1. There is no “Good Cop/Bad Cop” routine. There’s just your mom. So that time you come home past your curfew, or break her favorite plate, or send the cell phone bill off the charts, she’ll have to be the one to give you the bad news (aka lecture you until your ears fall off). Then, when she’s done giving you her speech, she’ll be the one you curl up next to for a hug, a kiss, and a much-needed whisper along the lines of “You’re a fabulous kid, you know that? And I love you no matter what.”
2. If you have other siblings, you’ll learn fast growing up that you’re not only responsible for yourself, you’re responsible for them too – especially if you’re the eldest. How quickly you go from being her little baby whose butt she wipes and pudgy fingers she wants to eat to being your little sister or brother’s unpaid babysitter, at the constant beck-and-call to that kid’s needs because your mother literally can’t be in two places at once, no matter how much you hate her for it.
3. You could do (more) bad stuff, be a tougher kid, cause her more problems but…you don’t want to. Because you know she’s got enough to deal with, enough on her plate, and knowing you’re choosing to be more of a burden to her than you already are just isn’t a thrill. So you do her a solid and stay out of trouble – just until you need to get her attention, that is!
4. One income. Enough said. So while your friends have two wallets to rely on for petty cash, you only have one, and it’s not yours to open. So you’ll probably have to go to go without the latest technology growing up, you’ll probably have to go to a cheaper college, and you’ll probably have had some kind of job of your own since you were, like, 14 years old (she’ll have been encouraging you to get a job since you were 11, like the drill sergeant she is) so you’ve always known a little more than your peers about the reality of money.
5. Interestingly enough, despite everything you’ve always thought, she is a person too! A real-life human being, one with feelings, and thoughts, and dreams of her own. So outside of the role she plays in your life, she has her own life to think about too.
6. Which, that being said, means that she might want to date at some point. And when she wants to date, lets be real: it fucking sucks for you. It sucks because you think you’re all of a sudden unimportant, unloved, and totally forgotten. It sucks because you’re totally territorial, as we all are about our parents (especially when we only have the one), and you hate the idea of your mom being happy if it’s not with you. When in reality, you are and always will be her number one priority – but, sorry to break it to you, you’re not the company she wants on a romantic evening, possibly followed by an even more romantic night, wink wink (Blech blech!). You’re going to grow up someday and have your own life and your own someone special, and maybe she wants a life and a someone special of her own, who can take good care of her when you’re gone.
7. Father’s Day will always be uncomfortable. When you’re young it’s awful; you’re so incredibly, painfully jealous of all of your friends and their dads and their celebrations. When you’re older, it’s not as awful, but you’re still bitter, and you’re definitely still jealous of all of your friends and their dads and their celebrations. This day just gives you even more incentive to go above-and-beyond when it’s Mother’s Day (aka you are more than allowed to display your affections for her on every form of media you’re addicted to, no matter how extravagant your posts are).
8. There’s a scene in the Amanda Bynes (pre-crazy) movie “What A Girl Wants” where she has her long-awaited Father-Daughter dance. Said scene will make you shiver with tears that no one else watching the movie will be able to understand. Because, just like Amanda Bynes (pre-crazy) you have spent much more of your life than you’d like to admit imagining that dance, and while she gets to have it, you most likely will not (unless you live on the set of a Warners Bros. movie, that is). But you know what? Once you’re done crying, and your friends have stopped trying to “totally get what you’re going through”, you’ll stop and think, well, you know, it’ll be all right, I’ll be okay, because…
9. While you may not get your three-minute Father-Daughter dance, you’ll get, instead, the kind of life-long Mother-Daughter relationship that those other kids won’t ever “totally get”, no matter what they say. This woman has been your backbone, your money pouch, your diary, your punching bag, your chef, your chauffeur, and most of all, your best friend. She, alone, can be proud of you like the great accomplishment you are – she deserves to be proud, she’s the reason you are who you are today. And, trust me, when it’s all said and done, no silly little dance will ever compete with the one-of-a-kind bond you and she have.
So maybe it’ll take you a while, maybe you’ll never fully get everything on this list, but the tenth and final thing you should definitely know and understand if a single mother has raised you is:
10. She’s Superwoman.