Today I have mostly been thinking about this quote. About how I have always identified myself as 'in a relationship'. How my self-perception and self-esteem was a direct reflection on how I was with my partner, how he saw me, how the world viewed us.
Recently I shared some thoughts on Re-Claiming the Term 'Single Mom' but I also know that this goes deeper than just labels and stereotypes. Having being in a relationship for nearly all of my adult life, I think this is a period of adjustment since it ended; when something funny or terrible or lovely happens and it is an almost instinctual response to call the ex just to tell him. Or when you're getting dressed and you want to turn to someone and ask 'how do I look?' (and with only 3yo present the answer is almost always 'yack mommy, can I watch cartoons now?') And it is more than that too, not just used to getting on by yourself, but how you relate to others and walk in the world. How do you see yourself in the mirror? I'll be honest (and I'm sure somewhat unfeminist) when I say that my reflection is somehow not complete. Not like I'm missing someone but definitely something. And when I walk down the street and a cute guy smiles at me, or the coffeeshop guy draws a heart in my latte foam or a friend calls and invites me out for the evening or I go to the movies... they way I respond to those things, it is all different now- it is all out of my comfort zone of blushing and brushing away compliments or mentally making a note to check with the other half and always always putting someone else before yourself.
And I realise, as I keep realising, that now that it's just me making the decisions, directing our lives, now that I only have myself and my kid to think about I can 'reinvent' myself (as corny as that sounds). I can redefine our life. I can pick up roles and brush off old habits. I keep telling myself off for thinking about the time ex and I were together as 'when we were a family' - keep reminding myself that V and I are still a family, we just gotta re-define how that family works for us now. So I stand by my Single Mom label, but I'll add more to that as I go along... friend, lover, daughter... Myself. Just me. Only there's no 'just' about it.