When I divorced, I expected years to go by before I’d consider dating again. My daughter is not yet two years old and I just figured that no man would want to be in a relationship with a woman so fresh out of a marriage, and with a child as young as mine. The conversations I had with men that I knew were not very encouraging, either. I felt pressure to hurry up and find balance and harmony in my daily life so that I could present myself as someone who still followed her personal pursuits while raising a child. More specifically, I felt a lot of conflict with trying to date like a childless thirty-something woman, because there was an unspoken expectation that my daughter would not be a part of the process. This implied my daughter was not an important person. Naturally, I threw my arms up and resigned to the possibility that I will, indeed, need to wait years to meet someone, because I could not meet the social expectations of a single woman and the demands of parenting.
I’m a very independent person my nature, so I understand the women who manage life expertly and may feel that they don’t need anyone in their lives; they are doing just fine, thank you very much. I’ve had to ingrain this into my own head for those overwhelming days when I reach my limit in every capacity, because no matter how determined I am, it’s normal to fall behind. It’s also normal to feel tapped out and wonder how you’ll get through the rest of the day or week when you have nothing left to give. I’ve realized that in spite of my own best intentions to take care of myself, having the right person in my life could be the difference between finding satisfaction in what I can do on my own, and the potential available with someone working in concert with me.
Unfortunately, I’ve not encountered a man yet who can appreciate the level of responsibility and hard work that I face each day. The men I’ve come across so far have no frame of reference because they have no children, and so they interpret me as me not being ready for a relationship. What they don’t understand is that as long as I have a child this is my reality. This is especially true so long as I’m doing the work of two people, namely filling the roles of mommy and daddy when my daughter is with me. The right person for me is someone who acknowledges the warrior in me, respects and understands my priorities, and who can look at my downtrodden days as a sign that I’ve given it my all.
I’m not going to give up on the idea of love, though. As easy as it is some days to just forget about it and resolve myself to being a team of two forevermore, I will trudge through the thick a little longer, and maybe I can one day find my balance. Imagine if all of us single moms could find that special man who steps in to help lift us up, take some of the burden off our shoulders, and help create the wiggle room we need to pursue our interests again. Certainly we don’t need to be rescued but I know for myself that life for my daughter and I would be that much richer if we were loved by someone who offered the much needed strength and endurance.