Appreciating My Single Mother

Updated: Feb 1, 2019

by Michele Salinas

In the past I’ve seen so much “single mother” bashing, and I never understood why. Being a single parent might not be in everyone’s plans, but the determination to raise a child on your own is, in my opinion, empowering. How can people bash someone who is putting their heart into giving their child everything they need? I was raised by a single mother, and I see her as one of the most hardworking, passionate, and loving women I know. Even when she didn’t have enough for herself, she somehow managed to give me everything I needed. Whether it was tutoring or after school programs or summer camp, my mother managed to spoil me in her own way. My mom came to the United States as a refugee at 23 years-old. Although she was leaving her parents and six other siblings behind, she had her two cousins and a sister already in the U.S. to guide her. Still, for the most part she was forced to learn everything on her own. Two years after she arrived, she had me and her life changed even more. In November, I’ll be turning 23 and the thought of having to start life in a completely foreign country without my family just as my mom did is terrifying. My mom was forced to play both “roles” of the mother and father. When I think about a father’s purpose, I think about the phrase “every girl's first love is their father,” which I am kind of iffy about. I never understood why a girl's first love has to be found in a man. That phrase honestly haunted me for a while because I felt like I was incapable of loving or being loved because I never knew the fatherly love that we claim to be essential to little girls.  Now, I feel like love should be found within yourself based on the love that is shown to you regardless of who is giving it.  Being raised by a single parent can be difficult simply because of the unknown of the “missing parent.” There are so many unanswered questions like what life would be like if I did have a father in my life? Would it be for the better or is life without a father best? I think the only reason I’ve ever felt even the slightest void is because I’m made to believe a normal family is having two parents who are in love and raising their children together, which I don’t have. My advice to younger girls who are being raised by single mothers would be to appreciate everything they do and all they give you. Don’t see them as the enemy just because they don’t let you stay out as late as you want. Usually, their advice is exactly what you need. I hope you appreciate all she has instilled in you and the way she raised you. Now, it’s our time to give back to the strong women that worked so hard to give us everything we need. Lately, the scariest part is watching my mom grow older. She’s always been invincible to me so seeing her start to slow down makes me appreciate all she did even more. Over the years, I never took the time to see how she was doing physically or mentally. I would just expect her to care for me as every mother should care for their child. Being raised by a single mother has molded me into the woman I am. I can’t say it was always easy just because I let the idea of what a “perfect family” is cloud my perspective on how to describe my family. In retrospect, I don’t think I could imagine my family any other way. Adding another person to our duo family would never work. Even when I don’t see it, my mom is my best friend and I wouldn’t want it any different. Were you raised in a single-parent home? How do you feel about Mother's Day? Let us know in the comments below! 

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