I have to start by saying that this isn’t my favourite photo but it’s a pretty significant one. Choosing to do family photos with just the three of us was a decision I didn’t make lightly. The day we did these I had my sister as a support. I worked with a compassionate, patient and fun-loving photographer. Looking back on this photo now, I’m glad I decided to capture these moments as this is when our journey as the loving family we’ve become truly began.
WHAT HAS THE JOURNEY INTO SINGLE MOTHERHOOD BEEN LIKE?
“Single mom” wasn’t something I ever thought I’d call myself. But there I was, alone. Mom to an energetic 2 year old boy and 4 months pregnant with baby
number two. The thought of being a single mom was terrifying to me. How would I do it on my own? How would I survive having a new born and a busy toddler? How would growing up in a “broken family” affect my precious babies?And more in vain, what would people think of me? Whether it was fair or not, I had a serious unacknowledged stigma that I had attached to the label “single mom”. Those words made me feel ashamed, embarrassed and isolated. To me, single mom meant unlovable, undesired, difficult to be with. I felt like an outcast. But I had no choice. This was my new identity. Time went on and as I began to find myself and my groove in single parenting, I slowly began to realize I could do it. I (just barely) survived the new born stage, somehow made it through the terrible-twos and even worse threes, sent my wild child off to his first day of kindergarten, and am both excited and sad to know that my baby will soon be a proud kindergartener herself.
I was driving to work last week and all of a sudden I had a realization. I’m rocking this single mom thing. My kids are loved, we have good food to eat and warm clothes to wear. My little family of three has built a happy home. I have a successful career. I love and I am loved. Being a single mom isn’t something to be ashamed of. Yes, it is exhausting and extremely difficult at times. I worry about not being enough for my kids. Am I doing it right? What if I’m just totally screwing them up? But then I take a step back. I look at how far we’ve come and the loving family we’ve created. I look at myself and realize that it’s pretty eye opening to see how I’ve adapted and evolved as a parent. I found strength and independence where there was once insecurity and uncertainty. Sure there are days when I call my sister or mom in tears, crying “I can’t do this” but they’re always right there reminding me that I can and I am.
HOW DO YOU BALANCE MOTHERHOOD AND CAREER?
Balancing my career and being a single mom is actually one of the easier aspect of single parenting that I have faced. At work, I turn on my professional persona. I love my job and do as much as I can when I’m there. But as soon as I leave, it’s all about my personal life. I’ve done my best to separate the two so that I can give my all to both, but not to let one overshadow the other. We’re like any other family in that our lives are rushed - dinner, bath, homework, stories, the never-ending bedtime routine, lunches for the next day, and maybe even a few activities in there. So, I build time in, even if it’s only a few precious minutes. Each day I remind myself to take some time to just BE with my kids. It’s easy to get caught up in the hectic lives we live, but time goes by fast and before we know it, those snuggles and stories will be a distant memory. As women, our identities are multi-faceted. Life is a serious balancing act and finding that balance for me has been sanity saving.