“Why do you have to have so much control?”
“You know you don’t have to be THE man, right?”
I was asked these paraphrased questions in mid-discussion with someone particularly significant to me. Not that I recall ever being asked anything similar in the past, I still had a response available:
“I don’t need to be, but I have had to be so it’s hard to turn it off.”
My curiosity is simple – is this something that long-time single mothers experience or is it just me?
This is one of those blogs where I hope to get feedback from moms who have encountered such a conversation be it with a sister-friend or your significant other.
I have been single for many years and my children are 17 and soon-to-be 12 years old.
When I use the term single I mean unmarried and it has been this way since they were 6 years old and 3 months old.
This is not to say that I had not been in a relationship or two during this time period or even dated, but this is to say that I have independently made decisions for them and myself for more than 11 years.
At that time, I did not imagine literally raising them by myself (of course my village has been instrumental along the way) for this length of time, but, yet, here I am with one soon to graduate high school and the other taking his journey as a first-time middle school student.
My daughter responds in complete shock when I share stories about how we struggled off and on for so many years.
“We were struggling back then?”
“Man, I didn’t even know!”
Of course, she didn’t know because as the head of the house, it’s my duty to deliver, it’s not their business to know how the delivery was made possible.
If my son asks me to play catch with him, then guess what? I go outside and throw that football back and forth with him and truthfully I’ve gotten better at it over the years (LOL).
If he doesn’t want to shoot hoops in the driveway alone, I go out there and play a little one-on-one with him until of course I’m out of breath and need a time out.
You can also catch me on the sidelines at his football practices and scrimmages watching his performance so that we can discuss where he can improve during the ride home! (A bit emotional at this point).
He says my being there helps him play better (bittersweet tears as I think about this).
Now I am blessed enough that when he asks me certain questions about the changes in his body, I can ask his godfather (my brother) to get an accurate explanation, but the fact is, I have had to have so much control.
No, I’m not mom and dad, I could never be. But I guess you can call me the leader and the follower (you know how the husband leads and the wife follows. If he’s THAT type of husband, however.)
After all of this time, I find myself weighing the possibility of being serious with someone, getting married and if I am able as well as willing to allow someone else in that will take part in the decision making that I have had sole authority of for so long.SINGLE MOM BEHAVIOR: “I don’t need to be, but I have had to be so it’s hard to turn it off.”Click To Tweet
Then, there’s unfortunate events, like Hurricane Harvey, or the times I was burglarized that have left me feeling vulnerable and helpless.
Watching the water rise on your street from the front door in the middle of the night praying it doesn’t come in the house, while also making sure you don’t show your children that you’re afraid because then they will be too. Coming home on two separate occasions to burglarized residences and you just show frustration and anger.
You hide the anxiety, worry and sleepless nights because you want to make sure they’re comfortable enough to go to sleep in those same residences because they have school the next day.
To be perfectly honest, the possibility frightens me and I cannot help but wonder if I am the only woman who feels this way.
Even with my discernment and trying the spirit by the spirit, I have this feeling that I can’t allow another perspective in on my parenting and on my relationship with my children.
Truthfully, I didn’t know these feelings ran so deep but it’s difficult to explain. Overcompensating comes to mind as well as being a ferocious mama bear if you will.
Being so primary in their lives (they know their dad and have a relationship with him but his presence has always been needed more than the amount given) and their go-to for everything by myself, I am now battling with the idea of someone coming in and help take part in helping to finish raising my son.
I say my son because the reality is that my daughter has been raised. There’s some decisions that will have to be nurtured and fostered, guidance given from this point on but she is about to be a young adult in 5 minutes.SINGLE MAMA BEHAVIOR: Overcompensating comes to mind as well as being a ferocious mama bear if you will.Click To Tweet
No, my job with her is not done (a parent’s job is never done) but she is well on her way to becoming who she is destined to be.
Fear can be so paralyzing no matter what exactly it is that you are afraid of.
And, yes, I know that God did not give us the spirit of fear, but of power love and of a sound mind.
It’s just that I’ve invested so much emotionally, spiritually and mentally into this parental assignment of mine that I have found myself overprotective of them and not so willing to share.
As I write this, I’m realizing that this is bigger a deal than I thought. I had not decided what I would say here, I simply started with the two questions I was asked one day, and here I am.
It is important to note that I have been told that my children will grow up and live their own lives and then it will just be me.
I agree, but, as of today, this is my truth.
So I ask the question again: is this something that long-time single mothers experience or is it just me?
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Until next time Xpressionists, XoXo!