Before I became a mother, I envisioned sharing a life with my husband and 5 beautiful brown children in a mansion. I’d spent an inordinate amount of time selecting their first and middle names, ensuring they’d have meaning, before entering college. The rosy picture faded about two years after my son was born. Lack of husband and house aside, I quickly learned that motherhood is as rewarding as it is difficult. And I’ve experienced the fullness of both.
I keep this in mind every time someone, usually a well-meaning elder, asks me when I’m going to give my 9-year-old a sibling. They dote on me for being a good mom. They complement me for his kind behavior and manners. Their smiles reinforce that he’s clean, helpful and generally pleasant. They see me handle other people’s children with the same level of care and automatically assume more children is my “calling”. The only thing every one of them has neglected to offer up are the good single men in their lives. Where is he, Sis?
I am smart enough not to take immediate offense to this, knowing that this is partially kind banter. But for those who repeat the question (every time we see one another) I wonder how they suppose the baby (that I haven’t asked for) is going to come. My instincts tell me the Good Lord is done with immaculate conception.
Does my greatness begin and end in motherhood? Can none of that specialness be translated into being someone’s significant other? Say ‘Round, why am I limited to bussin’ it wide open for maternity’s sake when I’d rather be just plain old bussin’ it wide open? My best friend, who’s also a single mom, poignantly stated that “the compliments of being a good mom flow just as easily as the shady comments about being a single mom.” Excuse me while I search for the lie.
I am not ashamed of my life’s choices, nor am I seeking marriage or pregnancy at this time. What I would like, however, is that when well-meaning married people suggest new babies for my life that they at least suggest new men. Be proactive in your pursuit of future brown babies passing through me.
While I love all the twists and turns motherhood offers, the company of an available man is welcome. In the event you don’t have one in your back pocket, please understand that it’s okay to compliment single mothers for their works without simultaneously shoving more children in their uteruses. It’s okay to introduce her to single, mentally stable men or women she might enjoy. It’s okay to envision her being happy and whole the way she sees it for herself. Most importantly, it’s okay to wish her well and stay out of her business. Chances are, she’s preoccupied raising well-adjusted children to take care of us all in 30 years anyway.