Whether you are a single mother or not, who knows what the future holds for you? You may one day find yourself in a situation where the man you've carried children for turns out not to be who you thought, or some life-changing event happens that actually transforms him into someone else you can no longer be with. Or even if you're a man, your daughter may one day find herself in a situation where she's doing it on her own, or maybe a sister, cousin, or whoever. No matter what the situation, among the laundry list of things society will bombard them with about what they shouldn't have done, there are actually some things that no single mother should do:
- Do not entertain anyone just to say you have someone. That includes the man you procreated as well as probable prospects who show themselves but haven't proven themselves yet. Easier said than done, I know. But now, more than ever, picking a man as a placeholder or by default is dangerous.
Besides the obvious, that he could be a serial killer that wipes out you and your family, you may forget that the time you're investing in him does cause feelings to take root. As much as you may be aware that he's not the one and you're just "doing it for the kids", your heart won't make that distinction if you're putting time and energy into him to keep him around. Feelings are similar to love; they make us all dumb. They take a seat at the decision-making table of your actions, sometimes several seats until they represent the majority, and will cause you to be vulnerable with someone you shouldn't have gone anywhere near to begin with. The wrong man overstaying his welcome in your life will hold you back, beat you down, or both; and it'll only hurt worse knowing that you knew better all along but didn't do better.
Not only can it be a huge blow to you as a mother, but it can also block the place your soulmate would fit in to your life. You may over occupy yourself prematurely due to the pressure of being a mom and doing it alone while missing out on what would be your partner for life because you're involved with a temporary fix. "Just stay single" is already an unsavory recommendation, and when you add children into the mix, it only gets more sour, but it's practical. You'll be alone, it'll be hard, but you won't have anyone else wasting your time. It'll get lonely every now and then, sometimes for long periods, but you won't be overextending yourself just to be under-loved by someone who doesn't deserve you. It's nice to have a man around, but sometimes, no man is better than just any man.
- Do not see yourself through the limited scope of society. Yes, another one that's easier said than done, but so critical in the quality of not only your own life, but also the life of your child. At some point, we choose to own or discard the messages we receive, both externally and internally, and what we own determines how we treat everyone around us as well as ourselves.
For instance, there's no amount of "pretty" that can convince a girl who believes she's hideous to walk with her head up and feel beautiful. There's no amount of talent that convinces a guy who believes he's worthless to pursue his dreams. And there's no amount of praise that convinces a single mother who's accepted the lie that she's any less of a woman than the next one that she should live out her life to the fullest and look forward to the best the world has to offer. However, not doing so will trickle from her own day-to-day mood to the mood of her child.
As mentioned before, one of the biggest determining factors of a household of whether or not the child is given a proper chance in life is not whether or not there's a relationship present, but whether or not the one or ones leading the household are in a healthy state of mind. Even though a woman may have perfected the smile and "I'm fine" responses to those who inquire, accepting any negative notions exclusive to single mothers is anything but healthy. It will cause her to accept less than what she would if she looked at herself, and saw her true value because we accept from others only what we see in ourselves.
It's similar to when a mother is disciplining her child and she gets talked back to, so she asserts that she is the adult, not the child. In that situation, the mother sees herself and rightfully recognizes that she's an adult, and therefore will not tolerate being treated or talked down to as if she's anything less. The same goes for a single mother who constantly hears slander, but discards it all as the rubbish it is, and instead reaffirms her own worth and owns that. The moment anyone comes to her and tries to treat her as something less, she will reject it, which will protect her peace, happiness, and energy from all leeches.
When you see a single mom or anyone for that matter, remaining in toxic relationships, dead-end jobs, or unhealthy environments, it's never a matter of "just doing what I got to do", even though that's the common reasoning. It's because they only see themselves as being good enough for those circumstances, and even if they've entertained the thought they maybe they could do better, it's not strong enough to propel them into action.
This is why we have to be careful about the messages we accept as truth. In fact, we have to be careful about the messages we even entertain and expose ourselves to, regardless of what decision we make to accept or reject it. When we're not, our subconscious may override our decision and accept it for us. It happens gradually, but when it does, it's difficult to undo, and may take so much time that the damage incurred in the meantime is permanent. Whether it's videos you watch online, group talks you sit in on, music, movies, or people in your circle, you have to be proactive about protecting your subconscious from negative messages that can pollute your self image.
- Do not "debate" with imbecils. It's going to be tempting, being that there are so many around. They'll pop up left and right, volunteering garbage that nobody asked for the moment "single mother" is mentioned, but whatever you do, don't debate with them. You'll be better off pouring water into a bottomless cup or telling a STOP sign to GO.
It's not because a debate couldn't be constructive, it's more so about who it's with, which ultimately determines where it will go; nowhere fast. Imbecils aren't just people who are misunderstood, they're those who are committed to misunderstanding. They're people who delight in seeing you put in the effort to correct them and will continue to delight the longer you try, which serves as an incentive to keep you going in circles. Imbecils often go the extra mile and create content on public platforms to help them spread their garbage like Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook. I've seen entire groups created just for the sole purpose of baiting anyone with a firm belief in the truth and the optimism needed to take them and their ignorance on head first. Whatever you do, don't feed into them.
Even when you corner an imbecil into a debate, they'll change the subject, insult you or whatever will frustrate you enough to keep the conversation going. You may think that because you're speaking in front of impressionable minds that a side of truth would be helpful, but it's still too slippery of a slope to get caught up on. You're likely to either get caught up addressing so many fallacies that you're in a web before you know it or you won't cover enough ground to have the upper hand in the eyes of those you wanted to provide your perspective to.
Choose those you have these conversations with wisely. They need to be worthy of not only your time and attention, but also of your subconscious that you'll expose to them by conversing with them, as mentioned previously. The person you dialogue with about single motherhood should go through a screening that starts with a track record that proves their heart is in the right place, even if they're off the mark. If it's not, you may not be debating with an imbecil, but rather a very intelligent and manipulative man or woman who's intentionally toying with a subject you hold near and dear. If you're not sure, it's best to leave it alone and let them go on about their day. The topic deserves progressive conversation, not circular vehicles of more stereotypes to be reinforced.
But if their heart is in the right place and they have the wherewithal to comprehend your experience as well as the information you have based on experiences of others, conversations can be extremely beneficial. Mental doors can be opened for those unknowingly ignorant to the truth. Hearts can be opened that never realized they were closed. The proper discourse at the right time is the first step to undoing decades of misperceptions, but with the wrong people, it can simply be a waste of your time...