By Emma Johnson
A couple of years ago, a man I was involved with who lives in Denmark was visiting, and his stay coincided with an annual holiday party my kids and I attend. Some weeks after the event, I bumped into a married stay-at-home mom who was at the party, and had been chatting with my guest. “He was so nice,” she said. “Maybe if things go well, you and your kids can move to Europe!”
“Oh, no, he’s not my boyfriend,” I corrected her. “He’s my lover.” I smiled and ran off to my meeting, leaving her slackjawed on the sidewalk.
This was one of my favorite kickass single mom moments. I define these moments when a single mom decides to live life by her own terms because that is what is good for her, and her family — and the world around her (in the case of my lover, I enjoyed a fabulous two-year affair that included sailing around the North Sea in his sail boat last summer, my kids got to know a lovely new person, and I informed the world that single mothers are entitled to love lives outside of marriage, all while gleefully making naysayers squirm). These are points in time when a woman’s paradigm shifts, and she moves into a life that is bigger and richer than she imagined her life could be — or the world tells her she is capable of.
I have experienced countless other kickass single mom moments (many of them documented in my new book with Penguin, The Kickass Single Mom: Be Financially Independent, Discover Your Sexiest Self, and Raise Fabulous, Happy Children). Some include beating the crap out of my previous financial goals, those that I held when married, and were always lower than my then-husband’s salary. Others include traveling around Costa Rica, alone, with my kids, or mastering a DIY project with nothing but a power drill, sweat, and my own determination.
These are points in time when a woman’s paradigm shifts, and she moves into a life that is bigger and richer than she imagined her life could be.
Through my work with single moms around the world, I hear about kickass single mom moments every single day. There is Carla, who had never asked for a raise in her life, but after a year of hustling like crazy, beating her sales goals and bringing home serious bacon, asked for — and received a 30 percent bump on her salary. Tasha reported successfully co-hosting a graduation party for her daughter with her ex and his new wife — the woman who had been his mistress during his marriage to Tasha. Mai was sick of feeling stuck in her small town, and so packed up her three small children one July morning and they toured the country by minivan and a slim budget for three weeks, defying what she believed she was capable of.
Often, however, the most powerful kickass single mom moments are flitting seconds when a woman’s mindset shifts. She stops arguing with her ex about money, and decides she can make far more than he’ll ever give her. For the first time in her life, she gives a guy her phone number. She takes on parenting tasks she assumed a dad would do — teaching a kid to ride a bike, or hauling the suitcases on vacation — and realizes how limiting those gender roles are for everyone. She takes a risk in her career, starts a new business, reaches out to someone in her field who intimidates her. She might learn to ride a motorcycle, which both terrifies and thrills her, perform burlesque, which both terrifies and thrills her, or allows herself to fall in love — which of course does the same.
The kickass single mom, especially in these moments, knows that her life is her own, and that she can kickass in any damn way she pleases.
About the Author
Emma Johnson is a financial journalist who blogs at WealthySingleMommy.com. Her book, The Kickass Single Mom: Be Financially Independent, Find Your Sexiest Self, and Raise Fabulous, Happy Children is out in October (Penguin).