My very first mothers day was so beautiful. It was actually picture perfect. I was showered with love, adoration and gifts from my wasband, he did everything right. Then of course my inbox and text messages were flooded with Happy Moms Day messages from friends and well wishers. I may have had one or two more Moms Days like that…and then my life basically went to hell and it hasn’t totally rebounded yet.
Let’s fast forward many years and sleep devoid nights later and I’m now a solo mom of four and for the past decade this day has been one of the holidays that I’ve come to dread. No flowers, cards, chocolate, no sleeping in, no appreciation for this thing called Motherhood. Its become a day with a giant yellow highlighter that has reminded me of failed marriages and the likes (that I now like to call Poonany Foolery) that I am now left alone to deal with. It’s a day that I’m supposed to overlook how gruesome and back breaking my life has been and slap a hallmark smile on and call it all wonderful. It’s asinine. I couldn’t do it.
I couldn’t create the life my Mom did. Yeah, I show her love and thank her for giving me life and yada yada, but I couldn’t create a family the way she did. She did it “right.” I’m the product of a nuclear family. She married young had all of her children with one husband, traveled the world with him and they’re actually still married to this day to the tune of 30 plus years. Go Mom.. So when I look at her on Mother’s Day, for the past decade it’s felt like another highlight of my own failure. It made me secretly hate myself and resent this day.
My motherhood journey has been largely scandalous and sad. It started when I was around 14 or so, when I was away at a math and science summer camp for high schoolers. A few friends and I were playing around with a science experiment and a pregnancy test in my dorm room. I took the test alone. It was positive. The baby never materialized, thank goodness. The would be father would have been my rapist. There went the rest of my normalcy…like forever. But I tried to be normal and follow the preachers daughter blue print. I married a preacher at 19. I carried a lot of demons of dysfunction into that union that I didn’t even know existed. Although we still raise her together to this day, our first child was not conceived by him. We kept it a secret as long as we could but eventually the truth always comes out. I thank him for covering me though.
Fast forward to my second attempt at what I thought was being a good, normal Mom. I’m engaged to a Bishops son. We settle into our new home and are trying to conceive, at his request. He forgot to tell me he was still married, though. I find out that our efforts where successful after I move away and he has never met the daughter he intended to have and even named. She is now 6. I always looked at this is as karma’s cruel punishment for some of my behaviors in my first marriage. I now understand that is not the case.
Then there is marriage number two, of which two more children were bore…to a narc. I still can’t believe I didn’t run at the first red flags, but I was so desperate to have a “whole family” so I settled for whatever would come along with him because, after all the choices I’d already made, I told myself I didn’t deserve what I really desired. I was even encouraged by a relative to basically just be happy this man wanted to be with a college dropout with two kids from two men. This well meaning loved on went on to explain me that here lies before me a good man with a good job, nice car and nice home.. That home was a private hell for me and it took me a few years to finally get a divorce and some semblance of protection for myself and my children.
All of this sent me into a spiral down to emotional rock bottom. I hit that bitch hard! It happened one morning as Mothers Day was approaching. This rock bottom moment that hospitalized me for a week was soul shaking. It’s a shame when youre actually grateful to be hospitalized just to get a damn break. That was my reality and I’ve learned that this is the reality of many moms across this country…
I decided to see a therapist. It’s no coincidence that mental health awareness month is also during the same month as Mother’s Day. This role (whether married or single) can take all of your sanity…oh ehm G!! Deciding to get some help was my Mother’s Day gift to myself. It’s been the best gift ever. This role was not meant to be carried out alone and I finally gave myself the option shake off the garment of shame and punishment that so many tried to anchor me to. I finally had a safe space to learn that sentiments like the following:
* suck it up
* you’re not the first, won’t be the last
* so what, single moms do it alone all of the time
* well, you shouldn’t of chose a bad partner
* you should have kept your legs closed
* you made your bed now lie in it
ARE TOTALLY NOT OK!
I also had a safe space to let go of my old expectations of motherhood. I let myself off of the hook and slowly gave myself grace. Of course I now fully understand that grace was there all along, but this is not a religious or spiritual post, I saw so many images of the single mom superhero and it felt so good to learn that the supermom cape is actually STRANGLING women and that I didn’t have to wear that bish anymore!! God, YESSSS! I also had a safe space where I could let everyone around me off the hook for not being there for me in the way that I desired and I so desperate needed. I still need it, but people can only give from their own capacity and level of understanding. I now put my requests out there and allow it to come back to me in the best ways possible and most times its from sources unknown, but this is not a law of attraction post either so I’ll leave that right there for now…
Since that rock bottom moment, I’ve been rapidly evolving into a mother by my own definition and still developing the tribe that I need to successfully complete this motherhood mission. I still feel some kind of way about Moms Day but at least now I can laugh at it and I don’t even try to take picture perfect images anymore…check the pics below as proof! SMHLMAO Things continually turn around as they continue to grow and I continue to remind them that they will soon send me on a Mother’s Day Cruise…..ALONE and I’m doing my best to raise them so that they will have the capacity and the funds to do so!
I had to create a new vision for life and motherhood that takes into account all that I experienced from 14 until now and my unique goals as a Mompreneur today. I had to stop allowing myself to be (internally and externally) compared to other Moms who’s lives I don’t live in!. I had to be ok with my house being a mess some days because I don’t have merry maids money and may not have the energy to do laundry after running my business all day, then doing dinner, homework, bath, bed and sometimes yoga with my kids. I had to be ok with my hair looking like a lions mane 2 days a week because it takes too many freaking hours to do 5 heads of black hair and I’d much rather create a new income generating website or help my kids startup their new youtube channel instead. I had to apologize to myself and them for yelling and cursing because this life still gets overwhelming quickly and I am still largely alone doing it and may not have figured out how to fill my own cup that day. I also had to stop giving away my time, energy and attention to anything and anyone that isn’t contributing to the overall long term well being and success of me and my babies. Now, that part!
I’ve got some roses and a whole hell of a lot of thorns. I had to choose to see and display the beauty in all of that. I also had to stop giving a suga honey iced tea about what others thought of my past, present and future. You know what, nobody probably thought anything of it, I had to stop giving a you know what about what I used to think and I had to think new thoughts.
Mothers Day is still not even my 5th favorite Holiday but I don’t hate it, or me anymore. I just try to get through it with lots of humor and remind myself that it does keep getting greater later. And when the memories and dark thoughts about my history arise I just accept it all, let them come and go and remind myself of where I am and who I am now. I am a Successful Single Mompreneur who is caring for her family doing what she’s always wanted to do, sing, act, write and speak! I’m also creating an avenue for my children to make a living doing what they want to do also! Right now, for them its also filming commercials and building their youtube channel. I’m sure their goals will change often. My plan, as their Mother, is to be emotionally and physically present for it all and to create a life where they have the freedom and foundation to do it and hopefully avoid some of the tragedies I had to face! Now, on this Mothers Day 2019 I CAN celebrate that!
About The Author:
Nicole Lawson (Nicolyboo) is an African American multimedia artist and entrepreneur. As a successful single mother and survivor of sexual and domestic abuse, she is passionate about shining hope on other women who have been affected by traumatic adversities and using her platform to teach ambitious single mothers how to use their God given abilities to reclaim their lives, survive and thrive! Visit her official website for inspirational music, magazines, coaching sessions and booking requirements.
Visit her website at www.nicolelawson.com