Every time I mention this word, someone poses the question, So you are a single mum?
No, I am a co-parent. It is different. I respond in my head.
But then I do the math, in nano-second speed because; Economist. And I realize, I am single (Unmarried, not engaged) and I am a mother. That makes me a single mother.
I really thought it was different. I thought I was different.
Funny thing; my co-parent, he thinks so too! He gets insulted. He feels as though his contribution to the child’s welfare is null and void just because I call myself a single mother.
But I feel like a single mother. Sometimes. Like when I stay up all night nursing a fever and wake up to take her to hospital alone. Or when I am all alone in the house with school work, work-work, dinner, grocery shopping, laundry, but she won’t stop crying and the house reeks of burnt food.
Then, I feel like a single mother with child support when he pays the medical bill. Or when he buys the insanely priced packets of diapers because these little people can poop!
Then again, for a split second, when my baby’s father visits on weekends, I feel like a co-parent.
But that’s just it! This is co-parenting! It is confusing. It is foreign. It has a way of making you feel in control at one point and then questioning your decision to consult the co-parent on matters baby.
When is it okay to ask for a soft loan? What if he brings his clingy lady friend along to his visits? How do you tell him to come alone without looking like a jealous ex? How often should you talk? What if he starts flirting again? What if you are still in love with him? Where do you draw the line? Who gets baby during Christmas? And the birth certificate? What happens there?
I have no idea what the answers are to a lot of these questions. That is the truth. I am learning too.
But I do know this, everything I do, every decision I make, is for my child’s welfare. I know that I do not like it when he insists that she our daughter does not get her ears pierced even though she keeps getting called “he” when she so much as wears neutral colored clothes, or when he refuses that I take her anywhere else other than the hospital he trusts. I know that he is her father so I respect his reservations.
Respect and compromise is paramount.
So I will politely ask that him come to visit her without company because that is their time to bond and strengthen their connection. I will ignore his incredulously long eyelashes and binge watch Michael Ealey movies to distract my sexually deprived self. I will talk to him when I need to and even though it seems like every five minutes. I will constrain myself when there is nothing to report and let him be the one to check up.
What do I call what I am doing? What do you call a co-parenting single mother?
You call her a MOTHER!
Because whether I am a single mother, a co-parenting mother, a married mother, an engaged mother, motherhood remains the constant. Above and beyond anything else, we are all mothers.
So out with the labels and in with what matters; our babies!