I know most divorced moms and single parents are not ashamed of being a single parent or divorced, and they (we) shouldn't be!
But there were times especially when my ex and I first separated, that I felt awkward, sad, or embarrassed telling people that I just met or barely knew that I was getting a divorce.
Most of the times, people said "I'm sorry to hear that" or "That's too bad. I hope things are amicable between the two of you."
It was easy-peasy, and my feelings of embarrassment or sadness were simply my own "junk" and emotions getting projected onto the conversation.
Sometimes though, people would say, especially if the two people vaguely knew both my ex and myself, "Why can't you two work out? Try again? Why not?" or "Are you sure that's the best idea?"
Those things really irked me. I didn't and DON'T need to explain why we chose divorce to anyone, especially people I am not close with. Even though their intent was good, I left feeling like crap.
There's this antiquated idea out there that anyone and everyone who divorces simply gives up the marriage and walks away. And while I am sure there are some people who walk away from a marriage thinking falsely that the grass is greener on the other side, there are many of us (myself included) that tried marriage counseling numerous times amongst other things to save a broken marriage. At some point, you have to save yourself and walk away. Unhappy mom and unhappy dad=unhappy children. Anyone who is divorced can tell you that yes, it would have been better had the marriage worked out well. The same goes for a single mom whose child's father was never a part of the picture: yes, it would have been nice for dad to be around. Unfortunately though, life doesn't always work out so neatly. That doesn't mean though that there is something wrong with being a divorced or single parent.
And for those of you who act like divorce is contagious, it's not. If you're really that worried about your marriage, do something about it.
Here are reasons a single mom or divorced mom should be damn proud and not ashamed about their single and/or divorced status.
You Are the Boss — Each Day
Every day you wake up, you are the boss.
If you coparent with someone, you have to work with that person but still:
You are the boss of your household.
You are running the show, caring for children, working and getting by on your own. That is an amazing thing and something to be proud of. Being able to point to yourself and think, "I did that" or "I get to take full credit for this achievement" is a wonderful thing.
There is no one there to tell you what to do and even if you co-parent, there's no one physically at your side to manage your life with you day-to day. Instead, it's you who makes the big calls and manages the good and bad of your day. Be proud of yourself!
Marriages Aren't Always Happy
Many people are unhappily married. Sure, there are also very happily married couples but, never assume that the grass is super green over in your neighbor's "backyard" so to speak!
Be glad that you are happy alone and honest with yourself! Standing tall on your own means you are choosing to be happy and choosing a healthy life. Your life is authentic: you are not pretending to be happy or going through the motions. You are committed to your daily life and goals. You are committed (maybe) to finding someone who makes you happy OR, choosing not to be with someone at all.
You are living an authentic life and Single Moms, many people aren't. Be glad your children get to see that you choose happiness and positivity over a bad situation day in and day out. Your kids see that you value a good life and at the end of the day, this is a powerful lesson. One day, they too will choose people and situations that make them happy instead of getting trapped in negative environments or being involved with bad people that make them unhappy.
There's a Lot of "Us"
Divorce isn't contagious. Single parenthood isn't contagious.
Still, there are many women and mothers who are operating "solo." If marriage and relationships were so easy, we wouldn't have marriage counselors, songs about love, self-help books on relationships, and more.
If love were so easy, it wouldn't be so special — plain and simple.
We live longer lives. We have more demands on us as people and mothers. If a relationship fails it's not a shocker but simply part of life. We learn from it and move forward. Just because something failed does not mean that we are destined to fail again and again, as long as we don't make old mistakes.
Your Life and Kids Are the Proof
Are you happy? Are your kids happy? There is the proof! You don't need to worry about your neighbor's knowing looks of pity that your family is broken. It's not broken but different! All that matters is at the end of the day, are you and your kids happy? If you answered yes than guess what Mama? You're doing a great job!
No one gets to tell you what you are worth or how your life should be—only you. As a single mom, you are the round-the clock boss lady and you get to own your life decisions. Make them great and show them how it's done!