Express Yourself

Posted on | April 30, 2014 | 17 Comments

A friend of mine posted on Facebook, that “wonderful” marketplace of ideas, about how single mothers should put their children first and shouldn’t date just to date. And in many, many ways, I agree with her.

But see… I also disagree.

I think as women, and especially as mothers, we tend to put ourselves second in every way. Our children ask for something for dinner so we make it and eat the sloppy leftovers. Our husbands or significant others come home tired and cranky, so we put our own tiredness and crankiness on the back burner and slap on a “SO glad to see you” face.  Our boss needs extra work done so we do it, even if it means missing a play at school or whatever else is on our agenda.

If our children need it and we can afford it, we buy it… even if it means that what we need goes without purchase. Hell, I have cardigans with holes in them that I still rock at work because my kid is growing like a weed and I have to keep him dressed in normal clothes. (Side bar: Also DEAR GOD why does everything he own have holes in the knees now? Do they give him scissors at school? Is he forced to walk over rocks on his knees?)

So when it comes to being a single mom, our first instinct seems to be to cross our legs tightly and say “Now I will focus on raising my child and nothing else.” Like self-flagellation of the strangest kind. As if by denying ourselves something normal and natural we will somehow raise a better child.  Don’t get me wrong… there are some crazy men out there who will take advantage of a single mother or her children. There are bad ones in every bunch… just like… wait for it… when you’re dating WITHOUT a child.

As a single mom, it really bothers me when I hear women say “I gave up dating until my son/daughter left for school because he/she is just too important.” It bothers me because what on earth is that teaching the child? That mothers aren’t people? That mothers don’t have needs for companionship and love and nurturing and yes, of course, sex?

I just don’t think that’s right. Because we do. We’re people. We are warm-blooded women just as we are mothers. One doesn’t outweigh the other.

Certainly I’m not an advocate of installing a red light bulb on your front porch, but show a little life to your kids, ladies. Don’t sit back and let your child be the center and only part of your life because if you do that… when you do that… you are doing both of you a total disservice. Your child will not be ready to face a world where he/she is not the center. Your son will not understand why his wife wants more from him when he KNOWS that “real moms” don’t have needs outside their children. Your daughter will not know why she feels urges to be more and do more outside of the world of her children because her only role model taught her that her children should be everything.

Children are important. Children are the future and all that Whitney Houston sing-along nonsense. But part of giving them their future includes being real about their present. And for me, that means teaching them that women have needs. Women, yes even mothers, have ups and downs and loves and laughter OUTSIDE of their children.

We put ourselves second so much for our children and in many ways we are right to do so. But we should never lose ourselves to the people we love… not even to our children. So single moms? I say date. Date as much or as little as feels right to you. And if you decide you don’t want to date, that’s perfectly okay, too.

Just don’t make that choice because you think you’re doing your child a favor. Because I don’t think that you are.

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  • Sharon

    I agree. This argument goes along with the standard advice given to married couples to put their relationship first. We do our children a disservice when we give them the (false) impression that they are the center of the universe and that only their needs matter.

    • Law Momma

      Exactly!!! They need to understand how the world works a little better than that!

      • Laura

        Absolutely!

  • Robbie K

    I have no experience as a single parent but I’m still in full agreement with you! Mothers are people to and the sooner kids can realize that our entire lives don’t revolve around them the better they will be equipped for real life.

    • Law Momma

      Ex.Act.Ly. :)

  • Ylhoff

    True, true… but after years of trying I’ve given up dating because I have yet to meet a man in his 40s/50s who hasn’t somehow lost his mind. No really, there are teens with more personality and common sense than these older men. It’s so important to remember that who I choose to be with directly affects my son and I only want the best for both of us. If that means being alone – it sucks rocks, but so be it as long as I’m allowed room to whine about it once in awhile.

    • Law Momma

      LOL!!!! Yes… good men are very hard to find.

  • Delia

    Not a single mom, but I agree. I see it similar to the parents who never go out to dinner without their kids. It is important for me to date my husband!

    As to the holes in the knees, Dear God yes! What are they doing?? I bought patches and started ironing them on C’s jeans.

    • Law Momma

      Smart girl. I need to do that.

  • http://www.ninjapanza.com NinjaPanza

    I heard that there is a certain brand of jeans that will replace a pair completely free if they get holes in the knees…

    okay I went and looked it up. http://www.landsend.com/shop/-/N-jmiZg1w

    They’re pricey, but seem to be worth the extra cost if you’re replacing holey pants all the time!

    • Law Momma

      That’s true. I may have to look into that!!!

  • http://unintentionallybrilliant.blogspot.com Roxanne Piskel

    YES.

    • Law Momma

      XOXO

  • Guest

    This has nothing to do with single women dating but ever since I read your post about the loss of your beloved and faithful furry companion, I’ve wanted to know…are you okay? Selfishly, I think I want to be told that I will be okay when that day comes. My furry child has been diagnosed with a progressive and eventually fatal disease. People who aren’t dog people don’t get it but I wonder sometimes if I won’t just lose it and not be okay when that day comes.

    • Law Momma

      Define okay… ha! I took a day off work. It took five days of Xanax and an understanding boyfriend. And then yesterday, I finally gave in and vacuumed the last room he slept in, bawling the whole time because it was the last of his hair, save the handful I brushed off him and tucked in a pocket of my purse.

      So long and short of it is… I’m as okay as you can be when you lose someone you love dearly.

      • Guest

        Thank you for taking the time to respond. I’m glad that you have been able to take a breath at a time, a step at a time and mourn in a healthy way. That’s probably the cycle we all have to go through much as I’d love to skip it and go straight to…yep, I’m fine.

  • http://justjessatx.com/ Jess

    You rock. And YES, you’re totally right.

  • Creative Commons License
    Spilled Milk (and Other Atrocities) by Law Momma is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
    Based on a work at http://www.law-momma.com.



  • I'm a divorced, single mom to a pre-schooler, a full-time attorney, and a semi-reluctant vegetarian. I work hard and when given the chance, I play hard... but I'm almost never given the chance.

    It's possible that I never outgrew 7th grade mentality, as I still laugh when anyone says anything that can be remotely construed as sexual. Let's face it, if you're not down with "That's what s/he said" at the end of almost any sentence, we're probably not going to get along all that well.

    I drink more than I should, I run more than I should, and I laugh as much as I can. So I'm pretty much winning at life.

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