Come Meet Your Village!
Dear ESME Sisters,
Being a Solo Mom is a heck of a lot harder than it looks on Gilmore Girls. It’s a daily struggle to grow a human being who’s kind, knows right from wrong, has some minutiae of self-confidence, and doesn’t display naked selfies on his or her secret “finsta” account. (It’s a teen thing.) And raising that human alone conjures up an endless amount of additional challenges. For instance, a Solo Mom doesn’t have the luxury of taking turns with her partner waking up throughout the night for feedings or slipping out after a hard day to meet friends and unwind with a drink. It means spending holidays alone and having far less retail-therapy time, which a two-income home would have allowed.
As a Solo Mom myself, I get it. I get the exhausting days trying to do it all and the sleepless nights worrying how you’re going to do it all the next day. I get the constant guilt from telling your kid he can’t get what all the other kids have because money’s too tight right now, or letting her know that, once again, you won’t make it to her school recital because you just can’t skip out of work that day.
But unlike most of you Solo Moms who are still caught up in the daily discipline struggle, after-school activity schedule, or horrific lice scares, I’m done; less than a year ago, I packed my last school lunch and drove my last carpool. Congratulations to me! Yup, I’ve been through it all, from diaper rash to college applications, and I have a few tricks up my sleeve, and a soft cyber shoulder to offer you when you just freakin’ can’t take it anymore.
There are various types of Solo Moms. There are those whose kid’s father—for a variety of reasons—isn’t in the picture at all. It’s you, 24/7, with no bathroom breaks or batteries to pull out of your kid when you’re desperate to put your feet up and watch an uninterrupted episode of This Is Us. Then there are the Solo Moms who are solo only when their custody decree dictates. These are the moms who have to put up with schlepping their kids, and the kids’ endless gear, back and forth depending on whether it’s a mommy day or a daddy day. Plus they get the added bonus of having to play nicey-nice with their ex’s new “girl toy” at Sunday’s soccer games because books say it’s important to coparent with a smile. (How do Gwyneth and Chris do it?) Then there’s what I call the “hybrid Solo Mom,” someone who’s actually married but is still raising the kids alone. I was a hybrid myself for a while. My ex was a checked-out alcoholic whose most important relationship was with his flat-screen TV, so I got all the fun of raising my kid alone plus taking care of him. Good times.
Because there are so many types of Solo Moms, ESME offers all types of support. You’ll literally find a world of other women just like you, facing the same Solo Mom challenges. On Sister Chat, post a problem that you’re facing or a suggestion to another mom facing the same problem you managed to solve last week. Join a Tribe. Any parent knows that raising kids is like dealing with the weather in Hawaii . . . if you don’t like it, just wait five minutes. Just as you finally figure out how to deal with a new sleep issue or school anxiety or social media nightmare, there’s another problem right around the bend to kick your tired, stressed-out ass. Yes, being a Solo Mom is not for the faint of heart. And if it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a global village such as ESME to raise a child of a Solo Mom. So get involved and get support! I can’t wait to meet you!