Single Parent: Population One

22 May

I’ve been a single mom for almost 16 years now. And when I say single, I do not mean not married. I mean the Webster’s dictionary version; solitary, sole or lone. Outside of an ex who is still involved in my son’s life (but unfortunately now lives 40+ miles from me) I didn’t have a lot of help with my son while I was raising him. My parents are both deceased, his father never showed any interest in being a parent and everyone else was kind of too busy doing their own thing to help out. I WAS a village of one.*shrug*


So what does being your own village mean? Being my own village means, there were no days off. I’m a parent  24/7/365 with no breaks on the horizon. There was no other parent to share the responsibility of parenting when I was tired and had a long day. There are no “every other weekend visits” with family or custodial parents to give me time to recharge my batteries. There were no grandparents to chip in when I was shorthanded or losing steam or just needed 3 hours to take a nap. There has never been a day when he was sick and someone else stayed home with him or when I could even drop him off somewhere so I could still make it to work. Vacation days and sick days were reserved for days when my son needed me. I can’t even tell you what a Spring Break or Summer Break without being his entertainment meant. If I wanted a break, I prayed for a work trip. If something needed to be done, I did it or he went without. Period.

Now, I’m not saying that to get anyone to feel sorry for me. Hell, I don’t feel sorry for me. I’m saying it because it’s my reality. A reality that I have gotten used to and a reality I’m sure many women deal with.

I admit I’m feeling burnt out. But it could be worse. I could be Davia Radcliffe, a homeless mother of two living on the streets of Chicago.

Davia Radcliffe

I don’t know this young lady personally. Davia is a young lady I read about recently on Facebook. She relocated to Chicago after her home burned down in another state. She was employed when she moved here but lost her job and eventually her Chicago Residence. She is now homeless and alternates between sleeping in a shelter and sleeping on the street. A mother with two school aged children living on the street of Chicago. I’ll let that sink it.

Or I could be like Shanesha Taylor from Phoenix, who was arrested because she left her kids in a hot car while she went in for a job interview? Not to say what she did was right, but if you’ve ever been faced with a damned if I do, damned if I don’t decision you go with whatever you think may hurt the least and for the shortest amount of time. It’s a gamble. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.

While I’ve never been homeless and I’ve been employed all by 2 years of my adult life (when I went to school fulltime), my situation has not always been ideal. My son and I went a winter without heat before (IN CHICAGO). Sleeping in the same bed with one heater in the entire house. One month, we survived off chicken nuggets and Top Ramen. I could always pay my mortgage but sometimes, my situation was so big and my circle of support so small I was just HAPPY and lucky to have a place to live. The early years were rough. There were times when we got by the Grace of God alone and a whole lot of damn resourcefulness on my part.

But not everyone is as lucky as me and until now I never considered myself lucky. But I look at women like Davia and Shanesha and realize there were so many times I myself was one pay check away from being in that very situation. It could be me or a number of women I know who are under employed or unemployed. And no matter how they find themselves in these situations, does it really do any of us any good to turn a “blind eye” to their situations. To have some woman and her babies sleeping on the street. Scared and alone.

My son is ALMOST of college age and I am seriously counting down that days until I drop him off at the college of his choice so that he can get the education that he’s worked (but I sacrificed) for. I love my son but when he walks out my door I will be kissing 40 on the mouth. You know what the means? That means 20 years of being a village of one.

While I am almost at the end of this part of my journey, there are other mothers and fathers who are not. Who could probably use some support. Would could probably use some guidance. Your sisters, cousins, neighbors or friends. Oprah said something that years later still rings loudly in my ear. She said, “When you know better, you do better.” It’s not just the parents that need to do better and make better decisions so they are not in that position in the first place but also the village. The village needs to do better too. Because if no one invests in the Davia’s and Shanesha’s of the world, how the hell do we expect our children to be great. At some point we need to stop thinking about the “me” and start thinking about the “we”.

Sincerely,

The Mistress of All Things Fabulous

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4 Responses to “Single Parent: Population One”

  1. Mario Christen May 22, 2014 at 10:25 pm #

    When I designed what I named to be a Single Mother Awareness T-shirt to bring awareness to this scenario in our communities I never fathomed that it would be situations this graphic, is it a way we can assist these 2 mothers? Can we find some information on them?

    • TheHittList May 22, 2014 at 10:29 pm #

      Email me at hittlistblog@gmail.com. There was a gofundme account for one of the moms..the other may require a little research.

  2. E July 7, 2014 at 5:32 pm #

    OMG Another post I love! This is me!

  3. Anonymous December 13, 2015 at 7:11 pm #

    You recently published a picture and in this article a girl Davia Radcliffe in Chicago who appeared to be homeless. However, she is not. We must put a end to this. She forces her kids to go with her and beg for money. They live in a apartment in Chicago with two incomes in the home. She smokes and drinks and her and her boyfriend is comfortable. Please don’t let others get mislead by her con while there are real people in need. I am a struggling mother. People need to stop give hard earned money to a person who is playing on other people emotions especially now that its Christmas. Please stop this. Her face book is now Shakie Radcliffe smh.

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