Being a single mama is full of moments that melt your heart; you get to experience almost every single milestone and memory all to yourself.
But while your heart is absolutely full of love and pride to and from your little(s), it’s no secret it’s extremely difficult letting someone else into your world ― your bubble ― your life as mama and babe(s).
As moms, and especially single mothers, we’re always short on extra time or sharing our love, which naturally (and happily) goes straight to our children first. But if and when the day comes we’re ever ready to take a stab at dating again, we can all agree we wish we could write a letter to the man (like, a real man) brave enough to walk a day ― let alone a mile ― in our shoes.
Here’s what I would say to the person courageous, confident, humble, and loving enough to enter our little world without a second thought that we come as a package deal...
To the man opening his heart to a single mama (and her cub),
Where do I even begin to tell you what road you’re about to embark upon if you’re choosing to enter into our lives? The first thing I’d tell you is to be patient with me; it’s been a long time since I’ve felt the beauty of wonder and curiosity in my eyes, the warmth of love [other than my son] in my heart, and the magic of new beginnings within and throughout my soul.
It has been forever since I’ve had to answer to anyone within a partnership, or had co-captain helping me navigate this sea of life.
You see, this “mama thing” has consumed every inch, every moment, every ounce of my being since the day I gave birth, so it’s pretty much all I know these days.
Little did I know, the day I became pregnant I was given the greatest gift of all; motherhood. However, I had no idea I’d eventually be doing it solo. Every year has had its ups and its downs, of course, and although times have been difficult raising a babe nearly on my own, it’s also been the most beautiful journey I’ve ever embarked upon.
My past is a bit messy to some, and takes a special person to understand; to handle the strength, spirit, and balance I need to feel alive and free, yet whole.
I’ve had in-laws who heavily tested my “kill them with kindness” morals, I’ve been married, I’ve been separated, I’ve been through a divorce, and custody battles seem to be my new wingman, unfortunately.
Going through a divorce and custody nightmares have been the most difficult and heart wrenching experiences I’ve ever had to feel, see, live, and face. I literally have felt my soul and my body withering away at times in self-doubt, blame, sadness, anger, and pity. But I find hope and beauty through the breakdowns because of the wonderful support my family and friends give me - my sweet, sweet village.
At times, I need a rock. I need someone to tell me it will all be OK ― that I am strong, confident, and beautiful inside and out. Because I will forget that, no matter what I look like on the outside, or no matter how you think I may feel on the inside.
Sometimes I’m as tough as nails, while other times I feel like a crumbling pile of dirt, so be there when I need you. I haven’t had a partner-in-crime besides my 3-year-old in years, so be forewarned it doesn’t come natural to me to lean on someone or to trust them wholeheartedly.
A family isn’t a page from a storybook...it doesn’t mean a white picket fence, a dog, and two kids. It’s a feeling ― loving, supporting, and having the strength to ride out stormy seas ― as a unit. A team.
Family is a feeling of pride, compassion, shared duties; love.
I fought for my marriage and my family, but have embraced acceptance, for my heart, my soul, and most of all, for my son, to move on and forward with grace, dignity, and a whole lot of strength.
Divorce is hard, of couse, and has left me a bit jaded on love. However, I’m still captivated by all the little moments in life that take my breath away. So with all of that, be forewarned; I’m not perfect. I have flaws. I can be stubborn and outspoken. Infidelity absolutely crushed me and skewed the way I view men and relationships at times, if I’m being honest.
I don’t think anyone prepares you for how painful it is to have your partner, spouse, and best friend betray you and let you down in such an intimate and deceitful way. So I hope you’ll be there for me, reminding me to be gentle, and reassuring me you’re not going anywhere when I’m not at my best. Because who ever is?
You have to fight hard to make things work ― in so many life situations beyond just a marriage. You can’t get going when times get tough; you have to find patience, compassion and strength; and love when it’s been forgotten. When times get tough, the tough get going ― together.
When it comes to relationships, my friends want to put me in time-out...I’m often drawn to those who are one foot in, one foot out, and those whose nonchalant actions and emotions mean I’m “safe.” Safe from getting hurt again, because I also meet them halfway ― as in, act slightly unavailable myself.
If you’re after my heart, I’m not quite sure if you’ve noticed that by now or not, but it’s awfully hard for me to let others in. It’s so difficult for me to allow people to do nice things for me. It’s hard for me to release control of situations because I’m so used to being a solo pilot in a plane built for two.
So the day there are three of us (which is hard for me to even imagine), help remind me that I need you. Help remind me that it’s OK to let people treat me as I deserve to be treated. Remind me there are people who show random acts of kindness. Show me truth through actions more than words are spoken. And if you promise me something, mean it. Be my teammate. Be my number one fan, but also my safe place to be myself. At the end of the day, I’m human; a woman and mother with emotions, with priorities, and with a strong heart and strong mind. I don’t need to be saved, I need to feel like something missing has been found. I hope you’re full of warmth, comfort, safety, and excitement I haven’t felt in what seems like a lifetime.
Being a single mom teaches you to be resilient. It teaches you to fend for yourself, and at times, put a wall up. But it also humbles you - you learn to ask for help, you learn to lean on others, and you learn to be patient with yourself. You constantly do the best you can with what you have. You’re not afraid to dream, because your happiness and spirit depend on faith. Grace. Strength. Curiosity. Love. Friendships.
So, to you, whoever you are, I hope you hear me when I say thank you. Thank you for seeing me as a person, and for seeing my son as my number one priority and the number one love of my life, which means, you’re second in some aspects - you have to be okay with that. That won’t always be easy, or feel natural, but that’s my second-nature as a mama bear. It will take time for me to truly trust you accept me for all that I am, AND all that I am not.
Thank you for being accepting of the fact that I’ve lost a bit of my spontaneity being a mother, and need structure and plans at times, or anxiety creeps in due to the chaos of trying to organize arrangements that may cause me more chaos than sparks. I’ve lost some of my wanderlust while planting roots for my little cub, so I hope you don’t mind. That being said, my heart is SO full, and I’ve never lost my sense of adventure. If anything, it’s strengthened, wanting to show my son all the beauty and wonder of nature and the big wide world out there. I hope you’ll always feel like home to us. I hope you’ll always have the patience and humility to accept muddy toes, stained-clothes, meltdowns, accidents, tardiness, and all the other not-so-glamorous things about being a mama and a toddler.
Before I was a mom, I didn’t think I wanted kids. I preferred dogs over humans. I put my career first, and often the needs of others before my own, which was exhausting. I was so focused, I often lost sight of the present. So although the old me could galavant with a you all over the globe and be a bit of a gypsy soul, I promise you that the new me - the mother in me - appreciates everything so much more. I’m constantly humbled by every new milestone my son accomplishes. My eyes sparkle when I see myself in him. I want so much more out of life because I want to make my son proud. I value family ten times more, and mine means the world to me. It’s a must I get along with your family, because I’ve been there, done that, with a side that’s been unaccepting of me at times, and to be frank, I cannot face that again - it broke my heart and a huge chunk of my soul. But if you’re the man I think you are, I won’t even have to worry, because people like you are raised with grace, respect, values, patience, and humbleness. I know you’re all those things if I’m drawn to you; if I’m willing to add another teammate to our duo. I know you will hold all the values I want my son to grow up to embody, and I hope he finds compassion and comfort in having a steady constant in our lives, and someone who feels whole because of BOTH of us.
If you can handle all of that - baggage and all - I’ll no longer feel afraid of getting hurt or feeling betrayed. I can’t wait to see how three may be better than two, and I can’t wait to finally see and feel the love and respect within a relationship that makes two halves whole. I hope you’re the ying to my yang.
We’re never truly able to feel fulfilled unless we are happy and content within our own minds and hearts. If you know me by now, you know how hard that is for me to admit, but after a lot of healing, feeling, and soul searching, I truly believe the best is yet to come, for the first time in years. I know you’re out there, somewhere, but for now, I’m strong enough to know I can handle the road less traveled and smell all the sweet roses along the way, while my son and I walk hand and hand, enjoying the moment. Until then, may you know what an impact you’ll someday make, on two little hearts, getting a two-for-one package deal.