. The secret to my success as a single mom was finding a group of women who pitched in and allowed me to do the same. The family instinct in each of us just kicked in and our circle expanded to include one another. Daily routines included an understanding of each other's current circumstance and need. Things change fast as children grow so routines barely had a chance to form before changing again but that was part of what made this work over the years; we all just kept going with the flow.
It is true that we were each single moms at various points over the years, and we all had lonely, tough times, but now that most of our children are grown and we can look back, I believe we'd all say that we did our best to be there for one another.
Our children grew up around one another not necessarily as best friends, but they are 'cousins' of sorts, and they know that their mothers are connected in a way that few people allow themselves to connect. Each of us perform our respective jobs more effectively, because we have each other; we are stronger mothers because we have each other, and we have grown as women emotionally and spiritually, because we have no doubt about the love and respect we share. It takes a village to raise a family— It takes a village to be a single Mom.
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