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Meet Tara. She is a few days short of 29 years old, from Rochester, MN, who works as a project assistant for a large constuction company. She is single mom of 2 boys. “My oldest just turned five and he’s my sensitive one. My youngest is two and a half and is all boy and is absolutely hilarious.” This is her story:
What’s your story? How did you become a Single Mom?
I have always been a single mom. My boys’ dad and I were together before I got pregnant. I then got pregnant and found out he was going to prison for two and a half years. That was at a time in my life I was super naive and thought everyone could change. I thought he was a good person. I gave birth to our son while he was in prison and waited for him to get out. I believed he deserved the chance to prove to me he had changed and wanted to leave the “streets” behind. Here is where I want to put in my disclaimer that I’m not “that kind of girl”. I was raised in a good family and was always taught I deserved a good man. Why I fell for my son’s father, I’ll never know. When he got out, I got pregnant immediately. On birth control and everything. Him and I lasted two weeks and then he left his son and me for his old ways. I learned I was pregnant. He went back to prison for a violation and got out before our son was born and then went back when he was two weeks old and will be there for another 5 years. I never wanted this to be my story but it is, so be it.
Do you take your son’t to see their dad? They know where he is? Do they ask or talk about him?
Where to begin? My oldest son, Myles, knows his dad and thinks the world of him. I’m not going to talk bad about their dad in front of them. They don’t need to know how I really feel about him. Myles talks about his dad a lot. We’ve gone to see him a couple times. We used to go all the time the first time he was in. Now that he’s back there and since having my youngest son, Monte, I’ve taken the boys there twice. Monte has only met his dad twice even though he was out of prison when he was born. I had a scheduled c-section and he showed up two hours late and was restrained from entering the operating room mid procedure. I have been honest with both boys and they are aware that their dad is in prison because he made bad choices. I hope to raise my boys so that they know that doing illegal things is bad and that their life is far more important then spending it behind bars. I stress that I won’t do a good enough job because they’re boys and what do I really know about raising boys?!
I know you’ve heard the saying, “Woman can not raise a boy to become a man.” How do you plan to overcome that?
Its kind of ironic you ask that. I’m not sure I can raise a boy to be a man. I don’t know the first clue as to how men think. However, I will teach my boys the right way to treat a woman. I don’t think a mom alone can raise a “man” just like a man can’t raise a woman. BUT, just like in two parent households there’s help, in my life, there are people I lean on. When my oldest first was sad because he doesn’t have a dad around, we would list all the people he does have in his life that loves him. Turns out, that’s a lot of people. I may not have a village helping me, but I have different people there to help for different aspects. For example, my boys have a male daycare provider so they get some male influence. My “brother type” friend is there to play the uncle role and teach them things like standing to go potty and to take them on boy adventures. Just because I don’t have a spouse will not be a reason for my boys to not succeed.
Do you date? Are you in a relationship?
I’ve met a few guys. I dated someone briefly but that didn’t work out. No one too special until really recently. Its someone I used to work with and he recently became single so we’ve started talking more seriously.
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?
It sounds silly, but I think what Steve Harvey wrote about how its ok to introduce your kids to a man is ok. What’s the point of putting the effort into a man if your kids don’t like him or he doesn’t mesh with your kids. Dating as a single mom seems impossible at times. Specially being younger and never married. People are very quick to judge. It seems men around my age say they understand but then get mad when you need to cancel or reschedule because of your kids. Also, Rochester is a TERRIBLE city to meet decent men.
Where do you think single moms can find quality men to date?
I think the best advice I could give is just be open to random possibilities. I’ve tried just about everything whether it’s online dating to the bar scene to whatever. The best things happen when you’re not looking. I am talking to a guy currently that I used to work with. He’s different then I’ve ever known. He’s respectful and honest and scares the crap out of me for those very reasons! We haven’t talked about labels and to be honest, I don’t think I want to. I fear I’ll mess it up. For some reason, I’ve convinced myself that I maybe just don’t deserve to be treated right.
What 3 words would describe you?
Tired, sarcastic and strong
Name 3 words that describe your parenting style?
Stubborn, chaotic, learning
What advice would you give to a newly single mom?
I would start by saying, don’t forget to take breaks and time for yourself. I don’t do that enough. Its ok to ask for help. I think single moms feel guilty when they ask for help because we as women want to do it all. However, just think about a two parent household, they don’t feel guilty when the other parent helps because its their responsibility. Oh, and try not to let people get to you. People are so quick to judge as if they know where you have been. No one knows where you’ve been or where you’re going except you.
I’m not real sure what to say about that. I would say the best I’ve been given is, just breathe. You are doing the best you can.
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