Getting Real with Dynisha Smith
As a single mom, I engage differently. All of my relationships have mutated, mostly for the better, but change can be a hard pill to swallow. I can only hope I’m not alone, and this resonates with the other single parents, especially mothers, out there.
My Mother & I
My own mother ended up being a single mom after fourteen years of marriage – something that I don’t think was in the cards. She is a loyal, caring, yet demanding type of mother. Her expectations were high, her disappointment worse than any other consequence, but her praise and support greatly outweighed that pressure. I would never imagine finding myself asserting my own opinions, especially when it comes to my own daughter, with my mother. Not when we grew up ‘yes mam’ and ‘no mam’. But I do. I am fiercely assertive over my domain including the way I run my house, and the way I am choosing to raise my daughter – and thankfully overall my mom gets that and respects it – but we are on a different path than she is with her other kids. Our relationship isn’t better or worse, just different.
My Relationship with Romance
Dating is harder. I don’t have the ability to swipe right and meet that same night – not that it’s safe to do that – always meet in public and drop a pin fam. The spontaneity of dating is lost when you have the sole responsibility of a five year old on your plate. It’s almost like work. You find someone attractive, have some good conversation, meet once or twice – and then amongst all of the normal ‘work’ of dating, you get to play “Tell Them About My Kid Now or Later” game. Telling them now could speed up some processes – not everyone wants to date a parent – and lead to a quick end or a beautiful beginning. But telling them later also allows you to focus on YOU and gives back some power, at least to this woman. Either way it’s a hard choice that turns dating into more work for single parents. And why yes the word up top is romance – even your relationship with the word is different. The concept seems, per the reasons outlined above – almost comical, unicorn-like, something I attain to have but probably never will again.
Old and New Friendships
Friend Envy is Real. We all have that glamorous friend who spends more on mimosas, travel, and make up in one month than most of us single parents do all year. Their hair glistens and flows, their nails are always done, and their Instagram is regularly updated. You have a love hate relationship with this friend. Maybe you were this friend pre-single parenthood. Every once in a while, childless envy can rear its ugly head. Guess what? Its normal.
There isn’t a parent on this planet that doesn’t have some sort of nostalgia when your glamourous/single/unattached/bachelor friend comes into town. But guess what else? There are hundreds of people out there who get child-FULL envy – they wish they had a small child full of wonder to go through life with. So even when all your single friends are gearing up for a festival or a trip to Vegas that you can’t attend – that’s where your parent friends come in. These are those new (and sometimes old friends you reconnected with) friendships that you’ve made through daycare, Sunday school, playdates, etc. These are the times where getting together can help cut that envy time way down. My relationship with friends is completely different, but honestly I wouldn’t have it any other way.