I never planned to be a single mother, and for the record, this ish is hard. Just the logistics alone are sometimes mindboggling. I’m tired. I often wondered before I entered motherhood how on earth folks managed. Now I wonder how I manage–even when I have the bi-weekly housekeeper, daily dog walker, nannies. It’s still just a lot.
Hope and I are sliding into nearly 15 months together now, and I’m starting to think about the relative importance of having a male figure in her life. Originally, I had this fantastic goal of having this council of dads who would help out and weigh in, but yeah, the first year of our life together has been so mired in trying to make crooked lines somewhat straight that I haven’t been able to give the whole concept much thought. Hope was so adamant about even forbidding me to date, much less eventually marry, that I just abandoned the notion of introducing her to any male friends in hopes that some meaningfulness would spring forth through knowing some wonderful men.
Jeesch, Hope also hasn’t met many of my girlfriends–some of whom can be pissy about that–so there’s that.
But it’s a year later, Hope’s a lot more sturdy now. We are going through the middle school relationship gauntlet, and not only does she know I’m dating; she seems to understand it’s serious.
And it’s a year later and I see her going through the trials and tribulations of early adolescence,
and I want to slay some of these bama dudes that make her cry. I see her struggling with trying to figure out how to navigate platonic and romantic relationships; I also see how the impact of seeing unhealthy relationships is shaping her burgeoning views on romance. It all makes me sad.
Nearly two years ago, it was so important to the match that men weren’t involved in parenting Hope; there were lots of reasons for this. Now that this time has passed, I wonder how not having really any men in her life is affecting her. I wonder if I can really coach her through some really important stuff. I value the male perspectives in my life immensely. I know that she would benefit from hearing how men think from a man. Like a lot of single parents out there, I wonder if and how I can compensate for not providing that other perspective.
But I also know that maybe she’s still not ready for having a guy around. She’s increasingly curious about Elihou, but I can tell it’s more from a perspective of ” Ohhhm mom’s dating” as opposed to thinking, “this guy might actually be my stepdad one day.”
I thought about this stuff before I started parenting, but it seems so much more important to consider now. I guess lots of folks do this single parent thing, so we’ll be fine. But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit wishing life was a bit different.
March 17th, 2015 at 8:50 pm
WOW so can relate to this. While I did decide to be a single Mom I did not think long term about the consequences of needing a good male role model so my girls could learn how good men treat women. Now mind you I have male friends but navigating a relationship beyond friends is something I totally forgot to put in the equation. I will be following and taking notes on how you navigate!!
March 17th, 2015 at 10:25 pm
Yeah, it’s a tough situation. I know she needs that exposure and she will get some, but I don’t know if it will be enough or what the relative impact will be. 🙂 Any advice is greatly appreciated! 🙂
March 18th, 2015 at 12:40 pm
I don’t have any advice, but I do know that the fact you’re considering these things indicates what a great mom you are. I also know that what any child needs most is one strong, healthy role model/caregiver, and you are providing that. I think the dynamics with male role models will evolve with time. Also, at least she can maybe see some good examples through positive television, books, or movies until she is ready to develop her own connections with good men?? Just an idea…
March 18th, 2015 at 1:13 pm
You’re really kind. I think you’re right. It’s something I’m starting to fret about more, I think, because I see some things playing out in her relationships that concern me. I know I can coach her, but I wonder whether hearing it from a man would have more of an impact? That said, building the trust in order to get to that space will take time. I dunno. But it’s on my mind.
March 19th, 2015 at 1:24 pm
I love the idea of a Council of Dads and am definitely stealing it to help with our all-female parenting journey!
March 19th, 2015 at 7:05 pm
I thought it was so interesting that you referred to a person you’d marry as your daughter’s stepdad. I’m just curious as to why you’d use that term? Would he not adopt her as his as well?
March 19th, 2015 at 7:35 pm
Great question! At this point Hope is adamant about not being adopted by any man. It is important to her to have *one* dad, her biological father. She’s old enough to have a say in the decision about any prospective father figure adopting her. I respect that, hence the terminology. Works for us and was an easy place to come to. 🙂
March 20th, 2015 at 8:05 pm
Thanks for answering my curiosity!
March 19th, 2015 at 10:21 pm
Such a tough place to be in. I wish I had advice … All I can do is confirm that you are right, this is important, and I really hope you do a better job of figuring it out than I did.
April 8th, 2015 at 8:35 am
Thanks for sharing this with us. It’s definitely something I worry about with my little girl. Right now she gets lots of time with her grandpa, so I’m hoping that will help give her a positive perspective on men. I like to think I can give her everything she needs, but having positive male role models is SUPER important. It’s statistically proven, so I think it’s important for all of us single moms to do our best to introduce good men, whether they’re pastors, coaches, neighbors or teachers, into our kids’ lives.