Until someone else does the carrying, labor and delivery… every mom is a single mother.
A friend recently shared that he was raised by a single mom. She was the head of a single parent home, and did double duty as best she could to raise him. He added poignantly that “A woman cannot raise a boy to be a man.” Although he “appreciates what she was able to do, under the circumstances…” to me he seemed somewhat disappointed in his mom. But not the father. Maybe that conversation will happen some other day.
Despite rocky beginnings, the gentleman is now a grown man, one that is accomplished in his field. I wonder how much of his success is based on trying to solve the problems of his childhood. Without those challenges, would he have become something / someone else?
As to his point about “a woman teaching a boy how to be a man…” I haven’t a clue. We don’t teach a bird how to fly or sing, nor do we teach a dog how to run or fetch … Instead, we reinforce the animal’s behavior in a way that domesticates the pet to our liking. Please do not accuse me of equating men with animals, because that is NOT my point. My point is that communal living (whether it is a community of creatures, people – or both) is about behavior that is acceptable to the community at large.
Who is to say what is acceptable? Usually the first voice to express this is your mother. But having this “say so” is still not enough to raise a man (according to my successful friend).
So I asked a few men of different ages what it takes to raise / be a man. The guys told me that manhood (or womanhood for that matter), is something that you create for yourself, from within yourself, by yourself. They said that you can have role models, but it is really an inside job. I am unsure as to whether the way to become a man (or woman) is a function of nature or nurture or both.
Hopefully, mothers and children – male or female – love each other and learn to forgive themselves, and each other for whatever was / was not / is / will be [fill in the blank]. I found some insights and quotes on mothers that brought everything back full circle for me. I am going to share them with my friend to ask if he was raised by “a single mother” or simply “my mother.”
# Don’t handicap your children by making their lives easy. ~ Robert A. Heinlein
# God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers. ~ Rudyard Kipling
# The trouble with being a parent is that by the time you are experienced, you are unemployed. ~ Anonymous
# When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child. ~ Sophia Loren
# A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie. ~ Tenneva Jordan
# Some are kissing mothers and some are scolding mothers, but it is love just the same, and most mothers kiss and scold together. ~ Pearl S. Buck
# Raising a family is difficult enough. But it’s even more difficult for single parents struggling to make ends meet. They don’t need more obstacles. They need more opportunities. ~ Bill Richardson
# Any mother could perform the jobs of several air traffic controllers with ease. ~ Lisa Alther
# The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new. ~ Rajneesh
# If the whole world were put into one scale, and my mother in the other, the whole world would kick the beam. ~ Lord Langdale
# The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness. ~ Honore’ de Balzac
# I think while all mothers deal with feelings of guilt, working mothers are plagued by guilt on steroids! ~ Arianna Huffington
# Mothers hold their children’s hands for a short while, but their hearts forever. ~ Anonymous
# Mothers always find ways to fit in the work – but then when you’re working, you feel that you should be spending time with your children and then when you’re with your children, you’re thinking about working. ~ Alice Hoffman
# It would seem that something which means poverty, disorder and violence every single day should be avoided entirely, but the desire to beget children is a natural urge. ~ Phyllis Diller
# A man’s work is from sun to sun. A mother’s work is never done. ~ Anonymous
# Many working mothers feel guilty about not being at home. And when they are there, they wish it could be perfect. This pressure to make every minute happy puts working parents in a bind when it comes to setting limits and modifying behavior. ~ Cathy Rindner Tempelsman
# Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs in my field, since the payment is pure love. ~ Mildred B. Vermont
# Mothers are the people who love us for no good reason. And those of us who are mothers know it’s the most exquisite love of all. ~ Maggie Gallagher
# Only mothers can think of the future – because they give birth to it in their children. ~ Maxim Gorky
# Mothers – especially single mothers – are heroic in their efforts to raise our nation’s children, but men must also take responsibility for their children and recognize the impact they have on their families’ well-being. ~ Evan Bayh
# Mothers are fonder than fathers of their children because they are more certain they are their own. ~ Aristotle
# If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do well matters very much. ~ Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
# The quickest way for a parent to get a child’s attention is to sit down and look comfortable. ~ Lane Olinghouse
# Good mothers know that their relationship with each of their children is like a movable feast, constantly changing and evolving. ~ Sue Woodman
#Can I Have Some Money? ~ Candi Sparks