There is an African Proverb that states:
It takes a VILLAGE to raise a CHILD.
The truth in this runs deep.
Having been to Africa I can see exactly where this proverb originates from. In African, community and village is the normality and everyone TRULY raises their children together. There is a different sense of community and love in Africa than any place I have ever visited. The pure LOVE and JOY in their hearts runs intensely deep.
I am a single mom.
What does that even mean these days? Everyone has a different interpretation of “single mom” or parenthood and none is the RIGHT one because however you interpret it is your perception and perception is reality. There is no need to argue the definition of it. I’ve been told you are only a single parent if the other parent is deceased. I hear mom’s say they are a single parent for the week when their husband is traveling for work. I hear military spouses say they are a single parent during deployment. I don’t know the right answer but I do know that instead of debating the words, we should be RISING together to make sure NOBODY FEELS like a single parent.
For me being a single parent has extreme ups and downs. I was just telling a friend last night the hardest part for me is the emotional support. I don’t have someone to call and tell about the cute things my kids do. I don’t have someone to hand the kids off to at night to slip out the door to go grocery shopping or just wander around Target because I need a BREAK. I don’t have anyone to bounce ideas about parenting off to so I feel the weight and burden of everything my child does and becomes on MY shoulders as I am my children’s primary caretaker. And when I cry about my children or because they sometimes say I am a mean mom or that they hate me when I discipline I cry alone into a pillow instead of the arms of a spouse.
All those things make me feel like a SINGLE mother.
I do know when I step back that I have a Village.
They have an amazing father. He spends as much time as he can with them and checks in on them daily. We have a close friendship and make sure the kids have us both of us for all events, birthdays, holidays, sports, ect. It may not be the “normal” but it is our normal. And what is normal anyways? There really is NO normal in this day and age. Families all look very different from each other.
Having a close neighborhood has been my saving grace. We truly LOVE and care for each other’s children like our own. They run in and out of each other’s houses all day. I have them to vent and laugh with and they just love me as ME and we can try to get through this messy parenthood journey together.
My mother is my rock. You know this if you read here often. Both my parents but my mom is the one I usually don’t go a day without hearing from.
They can look as different as the modern day families.
It takes HARD work to raise children. It is an insanely precious job and opportunity. But it is messy and crazy when you try balancing in your life and theirs and the world.
I am headed to Disneyland in an hour.
I will be out there for a Half Ironman and it is my kids Spring Break. I decided it was a good time to go. The perfect and “golden” age.
I asked their father if he wanted to go. I felt he deserved to see their faces light up and witness the MAGIC of Disney through their eyes the first time too. Of course he wanted to be with the kids at Disney. So off we go.
I get asked if because we are still friends if it means we would ever get back together. No. It doesn’t not mean that. It means simply that TWO individuals who have children together have decided it is best for the children to remain close friends and share experiences with them as they grow up.
Was it easy to get to this point? Fuck no.
But you know what? I may have done some cool things in my life. I may have some shiny medals. I may do some more epic shit in the years and decades to come. But NOTHING and I mean nothing will ever hold a candle to the accomplishment of finding peace with my children’s dad in order for our “non-traditional” family to live in harmony. It is my greatest accomplishment and gift I could give my children. And I am proud of it even if I have never said all this publicly before.
Does it mean you are a failure or doing something wrong if you don’t have a relationship like this. Absolutely not. I realize it is an exception but slowly becoming more of the norm as we see celebrities do it and people open up about it. It takes more forgiveness, love and humility than you will ever believe you could conjure up and it comes from BOTH parties 100%.
It is a journey. Life is a journey. Life is crazy and messy and beautiful.
Love more. Hate less. Period.
Be grateful for YOUR village.
Let’s TOGETHER rise up and raise a generation of the most badass, kind, hard-working warriors.
If we ALL are in it together we can change the world…
One Child At A Time.