Shame kept me from sending single parent Christmas cards

Why over a decade of holiday seasons have come and gone without a Christmas card from us is complicated.

Actually it's not! It's because of shame; plain and simple.

I ended up feeling like I didn't have a "right," or we weren't "enough of a family" to send one out. Like it was a feeling that we weren't complete. Like somehow we were less of a family because there wasn't a second parent, or even another child. Just me and her. Just. Only.

I'm a single mom, but I don't do it alone

I've had many friends and family and acquaintances exclaim, "I don't know how you do it!" when I mention the kids and work and school and all my various activities. I have a LOT on my plate, but in the throes of it, I just… do it. I manage. Somehow. Here's the thing, though. I think the term "single mom" is kind of misleading. Yes, I am single. "Single" in the strictly relationship-status-definition of the word. I do not have a boyfriend or significant other who helps me with housework and rubs my feet at night and shares the day-to-day responsibility of caring for my children.

Single parenthood by choice: I adopted a child after ending my 15-year marriage

Most days as I push our stroller up a hill loaded with my son and a week's supply of groceries and feel the muscles in my arms and legs working, I am reminded of the total body workouts I used to enjoy at my local gym. Not that long ago I lived a very different life — one that included a husband, a charming little house that we owned on a tree-lined street, a fulfilling full time job, a fun fashion part time job, volunteer work as a board of director for two companies, four weekly gym workouts and a circle of friends for dinner parties or BBQs and occasional travel.