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One Woman's Story about Having It All

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We moms are always putting our kids' needs above our own -- sacrificing shopping, vacations, and even the occasional mani-pedi. This mom decided to splurge on a little something for herself: a man.

a mother's love

Essence: For years Towanna Freeman put her daughter, Jenesis, first. After being sideswiped by a divorce more than a decade ago, the 39-year-old management consultant and author ("Purposeful Action: 7 Steps to Fulfillment") cut back on her hours -- reducing her income by 50 percent, so she could focus on motherhood.

There were a few lean years, but disaster never struck, in fact things got better. Freeman revamped her career to suit her needs and even found time to pursue her passion, life-coaching. Despite all of her success, there was one things missing: a man. That all changed three years ago when she met Byron Freeman, a Colonel in the US Army. Freeman talks to Essence.com about her transition from life as a single lady to being "the Mrs."

Essence.com: You weren't always a single mother. Tell us how your life changed when you split from your ex-husband?

Towanna Freeman: My daughter Jenesis was 3 years old when I divorced my first husband. I had to make a lot of changes going from two incomes to one, but I was motivated because I knew I had a mouth to feed. I didn't want my daughter to come in second. I was a project manager for the CIA, but I downsized -- everything. My shopping had to change, vacationing, even getting a new car, were now all luxuries that I couldn't afford. My priority was making sure my daughter was in school and I could pay for aftercare.

Essence.com: After raising your daughter alone for 10 years, you recently got married. How did you know he was the one for you?

Freeman: My husband had to woo two women -- my daughter and myself. Once our relationship got serious -- and I knew I could trust him -- I let him spend alone time with Jenesis so they could bond. For example, we'd all go to the arcade, but I'd let them go off and play games while I watched from afar. I'd check in with her to see how he treated her when I wasn't around. I believe it's important for parents to listen to their kids -- because they see things we don't -- and not just focus on what our mates say.

Lastly, I made sure to talk to him about his views on parenting -- because I knew integrating families would require a lot of a man who didn't have children.

Essence.com: Many women who've been single for a long time find it challenging to open their hearts and minds to co-existing, though they want a mate. Did you find it difficult?

Freeman: As a woman, I'm naturally a nurturer, but after being single for so long I was used to bringing home the bacon and frying it. My challenge was allowing someone to take care of me. I had to learn to relax; I had to drop my defenses. It was like a changing of the guard. I had to acknowledge that my husband is capable. He's a man whose decisions I can trust, so I had to learn how to stop asking for details. I don't always need to be in control.

For more of Towanna's story, visit Essence.com.


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2 comments so far | Post a comment now
Rebecca November 21, 2009, 7:18 AM

Great article. I commend Towanna for taking her daughter’s thoughts and feelings into consideration before she got remarried. Unfortunately, many moms and dads make divorce all about them; they forget about their kids.

tennmom November 21, 2009, 1:23 PM

Great article.
I was widowed in ‘03, when my daughters were 3 and 5. I dated my current husband for a year before I introduced him to my children. We married in ‘07. Our daughters are comfortable enough to not care which parent takes them to school, picks them up, takes them to soccer practice, tucks them in at night. They do prefer having him awake before them on weekends because he cooks a more yummy breakfast than I do ;) That works for me, too. I love hearing their giggles & his laugh from the kitchen while I enjoy an extra 30 minutes laying in bed before getting up to join them.


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