RESPECT. It’s not just a song that Aretha Franklin rocked in the ‘60s. It’s something all moms need — especially single moms.
In our society, a wedding ring is like a stamp of approval. Seriously. It says that you are respectable, you have good values, and if you have a child that you are a good mom. There may not be a scarlet “A” in our culture, but there is definitely a golden “M”. Marriage grants a halo effect to women, and it disappears the minute your divorce papers are filed. This is wrong. Plain wrong.
I felt the sting of my halo’s disappearance. When I was separated from my husband, a well meaning acquaintance expressed shock when she learned about my impending divorce. No doubt, she saw us as “that nice family”. How could she have seen anything else? We tried so hard to look good.
A dear friend of mine once told me not to compare my insides to other people’s outsides. I cannot express how much this has helped me.
I often think of this when I am on social media or receive a holiday card with a “perfect” family photo. Yes, their son or daughter may have just been accepted to that Ivy League college or received a full athletic scholarship to their alma mater. Yes, they may look like they are still honeymooners in that photo. Yes, their house may be decorated with exquisite taste.
I bet that if I curated and edited photos from my family before my divorce that you would think we lead a storybook life.
I still recall a girls’ night out that took place about four years before my divorce. I was married, miserable, and grappling with whether or not to even consider divorce. I also wasn’t telling anyone how I felt or about the problems I was facing in my marriage. Another woman who was at the girls’ night out was getting divorced. I remember her saying how lucky the rest of us were to be married and have both loving husbands and great sex lives. What she described was 180 degrees away from my reality at the time, and she had no idea.
So don’t compare your insides to anyone else’s outsides. Instead, rock that single mom status! Stand up straight. Speak your mind. Build that career. Hug those kids. Ask that handsome single man out for coffee. Know that you are wonderful and deserving of love and respect, just the way you are.
And if you happen to feel like belting out the song “Respect” along with Aretha Franklin while dancing in your living room, totally do it — and wave to the neighbors if they notice. They’re probably not having as much fun as you are.
Liz Possible is a Writer and Single Mom Extraordinaire. She lives in Minnesota with her two teenage daughters and their cats, Beau and Phoebe. “Possible” is her attitude, not her legal name — but then you knew that. Follow Liz at her blog at www.lizpossible.com and her FaceBook page at https://www.facebook.com/MySingleMomLife/