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Single Parenting

“If you liked it, then you should have put a ring on it, Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh…,” I sang out loud and proud as Beyonce thankfully drowned out my voice. That song “Single Ladies”, coupled with Destiny’s Child’s “Independent Woman”, helped me believe I could do it all.

I was enjoying the song when I suddenly realized, “I’m not actually single anymore.” It sounds silly, but I hadn’t truly internalized that reality until then; regardless of the whole meeting a wonderful guy and having a wedding thing.

I don’t know if this happens to others who’ve been single parents for a lengthy time but it happened to me. I was single for 10 years while I was raising my daughter and went back to school. I know, I know, such a cliché. I think during that 10 years of focusing on family and education my brain got re-wired somehow.

Even after being happily married with two more children there are moments when I viscerally feel single. Not in the physical sense of being single, because that would include panic attacks, night terrors, and profuse sweating, but sometimes I have to shake myself and realize that what I thought would never happen, and had in fact not been looking for, had happened; I found a partner.

Being a single parent for so long made me okay with being single.

Being a single parent made me stronger in my convictions.

Being a single parent made me, well, exhausted, something that never goes away.

Because of my experiences as a single parent, I realized that life can throw what it will at me and I’ll handle it; some things better than others, but I’ll handle it. You come out the other side of single parenthood with more confidence simply because it hasn’t killed you. Single parenting is, of course, not all fun and games, but neither is married parenting, so I blame the common denominator: the kids.

I still enjoy Destiny’s Child, although I don’t like that it’s now on the soft rock/oldies station. I don’t think I’ll ever completely forget that part of me that blossomed as I was single parenting. I suppose I shouldn’t want to since that makes me as much who I am as any other part of my life. I’m sure my husband would agree, although he might want the singing to stop.

To this day, if those empowering songs come on the radio my daughter says, “I know, I know. The shoes on your feet, you bought ‘em, the clothes you’re wearin’, you bought ‘em. I get it, Moooooooom.” As a parent, I believe my work here is done.

—Christine McCue

Short bio: Besides my day job as a trophy wife (they give out trophies for anything nowadays), I am also a freelance humor writer and retired attorney. I divide my time between trying to appreciate the absurdity of life’s little mundanities and cleaning gunk out of the bathroom drains magically put there by the house-fairies which I’m sure has nothing whatsoever to do with my three children, one husband, two dogs, and one cat.

Link to my blog: http://blog.timesunion.com/mycape

Reflections of Erma