Where do I begin, I’ve been friends with this next mama for over 20 years, her name is Candace. We met freshmen year of high school, and Candace to this day can remember what I wore when we first met (black/white polka dot dress). Through all the years of our friendship, we have been each others rocks. Countless boyfriends, talking till the wee hours of the night, break ups, shopping, laughter, and just being there for each other. Candace has been a mommy for seven years to her precious daughter Pressley, who I just adore. Mom’s let me tell you, Pressley has the best manners you have ever seen….she puts most kids to shame. I have seen my best friend flourish as a mother, and just take the job day to day because she does the job all on her own. She got a divorce five years ago. She never imagined the day she left, how hard this journey would be, or how much she would miss her little one when she had to share 50/50 custody. Her story is far too familiar to many mommies out there. There are days I know she just wants to cry, and there are days that are harder than some. Candace is my role model as a mother, and I love seeing her grow every day. She just finished a tough Mudder run; you go girl! She is very involved in her daughters daily activities and donates her time to Pressley’s school. You will find her most days at work, hanging with her family, chatting with friends, or spending time with her sidekick Pressley. I know that being a single mother is one of the hardest jobs. I don’t think she knows this, but her positive outlook and her always putting her daughter first before anyone, shines on her every day.
What worries do you have as a single mom?
As a mom, there are always things to worry about. As a single mom, parenting on my own has its challenges. Since I separated from my ex-husband, I have been the only one in my household whose role is caregiver, disciplinarian, provider, etc. and when I’m exhausted at the end of the day, I only have myself to rely on to get stuff done. I share my daughter with her dad and the reality is that our daughter lives in two different households; different rules, different experiences, and different reactions to situations. One of the biggest challenges I have doing it all on my own, is that I don’t have a partner to bounce ideas off of. I don’t have someone to turn to and ask, “Honey, did I handle that punishment correctly? Was I too easy? Was I too harsh? How can I be better?” I don’t have someone to confide in, or support me in my choices of parenting. Therefore, I have to be secure in the choices I make when disciplining, I have to acknowledge and forgive myself when I make mistakes, I have to be brave when I’m afraid and I have to be accountable for the woman I am and the example I am setting for my daughter. I hope one day she will look back and be proud of me.
2. My greatest joy of being a mother is…
Teaching. Being Pressley’s mother is a joy. She is wise. She is an old soul. Don’t let that fool you – she is still everything a smart, silly, and sassy, seven year old should be. However, I’m amazed that at such a young age, there is so much that she understands, way beyond her years. I love teaching her…it is not just always in the sense of reading, writing, arithmetic, etc., but in the sense of the world around her. We talk about different life situations, character, integrity, honesty, being a good person and doing the right thing. I don’t expect her to be perfect; nobody is. I explain it is okay to make mistakes because we can learn from them. I teach her to see the beauty in nature and the spirit in every soul. I recognize that life or situations don’t always turn out the way we hoped or dreamed and sometimes that is devastating (even situations in the world of a 7 year old). I teach her to look for the silver lining, even if you need some time to stand in the rain and wait for the storm to pass. I teach her to trust in herself and that I trust she will make the right decision. I encourage her to dream big and make a lot of wishes – and I remind her, sometimes wishes may take a really long time to come true. Keep wishing….
3. We are always evolving, what do you think your calling is as a mother right now?
Right now, I think my calling as a mother is to teach my daughter that we are all human, we all make mistakes, and that is okay. It’s important for me to lead by example to be real, to be honest, compassionate and to be true to who you are. As mothers, we have a lot going on and a lot of people counting on us. There just never seems to be enough time in the day to fit it all in. At times, I get overwhelmed and then frustrated – I am human…it happens. I’d like to think I am Superwoman but I know I am not. After a long day when dinner is over, I am wiped out. Knowing I still have to clean the kitchen, start preparing lunch and breakfast for the next day, put the last pages of homework in her backpack, feed the dogs, fold some laundry, empty the dishwasher, take out the trash and roll the bins down to the curb for pick up the next morning – I’m exhausted just thinking about it… and that’s just the beginning of my list. So, feeling tired and knowing I still have a lot to get done, it doesn’t help when I have to ask my daughter for the FIFTH time to go brush her teeth and get her pajamas on. Of course she didn’t hear me, or forgot the first FOUR times because she has way more important things to do (such as continue setting up her Barbie’s big birthday bash that will be happening tomorrow). So, by the fifth time and still running through my to-do list in my head, I feel myself start to unwind and lose it. I begin with, “Excuse me, are you listening to me? Did you not just hear me ask you FIVE times to go brush your teeth? Why aren’t you moving? Put the Barbies away! It is bedtime! We have to get up early…yada, yada, yada!” Although I am never cruel, I am not proud of myself in that moment of frustration. However, after a few minutes when I have a moment to reflect, I recognize that it was just that “a moment” a motherly meltdown if you will. Hey, if kids can have tantrums, mothers can have meltdowns. The important thing is, I always go to my sweet daughter and explain why I felt the way I did and this next part is KEY…I tell her “I’m sorry.” I think this is an important step parents often miss…saying “I’m sorry.” We’ve all been in different circumstances or relationships where people don’t say they are sorry…and it hurts. We are left with a gaping hole; wondering what we did wrong. Those wounds can run deep for a long time. So I make sure to express and communicate myself to my daughter and then, I hear her out too. I make sure she knows I wasn’t mad at her but that I was frustrated in that moment. I can only hope that when I slip up as a mom – and as a human – as long as I am honest and admit my mistakes, take responsibility for my actions and say “I’m sorry” that I am teaching by example for her to do the same. I keep it real. If I expect her to forgive me, I must also forgive myself. We must have compassion for our children and ourselves – we are all human, we all make mistakes. Take responsibility for your actions, say you’re sorry, ask for forgiveness and most of all give your children lots and lots of love. Tell them EVERYDAY how much you love them and make sure they never forget it!
4. What’s your favorite part of the day with Pressley and why?
My favorite part of the day with Pressley could be at anytime, as it is the moments when we get to connect. My favorite moments are when I get to pick her up from school and my heart anxiously awaits to see her little blue eyed, freckled face, when we embrace and I squeeze her so tightly then kiss the top of her head, when we ride home in the car and talk about her day, when we sit on the couch and snuggle up together…there are so many moments that are my favorite part of the day with her, it’s hard to pick one. I do love the moments when we chat. Pressley and I have a very special connection that is undeniable. I can honestly say that when she is not around, it’s like a big part of my heart is missing. When we chat and connect, those are some of my most favorite times. Sometimes we will be out at lunch, at the dinner table or hanging out on the couch, just chatting. We tell each other everything we feel we need to in the moment. We talk about our lives and what is going on, what we are struggling with, what we dream of and everything in between. These times are my most favorite.
5. What can’t you live without and why?
I would think it’s obvious; I cannot live without my daughter. There is a picture frame in my bedroom with the two of us in it and written on the frame it reads, “Love is not about who you live with…it’s who you can’t live without.” So true. I cannot imagine my life without her. She has been the best gift I have ever received and is truly the light of my life. She has such a fun personality and great sense of humor that I am always excitedly anticipating what is going to come out of her mouth. The kid cracks me up! Sometimes she says things that are so innocently sweet yet hilarious (the kinds of things kids say that we can’t help but giggle at) and then sometimes she says things that are very calculated and witty, which make me laugh so hard that it leaves me wondering where this little comedian came from? We have so much fun together! We laugh a ton and sometimes let out big “aaaaaahhhhhh” screams when we feel we need to just to “get it out” (something Megan, AKA The Mother Effin Truth, and I used to do while driving in the car together as teenagers). We dance around in the kitchen while I cook. We prepare our favorite guacamole together. We talk late at night and we have slumber parties in each other’s rooms. We sing (and I mean SING) our hearts out in the car with the windows down and our hair blowing. We playfully argue who loves who more. We hug, kiss and cuddle a lot. We say “I love you” multiple times a day and in our prayers at night, we thank God for each other. She has taught me so much about myself and shown me love in a way I had never known. She is the most incredibly fascinating person I have ever met. She is the coolest kid I know and my favorite person in the whole world! My sweet daughter is the person I can’t live without!!!
Now that you have told the Mother Effin Truth, who do you want to nominate to tell their story as a mother? Any why?
I would like to nominate my dear friend, Kristy. Kristy and I met in our first year of college, where we were in the same sorority. We quickly connected and built a friendship that has sustained through many years and weathered the ups and downs of life. Kristy has been an amazing friend, to say the least; she is my hero. She has been challenged by many obstacles in life and she always perseveres. She is extremely driven, incredibly intelligent and has a generous heart. To know her, is a blessing. She is now the lovely mother of two children,baby boy, Tyler and precious daughter, Madison. I have the joy of watching these little ones grow alongside my own daughter. Madison is just months younger than my daughter, so it’s always a fun time when the four of us get together for our “girls” trips. Who knows – maybe one day they will end up at the same college together, just like their mamas did!