Oct 12, 2011

Bubble Gum on my Beard: Single Parents and Self Esteem

Cari from Bubble Gum On My Shoe is back for another guest post!  Her first installment plunged us into the early days of single parenting.   

Today's topic is single parent self esteem.  Take a gander at Cari's post below, then head over to her blog to get my take on the subject.

Take it away, Cari:

Single Parenting & Self Esteem: What I know and why it’s enough 
Stories of divorce are rarely comforting or cheery or re-told without painful memories and wounds that are still fresh.  I would be a liar if I said I hadn’t been there.  Deep in despair, distraught, and singing my, why, why, why’s.  But I’m not there anymore, and that’s the difference.  I’m okay.  Actually, I’m great!  If you’re looking for the recipe, I am sorry; each person must find their own way.  
But my, “hey I’m okay” singledom doesn’t come without pressure, heavy stares and judgment from those around me.  Seems like it’s every one’s business to figure out just WHY I am still single.   And why I don’t date, and why am I not putting myself out there, and why am I not on Match.com for Pete’s sake!  All that pressure sure makes it seems like my top priority should be finding a man!  Instead of people asking me about my dating life, I’d rather them ask about my kids, how I’m getting through the day to day, how’s my heart, am I happy.   
When the opportunity to date presents itself, I go for it.  But I have no desire to seek out a relationship right now.  Just because I don’t have the desire to “put myself back out there” doesn’t mean I don’t want that.  I desperately want a partner in my life.  I get lonely; I get overwhelmed; I miss it.  That being said I won’t let that consume me.  All consuming emptiness breeds bitterness and bitterness breeds despair.  Don’t despair single parents.  Despair is often a slippery slope down the hill of regret.  Despair makes you snatch up the man or woman that seems good enough, but why settle for that, when you might get great?
There is someone out there for me.  There is someone out there for you.  God is waiting for the most perfect opportunity in your life to give you that.  Oftentimes when we want something so much, we are willing to overlook too much.  I’m looking for Mr. Right, not Mr. Right-Now.  I’m not looking for a father figure for my kids; I’m not looking for someone to fill the void my ex left.  I have to be comfortable with me, I have to love me, and I have to be okay with being alone and know that I will still have a great and fulfilling life.  I do have a great and fulfilling life.
Just a small rant about Jerry McGuire’s, “you complete me”:  the man in your life should not complete you.  You are complete, as flawed and scatterbrained and unorganized as you may or may not be you are enough, even in sweatpants and ponytails.  I fear so many single parents look for someone to help carry the emotional burden of expectation they put upon themselves.  They almost become dependent upon their significant other to be happy.  You are enough.  Let someone into your life who knows that, recognizes that, lifts you up and supports you.
You are enough.
Thanks for letting me invade your blog, Beard!


  1. Hey Cari, Great thoughts. That "complete me" crap always irked me. All we ever have for sure is our own two feet.

  2. "You are enough." I wish more women (even married and in traditional family settings) would realize this. We cannot depend on someone else to make us a whole person; at some point we all figure out that we already are.

  3. Very well said Cari! And Beard, you're a great dad to pigtails! The wonderful posts you have of your accounts as a single dad and the previous pictures here are testimony of how great you are being a dad! Kudos to both of you!!!

    Ria C

    It's My Party
    Home is Where the Heart Is
    Red Lips and Pinky Toes
    The Travel Bug
    Handmade with LOVE

  4. I found my next partner before I even became a single mother, so I'm in a different situation, but I still struggle with my confidence as a single(ish) mom. My bf was not there for the first few weeks of my son's life, and he is not here a lot now, either. It's wonderful when he is, but I know I can do it without him. (Although, yes, I'd rather he actually be here!)

    As for "you complete me," I agree that you need to be complete on your own. My love "enhances" me and makes me better, but I'm pretty damn awesome without him, too.

  5. @Star- Well said, and yes crap it is, even with a Tom Cruise mask on.

    @Christina- Exactly! I hope I can instill that in my daughter.

    @Ria-Thanks for reading, Ria!

    @Singleish-I'm glad you found some happy. Parenting is hard stuff, alone, part-time or full-time. LIKE enhance, very nice, and yes you are pretty awesome.

  6. So much of what you posted really resonated...last paragraph should be the carrying card for every human being. The sincerity of your writing is admired!

  7. @hospitalityfan- That might be the nicest comment I've ever received, thank you. And I'm off to Twitter to follow you asap!

  8. Cari, You had me at "You are enough" :)

    I love this: "All consuming emptiness breeds bitterness and bitterness breeds despair."
    Such wise words... I have been there a lot of times, but I just never learn. Oftentimes, I act out of despair and end up paying the not-so-pleasant consequences.

  9. @Pepper- I was waiting for someone to say that! :) I think it's just human nature for us to not want to be alone. Who really WANTS that? Life gives us infinite chances, and is full of limitless possibilities. You can do this, just by being you; no cape or super powers required.

  10. I love this blog from Cari, and Pigtails is too fabulous and spunky to be believed!

    "I fear so many single parents look for someone to help carry the emotional burden of expectation they put upon themselves." So true.

    So much of parenting makes us feel uncertain we're doing the right thing, but we have to trust we are doing the best we know how, and blending families doesn't make anything easier. I do believe in love though, and when it's right at the right time, you will know.

  11. @Erin- We're on the same page, single parent or not, parenting makes us question every move we make, even ourselves. But we do know we love our kids and will do what's best for them. Think sometimes we have to love ourselves a little bit too, because we deserve to be happy as well. And yes, when its right, I think you know too; I think if you have to question it too much you may be convincing yourself of something that may or may not be there. Thanks for the sweet comment, and I agree, Pigtails is pretty fabulous!


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