Welcome to our very first #mamamonday KLSD exclusive interview series post! We are so thrilled you've stopped by to read about real-life moms and their experiences and opinions on real-life issues + challenges within motherhood. These interviews are intended to give you some insight into different touching topics from women we find inspiring. We have encouraged them to be open and honest, in efforts to help whoever is reading know that there ARE other women out there who share their experiences. Feel free to comment and ask questions as the more we all share our ups + downs in this journey of motherhood, the more empowered we become, together. We are all in this together ladies, don't forget it!
To start our series off, we interviewed Tawona of The Well Dressed Curl about her journey as a single mother. I personally was raised in a single parent household for about 3/4 of my childhood and as an adult with children of my own now, cannot even comprehend how my dad, and all you other single parents did it. Parenting is a hard gig. There is no way around it to make it easier. It takes some serious work. It takes some serious internal strength, growth and discipline as a person. As for me, having my husband alongside me in this journey is HUGE. Yes, I know that if faced with the situation of having to do it alone, I would do it, because I have to. However, knowing what it is like to have such a support system in my husband, I hope I never have to. I have SO much respect for the women + men who raise children alone. That takes one strong person, and I am forever in awe of those who do it, and do it well.
So, if you're one of those mamas out there doing this thing alone, we hope you find some of Tawona's words encouraging. If anything, we all have each other and hope you find comfort in that.
What is your daughters name and age? Jada, 8
How long have you been a single parent: Since the beginning
Help from family? No, My Mother is in bay area and Dad in another state. I really depend on Friends.
Do you utilize the help from friends? I don’t. That was my next thing. I don’t use it. It’s hard. I feel so guilty, I don’t like to ask for any help. Not just with my child, but with anything. So, I just suffer in silence.
What is your biggest challenge as a single mother? I think even if you're not a single parent, you're always wondering am I doing it right? Did I handle that correctly? Was I too hard on her? Was I not hard enough? Did I let her slide when I shouldn’t have? You really question; Am I doing this right? I am doing this all by myself so I don't have anyone to bounce this off of, other than my friends.
What would you say your greatest insecurity is as a single mother? Sometimes I feel like because I am a single parent, I can’t afford everything….Because it is just one income... She doesn’t feel it, she doesn’t know… But like when were at dance class, and I hear moms *oh god I am going to cry* I just feel like sometimes, I can't put her in everything, I can't take her to Disneyland for summer or spring break… but she doesn’t know.. If I take her to the pool, she's just as happy. She doesn’t know, she's like oh were in the pool, were having fun, which is fine! But I feel like it’s not enough. I should be doing more, I feel like I am hard on myself, because I am not taking her like everyone else is taking their kids to Disneyland for summer break. You know people ask me, what are you guys doing for summer, and I am like “ Staying home, I have to work! I don’t have time off to go to Disneyland.” But yeah, I guess this is my biggest insecurity, I feel like I’m not doing enough… But she doesn’t know. I know when she gets older, and looks back she's not going to know the struggle. You know that we were low income…
Well looking back, did you know? Oh yeah, I knew. I grew up very different from my daughter, I had a single mother and brother, so my mother was a single mother of two kids rather than my one. I remember in high school and stuff my friends would say “ oh we're going here for the summer or even like hey we're going to applebee’s for dinner"… We didn’t do that. I think I can count on one hand how many times we ate out. We never went anywhere, it was just we're here, and that’s it. There was no extra stuff. I knew that, but I was ok with that, it was our reality. And I was ok with that. There was no cheerleading team or soccer teams. There was no money for that. SO I knew when I became a parent, whether I was single or not, it was going to be something I would change. I wanted her to take dance class, take soccer, whatever she wanted to do I wanted to give that to her.
I tell her stories about when I was little, and she is shocked. She will ask me questions like, did you take dance or did you eat at a restaurant, and I’m like no girl, we didn’t even have a car! She’s just shocked.
As a single mother, what is your silver lining? When I see her, she is still happy. She is always smiling. No matter what, she's happy and that’s what means the most.
What would you say people of multiple parent households take for granted? That you have that extra set of hands. You have someone to help you with the laundry, dishes, drop offs pickups, dinner and such. I don’t have that.
What invaluable lessons do you believe you are teaching your daughter, through the way that you raise her? To be independent! I grew up with a single mom, and she didn’t have anyone else to depend on. I want her to learn to not depend on anyone else, especially a man. Learn to do things on your own, by yourself, you can make your own money. She is already pretty independent at 8 so it’s great.
Looking back on your journey as a mom, where do you feel you are stronger now, than in the beginning? Looking back when I first had her, and knowing I was going to be doing it alone, I was kind of nervous. But I told myself, "You know what, were going to suck it up and were going to do it, this is what we have to do." But now as she is getting older, and I feel like I can finally exhale and say,” I got it.” I look at her and can say “I got it." She’s a well-rounded kid, she receives tons of praise from her teachers at school and church, and I can honestly finally say,
“I got this, I am doing a good job.”
I hope you found Tawona's words insightful into what the single motherhood life is like... And if you are reading this at a time in your life where maybe you're not feeling like you have it all together, and you're drowning in this current season, know that YOU GOT THIS. This too shall pass, and no matter how hard this feels, KNOW that you WILL get through this. There is no other option. Believe that.
Again, feel free to share your own experiences, tips to surviving it and thoughts on this interview! Can't wait to share our next interview with you guys.
Photography by David J Orozco