How being a single mom saved me from being a trainwreck

The truth is, if I wasn’t a single mom, I’d be a total mess.

You’re thinking, gross, another one of those parents who can’t stop talking about their kid(s).

Yep. Pretty much. That is my life now.

But not because having my daughter was something I ever dreamt about or aspired to do.

Kids grossed me out. Even the ones I was related to. Especially the ones I was related to.

I saw those slobbery, whining, nose-picking-and-eating creatures, those eye crustied, sticky, sneezing little brats as one thing and one thing only – a set of prison bars, closing in all that my eyes could see, ensuring the death of Jenn as I knew her.

What life had taught me pre-Mila Violet was that it was almost certainly better lived alone.

Me, a mother? You’re drunk.

No responsibilities, no messy situations, in fact, anything that was less than to be desired for my ideal path was often just cut out. I was the queen of burnt bridges.

I’m serious. There have been so many, I forget to this day until those ashes get blown in my face, and I’m like, oh crap….that’s right, I was a total biotch.

NOT that people who *don’t* want kids are totally biotches. It’s just that I was.

Am? Ugh, I’ll ask my counselor.

Anyway, I was looking forward, very much, to a husband-less, child-less life of freedom. Free from commitment, free from responsibility, free from any real substance (I would later discover).

I had dodged the child “bullet” before, so to speak, but when I found myself at the beginning of the journey that led to me meeting Miss Mila, I oddly felt like I had no choice in the matter.

I didn’t want to have a baby. But I couldn’t justify tossing her aside. I spent her nine month incubation period grieving, snarling at cute pregnancy quips, and bemoaning my untimely pending death. I didn’t know stick people could survive child birth.

(I did, by the way).

I didn’t warm to her when she arrived. In fact, I liked her even less. It wasn’t baby blues, or anything. I didn’t want to hurt her, I just wanted her to go away or at least, leave me alone.

She was just so red, and alien looking and demanding of my time, attention, and physical space. I’m not a touch person, so snuggling a little thing didn’t bring me peace or a maternal sense of warmth or blah blah blah. It annoyed me.

Yeah girl, I know. I wanna cry too.


She was like a month old, and people would say “She’s so beautiful.” I would think, really? She’s all red and mad looking, and she’s kind of a jerk all the time. I was angry that I was a mom, that I was unmarried, and that I was now “stuck” in a job I hated that had good benefits.

I saw the rest of forever in my domestic life and it sucked, and I hated it and I thought, WHAT HAVE I DONE!? It didn’t make sense to me, how I could have chosen this path for my life.

When things didn’t work with her dad, I wasn’t sure what hurt me more – my pride, or that my daughter would seemingly always lack for a decent male role model. Actually what hurt the most, I think, was entering a demographic that I believed, at the time, to be really super far below myself: single mom.


Do this pants make my shame spiral look fat? In my first week as a single mom.


That’s right, I was reduced to someone’s baby mama.


And for almost the past three years, I have let the guilt from raising a “fatherless” child permeate my life. That’s the slouch in me. From promising, witty writer to retail-working, single mom.

Oh, how the mighty had fallen.

When I was still living (hiding) under the shelter of my folks’ place an even scarier thought crept into my brains.

I’m the only one.

I’m now the only one to provide for her, to teach her, to love her, to guide her.

What if I screw it up? (I’m not even supposed to be here today! Clerks, anyone?)

You can’t just hit replay on a human. You can’t return her for a new one.


Okay, so she kinda grew on me.


This is the real deal. And poor Mila, she got me.

It messed with me enough to scare the living s out of me, and make me do some research. That’s a typical response to fear, right? Reading as much as you can about something? What I found made me so angry.

By all logical conclusions, I could not raise a healthy, balanced human being, unless I showed her how to be one.

Son of a–I had to be a good person, to make a good person? This parenting stuff just never lets up!

It hit me really hard that I wasn’t really anything like the type of person that I wanted Mila to grow up to be like. And that scared me more, so I hid from it.

I focused on getting my career “right” so she could be proud of the social position I held (ha!). Until I got fired from that job (different story) for standing up to my boss. Well, that didn’t matter because at least I was surrounding myself with all the “right” people, right? Until most of my close friends at that time turned their backs on me, and I found out who my actual friends were. So…yeah, that was cool.


Good moms get lots of professional photos, right? Nope, still doing it wrong Jenn.


It wasn’t really until 10 months ago, that I realized I was stuck in my life, and with the help from some good friends, I started to work through my mountains and mountains of issues.

Which is why I say that I would be a terrible, shallow, selfish trainwreck hootchie, without my Mila to guide me.

I understand now why everything has happened, well you know–not everything–but the majority of the big stuff, it all had to line up exactly the way it did for me to want to be a better person.

Because Mila is still pretty new around here. I mean she’s five now, but I think new people, the tiny ones, they deserve a better chance at this life. I believe they deserve adults in their lives that know how to show them.

So it ends up that we have a pretty good time.

So that’s why I want to be an adult and/or good person. You don’t have to have a kid to be either of those things, it’s just how I got to that conclusion.

Kinda makes me wonder how the seemingly totally screwed up things that happen in my life now will end up somehow being “all part of the plan” in three years from now.


(Kids still kind of gross me out though).


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Jenn Turner

Jenn Turner

Jenn Turner was born under a tarp.She's lived on the internet ever since, and only recently learned how to make real friends. During the day she schemes at &yet with her native people and at night she hangs with her number one favorite person ever. Currently she's studying emotions, relationships and aspires to one day let go. Also, TriConf.

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  • Suzy Garza Higley

    Loved that! 🙂 you’re awesome Jenn. And Mila is lucky to have you!