Single Mom Guilt

Went to Landon’s baseball game yesterday then swung by Walmart to pick up a few things. Nina and Landon were stalking me so every time I turned around in the store, I ran into them. Somehow we ended up in the Sporting Goods section and Landon was looking at the bats. He test swung a couple and told Nina he liked this one or that one. Nina told him to put them all back, that he needed to wait until his dad was with him to help him choose.


My son Garey getting his son Aiden ready for T-ball.

I honestly don’t know why – maybe it was the over exposure of watching horrible things unfold on the news this week – but I found myself unusually emotional. At that moment, when Nina told him his dad would help him, it was all I could do to hold back the tears. I really did not want to cry in Walmart surrounded by youth-sized jock straps and the cooler of redworms (yeah, we live in Randleman). All I could think of was my son’s dad never helped him pick out a bat.

Garey played t-ball and youth baseball and basketball and even soccer. His dad and I divorced before Garey was six and for whatever reason, his dad sort of took a leave of absence and decided to pursue other interests (like his own, but that’s a whole ‘nother story). So it was pretty much up to me to raise a son and his little sister alone.

I didn’t know what size bat he needed. Or what type of glove or how to condition a new glove. But I learned. I learned by asking his coaches and the dads of his teammates. I made sure he never missed a practice even if it meant leaving work a few minutes early and eating a bowl of cereal for supper afterward. I learned the rules of the game so I wouldn’t be the mom screaming at the umpire on a fair call.

I took him fishing and had to learn how to bait a hook myself so I could teach him. Ask Nina how well he can bait a hook. He was maybe seven, she was three, and I took the both of them down to the community lake. Garey put an entire nightcrawler worm (about three inches worth) on his hook, rared back to cast and hooked Nina’s cute little yellow and pink sunsuit right at the top button. Nina is hysterical. There’s a three-inch worm attached to her outfit, writhing right under her nose. The hook was firmly embedded in the fabric so the only way to safely remove it and not risk impaling Nina was to take off the ย outfit. She’s still hysterical, I’m trying to get her clothes off, Garey’s trying to control the fishing rod still attached to his screaming little sister…okay…I’m over my own guilt trip now. That memory has me laughing so hard I can hardly see to type.

I don’t know why I carry any guilt in the first place. It was my ex who chose to not be part of our kids’ lives until they were adults. My kids turned out just fine. They’re both kindhearted, super decent adults who turned into super great parents themselves. Garey’s even brave enough to take his little ones fishing. Of course there is the story from last summer when the giant fish jerked little Paisley’s Barbie rod and reel right out of her hands and daddy had to jump in the water to get it back. I think it involved some hand to hand combat with the man-eating fish. This according to Emma and Paisley. Their daddy. My son. Our hero. Yeah. I have nothing to feel guilty about.

Emma and her giant catch. Bet daddy baited her hook.

Emma and her giant catch. Bet daddy baited her hook.



  1. You had me tearing up (I am divorced too) and then laughing out load. I don’t know your son but I do know Nina and she is a sweetheart and wonderful mom. Love your blogs!!!

    • Lynn

      April 23, 2013 at 7:28 pm

      Thank you so much for the comment, Barbara. Yes, Nina is a sweetheart. Even if she does have this irrational fear of worms. Don’t know where she got that from ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I hear you loud and clear. I remember … what it was like. Raising a son who played first-string high school football when his dad, who only lived ten minutes down the road, never saw him play a game. I remember. We are strong women, Lynn. Ah yes, we’ve made our share of mistakes, but we raised wonderful children who became wonderful adults. And that doesn’t happen on it’s own. You are my hero. Great post!

    • Lynn

      April 23, 2013 at 7:31 pm

      Thanks, Pam. Yeah, sometimes we have to pick ourselves up, dust off, throw our shoulders back and say, “I DID do a good job.”

      • i love all the comments and story! i teared up thinking that will soon happen, im a soon to be single mom and its really encouraging. im expecting a baby boy but his father is no longer involved at all by choice of his own. its scary to think i dont know those boy things since i come from a family of girls lol. Thank you and god bless all of you strong mamas!

        • Lynn

          August 11, 2013 at 9:45 pm

          Blessings to you, too, Nancy. My advice is to learn the rules of the games, practice with him, encourage but don’t coddle – he won’t always be chosen as an all star or MVP. It’s your job to offer a pat on the back and gentle hug, not to make excuses. I’ll get off my soapbox now LOL. Enjoy your little guy ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Lynn, from what I’ve seen you’re a great mom and grandmother. I too know the pain of a missing dad as I remender the times I purchased gifts and wrote they’re dad’s name on them, pretending he dropped the gifts off.

    They’re a lot of good men out there and a few that believe when they divorce mom, they also divorce the children. It’s women like you how step up to the mound and hit a home run. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Lynn

      April 23, 2013 at 7:34 pm

      Thanks, Mary. You did the gift thing too? I think I only did it on birthdays and could have bitten my tongue off saying, “look, here’s one from daddy.”

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