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Feb 10 2015

THE SILVER LINING OF BEING A SINGLE MOM

Silver lining never shouts.  It whispers.

Image courtesy of Patrick TT at FreeImages.com

Being a single mom can be exhausting. It means everything is on my shoulders. How can there be silver lining in that? Bills, housework, big decisions, small decisions, replacing light bulbs, taking out the trash, absolutely everything is on me. However, those aren’t even the hard things. Sure, shopping for a home on my own can be daunting, and taking out the trash is a major aggravation (the dictionary contains no word to describe how much I hate that task). But that’s not the tough part by a long shot. Not only am I a single mom, but I also have joint custody. For that reason, the most difficult part, for me, is only being present for 50% of my son’s childhood.

Unless you’re in the exact same boat, you probably read that last statement as if it was just another sentence. On the other hand, if you also have shared custody, then you feel my pain, and I feel yours. The reality that I’m absent for half of his upbringing is ominous. I think about it daily. Although my six-year-old has twelve more years until he is eighteen, I will only be present for six of them. The weight of that reality is heavy. It’s almost too painful to let it sink in. Struggles shout for our attention much like the clouds of a dark storm. A silver lining, however, never shouts. It whispers, and you will only hear it when you pay close attention.

Newborn

I had to have a c-section when Z was born. I remember the anesthesiologist telling me that he would do his best to keep me conscious but warned that most moms don’t remember the actual birth with a c-section even if they’re technically awake. I nodded my head and started thinking to myself, Remember, remember, remember. If you remember nothing else, you’re going to remember his first cry. You have to remember. It was like I summoned every brain cell and every ounce of determination I had and wrapped it tightly with an earnest prayer that I would remember the moment of his birth and his first cry. And you know what? It worked!

I had 19 hours of mild labor followed by 2 hours and 10 minutes of pushing only to lead to a c-section that I didn’t want, but I not only got to deliver my baby, I got to remember the important moment because I focused intently on it.

Silver lining.

The silver lining of being a single mom is that I believe I do a much better job of soaking him up when he’s with me than I would if I had him every day. Please don’t misunderstand me. I don’t mean to suggest that other moms take their kids for granted or don’t love their time with them. I don’t mean that at all. What I am saying is that my time without him is an ever present reminder to cherish what I do have, and I intentionally focus on him when we’re together in ways I don’t think I would if I didn’t know what it is like to be without him. When I help him with homework, it’s not a chore; it’s a treat, and spending special time with him is more intentional. Our bedtime routine involves praying and reading his Power Bible together. He loves books, so we will often each choose a book for the other to read aloud as well. Because I’m a single mom, that time together is never interrupted. It’s just us. Mommy, son and focused time together. Because I don’t have as much time with him as I would like, I remember to cherish every day that I do have with him, and I call that a silver lining. Of course, days get busy. I get frazzled and lose that focus. I do. But I come back to it intentionally.

Just the other day, I was drying his hair after his bath. It could air-dry just as easily, but I like those moments. He was standing right in front of me, bouncing around with his usual energy, while I ran my fingers through his hair as I dried it. I thought of how the day is coming when he won’t let me do that anymore, and I reflected on that first cry and how special the memory is to me. So I took my time, and I laser-focused on the moment in front of me. I paid attention to the texture of his hair. I tuned in to the silly song he was making up on the spot (he was singing about how much he loves his mommy–sniff sniff), and I made a point to look into his eyes. For a brief time, it was as if time stood still because I insisted on it.

Silver lining never shouts.  It whispers.Being a mother is hard whether you’re single or not. Life is a challenge whether or not you are even a mother, and time slips through all of our fingers so easily. I encourage you, regardless of your path in life, to pay attention to the moments that make it all worth it. Learn a lesson on silver lining from this single mama, and insist for time to stand still. Absorb the goodness of what is in front of you. If you do, I promise you’ll find your silver lining too.

From the heart of Dixie Mama…always say grace.

 

2 comments

  1. Rhonda Scales

    Love Love Love !!!!! ❤️

    1. Hayley Cranfield

      Thank you, dear! I appreciate the encouragement!

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