momlogic's Jenny: My parents separated and divorced when I was about two years old. I lived with my mom, saw my father on weekends, and never imagined what it would be like if they lived under the same roof -- it was what it was and I never knew anything different. When I was six, my mom and I moved in to a one bedroom apartment in a very wealthy community so that I could go be in the best school district.
It was a huge sacrifice on my mom's part -- she let me take the bedroom while she converted the dining room/breakfast nook into her room. It's no wonder that I don't recall my mom dating -- there was no privacy! But it was all for me and all for "my future" and she certainly wasn't the only mom with the same agenda: In our apartment building there happened to be three other single moms with three daughters all my same age.
WE WERE A FAMILY.
When I read the New York times story, I immediately identified with these women. For 12 years, my mom and the two other moms, lived "Kate and Allie" style. After school, there was always one mom there to pick us up and make us snacks. Another mom would makes us dinner, and another mom would babysit when one mom had to work late or had a date. By the way, our moms were all young and gorgeous -- I have been told NOW that they "partied" and dated quite a bit, but as a child I have zero memories of this. My mom(s) were always there and we girls always came first.
Unlike the women featured in the article, being single wasn't "by choice." I'm certain our moms would have loved to have been married and at some point would have loved to have a significant other to help out with the rent, the kids, and the day to day grind of being a single mom. But again, as children, we never knew about what hidden hopes, dreams and disappointments they had. I really admire that, the way they kept it all together. The way they used each other as a support system and the way they made us feel like a community, like sisters.
After we were fast asleep, I imagine that it was then that they would pour out their hearts and commiserate over wine and "Dynasty." I know I would. They were in their early 30s. That's how old I am! It must not have been easy. But the bottom line is that the lifestyle they created for us is, in many ways, a happier, healthier and safer one than some families with a husband and wife. It's true, raising children does take a village. But I know first hand that it does NOT take a husband to have a good mom.
|Jenny, author of Perfectly Disheveled, is a writer/producer, and first time mom to a 1-year-old boy.|
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