******Posted originally on my first blog, “In The Valley – My life as a single mom” on May 9, 2011.*****
People who are newly separated often ask me, “When will things return to normal?” After being a single mom for almost seven years I always tell them that I have learned that there is no “normal” anymore. As a single parent you have to create a new “normal” for your kids and yourself. No matter how hard you try, things will not be the same as they were before. Not to say that things are worse than before – just different.
And the harder you try to recreate the “normal” you knew before, the harder the transition will be on everyone.
Mother’s Day is a perfect example.
I know there are some single moms who are blessed with ex-husbands who still take the kids to get cards and gifts for their mom – I am not in one of those situations. My ex didn’t even wish me a happy day…
When we lived in Greenville, my parents always took the kids out to get me something. Last year, my boyfriend took them to get cards and gifts. This year, I just didn’t think about it. As a result, I spent the day reassuring my children that I was having such a wonderful day since they had no gift or card for me.
And it was a wonderful day. My daughter brought me breakfast in bed. Then we went to church and, afterward, had a nice peanut butter and jelly sandwich lunch together. Then we went to see Hoodwinked Too and hung around the house all afternoon.
It wasn’t until today that my emotions got the best of me and I realized that I was exhausted from trying to make sure my KIDS had a great Mother’s Day. I didn’t need flowers or extravagant gifts or a corsage, but I couldn’t help but feel guilty that my kids were missing out on the true Mother’s Day experience. It’s just part of the single parent guilt.
Of course hindsight is 20/20 and I am going to make sure that next year I give each child money and let the babysitter take them to the store. They will get the satisfaction of “gifting” and I won’t feel the need to overcompensate to make them feel “normal.” It’s all part of the give and take of making the best of the situation you are in.