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.
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.