My Single Mother

My husband has been incredibly busy over the last several weeks and hasn’t spent much time at home. Each night as I’ve prepared dinner, washed the dishes, given the baths, checked the homework, tucked the children in their beds, stepped on the Legos and sprayed Shout on the skid marks, I’ve sighed continuously and rolled my eyes and been a big pitiful baby about the whole thing.

“Being a single mother sucks,” I thought to myself as the boy smeared ketchup on his white shirt and the girl simultaneously screamed that there was a spider in the bathtub. “I need help.”

As I exhaled deeply and climbed the stairs for the 300th time today, I thought of my single friends and my friends whose husbands often work long hours, and I suddenly felt very guilty for complaining because my husband is only temporarily absent.

“She’s so strong,” I thought of a friend who solely parents two boys because her husband dumped her for his secretary in such a cliché and douche bag kind of way.

“I don’t know how she does it,” I thought of another with three children under the age of 5 whose husband works 16 hour days.

And then I thought of someone that I’d never thought of before.

Never, until tonight, did I think of my mother as a single mother.

When I was eleven, my father passed away. He was many things to me. He was the disciplinarian, the one who fixed the satellite dish when rain made the television all fuzzy and I pouted because I couldn’t watch TGIF, the one who told me to keep my eye on the ball, the one who spoiled me relentlessly, the one who provided the income to keep me in new Sam and Libby flats and Hypercolor t-shirts, the one who said he’d be in the trunk with a shotgun on my first date, the one who made me feel safe.

I thought of my mother, the young widowed mother, who never complained or sighed or rolled her eyes when the sink was full of dishes or when I slammed my bedroom door because I was a pre-teen and hated all of the world and everyone in it.

My mother, who mourned the love of her life, and yet made his passing all about me- the fatherless child.

My mother, the single mother, who tried to discipline me without caving at my pleas and promises. My mother, who held the ladder and got drenched while I climbed it and moved the satellite dish in a monsoon. My mother, who poorly attempted to throw a curve ball while I laughed at her. My mother, who went from being a stay-at-home mother to working crappy jobs for little pay. My mother, who paced the house alone and prayed for my safety during my rebellious years. My mother, who questioned the goofy perverted boys that showed up on the front door step.

My mother, who made me feel safe in a world where daddies suddenly die and leave their children all alone.

And as I anxiously rushed around the house to do the things that my husband is usually here to help me do, my eyes began to well up with tears, but they weren’t tears of frustration at his temporary absence.

They were tears of respect for my mother.

The single mother.









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About Susannah

I'm a freelance writer, blogger, aspiring best-selling author, wife of one and stay-at-home mother of two. I was chosen for the Top 13 in Blogger Idol and contribute pieces to The Huffington Post and Hahas for Hoohas. My work has also been featured in several humorous e-books, "Southern Writers’ Magazine", "The Humor Daily", "The Funny Times" and on the Erma Bombeck website. When I'm not putting pen to paper, bandaging boo-boos or spraying Shout on unidentifiable stains, I enjoy reading, playing the piano and teaching my children all about Southern charm. God has blessed me beyond measure and to Him be the glory forever.

21 thoughts on “My Single Mother

  • Vicki Ponichtera

    Great tribute! My mom had to do the same thing but with 3 children when my father died when I was 6…and she never complained, went years without a new dress, but always made sure we had what we needed.

    • Susannah Post author

      My brother and sister were already out of the house at that time. I know it was hard having one child at home, so I’m positive your mother went through a lot! Thanks for your comment!

    • Susannah Post author

      Thanks Christie. I think I hit the “extra crispy” button on the tanning bed before taking this one several years ago.

  • Christine Carter

    OH my dear friend… this was beautiful. What an amazing woman your mama is/was/will always be. I cannot fathom such a loss… and she persevered and rose up and chose to be your everything, in the midst of her grief and her loss. WOW. I am in awe of her stamina and her faith and her honor. You are one blessed daughter indeed.

  • Becky

    I am a widow raising my 8-year-old son by myself. I have a very difficult time hearing my friends complain about “single momming it” when their husbands are away for a few days. I just discovered your blog via Scary Mommy and this post brought tears to my eyes. I love that your mother did what she did, and that you are able to see it.

  • susan

    My mom was a young widow at 40 years old. They had been married 20 years. I can relate to the rebellious years that i put my mom through. My brother was 16 and I was 12. We came from utter poverty because my dad got hurt 2 years before his death. My mom worked jobs that she was too good for. I love love your story. I learned to appreciate my mom as I matured. She is really someone strong and special.

  • Marcy

    I liked how you described your shift in perspective. This is a beautiful tribute. My mom died about 10 years ago, and I am just now starting to understand what it was like for her to have rebellious teenagers, now that I have two teenagers of my own.

  • KarenJo

    I’ve only recently discovered your blog. You are amazing. I love your writing seriously!! But what keeps drawing me back to read more is how real you are. Funny, honest, vulnerable, etc… You are you and it makes you very relatable. Thank you! I am so sorry for the great loss of your mom, I cannot imagine the pain.

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