The Modern Family

elizabeth gilbert

Since the end of my marriage in January, there has been a steady stream of “firsts” for me to navigate as a single mother. Our first Easter, family holiday away, kid’s birthday, etc. Yesterday is was our first major family event – a wedding – and today was, of course, my first Mother’s Day flying solo.

Each one of these first’s has been significant for me. Almost like rites of passage, if you will, adjusting to the new dynamics of my life.

I will readily admit to being hung up on the fact that I am now a single mother. It’s something that has taken a while to sit comfortably with me. Not just because of the pain and heartbreak that lead to this, but also because it simply never occurred to me that I would ever be in this position. Adjusting my self perception has been incredibly challenging.

However, at the gorgeous civil union of my aunt and her partner yesterday, a guest said some words that resonated so deeply with me that I realised I’ve had it wrong all along.

She said something to the effect of:

“This is the modern family. It does not matter what it looks like. This is love.”

the modern family

It was a complete light bulb moment for me.

Being a single mother certainly does not mean I love my children any less. And that is exactly what family is: Love.

I love my children with the fire of a thousand suns. Being a single mother does not mean our family is not whole. It has simply changed shape.

I need to accept, acknowledge and embrace that I am enough for them, regardless of my relationship status.

Yes, being a single mum is hard. But if I am perfectly honest, it is no harder than trying to co-parent with someone who is there in body but not in spirit.

In fact, solo-parenting has already taught me so many things, and made me a better mother for it.

I now listen more. Talk more. Play more. Cuddle more. Say sorry more.

I stop and smell the roses, cherishing opportunities to deviate from the plan to share special moments with the kids.

Life is busy and complicated, and let’s face it, sometimes it’s pretty bloody ugly.

But even though I am single, I am not alone. I have an amazing support crew of relatives and friends. The extended “family” we have surround us with love each and every day.  SO. MUCH. LOVE!

I think my little modern family is going to be just fine.

What does your modern family look like? 


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