Ah February … red hearts, flowers, and cupids everywhere, reminding us of “Singles Awareness Day,” as some of us joke. Love is in the air for sure, and it’s got me thinking about the future – but not necessarily my own.
It’s popular wisdom that little girls grow up and marry men just like their fathers. I’m not sure about the validity of that statement, and I’m certainly no psychology expert, but many of us single moms struggle with this notion. To some extent, everyone complains about their ex – whether it be because he treated her poorly or simply because he is “absent,” or any number of possibilities.
I think moving on requires two major realizations. First of all, if things were ALL bad you wouldn’t have stayed with the guy for so long – so think about the positives, and be sure to enlighten your daughter (and/or son). Secondly, not all men are terrible (I’d even argue most of them are pretty good people) – and this is where I think we mothers can help influence our daughters' future choices.
When my kids’ father first walked out, my friends rallied around me, full of support. Everyone asked what they could do to help. My answer to the guys was always the same: Treat me with respect in front of my daughter so that she will see how a woman should be treated, and also in front of my son so he will learn what kind of man he should be. I have never been let down.
This Valentine’s Day, I am especially appreciative of all of the good men in my life, and in my kids’ lives. My daughter has spent the last few weeks incessantly making cards for so many people that it has become exhausting to keep count. I really can’t complain about having too much love in my life. She’s a happy, well adjusted kid, and she knows she is loved by many. I have no doubt she will make good choices for herself in the future.
Maybe it really does take a village to raise a child …
Stacy Lamb of Apex is the divorced mom of two. She also is organizer for Single Parents of the Triangle. Find her here monthly on Wednesday.