Just when I thought I had mastered all of the awkward single mom phrases, learning to say things like “ex-husband” or “visitation” without flinching, another term comes my way – boyfriend.
Single mom or not, I have never been a fan of the word. Boyfriend just seems so juvenile, to call a boy your friend who is clearly much more than that. But saying it when your child is running around right next to you gives the word an entirely new feeling.Last week a neighbor’s dog wandered into our yard to play with Murphy. When her owner popped over to take her back we were chatting about dog stuff. I told her Murphy was my boyfriend’s dog while Benjamin’s head bobbed between their furry little bodies. I could almost see the thoughts running behind her eyes. Yes, I suppose saying, “my boyfriend” is another way of saying, “I am a single mom.” But why then does saying “I am a single mom” seem so much more acceptable than saying “I am a single mom and I have a boyfriend”?
To us everything feels so natural. John Bear hasn’t flinched over my single motherhood since the very beginning. When we’re at weddings or parties meeting strangers and a Benjamin story comes to his mind, he’s the first to say, “Alaina has a son.” Even though I’ve had boyfriends before this is the first who feels like so much more than a just a boyfriend, maybe that’s why the word feel so unnatural.
I can’t begin to answer any of the questions I’m raising here as this is entirely new territory for me but I can tell you I will continue to proudly brag about my adorable sweet man to anyone who will listen, because single mom or not – I’ve never been one to censor myself for fear of judgment. And, besides, anyone who would judge this isn’t anyone I’d ever want to meet. I am a single mom and I have a boyfriend. And next to my son, he’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me.