Not everyone has to give birth to be a mom. Some of the best moms I know didn’t physically have a child. Being a mom is a mindset. Some of us have it and some of us don’t.
I didn’t realize how hard parenting was until I was a single parent. I don’t have an option, T’s other parent is gone. It’s hard for me to explain how it feels to know that you are the only person on the planet who is all in for this little person. I even feel this way about my older boys. I’m it. Some days it’s overwhelming.
I don’t get child support. Jerry didn’t pay into Social Security so the survivor benefit T gets doesn’t even cover his groceries. I know some women who get over half of their ex husbands income. I also know some who fight like hell to get even what T does. I’m not sure which is worse. I feel grateful that I don’t have to fight with anyone over money.
I believe it’s a mom’s job to love, nurture, and support their child. It is not fair to the child to be a pawn in a broken relationship. I see those of you fighting like the warriors you are for your child and I applaud you. I also see women who are self absorbed and not engaged with their children. I don’t judge you, I pray for you but I also feel sadness for you and your child.
I’ve been blessed to have multiple moms in my life. I got lucky in the biological mom department. My mom taught me how to laugh. I’ve used this skill a great deal in my life. Laughter is an excellent coping mechanism/skill. There have been times when laughing was my only option.
For example, I used to teach scrapbooking classes in my home to make extra money. One night, my sons came to me completely straight faced and said “mom, we have to show you something”. Well, what they had to show me resembled a silhouette of a body in the drywall. Lex had thrown Stetzon through the wall rough housing. All I could do was laugh. Thanks Mom.
I had amazing mentors who were like second moms to me too. I am the kid the neighborhood raised. I learned from so many great women how to be a good mom and balance everything in being a good woman. They complimented the skills my mom taught me. Shout out to my young women leaders, Joann Good, Dama Barbour, Diane Bateman, Hazel Weight, Anna Mae Ebert, and Chris Ching. They loved an awkward unlovable young lady not once but multiple times. I think there were at least 14 girls in my age group growing up. They loved all of us.
I had an amazing almost mother in law, Mary Lou Marshall. I credit Lou with a lot of my parenting skills. She raised two fine men. I patterned a lot of what I did with my boys after her. She also welcomed me into her family and loved me when I was struggling to figure out who I was and where I was going.
I went to college and got a degree in part to show Lou that what she did for me mattered. I was an ungrateful girl who hurt her boy and I will forever be sorry for that. I’ve been paid back in spades for it by girls who hurt my boys so I know how much I hurt her too. The mother in law I ended up with made me miss Lou so so much. I hope her daughters in law appreciate her!
The moms who have influenced me the most are my eclectic group of friends. Some have kids and some use my kids to fill the parenting void. All of them teach me things about my parenting skills or lack there of. Some of my friends are actually older than me so they are surrogate grandparents to my kids.
Some have taught me that we don’t mom like other moms and that is OK. I have my own unique style. I have learned that I take care of people; it’s an innate part of my personality. It’s what makes me well, me. But know this. If I see someone needing a parent, I’m probably going to step up and be that parent for them.
Somehow I always knew I’d be a bonus mom to someone. I’m trying to figure out how to do that without stepping on anyone’s toes or hurting anyone’s feelings. I’m freaking Switzerland over here in the neutral zone. At least I’m trying to be. But…part of me doesn’t understand selfish adult behavior.
I put my kids first, ahead of my own wants and sometimes needs. I’ve gone without medication, food, and clothes so my boys could have everything they needed and wanted. Not all moms do that and it’s hard for me to wrap my head around their logic. So being neutral isn’t something I do well. I bite my tongue and take lots of walks.
It is then when I think of all the women who “mommed” me along the way and I realize that it really does take a village to raise a child. It makes me grateful for the moms who have influenced Stetzon and Lex and now T. Maybe if we work together we can collectively be the mom everyone needs.
Cuz we all need our mom.