It’s the first of May and time for another lovely chat with a mum.
Long before meeting my husband, my fellow single-friends and I used to talk a lot about how we could all be single mothers by choice and that all we needed to do was find sperm donors. It was all talk, none of us followed-through, though two of us did end up mothers, but did it the traditional way. Our featured mother for this month’s Chat with a Mum, did it all on her own.
I am in awe of women who parent on their own whether it’s by choice or because of circumstances. Let’s hear more from this solo mama and how she did it:
Tell us something about yourself and your little one.
I am a lesbian single mom by choice to my daughter, Evelyn, who just turned 2 in February. We live in Toronto, Canada. I work as a Communications Specialist (fancy term for writer!) at a University, and Evelyn spends her weekdays at preschool. Together, we enjoy reading books, colouring, throwing dance parties in our livingroom, playing outside and eating macaroni & cheese.
What was your child’s birth story like?
Having planned a homebirth, Evelyn was born in the bedroom in our former home, here in Toronto. We were surrounded by my midwives, best friend and mom when Evelyn joined us at 1:11 am. Her birth was truly the most incredible moment of my life, and if I could, I’d go back and live it again and again, to re-experience that rush of love and pure bliss.
What you wish you knew about being a mother, before becoming one?
There is so much I can wish I had known, but honestly, pre-motherhood, I probably wouldn’t have believed it or listened. I had so many notions of what I thought motherhood was, what it would be like, what it should feel like. And most of those ideas were just plain wrong! I thought I knew how all-encompassing maternal love was, but what I thought it wasn’t hadn’t even scratched the surface of what it truly is.
If I could know one thing about motherhood before embarking on it, I wish someone had told me that sleep issues can extend well beyond infancy. My toddler still wakes up in the middle of the night. I had no idea this could happen – I honestly thought children slept. How naïve!
How do you manage your “me-time”?
Poorly – haha. As a single mom, my “me time” is quite rare. I walk to and from work (20 minutes each way), so that is a guaranteed “me” time each day. When I feel desperate for a break, I’ll hire a babysitter to come play with Evelyn while I go out and run errands/write in a coffee shop/walk around the city. I find myself continually wishing I had more time for myself, while also knowing the time during which Evelyn is this little and needs me so intensely is going to fly by, and some day, I’ll long for just one more moment that we’re living now. When Evelyn goes to bed for the night, I knit & write – my two cheap therapies!
Do you have a favourite anecdote of your little one?
I have so many stories about Evelyn, and here I am drawing a blank now that I’m being asked! Life with a child is always providing opportunities for laughter, even through the exhaustion. Now that Evelyn is starting to speak a little more, she cracks me up on a daily basis, mostly because the way she pronounces things is so funny. I remember for the longest time, I was having a hard time figuring out what she meant when she was asking for a “cock”. Turns out, she was talking about socks!
The thing I love the most about Evelyn is her sensitivity – she is so in tune with the way I and others around her are feeling. She often approaches people if they’re sad and strokes their cheek saying, “‘kay?” Heart melting.
What is it about motherhood you absolutely love about?
It sounds so cliché, but here it is: the love. The love a mother feels for her child is unrivaled, and it’s incredible. Just when I think I can’t love her more, I do.
I also really love rediscovering the world through my daughter’s eyes. Life really slows down when you go at a toddler’s pace, and that is sometimes frustrating. But when I really take a moment to see things the way she does, life feels more exciting somehow, I can see and appreciate the beauty in the little things.
If there is anything about motherhood you dislike about, what would it be?
The lack of sleep! Also, the lack of freedom. I sometimes daydream about what it would be like to have an entire day to myself. I’d lay in my bed until I felt like getting up (past 7 am!), go have a leisurely brunch, lay in the park and read a book, maybe go out for a drink or two with friends. I miss my freedom to do whatever I want, whenever I want.
What’s a typical day like for you and your little one?
Weekdays and weekends vary. Weekdays, we’re up by 6 am and out the door for daycare and work by 7:30. I work 8-4, and pick Evelyn up from preschool/daycare by 4:30. Come out, have dinner, and play outside until it’s time to come in for bed around 7 pm.
Our weekends are full of adventures and never predictable. Evelyn played soccer for a while, she’s in gymnastics. We visit the multitude of parks in our neighbourhood, visit the farm in the city, have play dates – lots of fun things!
Best advice you’ve ever received about Motherhood?
Listen to your intuition. The best advice anyone gave me wasn’t a piece of “wisdom” that worked for them. It was them telling me – reminding me – that I know best. My intuition will never steer me wrong, and when I listen to it in life & motherhood, I never regret it.
If you could give yourself advice about motherhood before becoming one, what would it be?
Build that village – it really does take a village to raise a child. Build your village. Cultivate it. Make friends with other moms, or moms to be. These are your people, even if they aren’t right now – they are going to become your people. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I struggle a lot with asking for assistance from friends and family. If I could go back to new mom me, I’d tell her to reach out and say “Hey – I need help,” more often.
How do you manage your time between work and your little one?
Work never, ever comes home with me. Work time is work time, and family time is family time. Work will never be important enough to cut into my precious family time. 40 hours of my week is plenty enough. Balancing a full-time job with motherhood and managing everyone on my own as a single mom is absolutely exhausting. But it has shown me just how strong I am, and I’m damn proud of myself, if I do say so myself!
Thank you so much Lindsay!
Now head over to her blog for more of this lovely solo Mama and her beautiful darling daughter.
Click here to read if you’ve missed last month’s Chat with a Dad.