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Catch Me Elsewhere
Sarah Surratt, 39 years young, from sunny San Diego and currently a single mom of three teenagers. My oldest teen is Sydney who is 17, Samantha is 15, and my youngest is my son Kevin, who is 13. They are the love of my life and the fire behind my drive to continue forward.
What is your Single Mom story?
I met my kids dad when I was 21 years old, fell in love and became pregnant. We decided to get married because I was pregnant, then had two more kids, (total of 3), within being married 5 years. The relationship was very rocky after we had our second child. The man I married disappeared and became an alcoholic. He could be extremely mean and talked down to me a lot. I remember the last Christmas we had together and he refused to help me put together my son’s race track. I realized that this is who he was now, and he probably wasn’t about to change. We lasted a few months after that until one day I decided that I could do bad on my own, I didn’t need him to do bad with. I packed my three kids, ages 5, 3, and 1, into my car with a suitcase and drove to my friend’s house. I never looked back, filed for divorce, and became a single mom.
Is your Ex involved in his children’s lives?
My kids have some interaction with their father. There are no set times or length of time. It’s sad but their dad really does not know who his kids are as people. My kids do not hold much respect for him, I believe they just feel sorry for him. I really feel he has no clue how to sacrifice his time for his kids needs, or just even the sacrifices that good parents make.
Do you find it difficult to raise a son as a woman?
My son is 13 and I am now beginning to feel that he needs a good role model. My brother is offering his time to play ball with my son which I think will be great for him. I have always felt sad that my son does not have a strong male role model in his life. I feel that as my son gets older he will definitely need some sort of man in his life. I can do all the man things, but when it comes to talking about women, it’s a little uncomfortable for us.
What life lessons do you think are important to teach your children, especially your son?
The life lessons I teach my kids are life is never going to be fair but work hard, play hard and keep the faith and you will be rewarded. I’ve taught my son the importance of how to treat a woman, to maintain manners, and not to let anyone walk all over him.
Do you date? Are you in a relationship? When do you think that single moms should bring the men they date around their child? Is dating different as a single parent? Do you think it is harder to date as a single mom?
To all the single moms out there, I would have to say to treat your home like it is your private sanctuary. I never allowed guys to pick me up from my house, I would meet them somewhere. I did not really know who they are so why allow them around my home? Another thing is I never befriended them on Facebook, this is where my kids lives are , their pics, etc. For me to ask a man into my home , we must be boyfriend – girlfriend. I am protective of my kids which has helped me avoid some bad decisions I could have made.
If I could give any advice to a single mom the number one rule I would say live by is don’t give up and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. Remove judgemental people from your life. They will just try to bring you down, regardless of your success. Also, make sure you have that one person that is a solid rock in your life, you will need their shoulder to cry on. Remember it is ok to cry. I did most of my crying behind closed doors when my kids were sleeping. It is tough doing everything yourself, just make sure that you dry your tears, straighten your back, lift your chin, place a smile on your face and get ready for the next battle. Much of how I got through was expecting the worst and hoping for the best. Many people see this as a negative way to live, I saw this as just making sure I was prepared. Living by this I was never completely knocked down for any period of time, I made sure to try to have a small savings just in case, and I always seemed to rise above whatever came my way. I also picked and chose my battles. Sometimes I would let the small things go so I would have the strength for the larger issues. Just be the type of person you would want your kids to look up too!
What is the best advice that you ever received about single parenthood?
Honestly I never received much advice about being a single mom. I do remember when I was debating getting a second job, and I was sitting in the welfare office for help, the lady there told me that I should just quit my one job that I had, sell my car, and then they would be able to help me. I am glad I did not listen to her. I was on my own. My parents lived in Oregon, my kids dad didn’t come around much the first 7 years, and my best friend had moved to Washington. I read a few books, but most of what I know I have lived through and learned from.
3 words that would describe you?
Strong, independent, and spontaneous.
3 words that describe your parenting style?
Loving, authoritative, involved.
How do you respond to people who say, “I don’t know how you single moms do it. It must be so hard?”
I have had quite a few people say ” I don’t know how you single moms do it. It must be hard”, especially the regular customers that I would get at my jobs. When I first became a single mom, I would agree that it was tough, but someone has to do it. Then they would laugh and I would continue working. I have been a single mom for 12, almost 13 years, so when I am asked about it now, I simply shrug my shoulders and say, “It’s not so bad, I love my kids”.
Do you think that people look down on single mothers?