Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Single Moms Together Strong

"I hope you live a life you're proud of, and if you find that you're not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again." - Benjamin Button

I am a part of a single moms group through Facebook. I feel like I've met wonderful single moms throughout my entire experience in being divorced. I truly feel the Lord has placed people into my life when I needed them most! It's strange how things have fallen into place. It's been a completely AMAZING experience for me! Our single mom group leader has a blog for struggling single moms. It has helped me on many occasions when it's 2 am and I can't sleep and I'm alone with my thoughts and I just feel like I CAN NOT take one more thing. I read her words and I feel inspired and less alone in this journey. I have recommended it to many of my struggling friends going through divorce and it has helped them as well.

The other day I was looking back at some of the posts on her blog and found one of my comments. I remember feeling so passionate about what I was writing that I decided to transfer it over to my own blog post. Maybe some of you can have a glimpse into the lives and struggles of a single mom. Keep in mind that this response was a comment to a post about living a life you are proud of (even if it includes leaving an unhealthy marriage) and another woman had commented on the blog bashing the author by accusing her of blaming her ex for everything. Basically, she was tearing the woman down for being so open in her blog. So, in defense of both my friend (the author) and my own strong feelings about being a struggling single mom, I responded with this:

"I think more than striking a nerve, we just want everyone to understand how terribly painful this really is and that it takes everything we have to heal, get up, move on and try to create a new normal for ourselves and our children.

I haven't seen Benjamin Button yet, but I loved your post. I didn't find it bashing or negative for that matter. I'm pretty sure that most of us divorced women can see where we have gone wrong in our relationships and have worked hard not to repeat the past. Whether it's 50/50 or 7/93. The fact is that it takes TWO to make a marriage work, but it can only take ONE to make it fail. There are deal breakers in marriage and there are steps you go through to try and fix those deal breakers, but IF one party is not willing to do what needs to be done to make it work, it will not work. And oftentimes, it's not just one deal breaker. Sometimes you get to endure a few of them mixed together!!!

One thing I have learned so far about being a divorced single mom or single woman for that matter is this...people judge us and they judge us harshly. Not all, but some. I haven't figured out the "why" behind it, but they do. A lot of the time the judging is done by married women who seem to have a decent and fairly simple relationship. These women usually have no clue what a true toxic relationship is like. They don't see the excruciating pain that we go through in private or the flow of tears we constantly hold back while in public. We all should win academy awards because we hide it VERY well!

I loved the part in your comment where you state that "unless you were hiding under our bed the whole time you wouldn't have the first clue about the "truth" of what I really experienced". My dad always tells people when they ask about me that they would have to have lived it to truly understand. I wish more people could trust us and our decisions and realize that this is not a decision that most of us took lightly. Most of us endured much pain and agony to get to this point. Most of us hoped so much that it would work that we stayed too long. I think that many people assume we made this decision because we simply want out. We weren't in love anymore, we want another man or we are complaining about little annoying things like the toilet seat being left up. They have no clue what really happens behind closed doors and if they did I am almost certain that they would not judge!

A couple months ago, I went through something that was awful and terrible with regard to being judged by a woman who seems to have everything going well for her. (I realize that everyone has problems but, in this case, I would consider switching places with her. Basically, I would trade her for her problems, even her worst problems! I'm not kidding!) She was one of my good friends and I knew her better than most of her own family, but she turned on me. It's one thing when a stranger judges you or an annoying neighbor thinks she knows you better than you know yourself. You just expect that kinda thing. But, you don't expect it from a good friend. I think a lot of us women are victims of circumstance. Because we can be single, fit and pretty, we MUST have a motive. Women think we are after their husbands, they think we have no morals and they truly believe that because we are single, we don't respect marriage. What they don't realize is that we probably respect it more than they do. I have watched so many married women trash their husbands who are working hard, allowing them to stay home with the children, providing for them with a house and a running car and sometimes even spoiling them. They just go on and on about the little things. I sometimes wonder if they ever stopped to think what it would really be like if it all disappeared? What would it be like to live in a run down home with no AC, drive a car that oftentimes doesn't want to start, and sometimes struggle to provide food and clothing? What would it be like to do EVERYTHING yourself? But, you can never understand it until you are placed in that situation. You just can't!

I love having as much support as I can get during all of this. Women come to us because we have been through it. When I was first going through this, I had no one that had been there before. I longed for that and then my "angels" were put in my path when I needed them. There is a difference between bashing and relating our stories. Our stories are what makes us empathetic and we have to tell some of that story in order to help others. It's what helps us know we are not alone. There is nothing wrong with telling the truth. Most of the time we mask the ugliest parts anyway just to protect our children. Believe me, if I could, I would blog about all the crap we had to go through. But, I can't and because of that...people judge us.

I blogged about my experience with this and I posted a song that touched my heart. I dedicated it to my fellow friends who have had to endure any sort of painful situations. Here is my post:

You don't have to read the post, but if you like click on the song and read the words. It's appropriate for divorce, death, or any life hardship that you may be asked to endure.

Maybe none of you have experienced this, but this has been my experience so far. It's just my two cents! Well, it's a little more than two cents! Sorry for the long comment! Love you girl!"


Scrappycook said...

Thank you for this post - it echos many of my own thoughts about going through divorce. I have been very blessed with a wonderful ward and kind friends who have helped me with emotional support this last year.

Sometimes people strike a cord without really meaning to just because of lack of tact. I had a woman at church grill me on whether or not I had tried hard enough to keep my marriage together - knowing nothing about what had happened over the last 5 years. I ended up leaving the room in tears. She was mortified, and thankfully I've found that type of situation to be very rare - of course, it could be because I never really get out of the house. Good luck and congratulations on your race!

Jill said...

I enjoyed reading your blog...I have to first say that I have been up all night, so I haven't read your entire blog, but I liked the part about being judged and that somewhere you posted a song about your feelings(which I couldn't find)....but how true it is how one judges a single mom...we don't want to become bitter about it, because then we are only hurting ourselves....I will never understand this either...all the comments I get are the same..."I'm going through the SAME EXACT thing as you" husband goes out of town all the time...or "I'm isolated too"...they just don't get it....I just have a really time finding friends or internet friends relating to really anything, a single mom, health issues, or just fun stuff...well...I better run, but hope we connect and be a support for one another and share are ideas and positivity thoughts...God Bless your day

Anonymous said...

Thank you for that post! I am a single mom and sometimes you feel like you are in a sea of married women and are drowning. Your words solidified everything I have felt but never was able to put into words. You are an amazing woman and I can only hope to be half the woman you are. May the Lord bless your life each and every day!