By Samar Badwan
I never thought I would ever have to tell people that I’m a single parent until I woke up to find myself in that position. Twelve years of some very different emotions. It seemed to be like a roller coaster ride. In the early years, it was anger, crying, depression, and uncertainty for my children and me. My children were having a hard time in school being able to interpret their emotions. I had to speak to my children’s teachers so they could understand the reason for the negative behaviors, and as time went by these negative behaviors disappeared because of the support and understanding from these educators. Throughout the years, these emotions turned into strength, courage, communication, laughter and happiness. We were finally able to really laugh and enjoy ourselves. I gained courage, strength and motivation through my faith, work and community.
It hasn’t been easy being a single parent. I have dual roles and I have learned to swallow my pride and ask for help, something that for me was very hard because I’m so independent. Sometimes I felt like a failure because I couldn’t always give the extras that my children wanted because they saw that others had them. However, my children understood that the extras weren’t a necessity and could be obtained maybe later. The discipline, rules and decisions are all on me. At the beginning, having to do all the disciplining was difficult for me because in the back of mind I kept thinking they’ve already been hurt enough. I have learned through the guidance of my faith, my family and friends that when you do everything with love in your heart and mind, everything will fall into place the way it needs to be.
Thankfully my children have flourished throughout these years. Our communication with each other has grown in such positive ways. Sometimes I cringe at what they have to tell me, but I sit there and listen, yes, I have learned to just listen. Listen when that is all that’s needed, give advice when that is what is asked of me or both. I’ve always told my children that no matter the issue, we can always sit together and talk about it, work our way through it, and solve it together. Don’t get me wrong, they still have their “I’m mad at you mom” attitudes, they still get mad about the littlest things like who is sitting in the front seat of the car or tell me that I embarrass them when I yell at their sporting games, but they know I will be there for them when they need me for those major issues.
I have some wonderful and amazing friends who have stood by me when I needed them at my lowest points and stood with me at my highest times. Then I had some individuals who I thought were my friends that just stopped calling and all together disappeared. I knew it would happen, but it hurt, nonetheless. As years went by and I grew older, I was finally able to understand that quantity doesn’t mean quality when it comes to friends. I cherished the friends I had in the past, but I realized my friendship with them was only a one-way type of relationship. I was useful to them at that time, but as they say you grow, and you learn. The friends that remain with me presently are the ones that I can go to when I just need them to listen to me, cry on their shoulders, celebrate with them, get advice from them or just hang out. It’s the best feeling to know that you can have that kind of friendship.
In my circumstance or my situation, I would like to think that I’m lucky. I have an excellent family support network. From my immediate family, my relatives, to my closest friends, I have an enormous amount of emotional and when needed physical support (babysitter). Being able to take time for myself is an important part of being a single parent. Most days are great, but there are some days that are harder than others. I ask myself did I do the right thing, make the right decisions for my children, and spend enough time with my children. At the end of the day, I realize that if I make my decisions with the best intentions then I know that is all I can do. Tomorrow is another day, another learning experience!