I truly believe that every circumstance in life is as it should be; we are all complete just as we are. Yet there are times when I find myself feeling sorry for someone. This feeling often arises when I’m with women who desire to become mothers, but who have not been able or don’t feel that circumstances are right to have them.
I know several women who are still waiting for Mr. Right to come along before they can become mothers. I listen through tears and complaints about the men they meet who are not ready or desiring the type of commitments they want. Each time I wonder (and often ask), “Why do you need a partner to have a child?” Yes, we’re socialized to believe that our desire to be parents must be packaged in marriage, but getting married is not the only way to accomplish this goal. Since becoming a single parent myself after a decade-long relationship with my son’s father, I have seen the light. Single motherhood, for me, is the best of both worlds.
Being a mother is challenging and stretches me. But being a wife was impossible—so much so that since divorcing I have rarely thought of the desire to be married again. I know clearly the work and dedication it takes to create a healthy, loving relationship. I know what it takes to communicate and what happens when the lines of communication start to fray. I know it’s impossible to control the actions of one’s partner, and that you can’t force someone into participating in the creation of a lasting relationship. I know that all the romantic stuff I dreamt of as a little girl about being loved and adored doesn’t happen with a magic wedding ring.
Marriage is one way to live one’s life, just like being single is a way to live one’s life.
I have found the sweet spot where I can enjoy the company of a man without the need to have a man.
For me, being a single mother is the best of both worlds. Now that I’m a single parent, I no longer have a burning desire to have children and I get to date and enjoy life without looking for some ideal romantic connection that will meet all my needs and desires. When I’m out on a date, I’m just out on a date. I have put my, “I’m the perfect partner, wouldn’t you love to spend your life with me (and our beautiful progeny)?" mask away for good.
There’s nothing as freeing as being my true self on a date. I get to be present in the moment to discover my response to the person I’m with. My desperation for a partner no longer makes me feel like I must “showcase” myself. I have found the sweet spot where I can enjoy the company of a man without the need to have a man. I’m utterly free to be who I am.
I have been a single mother for five years now. I am also a co-parent with a very present and dedicated father. Our son has at least two parents who love him deeply. He also has a community of people who care for him. Being a single mother was not my intention—I feared it. But being a single mother has given me a sense of liberation that’s invaluable. I’d advise no woman to wait for “the one” to come along before having a child. Have the child and take your time to find a mate that you love and with whom you want to share your life. Take the pressure off so you can see clearly and be seen authentically. If you want the best of both worlds, decide to create your life on your own terms.