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This Single Mom's New Life

Excerpted from Bad Dates, Babysitters & Boardrooms: Life on the Far Side of Perfect

by Diane K. Danielson  |  1423 views  |  4 comments  |       Rate this now! 

My divorce was finalized one month after giving birth back in 1999. It was quite a year and you can just imagine my holiday newsletter. “Just wanted to drop a note to wish you the best … by the way, I’ve gotten divorced, given birth (see, I wasn’t just porking out due to a crumbling marriage), and had to change jobs. Oh yeah, and I also had to move out of the house and into a rental, so you might want to note this new address in pencil.”

I have to admit that despite the awful concept, and the fact that there’s no one around required to tell you that you’re still beautiful or talk you down from all your horrible thoughts about what could go wrong with the baby, there are some huge advantages to being pregnant during a divorce. First, you can’t drink yourself silly and wind up married to the next inappropriate bloke. Second, there’s nothing like being dumped back onto the dating scene one month after giving birth to motivate you to fit back into your skinny jeans. And, finally, after years of trying to being a “good girl,” there’s actually some relief to be tossed off the perfection bandwagon.

Really, what can be less perfect than a single mother with a baby? Suddenly, I had every excuse to have a messy house, screw up at work, and basically toss the rule book out the window. It would be absolutely impossible for me to live by the standards set forth by all the parenting books and magazines. In fact, I was even told by a hospital administrator that I couldn’t attend Lamaze classes because I didn’t have a partner! Imagine that. Just because you’re alone and pregnant, you’re barred from learning what’s going to happen in the delivery room. (Special thanks to high-up friends at the hospital and to my pal, Candace, to whom I am forever indebted for spending a Saturday pretending to be my “partner.”)

Yet, that was my first introduction to the sad fact that society still wasn’t ready to deal with single mothers, let alone an ambitious career girl. Then again, I was a bit naive like Diane Keaton in Baby Boom, so I’m not sure I was ready for my new life either. “What do you mean all my years of hard work count for nothing now that I’m a mom?” “Can it really be true that even if I can afford the $20,000 it costs for full-time daycare in the city, there’s no guarantee I will even get off a waiting list?” “Is it bad to load your kid up on 8-hour Motrin and hope they don’t realize he’s sick again?” “What, me? I’m not sick …hack… hack … hack … just give me another zinc tablet, … wheeze …. besides I used up my sick days for my son.”

About the Author

Diane K. Danielson is the CEO of DowntownWomensClub.com, a business network and career site for women and a blogger for www.womensDISH.com

Read more by Diane K. Danielson




4 comments so far...

  • Hi Deborah - When I first started working from home, I had a lot of trouble adjusting. But mostly due to the loneliness. But, I found a few other women who also worked from home and we created a monthly "buzz club" and it was like having an advisory board for both my business and my life. It kept me going through the tough parts, and accountable to my goals and also they were there to remind me that I'm making progress. Hmmmm. That reminds me, I once wrote an article about that. Maybe this would be a great place to reprint it! Thanks for writing and hopefully you'll find some ways the Downtown Women' Club (www.downtownwomensclub.com) can help!

    Diane

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Diane K. Danielson on 27th September 2007

  • I loved the article Diane, so well written. Being a single parent myself for 8 years now, and I just left Corporate America last year after being 9 years in the same job, I'm struggling as a WAHM trying to find the structure, discipline, and leaving the office (home). I got more done when I worked full time! Luckily for me (although not sure how long it will last), I had a nice stock option package that I exercised and we're living off that...but I don't want to be living off that for too longI need a nice steady income coming in.....and networking is all part of it....and it's just not happening yet. I've started to update my resume and may have to venture back out there again (although I'd rather not). My relationship with my son is so much better...he even says I'm happier and less stressed.
    So if any of your successful WAHM's can give me any tips or advice on how to keep it going...would love to hear from you.
    Diane - I'm reading your blogs...they're so great! I'm glad I've found you...it's so inspirational to see another single parent making it.....thanks! :)

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Deborah, The English Organizer on 27th September 2007

  • MaryP - Thanks for writing. I love to hear happy endings. And it helps to have a positive attitude. When I was going through the process of changing my name back to my maiden name, people would say "congratulations, did you just get married?". I would tell them about the divorce, and say, ... "But, congratulations are still in order!"

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Diane K. Danielson on 5th August 2007

  • I didn't have a newborn when my marriage ended. (Good grief!) But I did have three children ten and under, who, until then, had been homeschooled - meaning I had no job. Well, no paid job. In the ten (eleven?) years since then, I became a self-employed WAHM so I could continue to homeschool my kids for a few more years, I bought my own home (after years of renting), my eldest has graduated university and my second from high school, and I've remarried a wonderful, wonderful man.

    Divorce is the end of something, to be sure - but it's also the beginning of something.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by MaryP on 2nd August 2007

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