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Catch Me Elsewhere
My name is Ebony D. I’m 26 years old and I currently live in Martinsburg, WV with my 5-year-old son, Malachi. I’ve worked in the banking industry for over 6 years, but, after recently graduating with a bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University I’m ready to change career fields.
I have a passion for helping others, especially single mothers and young girls. I’m still trying to figure out how to turn my passion into my career.
That’s a hard question. There’s no cookie-cutter, simple answer. It’s a combination of a lot of things. I got pregnant and had a child with someone I knew was unreliable, unstable and probably not ready to handle the responsibility of being a parent. Then, a few months after my son was born his father was incarcerated for about 2 ½ years. Prior to his incarceration and even afterwards, there were periods of time when he was involved and others when he wasn’t.
Disciplining my son has probably been one of my biggest challenges and I’m not sure how much easier it will get as my son grows in height and in strength. When my son’s father came back into the picture, I immediately noticed a difference in how he responded to being disciplined. I would have to yell, spank or threaten timeout to get my son to stop doing whatever he wasn’t supposed to be doing in the first place. All his father had to do was barely raise his voice and my son’s whole demeanor would change. Problem solved. I think boys definitely see men and women in a different light even at a young age. My son challenges me more. With his father, he’s more submissive.
His father was incarcerated for the majority of his life until he was 3 years old, minus 4-5 months when he was an infant. So unfortunately, his father’s absence is the norm. After his father was released from jail, he became a regular fixture in his life. Barely a year later, he was absent again. Since then there was only one time, last year, when my son asked why his father didn’t come visit or call him anymore. I told him the truth; I don’t know. As mother’s I think that’s all we can do. We have to be honest with our children and ourselves by not answering questions we don’t know the answers too.
Honestly, I know it’s affecting him. But, at this point I can’t identify exactly how. I grew up with an absentee father and it wasn’t until I got older that I started to see the ways that my father’s absence affected me. My son has a great relationship with my brother and boyfriend. I think they both help fill the void of not having a father you can look up to and depend on.
Our relationship is long distance so my boyfriend isn’t able to be there on a day-to-day basis. However, he’s as involved as he can be. They spend time alone together, hang out with my boyfriend’s friends and have gone to special events together, as well. He also attends my son’s athletic games and school events as much as possible.
I’ve been in a relationship for about 2 ½ years. My boyfriend is amazing and has a great relationship with my son.
I don’t know if there is a “right’ time. I do think it’s better to introduce your children to your significant other in the early stages of the relationship. After all, once you’re struck by the love bug it’s not easy to walk away, regardless of the reason. So I would have to say before you introduce your child to your significant other make sure that you both want to pursue a long-term relationship. Once you’ve agreed on that, the introduction should also take place before you fall too deep. After all, finding the right partner is only half of the battle as a single mother. The other half is finding a person that fits your child.
As a single parent, you don’t have a lot of time to waste. So for me, dating became more serious. If something didn’t click by the second or third date at most, that was it. Also, the qualities you look for in a potential partner change.
Yes, especially when you date men that don’t have any children. In my experiences, some men just didn’t understand that you can’t ask me to go dinner or a movie the day of and expect that I’ll be able to make it. As a single mother, you just don’t have the freedom to come and go like you did before kids.
Don’t forget about yourself. Being a mother is a huge part of your identity but, it’s not all of who you are. You’re a woman. You have wants and needs. You have goals and aspirations. You have hobbies and passions. Don’t become so busy building a great life for your children that you forget to build a life of your own, because one day your children are going to grow up, venture out into the world and build their own life.
I know a lot of single mothers. Ironically, I’ve never received any advice about single parenthood. I’ve also never asked for any. So, I encourage all mothers to open themselves and share their stories with other single mothers. Offer words of encouragement, advice or just a shoulder to lean on…. even when you aren’t asked too.
Intelligent, resilient, evolving
Involved, understanding, structured
I agree with them, sometimes I don’t know how I do it either and hell yeah, it’s hard. But, just like any other parent, I’m going to do whatever I have to do raise my child the best way I know how.
I definitely think that a lot of people prejudge single mothers, especially if you’re a minority.
I have a son and my biggest fear as a single mom is that I can’t teach my son how to be a man.
Remember that regardless of how bad of a partner your ex was during your relationship, that doesn’t mean they don’t want to or can’t be a better father. If they want to be involved, put your feelings aside and allow them that opportunity.
The only thing I would change about being a single mom is being a single mom.
We are our biggest critics.
Confidence, self-reliance and self-discipline
Little white boys grow up and become men. Little black boys grow up and become Black men. See the difference?