A recent post by one of our favorite bloggers, Issa Mas, the mom behind Single Mama NYC.
I know for many people in general, but for single moms in specific, our lives may not be what we pictured they would be. Perhaps you thought you would be married, or in a different career, or in a different town. Maybe you are feeling a bit like a failure, or at the very least, lost and very far removed from the path you had hoped to be on in life. I can, with a deep sigh, relate to that. Ten years ago this is not the life I thought I would be living. In some ways it is a blessing, because I had been living with infertility for the 13 years prior to having Theo and was so very pained at the idea of never being a mother. In other ways, though, it is profoundly disappointing. Accepting that certain dreams you once had will now probably never come to fruition is difficult. One must go through the process of mourning the loss of those dreams, and accepting what is, to begin to move forward. Not always an easy thing to do, and certainly not a speedy process by any means.
I find that this process of revisiting your hopes and dreams, polishing off the ones that you still have faith in, and laying to rest the ones that have clearly expired, is essential for moving forward in life. It is also essential for claiming new dreams, and finding new paths that will lead you to new experiences. Examining how many of those hopes and dreams were really your own and not instilled in you by the conditioning of family or society, is helpful as well. I, for one, believed that I would always get married -- that everyone should get married -- and I've come to understand that was never truly my dream. That was society telling me that as a female that was an important priority in life (damn you, Disney princess movies!!!). I have come to learn, however, that I don't truly want that, and that while I do enjoy being in love with (and loved by), a man, marriage is a non-necessity. With that fairly new knowledge, I am able to let go of any "stigma" I felt as a single mother, and as a 37-year-old unmarried woman.
Claiming your own path in life is essential to living authentically, and sadly, so few people fully engage in the process of living authentically. Being authentic can be difficult, isolating, and lead to you being grossly misunderstood. And while living your life (any part of your life), on someone else's terms may cause the least amount of waves for you, without those waves you're just floating along in the middle of the ocean, getting nowhere. Make waves! Move forward! Claim your own path! Claim the joy of being true to yourself and watch how life opens to you. I have grown quite unfazed by the waves my authenticity creates. My best friend has told me one of the things she admires about me the most is how little I care about what others think of me. I came to that place slowly, over many years. My motto now?
What others think of me is none of my business. - Dr. Wayne Dyer
Realizing that I cannot possibly please everyone so I'd better at least be content with my decisions in life was something I have more fully grown into over the years, and I like it here just fine. You will, too. Honest.
There may be beliefs that you hold, that upon close examination, may not truly be your own; it will be liberating to not be weighed down by those false beliefs. I myself am still going through the process of pulling up my beliefs and dusting them off to genuinely examine them.
Issa M. Mas is a freelance writer who publishes the memoir-in-the-making, Single Mama NYC, as well as the resource site, Your Single Parenting. She lives in her native New York City with her son.