My father died when I was eleven and my younger sister was seven. From then, I’ve watched my mother become an independent woman.
Now at thirty-six, I am an independent single mom myself. For years I have learned to struggle and overcome challenges alone. No government assistance or child support. I always figured it was my choices that led me to the struggles, so why ask for help? I also should mention that I no longer qualified for government assistance after my daughter and I moved to Florida when she was five, due to my income. Therefore, when I say I had no help..I also mean no government assistance or child support or emotional assistance. No husband because I never wanted to have to worry about a man living under our roof harming my daughter in any way. (Due to things i’ve experienced growing up.)
It may be the fact that I’m a virgo but I feel it’s a must to organize, plan, and always be a step ahead. It’s scary to feel unprepared when life throws you a wrench. It’s even worse to go through it alone.
I’ve always done my best to be a responsible mother and try to provide a great childhood. It hasn’t always been easy. There has been times where I have cried in the shower or in my room about how hard single motherhood is. I don’t reach out for help or a lending ear.
Sometimes all I need is encouragement and for someone to assure me that everything will be okay, but then I remind myself: my decisions, my problems….my responsibilities. Even if it means I don’t eat so that my daughter can or whatever. I often thank God for my job for providing health insurance. I’m also grateful to be earning a wage so that I can adequately care for my daughter. However, I must say that one of the most stressful times of year for me is my daughter’s birthday. In the past, when I wasn’t earning as much, I’d always have to take out a loan for her birthday. I stopped doing that in 2012,I believe, when I took her to Disney. The interest rates were too high and I’d always end up maxing out all of my credit cards. This year, even though i’m more financially stable than I’ve been, I went about things a little different. I’m not sure what came over me, but I decided to ask for a little help.
I had just paid off all of my credit cards and did not want to max them out again while celebrating my daughter’s birthday. Plus the money I had been saving for her birthday, unexpectedly had to be used.Surprisingly, I received an outpouring of support, no questions asked. In one particular instance, I hadn’t even asked. More surprisingly, I was able to humble myself and accept it. Granted, I felt guilty at first. My friend sent me funds through cashapp without me expecting it. He knew it was my daughter’s birthday and that some unexpected things had come up, causing a financial strain. I felt embarrassed and ashamed and when I offered to send it right back, he refused to take it back. I don’t think many people understand how uncomfortable it is for extremely independent people to allow and accept anything from anyone without that feeling of guilt and unease.
I experienced that feeling again the same week. A friend gifted me something I mentioned that I wanted. It was simple and something I would have very easily gotten myself: a stuffed animal. Lol.
I’m not even gonna lie, even though it was just a stuffed animal, it felt so good to be thought of and to be cared for for once. I also couldn’t help noticing how happy my friend was to do it for me.
I’ve also been venting more to others about what I’m going through and my challenges. I realize I am NOT perfect nor am I expected to be. The worse thing I had been doing throughout the years was fighting my fight alone.
To the independent women out there who are just like I was, I say this : It’s okay to reach out for reassurance, assistance, and encouragement during those dark hours. It’s okay to ask for help. Most importantly, It’s okay to accept help as well.
P.S.-This has been one of the most stress-free birthdays i’ve had to plan for my daughter’s birthday. We drove to Atlanta to visit the Georgia Aquarium.