I had been turned onto a Facebook group called Wealthy Single Mommy (and also a blog), which I think happened through a Facebook ad of what looked like a story of significant interest to me in my current family status as a divorced, single mom. The more I read the more I liked what Emma Johnson had to say about single-mommyhood, in her blog posts and in the Facebook group. The reality is that being a single mom doesn’t mean that my children are suffering. It also doesn’t mean I’m in it alone. It doesn’t mean my kids don’t see their father or that he’s automatically some type of dead-beat-dad. Instead, I am in a position to live my life on my terms, be successful, and raise children who have a healthy relationship with both of their parents. I may still not have a great relationship with my children’s father as there is still a tinge of hostility whenever we communicate, but I can still support my children having a healthy and happy relationship with their dad while not draining his bank account.
I was given advice by some people about a year ago who suggested I should essentially take him for all he’s worth, or at least make sure “I don’t get screwed”. That never made sense to me. Why would I want my children’s father, who they love dearly, to have to struggle harder to survive? Why would I want to spend years in court and tens of thousands of dollars splitting assets and fighting over custody? This doesn’t help me or him, and our children would likely be the victims in this fight. Instead we came to an agreement out of court. Aside from creating our children, this was the best thing we ever decided to do together. My lawyer put together the paperwork and the divorce was quick, clean, and relatively speaking (considering our typical communication) civil. I wanted him to be as involved in the kids lives as possible, and I didn’t want to hinder that in any way. I was never in it for the money, and we were able to reach an agreement that was fair and equitable that didn’t involve either of us paying out of the nose.
These values shine through the words Emma Johnson writes in her blog. There is no need for me to rely on a man to fill my bank account. I can be responsible to do that myself. I am also not expected to be everything for my kids. I can only be their mom. They have a dad who is capable of being their dad. They have grandparents, and aunts and uncles and a cousin with another one on the way who step in and offer love and support, too. They have teachers, daycare providers, etc. who offer their time and guidance. They have healthy relationships with all of us. Soon they will have a step-mom and step-brothers and I have absolutely no intention of hindering their relationship with any of them. While I did struggle with my ex’s new relationship and how the kids were involved when he started dating her, I have come to accept that she and her kids are now part of my kids’ family, and this is OK. It’s actually not just OK, it’s great! They are developing a better idea of adult relationships and seeing their parents happy for probably the first time in their lives.
I am not required to micro-manage my kids time. I don’t need to feel guilty for not being part of my kids’ school PTA (or whatever it is happened to be named). I can work hard and be successful professionally, which, contrary to all of the mom-guilt/mom-shaming experienced as part of societal pressures, actually means my kids are more likely to themselves to be successful. I am able to live as an example to my children to love family, prioritize passions, and to not expect anything from anyone. I want both of my children to grow up to be independent: financially, domestically, and emotionally. This doesn’t mean I don’t want them to find a happy healthy relationship. This means that I want them BOTH to be OK being single. I want them to be able to balance a checkbook and live within their means. I want them to be able to wash and fold their own laundry and know how to wash dishes (both by hand and with a dish washer). I want them to be able to cook for themselves, shovel show and mow the grass for themselves. I know my children will not learn these things if I always clear their dishes and clean their rooms, so they have daily chores. I am not neglectful for requiring these things of my children, and I refuse to allow anybody tell me that I am.
I am a huge advocate for living your life how you see fit. But the reality is that life doesn’t always work out the way we plan. When I found out my single-mom-idol wrote a book, I was thrilled and couldn’t wait to order it. Somehow I was given the opportunity to read The Kickass Single Mom prior to release in return for my honest feedback. This book points out some very real truths about the divorce rate and how many women are not financially prepared for divorce and end up relying on an ex-husband to financially support them through child support and/or alimony. It also challenges single moms to try hard to financially support themselves and stop relying on men, financially and emotionally. This book also challenges divorced moms to share custody (where appropriate if abuse/neglect is not a factor) with fathers 50/50 or as close as possible. This book offers rebuttals to the common stereotypes of single-moms: we are not lazy, we are not inherently poor, and we can still have a fulfilling romantic life when we are ready and however we see fit. Single moms are capable of making sound decisions. Moms are allowed to date and have an active social life away from their kids.
Not only does Emma talk about these things, she offers advice and resources to single moms to help them make these decisions, become financially independent, and break away from the stereotypes. Most women probably don’t dream of getting divorced and becoming a single mother. However, this doesn’t mean we can’t turn these lemons into lemonade, and this book really offers ways to break the victim mindset and work towards a better, happier life moving forward.
I honestly think this book would be a good read for not just single-moms, but for anybody considering marriage or considering becoming a parent. Hindsight is 20/20. The stories can offer a viewpoint people often don’t consider when planning their dream life in happy circumstances. Perhaps if more people considered what life would look like in less than ideal circumstances (wherein a marriage doesn’t work out or the other parent is somehow no longer around) people could be better prepared.
My honest feedback is: get the book. Read it. Enjoy it. Consider the parts that make sense for you and ignore the parts that don’t. Then re-read it and think about someone else in your life that is a single mom and perhaps tell them to take a read. It’s worth it. You can thank me later. 🙂