The Perks Of Being A Single Mom, Part 1
Perks of being a single mom? You read that right! Handling #momlife solo can be tough, but that's motherhood. When you're doing it without a partner, there are some unique rewards.
1. ALLLLL of the closet space
Rent the Runway's clever new ad campaign centers around the question "What will you do with your closet space?" I pose the same question to you, fellow single moms, whether you've been single for a super long time or you landed here because you're new to this thing and wondering what the possible upsides could be. If you're not making the most of that extra square footage, you're missing out. Will you turn yours into a yoga studio? A design lab? A pool? The possibilities are endless.
I mean, in real life the possibilities are pretty much limited to better organizing your life, but that's no small thing.
Here's my single mom closet story: pretty much as soon as my ex moved out, I took full advantage of the extra closet space. Sort of inexplicably, he left like 500 dress shirts and a bunch of shoes I never saw him wear behind. All of that went into bags, which went into less-precious closet space off the living room.
With his stuff gone, I did a half-KonMari job on my closet. I kept the things that make me feel happy; if I had done a full-KonMari, I'd have been more honest with myself about whether I was going to wear those shoes again, or ever going wear that jumpsuit I still have yet to wear...but I didn't have to do that, because I'm a single mom with plenty of closet space for my unworn Brian Atwoods.
With a 6-month old baby and a body that started fitting into my skinny jeans two months earlier, I packed away my maternity clothes and Phi's newborn stuff into bins, which were neatly stacked on the newly-available space at the end of the closet. I sorted my clothes into work and weekend wear, which saved precious getting-ready time in the mornings. So it stayed until we moved into a new house in January, and things got even better.
Here's what's really wonderful about closets and the single mom: most master bedrooms are designed with two people in mind. This means a massive abundance of closet space for the single mom. In my current bedroom, I have a closet dedicated to seasonal stuff, with all of my snow gear on one end and easy summer dresses hanging on the other. In my other closet, shirts hang above pants and skirts in one section and work dresses hang in another, with shelves in between for sweaters, jeans, and accessories. I feel like I'm Christina Aguilera giving this tour of her closet. Imagine if she joined the single mom ranks? She really would have enough closet space to open a barre studio or a juicery or whatever else the RTR ads suggested.
2. Sleeping like a queen
Did you ever notice that in period dramas about royalty, the king and queen never sleep in the same bed?
Phi's dad and I broke up just before she was seven months old. She transitioned to sleeping in her own room just a few weeks later, sleeping almost through the night. In the span of less than a month, I went from three people sleeping in my bed to just me. It was glorious. I bought a reading light and diffused essential oils. I luxuriated in the joy of having my own giant bed mostly to myself (Phi wasn't totally kicked out), and still do.
So, I know not everyone jumps for joy at the thought of an empty bed. I know I'm going to lose some people here. I know, cuddling is super fun and it can be great to share a bed with your go-to snuggle buddy. That's super fun if you've been together for like, two minutes, or if you really love each other a ton, but if you just broke up that probably wasn't the case for awhile. If you're holding onto that, just let it go.
If you're not planning on adopting the bedsharing habits of a queen in your next relationship, revel in that bed space while it lasts. Buy duvets without having to worry about another person's taste. Sleep in a nest made of eight pillows, without SportsCenter blaring through the night at someone else's constant insistence. Enjoy this season for now, because sooner or later there will probably be someone new hogging those sheets.
3. The Thrill Of Meeting Someone New
There's a certain thrill to the early days, when you know a crush is reciprocated but you're not yet super sure of things, so you're super excited to get that text. Or at least I know I am. If you're not quite ready for love but want to live out those waiting-for-the-text moments vicariously, the Netflix original series Love delivers those moments perfectly.
Although I didn't date right away, one of the silver linings at the end of my relationship with Phi's dad was that I knew I'd get to have those excited feelings again. As the relationship I though would last forever ended, it became clear that even if Phi's dad isn't the person I'm meant to spend my life with, our relationship taught me about who I am in a relationship and what I'm looking for in the next one. I learned from my mistakes, but I also learned from the stuff I—and he— did right. When I get into a relationship again, I'll be grateful for that experience.
There's another side to it, too. After assuming that the "dating" chapter of my life was over, it's on again and I'm more secure than when I was last single at age 23. I was a baby! Now, I get to date as a woman. To be honest, I've barely taken advantage of this yet. I'm not exactly in a rush; I believe a satisfying relationship is joyful, but not the only way to find joy.
A final point: as a single mom, it can be easy to judge myself for past failures, assume that others might judge me, or worry that there's someone out there for everyone...except me. I've heard the same sentiments echoed in single moms groups on Facebook, so I know I'm not alone in these fears.
It helps to remember that fear isn't based on truth. Truth is created out of love, and it's created by us. I'm still working on this myself, but I truly believe that we create our own realities. The more we believe that what we're looking for is possible, the closer we are to making it happen in real life.
Because the perks of single #momlife are plenty, this may just turn into a series. Share your favorite perks of being a single mom on twitter or insta using #singlemomperks and tag me, and I'll be sure to credit you in future posts.
Single moms by choice, I see you. This was written with single moms coming out of relationships in mind, though I'm sure there will be parts you can relate to. My goal is always to be inclusive, but I can't tell a story from a perspective I don't have. Reach out if you'd like to guest blog!