My house is in absolute chaos. The living room, which doubles as my workspace, has been overtaken by presents and decorations. Some of those decorations are up, others are still awaiting their place. It won’t happen. They’ll have to be content to wait for next year because there isn’t time. The holidays are here.
I’ve just eaten the chocolates that were left in the advent calendar. There’s about a hundred things for me to do before we pack ourselves into the SUV in the morning to head for my hometown.
Taking Up Space In My Soul
However, for the past several days, my fellow single mothers have taken up space in my soul. If this is you, I stand with you. We are an often silent sisterhood of women with no time and little money. If you’re like me and trying to connect to the deeper world, you may be feeling even more thinly spread. We are the ones doing the rituals welcoming the solstice while baking cookies for the school Christmas party.
If you’re not a single mom, I’m asking you to hold space for us. Send out some good vibes, prayers or whatever you call positive energy, to the single moms you know. Most of us could really use whatever you can spare this time of the year. We get forgotten during the holidays. Well, we get forgotten almost all the time, but during this season, we can be especially pushed aside.
It All Started With A Single Mother
Ironic given that the very reason for the season is a single mother. Granted Mary did get hitched to Joseph, but she started out on her own. To all my other single mothers out there who know what its like to find yourself alone and pregnant, I see you. Maybe you didn’t marry your child’s father, instead choosing to raise them on your own. I see you, too.
Dealing With The Father
Perhaps you’ve found yourself anxiously waiting in an abandoned parking lot, wondering why your child’s father is so late in returning your precious one to you while Christmas dinner grows cold at home. I’ve been you.
For all of you who have a child whose father seems to have forgotten their existence, I know how that feels, too. Is there ever a way to compensate for being emotionally and financially abandoned by one’s father? It took years for us to not feel the void created by the missing person at the table. Because even if the other person was horrible, their absence still leaves a gap. If you’ve been the mom who chose to escape a toxic relationship, I’ve been you. Everyday I am thankful I got out, even when there’s little money or time for the holidays.
It’s Not Christmas Until I’ve Cried In The Walmart Parking Lot
Then there’s the times I’ve found myself sitting in the car in tears because I failed to find the time to shop for presents, or the years when I had no money to buy them. I’ve even sold my jewelry in a parking lot to make money to buy gifts and groceries. The pressure to create a magical holiday while working to put a roof over my sons’ heads has been with me my entire adult life. I had my oldest son when I was barely an adult, so I don’t know Christmas without the responsibility of being a mom. Every year, all I want is to make the magic real for them. And I always feel like I’ve come up short. If this is you, know that I am with you.
Of Course I’ll Make You A Costume So You Can Be One Of The Three Wise Men
If you’ve ever silenced your own beliefs so that your child can find social acceptance through being involved in the school holiday celebrations, I’ve been there, too. I’ve never wanted my spiritual path to impede my son’s lives.
It’s 4 In The Morning And I’m Knee Deep In Snow, Trying To Connect To The Meaning Of The Season
Speaking of spirituality, I’m also that busy working single mother who seeks the deeper meaning of this life. On the winter solstice, I usually get up way before dawn to perform my own private ritual, trying to find the calm in this season. To connect to the message of hope that is at the heart of this hectic time.
Look at this lovely snow spiral I made in my pajamas at 4 in the morning.
I’ll Just Stand Here Looking Like A Single Mom And Not Eat All The Appetizers
I always seem to be a misfit whatever circle I’m in, at least partly due to being a single mother. There is no partner to accompany me to school events or parties. I stand alone in a sea of couples. If this is you, I am there at your side in spirit.
I’ve Got 15 Minutes To Be Lonely
Parties can be especially vexing during the holidays. No thank you, I don’t want to meet your cousin. I’m happy being single. If you are as well, know that we are perfectly fine as is. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been lonely at times. If you are feeling the weight of being without a partner, I’ve been you, too.
Honestly, I have no time for the demands of a romantic relationship. At the end of the day, all I want to do is crawl into bed with my heating pad and novel. If you’re a single mom who lives with chronic pain, or other forms of illness, I am right there with you.
At Christmas, We Tell The Truth
It’s also acceptable for us to want to take up space, to claim our right to be exactly as we are. We are single mothers, who are often silent because we’re so damn busy that we don’t have the time or energy to speak out. I’m here doing this for us, on this night before Christmas Eve.
Like that line from my favorite holiday movie, Love Actually, says: “It’s Christmas, and at Christmas you tell the truth.” My truth is that I have been a single mother for most of my life. I work hard and love my sons. I often don’t have time or money for some of the things that other families do, but what we have here in our family is love. This is what keeps me going. I eat the advent chocolates and deal with the pile of gifts to wrap. I wipe my tears in the Walmart parking lot, determined that I’ve done the best I can for my children. I bite my tongue when my ex drops last minute plan changes into my lap. I smile benevolently when other mothers, who I am forced to associate with, sling darts at my singleness or spirituality. That’s what we single mothers do: suck it up for the good of our children because they make it worth it. I wouldn’t want it any other way.
From me to you, I wish you all the blessings of the season.
May they bring you all you wish for.
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