A Month for Mothers...

A few days late everyone...but just the casualty of being a working mother and time too swiftly slipping through my fingers.  Somehow though, it seems as if a mother's day has more than 24 hours.  So much gets done and done well in such a seemingly short amount of time.  This week, rather this month, we pause to reflect on mother's; special creatures worthy of far more than a single day of recognition.  To the mother's out there....know that you are not just good enough, you are great.  For those who mourn the loss of their mother, a loss that is particularly heightened this month, we hope this week's posts provide some comfort.

To be a mother is the greatest mixture of joys, fears, sadness, angst, pride, happiness and confusion that a woman will ever know.  I'll share with you some excerpts from my journey, from an article I had published in WESTCHESTER FAMILY MAGAZINE two years ago on Mother's Day.  The subject illustrated below reflects a differnt type of loss, but loss nonetheless.  To the many single mothers out there, Mother's Day is just a little bit harder.  Perhaps its the reality we face that we play the roles of two parents that makes the day seem somewhat laughable.  Perhaps its the lack of appreciation from your partner spouse that makes the day somewhat somber.  For those who have suffered this type of loss, I offer the article below.

Wishing all the mother's out there the very best always,


May 2014, Westchester Family



How to Be a Single Mom in Westchester

By Jennifer Graziano


Growing up life seemed perfect.  Mom stayed home with us, dad came home to us and everyone looked out for everyone. The perfection, or at least the image, was enough to fill my head with the notion that nothing would change and life would continue in this comfort and solace. Westchester was home and what better place? It was centrally located, a place of tree lined streets, good schools and neighbors who knew my name. As I grew older and more in love with my home the choice was clear that this is where I’d one day raise a family.

Yet, who knows what life actually holds in store for us. If you asked me in my earliest days of adulthood, whether I’d ever be the single mother of a toddler, I would have undoubtedly answered a bold “NO”. I never saw life as any other way except married with children. But life, at least for now, didn’t see it the same way for me. At 30 I was married, at 31 I attained my greatest title, “Mom”, and at 33 I realized my marriage was not going to last.

For a year I toiled with the dilemma of whether to end my marriage? It certainly didn’t fit my life’s plan; divorce didn’t coincide with my personal beliefs or my background. More I didn’t want my beautiful, young, innocent daughter to grow up in the dark shadow of divorce. I didn’t come from a broken family, how could I break hers?

And Westchester, itself, appears the poster of the “happy family.” How could I allow my daughter to be an outsider?  How I could I allow myself to fail her?  How could I destroy the image of what I thought my life would be?  Much sleep was lost in effort to answer these questions. I finally realized that I’d serve my daughter better by showing her that as an adult you can take control of your life and it’s not necessary to stay in a marriage because you fear what lies ahead. I knew making this move would mean her dad would not be a part of her daily life, but daily life would be better.

So here we are, a single mom and her adorable, talkative and loving toddler. We are a family of two but we are no less a family. My daughter and I are blessed with a support network that is beyond any level of support I could ask for. I have parents, brother, cousins, aunts, uncles and friends that make it their mission to ensure my daughter and I know that we are loved and not alone.  And, as a working mom, I have a business that challenges me everyday and forces me to minimize my grief.

So, don’t stop living. Don’t allow a self-imposed stigma to stop you and your child from enjoying the fullness of life. Do everything you would do with your child regardless if you have a partner by your side to share the experience.  You have the best companion right next to you – your child.  It’s amazing the strength you can draw from a tiny body, not even 3 feet tall. The best gifts we can give our children are our strength and our love. And its usually the case that if we, as parents are happy, our children will be happy, too.

To help with the challenges of single parenthood in Westchester, here are some “Do’s” and “Dont’s.” These are suggestions that can help you navigate your new single parent life.  In truth, I haven’t built up the courage to do some of them yet, but I’m confident they will have a positive impact. 


• GROUP OUTINGS. Take your child to museums, parks, playgrounds, zoos, beaches, any place that invites fun.  Invite your friends to tag along with their children. A group setting can allow you and your child to feel less alone.


• ACCEPT INVITITATIONS. Go even when your married friends are inviting you! I take my daughter regularly to dinner with couple friends and their children when we are invited.  I don’t want her to feel uncomfortable when she is around other children who are with their fathers.  We sit, we eat, we socialize and she gets to know the dads as well as the moms.



We recently hosted a Valentine’s party for my daughter’s  little friends with crafts and cupcake decorating.  Make your home an inviting place where warm memories are made.


• ASK FOR HELP. When you become a parent you give birth to a set of “super powers,” but parenting is something you can’t do alone. For your own sanity, which will only help your child, make sure you receive help for babysitting or completing household chores and tasks.

BE HONEST WITH YOUR CHILD, YET FILTER WHAT THEY NEED TO KNOW. Your child’s age at the time of the divorce plays a role in their acceptance and understanding of the situation. Whether or not the other parent is in the picture, try to answer your children’s questions in an honest yet delicate manner. Do not speak in a negative manner about your former spouse to your children. In my personal situation my ex-husband is not in the picture. I sought the help of a counselor who told me to be honest with my daughter.  Her advice was not to fabricate or embellish “daddy”, rather when she asked to tell her that “daddy doesn’t live with us; he wanted to live somewhere else; sometimes we will see him when he can but no matter what you are safe with mommy”.


SEEK OUT OTHERS IN YOUR SITUATION. You can join a support group or seek out new friends that share your single parent status. Great bonds can be formed through sharing a common thread.  There is comfort in knowing you’re not alone and a good support network is an invaluable resource.




DWELL. The divorce has happened.  Regardless of the reason, regardless of who was right or wrong.  The divorce is in the past, you and your child are in the present.  There is too much to think about to get you and your child through this new situation, focus on the “now” and the future.

FEEL EMBARRASSED OR RELUCTANT TO PARTICIPATE IN FAMILY ACTIVITIES. A spouse doesn’t automatically make you a family.  Your children deserve a happy and full life.  They shouldn’t be deprived because of your inhibitions.  Take your children to as many activities, parties, outings as you can.  The smile it will bring

to their face will reflect in yours.  And when you and your child have had a good day, it will give you the strength to make tomorrow an even better one.


REFUSE HELP.  Everyone needs a hand sometimes.


• BLAME. Blame is wasted energy.  The past can’t be changed, only the course of the future.  Blame can’t put a spouse back into their role nor can it fix a broken family.  Channel your energy in positive ways that will benefit you and your child.



Jennifer Graziano is a single mother living in Westchester County.





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