The ups and downs of being raised by a single mother

For the past 16 years of my life, there is only one person who has never left my side—my mother. Although she may not have had much of a choice, she deserves commendation for enduring years of my wrath, mood swings, and sass without throwing me out of the house. If that isn’t devotion, I don’t know what is.

The truth is, even though I drive my mom crazy on a daily basis, I really do admire her strength and unfaltering dedication to me, her favorite child (at least that’s what I’d like to think). After spending the last decade and half with my mom, I am just beginning to understand the hardships that she has endured raising me as a single mother.

Since my father passed away when I was young, my mother has worked tirelessly to ensure that my older sister and I, mere children, do not feel his absence.

A few months after his death, our home became increasingly lonely. My sister and I felt lost and confused, unable to understand the tragedy that had just occurred. Though times were hardest on my mom, she threw me and my sister a joint birthday party in hopes that we could still have the same privileges as other children.

Though nothing can make up for the lingering agony forever suspended in our home, I would say my mother has done more than any other parent out there. I often feel as though I have not one parent, but five or six.

At age 11, I threw a tantrum after my mother told me that she could not take me to a friend’s party because she was already taking my sister elsewhere that day. My fury and desperation did nothing to change my mom’s mind. I never quite understood that she was only one person who could not juggle so many different things at once. She wasn’t prioritizing my sister like I thought, but rather just couldn’t please both her children at once.

In fact, most of my mom’s life still consists of similar situations—my sister and I battling over who receives the most attention. Whereas most kids can turn to another parent in times of need, we have just one mother who has to please the both of us.

Having one parent isn’t too terrible, though. Since my sister and I always turn to our mother for advice and comfort, my mom seems to have an omniscient role in our house, never without an answer to our problems.

My mom and I once began bickering on the drive home from school about my “lack of responsibility.” After our bitter dispute, she claimed she would not talk to me for the rest of the week. Yet, in a matter of minutes, we began laughing once again. Even though our opinions frequently clash, I have always believed that the more you love, the more you fight.

Unlike most kids, I don’t return from school to two parents, siblings, and other family, but rather one woman who is all of the above. Despite our daily disputes and silly disagreements, my last three words to my mother every night are “I love you.”

My mom can be stubborn and hard to deal with 99 percent of the time, but she is, after all, the only parent I have ever really had. Although I never tell her out loud how much I appreciate all that she’s done for me, I have no doubt that she knows she’s the reason I’ve come so far today. Shoutout to my mother for single-handedly putting up with all of my…well, you can fill in the rest.

Originally published in Harker Aquila


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