I don’t want to get married. After living alone for so many years, I can’t fathom the concept of having to share my bed, my space, my Doritos with another adult. I sometimes pout if I have to share my snacks with my kids. Although it may be nice to have someone to shovel off your car or carry those God awful heavy water bottle cases up the stairs, the thought of having to check in with somebody if I want to do something and always having someone around leaves me feeling anxious.
I’ve heard horror stories. A married friend described in great detail the sheer rage she feels when she has to listen to her husband eat a plum. I’m talking wanting to punch him in the face rage. Another hasn’t had sex with her husband in a very, very long time. My mother tells me “marriage is a lot of work.” Considering I’m tired 86 percent of the time, I would just be setting myself up for failure.
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I’m not particularly wild about dating either. Common grooming rituals such as hair straightening, pubic waxing, and pretending I look better than the pudgy middle-aged person I am exhausts me. The few times I had to pull on a pair of Spanx, conceal my under-eye bags, and make small talk with a stranger in Starbucks I thought I might jump out of my skin.
I’d much rather spend the evening curled up on the couch with my puggle and a pint of Halo Top binge-watching Unsolved Mysteries.
My mother harped on me, “You’re not going to meet anyone sitting on your couch.” Then a neighbor miraculously asked me on a date, and I smugly told mom that I most certainly can. But then he texted me a photo of his butt and that was the end of that.
For the most part, I enjoy my own company and am quite content in my role as a person without a partner. I keep myself busy, raising boys into men, picking up Nike socks off the floor, teaching the kids to clean out the lint trap, and endlessly arguing about why we don’t have enough money to buy a refrigerator with an ice maker.
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I’ve done other things with my life too. I got my pharmacy technician certification, advanced my writing career, and work hard at a demanding job I enjoy. I was even in a long-term relationship for a while.
But my main focus has always been my children—as it should be.
I guess it’s fair to say I’ve hung my happiness on my relationship with them, and my life has revolved around the boys. This has worked out fine for me until something called the teen years happened and those precious people I gave birth to suddenly did not want to hang with me anymore. In what seemed like overnight, I, a totally cool mom, became the most embarrassing and cringe-worthy person on the planet.
Was this completely normal behavior? Yes. Did I lose my crap and cry over the fact that my babies were pulling away? Also yes.
After I adjusted to this season in my life—mom of older kids—I began to find joy in my new found freedom, humor in my teenager’s antics, and time to do things for myself. As I write this, I’m currently sitting by a pool completely unbothered, not being interrupted by requests of snacks, drinks, or V-Bucks. It’s nice.
But there’s something. A faint whisper in my ear reminding me the life I had is slowly ending.
The noise and commotion and the companionship my children provided have a shelf life. And as they look forward to the life that lies ahead of them, as they should, I’m left a little lost and mournful of the past, despite being excited about my boy’s future.
The truth is I’m alone.
Children grow up, parents age, and we single moms must come to grips with a new life chapter.
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Alone can be great. Alone can be liberating. But when even your best gal pals are getting remarried, it can feel like you’re floating in the ocean for a very long time with no sight of land. It can get tiresome. You lose your buoyancy and wish someone would throw you a lifesaver. Or at least ask you to brunch.
Moms need people. We are wired to be connected. We feel nourished by emotional and physical contact. When the kids are little there are playgroups, parent groups, and birthday parties. There is that constant distraction that keeps you from thinking about yourself.
For moms of older children, little support exists. You feel this tenfold if you’re a single mom.
Of course, I am partially to blame. Balancing kids, work, and managing a house takes exhausting effort. It can be isolating too. After an eight-hour shift of standing, the last thing you want to do is put on ankle boots and concealer and go back out to meet someone.
I’m not sure what I’m looking for. A romantic partner. A soulmate. A good friend. Someone who can drive me home from a colonoscopy. But I know I need something. Someone. I want to look forward not backward. I want to be excited about my future. I’m ready to make an effort. Because I don’t want to feel alone anymore.