“When my son was 10 months old, my world came crashing down. His daddy, and my husband at the time, left. He left the state. Left me to care for a baby alone. How could this happen to me? I did everything right. It broke me.
In the midst of my own grief, my son still needed me, more than ever. His world shifted without a word and he was affected too. Honestly, he is what kept me going. I got up in the morning for him. I went to work for him. I didn’t jump off the edge in my own despair for him. My love for my son was the motivation that kept me from slipping into a deep depression.
I found a church two days after my husband left. I walked into that place so defeated and felt nothing but love and support and acceptance. I was allowed to be a mess. I wasn’t judged for my circumstances. I wasn’t judged for feeling everything I was feeling.
Anger. Pain. Hopelessness. Defeat.
I was quickly surrounded by family and friends that became family. My own support system grew stronger and people began speaking up. They’d ask me how I was and offered to help with my son. Even with all of that support, I still felt so isolated and alone. I couldn’t just pass my kid off to someone else. He needed me.
I had to live my life moment to moment some days. So many times I told myself to just make it through the next 10 minutes. My momma, who has had seasons as a single parent, was so encouraging. She spoke life and hope to me, ‘This isn’t the end. I know this is awful and it’s unfair. Eyes on Jesus, baby girl.’
I learned to ride the waves that came crashing over me unexpectedly. Letting myself feel all the feelings, as I became aware that it always passes. There are good moments between the crashing waves.
The pastor of the church I grew up at saw me one weekend shortly after everything happened, and he told me, ‘There are far greater things ahead of you than what you are leaving behind.’ A truth I still frequently remind myself.
Becoming a single mom was something I never fathomed. But here I am. And I’m stronger for it.
There are challenges as a single parent that others won’t have to face. I don’t get to unload emotionally on a significant other. I don’t get to take a break while daddy makes dinner, or plays with his son. I am a mom and dad. When I’m sick, I have to get out of bed and chase a toddler around. I have missed out on birthday dinners and social events with friends because of a sick babe. He is at my feet every morning while I get ready. I have sacrificed so much more than I ever thought I’d have to, but it’s been more than worth it. And I have learned that it really does take a village, and it’s OKAY to ask for help. Self-care is hard as a single parent, but it’s so important for me to be healthy. My health influences how I parent and interact with my son. Even if that looks like a Target run alone.
I have an amazing support system, and parents who are incredible grandparents. They have helped pick up the slack so I could work and go back to school. I don’t know how I’d do this without them.
I see so much of myself in my son. And he’s teaching me so much. He loves me without conditions. I’m the light of his life. And that makes it all worth it.”
This story was written by Taylor Olson of Fort Collins, Colorado. You can follow her on Instagram here. You can also visit her website here. Submit your own story here, and subscribe to our free newsletter for our best stories.
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