When my mom was 35, she decided she wanted a baby. No marriage, no man in her life, and no commitments. All she wanted was me. While we've had our ups and downs, I know how lucky I am to have her looking out for me. She is my best friend and the one person I can always count on.
Growing up with a single mom creates an incredibly unique, intense bond that only those in our situation might understand. There's a sense of sacrifice and dependency that goes into this type of relationship, where you're practically forced to rely on that bond, as you are all each other has. Even when you can't stand each other, you know you're going to get over it, no matter what.
For me, there were pros and cons to growing up with a single mother. Since I am all she has, she wants to talk to me at least three times a day, and of course, I oblige. Being as close as we are also makes it hard to establish boundaries. When I try to set them, it's difficult for her to understand why I even need them. Since I don't have siblings, she focuses all of her attention on me.
When one of us is hurting, the other also hurts, and we don't always give each other space when it's needed. If my mom knows I am feeling sad or going through a tough time, she tries to help by calling or texting me to discuss the problem. Because she is so invested, she tries to insert her own opinions or help me cope in ways that work for her, without taking my needs and opinions into consideration. We also heal very differently. It's hard for me to let her in when I am feeling upset because I want to protect myself. This can be quite overwhelming, and it often creates space, which is hard. During these times, it feels like we've lost our best friend for a few days or a week. No one else really compares. Once the negativity subsides, we get right back to where we were, though.
Beyond the negatives, there are so many positives. While I can't seek certain emotional support from my mom due to our different coping mechanisms, I know I can always rely on her, and she knows she can always rely on me. We both are well aware that we would do anything for the other person and will always be there if needed. In a way, she's both a mother and a girlfriend to me. We get matching outfits or accessories whenever we go shopping together, and yes, we do wear them when we go out together. We once wore matching dresses, bags, and bracelets on the same day. When my mom told this to a friend, she responded by saying that her daughter would never wear matching outfits with her. For us, it feels natural, and I love it. She's like my twin, but also a mother. We tell each other everything — sometimes too much. When she tries to talk about my sex life, I have to remind her, "Boundaries, Mother, boundaries."
Despite the obstacles, I am really thankful for growing up in this type of family dynamic. I don't know what I would do without my mom and best friend. I have such appreciation and love for her that is totally different than anything I could feel for someone else. If I had grown up with siblings or my father in the house, would things have been different? I don't know. We certainly could have avoided some hardships, but I am also uncertain if the rewards would've been as apparent in the end. And I am really, really grateful for those rewards.