Meet Charlene, A Single MomINTERVIEWS, PARENTING | Nirasha Jaganath | May 31, 2009 at 8:29 pm
Charlene is a mom to a beautiful young daughter and she is one one of the most vibrant people I know. Besides her work as a social worker and being dedicated mom, Charlene is an active participant on mommy groups too. If that was not enough to keep her plate full, she is now a distributor of Shaklee (we will explore this part of Charlene in a separate post later down the line) products. Mommy Niri spoke to her to try to get to know her better.
How long have you been a single mom?
I became a single mom during my pregnancy. I have chosen not to date while my daughter is young. So it has just been her and I all along and we both like it that way!
What has been your single most difficult thing (I know there would have been plenty)?
I’m told all the time that being a single mom is such a hard job, however, I don’t really think anything has been that difficult. I have continued to pursue my education all along and am currently working on a masters degree. I have worked out of the home almost the entire time, except for two separate times I saved up some money and took a few months off. I am always challenging myself personally and professionally. There have been some days that I needed lots of caffeine and wished that there were more hours in the day. But my daughter keeps me going every day!
How much of support do you get from family and friends?
I have a lot of support from my parents and sisters who live in the same city. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be able to go to school. They offer free babysitting, lots of quality family time, peace of mind, and personal support and love.
Where do you draw your strength and courage?
I think I draw it from a number of sources: my daughter, within myself, and from family.
What are you most proud of?I am most proud of being a mother. Work and school give me satisfaction and I could never not work towards goals, but I would not have these high goals if it wasn’t for being a mother and all the joy and love that that brings.
Have there been organizations out there that have supported Single moms, and if so what are they?
I am a social worker with children and families and can tell say that there are a lot of agencies in this area that help single mothers. However, personally I haven’t contacted any specific agencies for help. I have been grateful to have worked at great companies with great employers that are very understanding of my situation.
Have you encountered a lot of bias and prejudices in a community that is otherwise filled with dual parents?
It is sometimes uncomfortable to be a single mom in a community full of dual parents. Most of the families at my daughter’s school are two-parent families. I am also a young mother so the age difference between myself and some of the other parents can be awkward sometimes as well, just because I am clearly the minority and the differences can be obvious. At my daughter’s recent First Communion the parents of the child stand with their child in the pews during a few parts of the mass and I was one of the only single parents there. However, since I am a competent mom and have nearly a decade in childcare experience, the differences quickly melt away and it’s just a matter of being friendly and open to answering any questions other parents have.
What has been your biggest surprise being a mom (single or otherwise)?
My daughter was an unplanned pregnancy and having children wasn’t something I really thought about or desired before I became pregnant. I am surprised at how strong the mother-daughter bond is. I love my daughter more and more each day, if that is even possible. As she grows she is more independent and needs me in a different way than she did when she was little, but we still remain very close!
What makes you smile at the end of the day?
Nothing means more to me than to be able to spend quality time with my daughter. At the end of a busy day where we don’t stop running around, just 10 minutes of time together re-energizes us both and ends the day on a great note!