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As a single mom, I have to be OK with loneliness

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It's so easy to ignore loneliness in the face of all the things a single mom must do

I don't get lonely very often. I am very busy raising three daughters, running my at-home business and managing all the other crazy in my life. But sometimes, late at night, when the kids are in bed, my dogs are snoring next to me and the sounds of the house are too familiar, I feel that ache in my heart for someone to hold. It is rare, but it is profound.

Once I fall asleep and my busy new day begins, it is a distant memory. But when it happens, it hurts. The reality is that I can't do much about it. When a single mom is lonely, there are so many barriers to doing anything.

Aside from the impossible concoction of actually finding, talking to and going on a date with someone, single moms have to consider their children, their trust level and their ability to choose a mate when they have failed before. I am naturally hard on myself, and take the actions of my ex as a direct hit on my choosing ability. I knew the kind of person he was when I married him, and I did it anyway. Because I wanted a family. And good Catholic girls get married if they want a family, right?

I got it, that family that I wanted so badly. Well, I got the children, anyway. It was accompanied by a farce of a marriage that was too painful to own. It was a mere skeleton of a healthy relationship; the joints only worked when he wanted to put on a show for his peers. When the divorce happened, the freedom to live a healthier life with my children with a smile on my face made the extreme loneliness I faced in the marriage seem as if it would never rear its ugly head again.

I have dated since the divorce. In fact, I had a consistent relationship with a man I saw only in my free time. The truth is that he was barely good enough for me, much less my children. In fact, in the few years I knew him, he only met my children once by happenstance. I told them he was a work friend. I have since ended it with him, and I've been at peace with it. He was not much help in the loneliness department anyway, because I never let him in. I didn't trust him. I don't trust myself.

Loneliness in the single mom is often overshadowed by what must get done (and what she thinks she must get done) on a daily basis. It can also be excused as something else. Maybe she's stressed out about a bill that's due. Maybe she's overwhelmed with the latest tantrum her 9-year-old has thrown. Maybe she's just so tired that her feelings are too similar to separate.

The complicated dance of actually bringing someone into the home to cure my sporadic loneliness, and the chance of it ending in pain for my children, is too much of a barrier to overcome right now. It is simply not fair to them for me to chance it. Not until I know that I can trust myself to make the right choice for us all.

In reality, I am very, very happy with my life. Having these three amazing girls is, hands down, the best experience of my life. Raising them is the most satisfying joy I have ever felt. They hug me with more enthusiasm than any man ever has. They kiss me with with more unconditional love than I have ever experienced. They hold my hand because it brings more joy to them than they think it does to me. I really don't want for a single thing. I just want them in my life, every day of it. I can't honestly say that I have felt that way about any man I have ever known. The elation they bring to me when we're laughing and playing is pretty hard to compete with.

So, if you think of me late at night, crying the silent tears of loneliness that are so hard for me to admit to, don't feel bad for me. They are much easier to absorb then the ones of yet another broken heart.

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