I never intended on becoming a single parent.
My divorce process began weeks prior to my daughter being born. I was nearly nine months pregnant, standing arm-in-arm with my mama, walking in to the courthouse filing a stack of papers I never dreamed of even needing. The end of my marriage was the death of my dreams as I had known them. The hurt, the anger, the embarrassment. It all came sweeping over me at moments I’d least expect it, all while learning to be a mom for the first time, too. None of this was part of the plan. That was one of the first lessons I learned as a mom.
Plans change and you must find a way to adapt.
The next 12-18 months found me in a whirlwind of decisions. Being down to one income meant going back to work earlier than I had wanted. While it was such a hard decision, it was a necessary one. It also meant that my little monkey was able to bond with friends and family during those two weeks between when I had to go back to work and her being old enough for daycare.
It was hard to ask for help. I thought I needed to prove that I could do this. There were days where I’d visit some dear friends and would, unintentionally, doze off on their couch. (Exhausted was an understatement at that stage in my life). Without hesitation, they swooped in and took care of monkey when she woke so that I could sneak in as much of a nap as possible. I was so thankful for the friends and family that surrounded me with support, even when I didn’t think (or want to admit) I needed it.
Then there was my home. I (thankfully) was in a position to where I could afford to keep it after the dust settled from the divorce. I loved the house I owned, the life that we had built. But I was ready for a new adventure. A fresh start for my little family of two. So with some much-needed encouragement and a plethora of cheerleaders to support me, on the market it went within weeks of my daughter’s first birthday. Three short months and a few trailer loads of boxes later, we settled in to our new home. A home for fresh starts, new beginnings and a whole new set of life lessons and challenges.
Divorce ≠ broken home
I remember the first time I heard this after my divorce. My heart sank as the two women (quite loudly) talked about what a shame it was for the children of broken homes to have to go without. I went about my own business, but the conversation stuck with me. To me, the term ‘broken home’ implies that my home would have been better had I stayed in my marriage, or that there’s something that needs to be fixed. “There’s a cultural bias against single parents; an assumption that these households are less than, incomplete, and children suffer as a consequence.” My marriage may have been broken but my home is anything but. There’s nothing broken about Saturday morning donuts and dance parties, bedtime routines and bicycle rides, or tickle fights and living room campouts.
The truth is, a perfect wedding doesn’t make for a happy marriage any more than the perfect house makes for a happy home. It’s about who’s in it with you that makes the difference. We may not have a family the way I had always pictured, but her and I make a pretty good team and that’s family enough for me.