What it’s like being a single Mom on Mother’s Day

This Mother’s Day I do not wish to sleep in or receive flowers or have loved ones gather ’round as I eat breakfast in bed.

Besides, when you’re a single mom, those things aren’t likely to happen anyway. But, I’m more than OK with that. In fact, what I want for Mother’s Day is what I want every other day of the year: to create new memories with my daughter.

One time I heard Oprah say that being a single parent was the hardest job in the world, but Ms. Winfrey, I respectively disagree. I do not have to keep track of what days I’m drop off or pick up duty. I don’t have to worry about anyone being late and having to scurry to get the chores done or making dinner when it was supposed to be someone else’s turn. Making ends meet? Yes, that’s hard. But the actual duties that go along with being a mother are not. For me, this “routine” is all I’ve ever known.

To me, it’s an honor to have the opportunity to be the one who hears the pitter-patter of her bare feet cross the cool floor en route to my bedroom each morning. I get to hear all of her thoughts and laughter during our daily commute as we make up lyrics to songs we cannot understand.

Because it’s just me, I have become so much more aware as a person. I know that every move I make is being observed, everything I say is being stored somewhere in her memory. To me, it’s such a privilege to be that parent who has the ability to help shape another human being.

Every piece of sadness my 6-year-old presents to me is a chance to connect with her, to relate to her and help her learn and reach for brighter moments. Every proud moment she shares with that genuine enthusiasm we hope they never lose, is a reminder to me to live in the excitement and the success of others as much as I marvel at my own.

Being alone with my daughter has taught me so much about relationships in general.

I’ve come to believe that the ones that fail are because two people do not know each other on a deeper level. When loved ones are struggling, if we know them well enough, we are able sense that and help them.

When I hear friends talking about feeling misunderstood or that their spouses don’t “do anything” to help them, I tend to ask if they’re spending any time together. Most of the time, the answer is no. If the answer continues to be yes, it’s probably not a true partnership.

Something unique has happened during my journey as a single parent. In a way, Lexi has become not just my daughter but also my friend. Even though she is only in first grade, we “get” each other. I’ve never had to use time-outs nor have I been overly perplexed by any behaviors and this isn’t because she’s some extraordinary kid nor am I this exceptional parent. We just have an understanding that comes with spending so much one-on-one time together.

So when I wake up on Mother’s Day, the first thing that crosses my mind is: what are we doing together today to celebrate this bond that has taught me more about love and life than I could ever fathom.

What’s it like to put my daughter to bed on Mother’s Day and catch up on social media posts that are littered with Mom-friends gushing about how their husbands or partners showered them with affection? Honestly, I’d like to see more of it! I want to see others filled with happiness. Because Mother’s Day isn’t about the dynamics of a household, it’s about the moments within each household that remind us that we are all capable of anything when someone loves us like “that.”

Erinne Magee

About Erinne Magee

Erinne is a Maine-based writer and freelance editor specializing in first person essays, poetry and picture books. Her work has appeared in publications like: The Washington Post, Redbook, Yahoo News, The Huffington Post, Good Housekeeping and The Toronto Sun. For more, visit: www.erinnemagee.com