In my last post, I went over the highlights of 2020. For the record, I got that upgraded car on the last day of 2020, a Subaru Forester which has been a great addition to my single mom life with Aria. I also unexpectedly met another great addition to my life.
I started texting this guy during the first week of December, at the same time of him leaving Chicago for the holidays to spend time with his family in Texas. At first swipe, I expected absolutely nothing much like all of the other matches and conversations that were going nowhere. But this guy did something unexpected. He was vulnerable from the first conversation. I found myself finding a lot in common with him, and demanding video calls to make sure he wasn’t a catfish. Fast-forward three weeks later, he’s in Chicago and agrees to walk around Oak Park with me. 6 miles later, I find myself just more comfortable with him.
Here’s the thing, I didn’t expect this guy to enter my life. I didn’t expect him to be vulnerable and real with me. And while it’s been a little less than two months from our random text message conversation, it feels like we’ve known each other longer since we have been our real selves with each other.
I waited until recently to have him meet Aria. To be honest, I thought he would meet her then change his mind and leave. As a single mom with a growing toddler, I know kids can be overwhelming for someone who is kid-free. Surprisingly, he has gone above and beyond my expectations of him. He went out of his way to make a great impression on Aria. And on the flip side of that token, he has been very careful and reserved as to how to react to Aria when she is showing him affection.
While I have come very far in my healing process, there’s still thoughts that creep into my mind that I battle daily. I recently reached out to a close friend who said “Love (or relationships) is scary” and they were completely right. But I also feel that if you don’t give relationships and love 100% chance than you’re missing out.
Until next time, here’s a cute photo of Aria being goofy.
First of all, before I dive into the topic of my dating life, I must pre-cursor with: I am completely and utterly full of joy in every aspect of my life. My career, my education (on-going), my family, my friends, and my faith. Everything literally feels like a dream. Needless to say, I have zero complaints. Except for one. My singleness. But not enough to lower my standards. Or settle for less.
See, recently someone told me I can’t afford to be picky. Maybe because I have a daughter and want another kid. Maybe because I’m not getting any younger. Maybe because it would be really nice to have someone to help me grow in all aspects of life: financially, physically, and mentally. But no where in any of that is what God wants for my life. See, it’s easy to give excuses as to why I could just settle for the next guy who swipes right on me (if I ever go back on the apps lol). Or I could start building a case to go backwards and just accept someone who doesn’t value me as much as I should be valued. But in doing any of these things, I lose myself and what brings me joy.
Why should I walk away from my joy-filled life only to check a box? And while a good, healthy partnership is way more than a box, right now without that good, healthy relationship waiting on my doorstep it is just a box to check off. And at the end of the day, I have to focus on the most important things in my life. My daughter is important, my faith is important, my well-being is important. See, I love myself and I love Jesus. And I love others. I have so much love sometimes it’s overwhelming. But no where did God say it’s ok to love those who don’t love you back. Or, rather, you can love but with boundaries.
I think these past four years since my husband left me in late 2016 I’ve struggled with my self-worth and value. See, I believed the lies the devil told me that I wasn’t worth it. I still battle these lies daily, but I know that I am beyond worth it. I know that I am powerful but not powerful enough to ruin God’s plan for my life. And so far, from what I’ve seen, it’s a glorious plan. Even if it includes me being single. I have all the love and joy I need.
I’m forever changed and always grateful for it. This is a growth opportunity, but one I didn’t see coming when I found out I was pregnant in September of 2018. See, I had lost my way. I was trying to pave my own path, only to be shown once again that my plan wasn’t written by me.
Once I became a mother, some things changed in my heart. One, I fell in love with my child. She was and still is my miracle baby. The baby that I was told would be very hard to have. The baby I will never take for granted after seeing so many others struggle through fertility and beyond. I can safely say I’ve never felt this type of love before and can’t imagine being able to replicate it ever again (unless there’s another child in my future). Two, I started feeling differently towards her father. This was the thing I didn’t see coming. I started imagining things differently from what was the harsh reality around me. I started dreaming and hoping. I fell in love with him. No, the idea of us working out. Of Aria having parents who loved each other and who could show her what love looks like.
I found myself yearning for the perfect family. The family that loved each other and loved others. The blended family that actually got along. The unusual story of it actually working out. My heart turned into a mother wanting to actually not be that stereotypical struggling single mom. My thought patterns changed and I started having massive anxiety. Sleepless nights, explosive moments, huge mood swings. I just wanted to have it all.
I got so wrapped up in my alternative reality that I didn’t see I was dying on the outside. Things weren’t working out. I was miserable, and I was trying to be someone I hated. Someone I didn’t recognize came out. I started drinking heavily, and using other coping mechanisms. It got so bad that the person I wanted so badly to want me was triggering memories of my ex husband and my failed marriage.
Thankfully, I was able to take a step back and make the healthiest decision. I chose to stop living in my fake world and finally wake up. I realized that being a struggling single mother isn’t half as bad as what I was doing to myself. And actually a lot healthier. Not just for me, but also for my daughter. She needs me to be happy and healthy, not destroying myself. She needs to see what wholesome, unconditional love is. Because she deserves it. And I deserve it. I am enough. I am purpose. I am love.
After being the only expectant mother who showed up alone for the hospital tour, I realized that it would be beneficial to share resources for others going through the same or similar situation as me. This whole single parent thing isn’t easy, but these resources have helped me cope and prepare for what’s to come.
Without insurance, having a baby can easily cost at least 10k. And as a single mom, that can be detrimental. But insurance can also get pricey. Thankfully, there are programs out there that cut the cost for insurance. Don’t get me wrong, though. Those medical bills will still pile up, but at least they won’t amount to $10,000!
Aid for Women
I already wrote an entire post about this amazing resource in Chicago. If you’re not in Chicago, I would urge you to find something similar. I entered in free pregnancy test clinic near me in google to find this place.
Free Breast Pump
With insurance, a breast pump costs $0. And after doing some research and talking to some other mom’s, I found the best of the best breast pump to get. Medela pump is the way to go is what I found.
I’ve found an amazing supportive community at my local church Free Church. I attend church services, small groups, and church events. I also am part of the host team which is basically the greeting team that welcomes newcomers to the church. Outside of church, I’m also a part of the wonderful running community in Oak Park. Whatever works for you, I would recommend finding some local group to support you. I have heard great things in regards to local mom groups as well that I plan on joining once baby is here.
While finances are definitely tight, stress can easily increase. Getting your mind and spirit right is important. Your baby can feel what you feel. So having positive thoughts and a calm mind is ideal. I found a local Buddhist center where they welcome newcomers and drop ins on a weekly basis to sit in and learn meditation techniques and to meditate. My recommendation here is to find a place you feel welcomed and comfortable at. Doesn’t have to be associated with any religion if you’re not into that.