From the stat can website, I read that 12.8% of Canadian families are single moms.
I have been a chosen one, having the blessing of raising 3 boys, on my own, simultaneously. It has been a great adventure and as a mother, I hope that no one would ever consider opting out. However, it is a rough road, sometimes rocky beginnings, you have many struggles and so many questions and you don’t always have the right support.
I wanted my children to be successful. I saw people in my life struggling and knew that I needed to break a cycle, I asked myself “What do my children need to learn from me, in order to be successful?”
Thank goodness for healthy boys. My first son was 9 pounds 10 ounces. My second son, 8 pounds 12 ounces and my youngest son, 10 pounds 11 ounces! Ouch is right!
In answer to my question, what do my boys need to learn from me? My first basic thoughts were on nutrition. Breast milk. I nursed my babies, mom’s milk is the best milk. Breast feeding is said to give the biggest brain boost. The key to this task: Persistence. Don’t give up.
I thought about safety and stereotype. I don’t want my boys playing with toy guns. I never bought my kids any toy guns, but because they wanted them, Gramma did! Regardless I did or not, they would make them… Out of Lego and out of toast! The key to this event: acceptance. Boys love the dynamics of guns and toy fighting, they learn what is right and wrong.
I thought about communication. I will talk to my boys and I will always genuinely listen when they speak. Lesson learned here: Boys don’t always take time to listen! The key to this task: look them in the eye and make them look at you in the eye.
I thought about love. I wanted my boys to know they are loved, I tell them, I tell them often and I tell them that nothing they can do, can stop me from loving them, so they have to be honest because that is the only way I can help them. The key to this task is to just love.
Because I didn’t always have the right support, I took it upon myself to get the education that I needed to give my children the best that I could. I read magazines, I read books, I watched Nanny 911 and I took initiative to incorporate all of the tools I preferred.
Through parenting, you can only learn what you experience. You don’t learn how to “change a diaper” from a magazine. You have to experience it.
You don’t learn how to soothe a crying baby at 2am, 4am and again at 5 am, from a magazine.
You don’t learn how to patch up a scraped knee from a magazine. You have to experience it.
And when I thought I had mastered it, “I had made amazing young men!”, one of them turned into a teenager.
You do not learn how to parent a teenager from a magazine a book a TV show or anything besides the experience of having a teenager. And this doesn’t mean that after you’ve parented a teenager, you know how to parent them all, because just like us, they are each, unique and incredibly different.
They have their own unique and amazing ideas, skills, gifts, abilities, and challenges that they want to overcome. They have their own way of communicating and coping skills.
I think it’s important that with boys, in order for them to become strong healthy and successful men, we have to let them grow. I remember hearing the term “let-go”. And when my oldest, very responsible son was 12, he was teaching me that I had to “let him go”.
I thought “What? You’re still my baby”.
Letting go doesn’t mean that I stop parenting him, stop being his mom and stop loving him, it simply means that I have to let go of the control of keeping my hands on his sides to make sure he is safe from scrapes, or my hands over his eyes so he doesn’t see all the evil that I had blocked from him, up to now, or that I let him fend for himself all alone.
It means that I allow him to make decisions and learn his own lessons, for when he wants to, so that when he needs-to, he will have the practice of how-to. It means I give him respect and trust that he has learned all I have been teaching him. It means that I shouldn’t run when I see him get a bump, or see that he is struggling.
It means that I let go of the control of managing his surroundings, it means that even if I know the consequence, and I will tell him, (but remember I said that they don’t always listen) that I have to accept that and most importantly, that I will always accept him as the man he is becoming, in all of his learning.
This is what boys need from a single mom.