I was pushing my cart in Target.
It was one of those overflowing back to school kind of carts. The carts with the 48 count of pencils, three ring binders at $3.49 a piece because the cheap ones are out because you waited so long, with the looseleaf paper and shoes and some socks and snacks for backpacks. And as I was pushing that cart filled with dollars and dollars of school supplies for my kids my eyes welled with tears.
I didn’t want my almost seven year old to see.
But they were there.
They weren’t tears about being a single mom.
They were tears for that seven year old who was just being raised by me. The child support stopped long ago – met with words of just not having it. The phone calls, the excitement over school, the wanting to help make sure they’re good to go – just none of it anymore.
And sometimes it’s a weight to bear.
It’s a weight weight weight that sometimes is so heavy on my heart that it’s crushing.
I kind of knew in divorce I’d be forgotten – but the kids?
That’s just wrong.
I don’t know how to describe that kind of pain in realizing that the kids don’t really matter that much anymore. I don’t know how to describe how much weight it is knowing that it’s just you putting food on the table and making sure the lights are on and it’s just you meeting with the teachers and it’s just you tucking them in and waking up at night. And it’s just you. Without breaks or times to work out or times to do other things because it’s just you.
It’s a lonely place.
But, it’s also a place where that warrior is birthed and unearthed. It’s a place that makes you look at others with empathy but also with the ability to not let them and their choices define your happiness. It’s a place that makes you realize how strong you are and how you don’t need alimony to make you successful. It’s a place that makes you determined. It’s a place that makes you full of vision. It’s a place that makes those kids who love you even more special and worth fighting for.
It’s a place of joy and triumph. It’s a place of victory, too.
Even in the midst of a it’s just you journey.
So many of us don’t expect to have to walk the road of parenting alone. We don’t expect to met with excuses why there’s no financial support or time for the kids. We don’t expect to be blamed for all the problems day after day after day.
But that’s only part of the story.
But it’s a just you journey that has beauty in it too.
In friends that love and show up. In skype calls late by friends wishing your almost 7 and 9 year old good luck on their first day because their dad forgot. It’s in Noodles and Company for dinner as a treat and new clothes for the first day. It’s in discovering that maybe even though it’s just you day after day you really have the support from so many who are loving you and cheering you on as you give and give and give.
It maybe doesn’t look like the story we dreamed about years ago, but just because it’s that way doesn’t mean it’s not amazing.
So even though there’s that hurt and anger and sadness I have to choose every single day to see the good, find the joy and love love love those kids. Because no matter what our story is – loving our kids matters most.
To all of you doing this story alone? You matter, you are appreciated and your are a warrior.
So friends, don’t judge the moms and dads in the line.You maybe don’t know the story. But, love them. Smile at them. High five them. Give them grace. Support.
Be a friend.
Because you never never now how many of them have the just you story that I do.
And a friend showing up?
ps. Thanks to all of you. Your love and support and encouragement helps me. And your shares and words help provide for my family too. And I am so grateful.
I am going into court tomorrow. Alone.
Thank you for reminding me I am a warrior.
So you are who I wrote this for. I felt this prompting to write these words — this idea of being a warrior — and i just wanted it to bless ONE person. May you know that you are a warrior. Thank you for all you do.
Rachel – thank you again. I faced a bully attorney on the other side and STOOD UP. I left with integrity, and self esteem. <3
Thank you. I never dreamed of it being like this but it is and sometimes I’m so tired so very very tired of holding it all together. I get financial help but it’s not enough it doesn’t stretch. Money can’t buy sleep when i so desperately need it, can’t take away the heartache when they tell you how terrible you are for the umpteenth time, can’t relieve the hurt you see in their eyes when you have to explain again why you can’t go here or there or do that thing or buy the other thing or why they get 2 presents not 15 like their friends and the list goes on. But the worst is the weight we bear alone, so alone. Thank you for sharing.
Hugs to you Melissa. Thank you for writing to me — I appreciate you and what you do very much.
You’ve got the right attitude. It’s so easy for the parents to get caught up in their own hurt in a divorce. Kids need a warrior to not let their worlds fall apart or make them grow up too fast.
As a (now adult) child of parents who did not warrior on.
You’re doing great. 🙂
Kim. Simply thank you. It’s so hard sometimes and so lonely for sure. Your words to me matter so deeply and I appreciate them. Thank you for being a friend.
You are one of my favorite authors and I read a ton. Your words brilliantly articulate the depths and breadths of motherhood. My mom was a single mom too. I have a great hubs, but that aloneness follows me still. My mom and many of my family members have passed away and I don’t have closeness with my remaining family. And, I have a health condition that takes me out of commission for weeks at times. My friends have been amazingly supportive during those times. One dropped everything to be my stand-in for 9 days. I am lucky but it feels very fragile, and there are lots of emotions when it seems like the care should come from family at the obligation-level and not reliance on kindness and goodness of friends. Sorry you find yourself here, and thank you for the inspiration to find my warrior-within.
Tara, thank you so much. Your words made me teary and matter greatly.
This truly moved me as I feel exactly the same way. Being a now-single mum to two year old twins is such a tough road at times. Not having a husband to support in any way makes it even tougher. But it also makes me fiercely keep going for the joy and awesomeness of my two little lovelies, they are the loves of my life and make it all worthwhile. It took this experience for me to so appreciate single parents and what they do in raising their children. I so identify with the breaking down in tears, have done that many times…
My boyfriend and I just had a falling out.. I’m not sure if I’ll eND up a single parent of a 7 month old perminent ly…or if he’s coming back. I’m scared and I’ve forgotten who I am and am worried if it’s going to just be me. I’m 29 yrs old and suffer frim fibromyalgia for 8 years.. I’m constantly let go from a job due to cognitive issues or unable to physically keep up. Being a single parent isn’t something I feel I can do…not just because I truly don’t want too and have no experience in my family of dealing w it but because my health won’t let me without a partner. My father is too old and not in the best health to help and I have no one else..my mom died of cancer 3 yrs ago and the rest of my family whome would help are too far away.
I’m praying multiple times a day for strength and direction from God…and to hopefully change my daughter’s father’s heart.
I’ve just discovered your blog. I’m sat here with tears steaming down my face that just don’t seem to want to stop my eyes are so puffy and red and my nose so blocked I can’t breath. But now I’m starting to catch myself. I feel like the worst mum ever and I’m doing it all alone and I know I’m gonna sit here now reading all your posts. Just thank you is all I needed your words. X
I know that feeling. .. when you are so sad for your child because they’ve been left by your ex. Just like you. And you are their every thing. And it’s exhausting and wonderful and emotional and nerve wracking and awesome all at the same time. When I’m standing there with big ole tears in my eyes trying to get it together, I feel like no one else gets it. But you do and thank you for writing it down and making me aware of my strength sometimes when I forget it.
My almost 5 year old told her cousin the other day that her daddy didn’t live with us because he doesn’t love us as much as her daddy loves them. Broke my heart. For her. But things like that make me push harder to be there, be present, be the parent she needs me to be. I sometimes get accused of nor thinking of myself. Of course I don’t. I’m a mom. And more than that, my child has been all but abandoned by one parent. I never want her to even think that my world doesn’t revolve around her. I’m sure you know exactly what I’m saying.
So please keep inspiring all of us mommmas. And thank you for making me not feel alone in my feelings. And I was watching Lilo and stitch the other day and this quote stuck with me and I thought it described my little family perfectly. You might too. “This is my family. I found it, all on my own. It is little. And broken, but still good. Yeah, still good”. ♡♡♡
Thank you for sharing. I am a single mum. My ex abused my son and finally he stopped to come and collect my son for visits. Yes it is a hard lonely road sometimes but I would rather face that than to have my son go trough abuse. But there are so much little things that he does that makes me as mum feel so blessed.
Thank you for this. Doing this alone, without a job, with a multitude of health conditions keeping me from said job, with two wonderful, fill-up my heart every single day little boys, with no child-support, no spousal support, with friends surrounding me when I need it, when my boys need it, with schedules getting more complex year to year, without being able to duplicate myself (but a healthier version!), with encouraging words from you…..thank you!
Oh Rachel, and all you other courageous mom, my heart hurts for all of you. It hurts especially for your beautiful children, whether you have 7 or 1. This is not a journey I have walked, but I watch my daughter doing the single mom thing and I know how much strength and courage it requires. But she has lots of help and support. You all have my admiration and love and prayers. Your children will understand it all someday and they will be so grateful that YOU were the one who was always there for them. Much love to you all.
It’s so good to know I’m not alone in my feelings! Thank you for writing this. I have to do it alone because of a restraining order from a verbally abusive alcoholic. I don’t have much help or support, but I’m beginning to get things off my chest with my blog so that maybe I can begin the healing process for myself. I still carry hope in my heart that he will get help and that it will stick this time for our child! The divorce SHOULD be final on Oct. 31, we shall see.
Thank you. Thank you for all of your posts, but mostly this one. I, me, I’m the one that left. My husband had abused me, mentally, emotionally and financially for over a year. This after 15 years of marriage, just decided to lose his mind to drugs and gambling, and took me on the ride of my life. My kids saw it ALL, EVERY. LITTLE.THING. then one day, I said enough is enough, packed my kids in my mom’s car with the clothes on our backs, and drove 8 hours away. That was the end of September, my divorce will be final in February. He hasn’t seen them since Thanksgiving, because he’s more worried about drugs, than his own kids. I’m actually taking them to see him this coming weekend because I don’t know where they will go after this, he’s lost our home of 13 years, and will have no where to go once they foreclose. So they will be able to get a few things, I’m going to see my dog, that I miss more than anything, and my daughter, gets to bring home her cat that we had to leave behind. Those are the only good things that will come out of this trip. He’s gone to hell, literally, and I ran from it and am growing stronger everyday because of it. Your words have gotten me through the hardest 4 months of my life, and I’m forever greatful to you. I know this journey is just beginning, but everything is already starting to look better, brighter, and more amazing than it ever would have if I would have stayed, and continued to break my children’s spirits, and souls. Thank you again for all that you do for mom’s, I don’t know if you know how truly amazing you are.
Thank you, Megan. Thank you for being brave and fighting for your kids and loving them in the midst of crazy. And thank you for sharing your story as well — because the more we share our stories the less alone we feel. Sending many good thoughts your way.