"Being a single mom has been the hardest, most rewarding thing I’ve ever done."

By Katelin Sisson

Being a mom came naturally to me; I was born to have babies. In fact, before I found out I was pregnant, I could feel it. I took six pregnancy tests that all came back negative, but insisted they were wrong and kept taking them. Finally, when the 7th test came back positive, it was such a relief. She was all I wanted.

Minnie’s dad and I were together for a year before we got pregnant, engaged halfway through the pregnancy and then we split when she was two. Although we created an amazing human together after a while it became clear that we weren’t meant to be together. In some ways, it was challenging to separate when Minnie was so young, and in other ways, it was ideal. When we first parted, it felt like such a crisis and I worried how every detail of the separation would affect her, but over time we found our stride. 

When we parted, my entire world changed, including my career. I co-owned a yoga retreat company called Yoga For Bad People, which involved a ton of travel. Given my new set of circumstances, I had to figure out how to manage my day-to-day life as a full-time single mom with a job that required me to be on the road. Up until that point, I would bring Minnie with me on most trips, but unfortunately, that also meant I had to bring a babysitter which was very expensive. When I didn’t take her with me, I had to organize a massive puzzle of logistics from afar. This included a web of sitters plus bringing my mom in from Rhode Island to help. After a while, it was simply unworkable. 

With a heavy heart, I chose to get a full-time job in construction that offered a consistent income and reasonable hours that better-suited my new life. It turns out the construction industry is great for single moms as the hours are “labor hours” which means I am home at night to spend quality time with my daughter and not up answering emails or looking at my phone. It’s stressful in its own right, but for the most part, when I’m with Minnie, I’m focused on her. 

When we split, my entire world changed, including my career.

At the same time, we sorted our custody agreement as we both benefited from a little structure and formal boundaries. We landed on an every-other-weekend schedule, plus I have Minnie Monday through Friday. Every morning we leave the house at 8 AM and bike to school for drop-off. Then I head to the Upper East Side on the 6th train to visit all my job sites. The days are intense and fly by until I have to pick up Minnie from school at 4:30 PM. From there we go home for dinner, bath, and bed — it’s a simple, hard-working (but good), life. 

I’ve never felt more at home, then I do now. We have a little place in the Lower East Side that I’m so proud of and work really hard to make it our home. It took me a long time and a lot of searching to nurture that quality in me that I value so much. I finally feel I’ve arrived for myself, Minnie, and our life moving forward.  

These days, Minnie’s dad and I are in a good place. I’m grateful for this as it impacts Minnie in such a positive way. I’ve learned a lot along the way including how to rely on myself. Being a single mom has been the hardest, most rewarding, and empowering thing I’ve ever done. Having to step up to this level of responsibility has made me a better, stronger, and much happier person.

With that, some days it’s very easy to feel like you’re failing. I’ve felt that way so many times. Times when I couldn’t get to a mid-day school event because I had to be at work or those when I had to be on a call with a crying child in the background. While I’ve done the majority of my parenting solo I think those moments are inevitable in all situations. Therefore, I’d just like to say, and this applies to moms in general (not only single ones), especially now as we’re doing so many things at once from working to homeschooling, moms are heroes. So, be gentle with yourself, be supportive of other parents, and never be scared to ask for help. 

Moms are heroes.

The truth is, no matter the circumstances, being a parent is hard. While I never had any doubts about having a baby, there’s nothing that could have truly prepared me for the job. I have known no other love like it. Signed no other contract like this. It’s the team of all teams.