Katy is a mechanical engineer who likes building and renovating houses in her free time. She’s also a single mom of three little ones. You can read all about her, her family, and her building adventures at Mom and Her Drill. This is her single parent story.
I got married when I was 23, right out of college, and had our first child. I was a stay-at-home mom for those first 6 years, and I had 3 kids pretty close together.
My husband left us when the kids were 2, 4, and 6. He told me he was moving out, I had better get the house sold (or else), and he gave me 2 months to prepare. I was blocking his path to happiness, and he had waited long enough. He moved in with his new girlfriend (now wife). My kids only have to visit them on holidays a few times a year.
In the beginning I was bewildered. How would I survive? How could I work with three babies? And pay for all that daycare? How would I even find a job after so many years out of college and in a terrible economy? I stopped eating and sleeping and lived on raw nerves and caffeine. I managed to sell the house and move cross-country to my family. I drove from San Antonio to South Carolina in my old minivan with 3 toddlers, packed with our clothes and car seats, praying that I wouldn’t get a flat tire.
That first year was about survival. Finding a place to live. Trying to pay bills with nothing but child support. Getting my older children in a school. Potty training my baby. Job hunting. Constantly talking with and trying to help my children deal with our new reality. Praying, praying, and more praying. Grieving. (I can’t describe the grief other than occasionally having to lock myself in the bathroom, lie on the floor, and sob for a little while.)
It has now been almost 4 years since I became a single mom. My kids are turning 6, 8, and 10. Wow!
Here are three things that I have discovered about this new life that I never would have guessed:
- Your courage might surprise you. If your children are threatened you will find out quickly that no man is a match for you. (Unless he’s got an assault rifle and really good aim, but even then I wouldn’t make any bets.) Once you find that part of yourself, trivial little things like insurance and rent and “Daddy’s new girlfriend” aren’t even worth breaking a sweat over.
- Single life brings incredible freedom. I couldn’t see it in the beginning because I was so hysterical over how I would pay for things. Once I got back on my feet and looked around, I discovered that I had something priceless: the ability to make my own choices and follow my own dreams without needing anyone’s permission.
- You are precious. Popular wisdom today says that “single moms” are most likely on food stamps and our children will end up in prison. While it’s true that this may be the hardest road you’ve ever traveled, and some days you might need to lie down on the road and cry, that doesn’t mean your destiny is to be less than everyone else. You have value, and you can bring that value to other people and be a blessing to your children and community.
At this point in time, I am saving money to build a tiny beach house which I hope to start in a few
months. My carpentry skills are getting better and I’m able to build things for other moms when the
need arises. I’m also including my kids in all of my dreaming and planning. They keep asking me when
the beach house will be done, because they know we’re going to build a mini farm next!
So my advice is to change that diaper, make yourself a cup of tea, sit down with a notebook and start
dreaming big. Because anything is possible with God, sister.
©Katy L. September 2012 @ www.MomAndHerDrill.blogspot.com firstname.lastname@example.org