I read an open letter addressed to “All The Dated And Jaded Single Moms” and although I’m not certain that it was addressed to me, it was directed at some of my “sisters in single motherhood” and for that reason, I feel compelled to challenge its message.
The piece encouraged single moms that we are worth the effort of constantly putting ourselves “out there”, not to be a man-hater, stop blaming others, feeling sorry for ourselves, let go of all expectations in a relationship lest we become bitter, not give up on our “happily ever after” but instead, to trust and have faith because we are special.
Thanks. I feel so much better about myself now.
The writer of the article is a single mother of 3 years and it seems to me that a fair bit of that time has been spent looking for her next date. She suggests different ways that the reader can “be or not be” to attract love into her life as the underlying message is that being a single mother is a problem to be fixed and the obvious solution to that problem is the love of a man.
I disagree. Oh, how I disagree.
Please allow me to explain… just as you shouldn’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry for food, neither should you go shopping for a man when you’re hungry for love. Why not? In both situations you end up with a lot of junk, feeling spent and leave dazed and confused wondering what you went in there for in the first place. It’s a waste of time and energy and not a solution, but rather a compounding of the original problem.
Our problem is our solution and our solution is our problem.
I can only speak for myself, but I know the original problem for me ~ was me. I intuitively chose my children a devoted father, but myself an emotionally unavailable and controlling partner. I believe this is due to having unfinished business with my parents from earlier in life that I tried to heal through my relationships with men. Until I understood and changed me, I would continue to be the biggest problem in my own life, dating the same guy, with a different name and face, again and again, voluntarily setting myself up for hurt and disappointment in my quest to be loved. It was only through periods of abstaining from contact with men, that I truly began to learn and discover this truth about myself and to change my behavior.
I am still a work in progress, but through this work, I have had a slight, but important shift in perspective, that I would like to share with the author of this piece and any other single mothers that may be interested in my viewpoint and experience. What has brought me personal happiness, as a solo mom is to stop focusing on being in a relationship with someone else and learn how to be in a relationship with myself. That means to stop focusing on meeting the right guy and instead, to focus on becoming the right girl – not to please and attract a man, but to value and love myself.
Loving yourself is not a means to an end. It is the end. That’s where the new story, new beginning, new love happens – from that place. The only fight that exists is the internal battle to develop self-esteem, self-love and self-acceptance – to get to that place. That’s not giving up on love with another; that’s preparing for a love that will last a lifetime, by first developing that love for yourself, you are setting yourself up for success. It’s working smart, not hard and it comes across as far more dignified for a woman; single mother or not.
I’d also like to note that any woman not actively seeking a relationship does not live under a “constant rain cloud” as suggested by the author. Personally, I have many friends, male and female, and am part of a large, vibrant and intellectually stimulating community that is forever celebrating life with events, parties and potlucks. I am blessed to have so much love, purpose and joy in my life today ~ No rain clouds here, blue skies all the time.
To be “jaded” is to be wearied, depleted and/or made dull, apathetic or cynical by experience. I know this feeling. I have felt this feeling. At the end of my relationship with my children’s father, it was so hard for me to accept there was nothing I could do to change the situation. It broke my heart to let go of that dream. Bit-by-bit, I have recovered my heart and I am whole again, but also mindful that to love again, is to risk to be hurt again. In me lives a tender heart that loves deeply and profoundly; it’s the valuable resource on which I build my life. I must nurture and protect it.
For, how many times can a heart break, before it stops trying to love?
I don’t want to find out.
There was a time when I might have agreed with the author about fighting for love, but today, I believe in love and myself in a different way. I believe that love, like a breeze, cannot be forced nor chased; one can only be ready for it when it arrives.
That’s not being dated and jaded, that’s being worthy of a loving relationship and wise about the ways in which to have one.
Frances Stone is the Author of her creative non-fiction memoir, A Reflection of Love ~ A Different Kind of Love Story, Co-Host of Talk Recovery Vancouver, Family & Addictions Counsellor and Single Mother of Three Beautiful Children.