Shock and Awe

by mssinglemama on May 13, 2010

Many of you choose to write me at times in your life when you need to either say, “I don’t know how I am going to do this, I can only say – each time – “no, thank you.”

This is why.

I have said this a million times and I’ll say it again. I find strength from you – from your stories of survival, from your pain that I know you will conquer. Here’s a story of another single mom I want you all to meet. She just wrote me last night, from Ireland:

At the end of January my husband left me, after 7 years together, for someone else…in fact, for everyone else, he is stepping into a life of ‘non-monogamy’ with his new…woman.  we have a beautiful little one year girl together and I am expecting our second (and totally planned!) baby in just 8 weeks.

This has been unbelievably traumatic. I wish I could say I felt I was getting out of a bad relationship, but I loved my marriage. Maybe I just don’t have the emotional distance yet.

We had recently (a few years ago) immigrated from Ireland to Canada but I’ve needed to move back to ireland to be with my friends and family, for support. My husband understood this choice, in fact, he didn’t seem to care what I did, I haven’t heard from him in months now, he says he just wants to start a new life all over again, he’s changed his number and email address.
So I’ve lost my husband, my house and had to move continent all within the space of a few months and all whilst being pregnant. Sometimes single motherhood seems like some sort of sentence I have to serve. don’t get me wrong, I love my daughter, I ADORE her, but this wasn’t how I expected to be a parent.
Thanks to people like yourself I am starting to see flickers of light.
And then I popped over to her blog where I found this picture.
Ireland-single mom

Now on the outside looking in, having long recovered from my initial shock and yes, feeling as if my single motherhood was a deserving sentence, a punishment – I am only left in awe. Complete and total awe that someone could walk away from such a beautiful family to chase a greener pasture that does not exist.

I share these stories and others because I think when we look in from the outside is suddenly becomes much easier to see that “clearly that dude has issues” and all of the other “men” who leave their families for other women.
But I know I’m not alone in understanding, when we see and hear stories like this, that when you’re on the receiving end of such a hurt it can be easy to blame yourself but when you’re on the outside looking in, it’s easy to see that clearly that the dude has issues. Major issues.

You, my lovelies, just picked a short straw. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you – except for maybe your choice in men or, as Kristy states in the comments “some relationships work and some don’t.” But now you have time to work on that. To rebuild and remodel your life.

I love you all. More than you know. And thank you for sharing your stories with me. Now go over to Alli’s blog and give her a virtual hug.

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Ashley May 13, 2010 at 2:46 pm

Awesome post! And I love the second to the last sentence. Very true.


Logan May 13, 2010 at 3:17 pm

“You, my lovelies, just picked a short straw.”

That sentence right there just totally made my day. Thank you!


laura May 13, 2010 at 6:14 pm

The magnitude of the sentence “this wasn’t how I expected to be a parent” resonates with me. I spent a long time being very unhappy because being a single parent was so frightening and foreign to me–the idea of it was beyond all expectations in the worst possible sense. I wonder if things are different if you leave a relationship or if you are left by someone? It must be truly shocking because it seems to me that her husband left with little notice. In some ways, single parents have no choice but to deal with the shocking, unexpected truth. We have children to love, nurture, and care for, after all.

Now becomes the work of trying not to pick short sticks or knowing which ones are short sticks long before we decide to become parents with them! Alli’s situation is so different from my own that it seems like apples and oranges. Her ex has some really serious issues and as cruel as it feels to her now, she is probably better away from him than if he were cheating behind her back. My situation was a slowly dissolving mess. I moved out 7 months ago and I’ve reached a point that I’ve (sort of) stopped blaming my ex for the hurt and looked more carefully at myself. When did I decide that it was okay for him to be verbally abusive and why did I stay so long while being so unhappy? Sure, he said awful things to me but I chose to listen to them and to believe him. Why was I so apt to give up so much of my life? Concluding that he “did this to me” left me feeling too vulnerable to whomever I might be involved with in the future and I’ve resolved that if I am ever in the situation where someone starts to regularly hurt me, I will be strong enough in myself to tell them to stop or to walk away. I am going through couples therapy with him and he often pleads to the fact that he wants to fix things and that he is sorry about his temper. But he has trouble understanding me when I say that I feel that I have a lot of work to do on myself before I could reasonably be in any romantic relationship in a healthy way.


christine May 16, 2010 at 2:38 pm

yes, all of this.


Sara in Sunny SC May 13, 2010 at 6:43 pm

Oh girls, I love to read your thoughts and feelings! It makes feel less lonely and less afraid!

The second to last paragraph totally made me think of a quote from Sex and the City… “Maybe some women aren’t meant to be tamed. Maybe they just need to run free till they find someone just as wild to run with them.”

As a momma who was walked out on and given the “I want a whole new life” life, somehow thinking that I “need to run free till I find someone just as wild to run with” makes me feel so much stronger and liberated! It reminds me how weak my ex was and how despite what he says, I’m awesome!

Its become my motto!


Kristy May 14, 2010 at 1:19 am

“There is absolutely nothing wrong with you – except for maybe your choice in men.”

My first husband left me…. I took the nontraditional route with my choices for parenting my son. However, having said this…when I chose him..he behaved as a good man. He did so for many many years.

And then he changed.

The man I chose was not the man that left.

I want to re-state your mistatement for a lot of woman. There is nothing wrong with you, some relationships work and some do not. Who a person is when you marry them…more importantly CHOOSE them…is not necessarily who they will remain with time.


Ms. Single Mama May 14, 2010 at 6:47 am

You’re right Kristy – this is a much better way to phrase it! Going to update the post now… but in my case, for the record, he did not change – I totally chose the wrong man for the wrong reasons. That does not, however, apply to all of us.

Thanks for point this out.


anon May 14, 2010 at 7:26 am

Yes, sometimes single motherhood seems like an (unexpected), undeserved sentence. But really, living with an unreliable, unfaithful man was really the sentence. Now I have gotten out of jail. To continue this analogy, getting out of prison is not easy for many inmates. Inside, they have guaranteed food, housing, time to exercise and others just like them next door. But wouldn’t you rather choose where you live, work, eat and with whom you socialize?


Sara in Sunny SC May 14, 2010 at 8:15 am

I LOVE your analogy, what a perfect way to look at it!!!!! Thanks for making my day!


mssinglemama May 14, 2010 at 9:16 am

Yes! We are all free from that prison now. Marriage, for me was a prison… definitely.

I think the morale of the story is that it is different for all of us. Right? But the one thing we have in common is not expecting this outcome.


Never About Me May 14, 2010 at 10:59 am

My first time visiting your blog and already I see so many things that relate to my life. Your words ring so true for me. I never expected this, but I’m certainly going to thrive in it!


anon May 14, 2010 at 11:52 pm

Laura, like you I was TERRIFIED to do it alone. As I was being (emotionally) abused I even told myself and some friends that it was abuse. I’ve worked on domestic violence issues before, but this is the first time I really understood why women stay. I am better educated and have a better job than my ex (in fact he is not a US citizen and will never have what I can give myself and my child). Still that terror froze me. I cried nearly every single day of my pregnancy. Only the birth of my child gave me the perspective, distance and courage to leave.Now I am both amazed and saddened by how many other women are in the varying stages of what I have been through and continue through.It is truly appalling.


Cheryl May 16, 2010 at 2:12 am

Sigh… I guess I should count myself as “lucky” that I’ve ALWAYS done it alone w/ my daughter. If I’d been married and had him leave, for whatever reason, I think it would’ve been a million times harder. Single mamahood is all I’ve ever known. It sucks sometimes. Actually a LOT of the time. And that doesn’t mean I don’t resent her dad on a regular basis for all the ways in which it SEEMS that he isn’t there for his 3rd and youngest daughter, OUR daughter. But those are just my perceptions. Feelings aren’t facts. They’re just feelings. And they can’t destroy me unless I let them. And all you wonderful single mamas, however you may have come to be single mamas, are ALL the most strongest loveliest awesomest mamas I know.

So, thank you Alaina, once again, for sharing with us another story that helps us find our power. At least, that’s what I’m getting out of stopping by to read these stories… Your story. Alli’s story. My story.



Kathryn May 18, 2010 at 6:22 am

I too have always been on my own. My husband left for anothe woman when I was ten weeks pregnant and I’ve not seen him since. It took me a little while to come to the realisation, but I am grateful for the clean (for lack of a better word) exit and no messy ‘in, out, in, out’ of my sons life. Grateful for small mercies I guess 🙂


anon May 18, 2010 at 7:40 am

I think Alaina used the right word. Awe. I can’t believe this happens to so many women. On the one hand, I’m not alone. On the other hand, I’m not alone. Encouraging. Disturbing. Awestruck.


nicole May 17, 2010 at 9:42 am

“Sometimes single motherhood seems like some sort of sentence I have to serve…this wasn’t how I expected to be a parent”

This statement is so true for me…but I’ve felt so guilty for feeling this way. Thank you for putting it so eloquently! Our children are our world and they are the most amazing things to ever happen to us-but knowing that doesn’t make single parenthood easier!

Thank you all for sharing-it really helps!


SherylW May 17, 2010 at 3:37 pm

I do appreciate your honesty. I am still not comfortable being a single parent of two daughters. It doesn’t help when my mom makes statements like “you made your own bed now sleep in it”. She will not babysit (my girls are 11yrs and 8yrs) for me to even have a social/dating life. It creates hostility in me and my girls are now seeing it. “Mom do you like being a mom to us?” Imagine my terror because I just need a break sometimes and have been made guilty to feel that way because of my “fornication”. sucks.


littlemansmom May 18, 2010 at 9:26 am

It took me a very long time to realize just that…I not only picked the short straw, I picked the malfunctioning short bendy straw! But you know what…I discovered I didn’t need a straw at all 🙂


JimiBoy May 18, 2010 at 12:34 pm

That must be very hard on you, but you’d be surprised at how someone like yourself can rebound. Life is very weird sometimes, and likes to give us a hard time. It’s not how we got to where we are, but where we see ourselves going. That stinks that people cheat and are not honest about their feelings. A lot of that happens on this other site that i recently found out about, It’s really horrible how people treat one another, but then again its good to share stories. Life is a never ending learning experience. You’ll get to a better place, it just may take some time.


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