Life. Is. Chaos.
When I was voted most likely to reach maximum entropy in my high school yearbook I considered it to be an homage to my nerdiness and eccentricity. Now I just consider it to be a true fact. My name is Ulina, I’m 31 years old and I am a single mother to four pretty exhausting, albeit incredible, little humans.
I try not to make it a point to announce my singledom to strangers, or really anyone for that matter. In my experience people rarely seem to be able to comprehend the concept of single parenting and generally speaking, once I get “outed” as a single mother in any room the conversation seems to sway in a rather uncomfortable direction or even cease altogether. I feel the looks and sense the curiosity but dwelling on it really isn’t worth anyone’s time, especially my own.
Just because I don’t shout it from the rooftops does not mean I’m ashamed of being a single mother; I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished for myself and for my kids throughout these years of (what feels like) being constantly bombarded with new and interesting challenges. I have never felt the need to be portrayed in a light that is defined solely by my marital status. I don’t think that anyone should be defined that way. “What does your husband do?” should not be the gold standard of conversation starters. My capabilities as a woman and a mother shouldn’t be overlooked because I’ve chosen to raise my children as a single mother. My children shouldn’t have to grow up surrounded by people who insinuate that my life or theirs was lacking because I was never married. I’m not a martyr or a victim of circumstance; I’m a mother who happens to be single. It’s simply my choice of reality and I’d say that it has worked out pretty great so far, despite a few bumps in the road.
Admittedly, I never dreamed that my life would come to this. As a young person I could never fathom the idea of having one child let alone 4. I have always enjoyed doing most things alone and particularly appreciated having the freedom to do so. And not to invalidate anyone’s feelings on the matter, but being a single parent isn’t exactly a typical aspiration for most and yet for the better part of the last 9 years or so-as luck would have it-here I am doing just that and I can say with confidence that, as difficult as it can be, I’m kind of nailin’ it.
I’m the furthest thing from an egomaniac but having kids is hard enough even when you have a supportive partner and I’ve done a pretty incredible job of it on my own. I will admit that I’m fortunate enough to have most of my proverbial ‘village’ living here in my home town and I have pretty amazing support all over the world thanks to social networking but it has still been an uphill battle to say the very least. The mix of late nights with an infant, early mornings with school-aged kids, and chasing after a busy toddler is assuredly not for the faint of heart and these are just all in a day’s work here. I’ll admit, begrudgingly, that despite my love of personal space and quiet evenings that it can get lonely at times, and things can pretty easily get overwhelming but I’m doing the best I can with what I’ve got.
Sure, I get less than 5 broken up hours of sleep a night and I drink enough coffee to make up for it but I got to see my soon-to-be three-year-old dance her heart out at ballet this morning; I got to watch my oldest daughter dance her way through the streets of Disneyland this summer; I got to teach my middle daughter to read with the same book that I learned to read with; I got to witness my son taking his first steps.
It isn’t the most glamorous or lucrative lifestyle but I can say with unadulterated certainty that the good has, and always will, outweigh the bad.
Ulina is a quasi-extroverted, caffeine-loving introvert who enjoys hiking, travelling and crafting while not-so-effortlessly maintaining the balance between solo parenting four spawn, working, and avidly promoting cloth diapering to anyone who will listen.
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