The Evolution of a Relationship



I think the relationship between mother and child is much like any other long term relationship. They all go through certain phases. The first phase is the honeymoon. All you want to do is stare into each other’s eyes and spend every waking moment together. You put your best foot forward and try and do everything just right. You can do no wrong in their eyes, and vice versa. In motherhood, this honeymoon period is intensified by the huge relief and gratitude you feel toward this little person for finally coming out! To put it simply, you’re on cloud nine and nothing can burst your bubble.

And then, somewhere along the way, the honeymoon ends. In romantic relationships, this is usually the point where you start farting in front of each other (this doesn’t apply to a mother-child relationship, as you will invariably feel that your baby’s farts are the cutest thing ever from day one. Don’t worry, we all do it). In the mother-child relationship, the honeymoon tends to end around month 3, when you realize that this little creature you’ve created really isn’t going to sleep through the night for a very long time. Once the honeymoon ends, you’ve got to come to terms with the idea that neither of you are perfect. This is when you’ll be forced to accept that you are not the perfect parent and most likely never will be. At the same time, you have to admit that your baby doesn’t always look like the Gerber baby and sometimes screeches at a pitch only dogs can hear. The end of the honeymoon in any relationship is tough. Reality sneaks up behind you and gives you a nice hard knock on the head. However, I urge you not to fight it, but rather see it as the natural progression of your relationship. The sooner you accept these things, the sooner you get to move on to the next phase.

The final phase is the settling in. You’ve acknowledged that neither is perfect and made peace with each other’s faults. Your interactions become fluid, natural and uninhibited. You anticipate and meet each other’s needs. You no longer need to question how important you are to the other person — you are completely secure in the knowledge that you are unconditionally loved and wanted. You can’t even begin to fathom your life without this person and can’t imagine what you did before they arrived. You know in that deep, primal part of you that you would kill for and die for them. Life can throw you curveball after curveball, but you’ve got a rock, and you are happy.

Clara and I have reached the settling in phase, and I am absolutely loving it. Its not easy to say good-bye to the honeymoon or let go of hopes of being the perfect parent, but its all worth it. So very worth it.

The Stigma

World English Dictionary
stigma (ˈstɪɡmə)
— n pl stigmas stigmata
1. a distinguishing mark of social disgrace 

There are stigmas attached to many things in our society. The stigma of having a criminal record. The stigma of being poor. The stigma of being overweight. And yes, the stigma of being a single mother. Stigmas are something we as a society like to sweep under the rug. After all, being judgmental isn’t considered an attractive quality. However, the problem with stigmas is that they are often unconscious, having been socially ingrained in us from a young age. Who hasn’t heard the seemingly-innocuous children’s rhyme “first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage?” How many Disney movies place single mothers in a positive light? At best, single mothers are portrayed as sad and remorseful in the media. At worst, we are portrayed as poor, uneducated, irresponsible and incapable.

You’ll note that I’m specifically talking about single mothers here. But, lets really think about it. Take a step back and be completely honest with yourself. Think of the term “single father” and consider what words you conjure up. I’m willing to bet none of those words carry a negative connotation. Some I can think of are “courageous,” “honorable,” “brave” and “responsible.” We as a society tend to view (and portray) single fathers as self-sacrificing heros, and what woman’s heart doesn’t melt at the sight of a man loving on his baby? Why is this? Well, I’ll tell you what I think.

In our modern times, rife with divorce, domestic abuse and abandonment, our expectations of fathers have dropped to nearly nothing. When a woman becomes a mother the expectation is that her entire world will revolve around her child from that point on. When a man becomes a father, we applaud him for any slight effort to be a part of his child’s life. The father who leaves work early to attend his child’s recital, the dad who plays on the floor with his kids so his wife can take a bath, the man who regularly cooks dinner for his family — all are saints. And the father who “sacrifices” all of his free time in order to raise his child alone? Why, he’s a downright martyr.

I suppose I sound a little bitter. And I suppose, in some ways, I am. Part of my goal in starting this blog was to create an outlet for these feelings – to use them constructively with the hopes of eradicating some of the stigmas attached to single mothers. To give single motherhood a face and a name. To challenge stereotypes. To dispel myths. And through all this, to maybe have a hand in bringing down the prejudices that single mother’s face on a daily basis. So I ask you, dear readers, to question your preconceptions. Do some free association. What do you think of when you hear the term “single mother?” “Single father?” “Single parent?” Are your notions your own, or those of your parents, community or society? Is it perhaps time to change those beliefs?

Beyond getting up on my soapbox, I plan for this blog to have practical application as well! Single motherhood isn’t always easy to navigate, and even simple tasks like getting a shower in every day can seem daunting. I’m going to share my experiences thus far, as well as tips and tricks that have made life a little more manageable. Finally, I’m hoping to add some laughter to my readers’ worlds! Its easy to get bogged down, overwhelmed and exhausted, but I do believe laughter to be the best medicine for whatever ails you. Thankfully, my daughter provides near-constant entertainment that I would love to share with you all!

Keep reading. Keep thinking. Keep coming back!

The Happy Single Mom

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