By Denise Rhone, Age 30
On October 12, 2015, I became “one” with the love of my life. I became a wife, a new homeowner… and something very profound:
I became an un-single mother.
Sometimes we have a vague notion that we are about to embark on something–a something that maybe we only watched on t.v. or witnessed outside of our own homes. But it’s not until we are immersed in the experience ourselves that we feel the weight of it. I knew having a partner would change things, but going from single mom to two-parent household has humbled me, and honestly, has got me a little like, “Whoa.”
2 decades of being raised by a single mother
+ almost a decade of being a single mother
I can’t say I’ve fully grasped how my upbringing has influenced my perspective in life–none of us can–but I recognize that I am in a new experience, a new space, and it’s just…real.
I’m a fiercely independent soul, and with the exception of my mother (who babysat a record million times for me–I love you Mommy!), I simply did not turn to others to do what needed to be done.
But now I don’t have to race through traffic every day because my husband now picks up our daughter from school too. He spends hours (literally) helping her with her homework. He cooks dinner when I am working late (or just don’t feel like it ). He shares the household chores with me. He works a demanding corporate job, which means there are two salaries and we wouldn’t be homeless if I suddenly lost my job.
With the metal on my finger, I am no longer silently stigmatized when the new nurse looks up from her medical form and asks, “What’s your daughter’s last name?” or no longer given feigned smiles after people look at my clearly young face, my daughter, then instinctively down at my left hand.
I’ve been married six months now (whoop!), and I’ve learned that the grass, if not greener, is definitely at least easier to grow over on this side. Looking back at my former side of the fence, I ask myself, “Man, how did I do that?” I knew it was hard, but now I REALLY know. I’m getting teary-eyed just thinking about it.
I remember wobbling 9 months pregnant from one side of my college campus to the other, praying, “Lord, please don’t let her come before finals,” and, “Lord, please don’t let my water break in class.”
I remember wrapping my daughter beneath layers in her stroller as we waited for the bus in the middle of winter so I could drop her at daycare and get to class. I remember working multiple jobs while living in a tiny room in my mom’s basement and saving every penny until I had enough to buy my first car, and not long after, enough to move into my first apartment.
I remember being laid off and unable to find employment for seven months and working my budgeting skills to the max to make sure my then three-year-old and I made it on that tiny unemployment check.
I learned what I was made of. I hustled. I achieved. Sometimes I struggled. But God always kept me. And now, I have a partner.
I have a partner.
I’m not doing this on my own anymore.
But there are single moms (and dads) still doing this thing on their own. Hustling and grinding for their kids every day. And as a newly un-single mother, I understand that grind now more than ever before.
So I just want–no–have to take a moment to acknowledge YOU, single parents. To tell you how amazing you are. That maybe things aren’t “ideal”, but they are no less beautiful.
That you rock, and the mom in me bows to the mom in you.