The Single Mother. The Every Mother.
….the married, the divorced ,the widowed mother. The working mother. The working from home mother. The over-worked, out-of-work, forgot-to-go-to-work mother.
The childless mother.
The adoptive mother.
The “I placed my children up for adoption” mother.
Being a single mother is the hardest job on the planet. I see this. Hear this. All the time.
At first I agreed. And then I re-married and it was still hard.
Trust is, I’m still a single mom.
If Emma Claire’s sick, she’s not going to call out to her step-dad in the middle of the night.
And my guess is even if you’re married to the father of your children, if it’s 2 a.m. they’re calling for you.
“Single mom,” I’ve come to understand is redundant.
You can lean on, rely on and run to their dad, a friend, or even (or especially!) your own mom but this mothering thing is a solo gig.
Last week, at our fake-book signing event, “Finding Pearls”, I sang a duet with my long-time friend and incredible vocalist, Rachel.
I also said the F-word. But it was on accident.
As in I accidentally told a story that used the f-word.
Most of my friends who had gathered, didn’t know I could sing. The laughed that my singing voice was so much different than my personal training voice. I offered to sing our workouts in the future.
I told them it was only because of Rachel that I sounded that way. I told them it’s like have blue eyes and wearing a blue shirt that makes your skin glow and your eyes pop.
Singing with Rachel is like me wearing pink. Pink makes me pretty and Rachel, or my sister, or anyone at all that is a better vocalist than I, makes me sound better than I really am.
Do y’all remember “Color Me Beautiful”? It was a program that helped you find the right colors. Some of my clients were laughing and remembering this the other day and I’m like it’s no joke, y’all. We had the book and the swatches and the color wheels and to this day, if I wear an “off” color, my mother will gently remind me that yellow or brown or whatever it is, is not “really your color, dear.”
But Rachel? She’s my color.
And I think mothering is a whole lot like singing with more talented vocalists. All we can do is surround ourselves with a village of friends and family and husbands (Plural. Don’t be jealous,) who support our singular work of mothering and make us better. Make us stronger. Make us see just how weak we really are and remind us to run to our single Father.
Grey’s Anatomy called it “your person.”
Moms must find their person. For me, it’s my husband. My person helps when the working-outside-the-home-mom and the working-inside-the-home-mom-crash.
Everyday I tell him three things.
“Getting married was the dumbest thing we ever could have done.”
“Never mind. The is the best decision we’ve ever made and I will love you forever. ”
“I lost my wallet. And Margie’s check. And my keys. Wait. I found my keys and the check. But for sure the wallet is missing. Our bank accounts will be drained and Myra Katherine Hales will start popping up everywhere. Oh. And before I forget, someone stole my sunglasses. Well, probably not, but they are gone as well.”
My person. My husband. He found my wallet under the lawn mower and my glasses in the cereal cabinet.
We are all single mothers. Working mothers. Married, widowed, divorced, fighting for joy mothers.
And sometimes single, working, married, widowed, divorced, fighting for joy mothers write books. And they host fake-book signings.
Which for this single momma has been enlightening and scary and hurtful and ya know, a little bit amazing.
I though it was a totally normal thing to write a book and then talk about it.
Apparently, it’s not.
I also thought it was a totally normal thing to write a book, bring in your computer, and all your loose leaf papers and notes and re-writes to said event and host a fake book-signing.
Again, apparently it’s not.
And when things are not normal, you get asked a lot of questions.
So here, in no particular order are my responses to the top 3 questions I’ve been asked.
Whatever, you know there’s going to be more than three. I have no idea why I said that.
- Have you finished your book? Yes.
- Are you going to self-publish your book? No.
- This must be therapeutic for you. Uhm. OK. I guess. If you think reliving my failures and mistakes and sharing intimate details of said failures and mistakes is therapeutic then yes. I can thinking of nothing (except maybe a massage, an exotic island vacation, prayer, journaling, a private yacht, a personal chef wait, I digress)….no. You are right. I can thinking of nothing more therapeutic than reliving the past.
- Are you going to be careful about what you say? Uhm, well probably not so much. One must be considerate and forgiving and full of grace, but when you’re telling the truth, being careful is not necessary.
- Are there going to be bad words in your talk? Just kidding, no-one actually asked me this, but I’ll answer anyway. Three. There will be three bad words.. Actually one bad word was planned, but then I got annoyed (which rarely happens and is not at all a sinful issue of pride) and so I added two. But then I lost my notes and while I was talking, I remembered what a bitch the opposing attorney had been and I accidentally called her amazon bitch lady lawer, which is not nice at all because calling names is not appropriate and calling out the fact that she was a woman is a little bit sexist and unnecessary, but for the record she was a girl.
And she was—well—
The best question and the hardest question and the easiest question is “Why?”
Why do you want to talk about, write about, and share about your story—
I don’t know.
Maybe because I once heard something about how water runs into the dead sea, but not out of the dead sea and so everything dies. And not sharing my story feels like letting the water flow to me, but not through me and it feels like death.
Maybe because I want Satan to know that when I get up, when I wake up, I’m going to keep standing up to make sure women are heard and understood and believed. None of this crap that a woman’s testimony is not to be believed (sorry Biblical jewish culture people, but this is 2017.)
Because I want women to know that if their husband loves them and cares for them, then start watering your own dang grass because the grass next door is dead.
Plus it has dandelions. A lot of them. And you’d think if the grass was dead that the dandelions would also be dead, but not so. Those suckers will.
Because I want women to know that if your husband does not love you and does not care for you that there are options beyond a lifetime of “wow. this really sucks.”
Because I want the Lord to be glorified and honored and blessed. For others to hear of his grace and his mercy and his promises that he keeps.
Plus, I gotta tell you.
I really love microphones.
And I love re-telling this story about my attorney, my silver and the f-word. Because I love finding humor in the muck. Because I love making fun of myself and remembering that you can’t pour grapes.
As Oswald Chambers said, you can drink grapes. You have to smash ’em up. I’ve been smashed up. And my guess is, so have you.
So, What the Hell?! This Mother’s day, let’s pour a little glass—big glass—whatever kind of glass—filled with smashed grapes. Lets love Jesus, love others and remember that whatever kind of momma—single, married or otherwise—this is a hard gig.
For all of us.
P.s. if you mother is living and you live away, I highly recommend calling on Saturday just to be safe. One year, the phones were jammed because it evidently has the highest number of phone calls then any other day in the year.
Come to think of it, that was before cell phones. You’ll probably be fine to wait for Sunday.
P.s.s. if you happen to mail your present to your mother, unwrapped, and you plan to ask your father to wrap it for you, keep in mind that men are not good with cell phones and he might accidentally send a picture of your gift to your mom. While that’s unlikely, since I’m sharing “Pearls of wisdom” I thought I’d pass that along. No reason for that pearl to end up in the dead sea. 🙂