40, education administrator/consultant
married, 3 kids (3 months, 8, 12)
What does “having it all” mean to you? Instead of ‘having it all,’ I say more and more often that I have an incredibly full life. When my husband and I first embarked upon creating our new family, with me bringing my son, who was 7 at the time, and he bringing his daughter, then 3, we called our endeavor, ‘project: family,’ as it really felt like constant work—but beautiful work, our own family passion project.
Having our baby together less than a year after our wedding has shifted our ‘project: family’ into one that feels even more stable, still with lots of feelings and constant attention to dynamics; but also with deep, tangible love and stronger connections, especially with the kids. Our wedding last year was an apex of sorts and a beautiful circle, especially because I got to marry my homie from back in the day (we’ve known each other since high school), which feels magical, as if I had always been traveling to this place.
The fullness of my life is reflected also in my work. My job is a high profile position, which, fortunately allows for family flexibility. I also work outside of my job as an independent consultant. I am committed to work—even if very small contributions—that can support social justice and social change, which is important to me and also for my kids to see.
What did being a single mom teach you about yourself? How is it different now being married? Being a single mama gave me a huge sense of pride in what I can accomplish because of my resourcefulness, hard work and joyful devotion to my son. I finished grad school while working full time, was able to access resources and make big changes to better his education at several different points (which is no joke in NYC) and also made some smart real estate moves.
Having a baby with such a supportive, fully hands-on partner at 40 has allowed me to look back with wonder and appreciation at how I parented my older son for much of his early childhood all on my own. I’ve always had great support; but it was always just me with him as a baby at home, me doing all parenting work. Finding other single mama friends helped, especially when it felt extra lonely in the beginning.
As a single mom, I know that my son and I were just as much a family as any other. I reject the term and the idea of a ‘broken family,’ as well as the looks or words of apology or pity I received when folks discovered it was just him and me. I saw how little media and society reflected the depth and breadth and diverse realities of families, especially with over half of families being headed by single moms. I craved the stories, tools and resources, especially geared for families like mine. This is super important work that needs to be done: expanding the narrative of family, especially for families with single moms.