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Updated: Oct 6, 2020

As a single mom to a son I had bunch of hats to wear. I didn’t take my son’s father to court for child support, so whatever (if anything) I got was nothing that would make much of a difference. From the time my son was two I was a working mom – and not by choice. I appreciate every woman’s choice to be whatever kind of mom she want’s. I know working moms who run and own businesses and raise amazing kids – super moms for sure! I was one of those moms who would have killed to be a stay at home mom – but it wasn’t in the cards. You see once you are a mom – that is your most important job. And in that description it is your actions that speak loudest. To my son I wanted him to know that we are responsible for ourselves – no one else is- so off to work I went, with the heaviest of hearts –but with peace in my purpose.

We did not have a lot of money. As a matter of fact Halloween was kind of a boon for us. I could give my son a glass of milk, some Halloween candy and a multivitamin and boom! Breakfast was made! Ironically after school and even at dinner he would ask, can we have egg whites please? I didn’t intend for our poverty to reverse psychology him into a healthy eater, but I got lucky that it did. I always wondered how he would look back on those times, when we dried our clothes over the heat register, had one bedroom to share and not much else. Recently he told me how much he loves all our memories and that he wouldn’t trade them for anything. He reminded me that I could make anything seem like an adventure and fun. AND that he always felt safe and that he knew I would always make things okay. How’s that for a touch down moment?

Speaking of safe, my other job as a parent was to make sure my son really was safe. It’s a horrible conversation to have, but we MUST have them. When my son was about 3 or 4 (remember he was at daycare out of my care for about 10 hours a day) I had to have the conversation with him: “Bowen, if anyone, and I mean ANYONE approaches you and says to come with them that you don’t know, or just doesn’t make you feel comfortable – Don’t. And if any one says, “If you don’t do what they say they will hurt your mom”, just know – no one can hurt me- ever! I will always find you. I will always get you. And no one can ever hurt me”.

Do you know how empowered he was after that? He wasn’t scared, he was confident.

He carries this confidence with him to this day. And on that note of instilling confidence in your child – a big mistake I see parents making is forcing “politeness” on very young children. Go shake so and so’s hand. Or you must go with this stranger that they aren’t comfortable with, it could even be a friend’s parent. Or most commonly, “you have to go spend time with your mom, dad, grandmother” etc. Whoever it is, if your young child says no- you need to respect that. They have an inner compass that until we over-ride it will serve them well in making good judgments and keeping them safe for the rest of their lives.

I let my son decide when he felt safe or okay visiting his dad. Again, this empowered him. A few times my son’s father would try to bully him into spending more time with him. When you see your 4 year old hold their ground all on their own because no matter what their decision, to go or not go, you have their back. They become empowered children.

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