Hipstercrite Life

Why My Mother Deserves Love After Twenty Years of Being Single


Unsuccessfully teaching my mom how to use chopsticks

My mother hasn’t dated in over twenty years.

In twenty years, she hasn’t felt the touch of another when she becomes scared, frustrated, or confused. In twenty years, she hasn’t heard the words “It’s going to be OK” when she needs to hear it most. It twenty years she hasn’t had a partner to help her with tasks around the house, to sit an enjoy watching The Big Bang Theory with (so, my Mom likes The Big Bang Theory- do you have a problem with that?), or to take her out to dinner and a movie.

In twenty years my mother has been alone.

When my father left in intervals during my one-digit years, my mother had tremendous difficulty with it. I would scold her for crying because I needed her to be strong; it wasn’t until I was an adult and had my heart broken that I could grasp the severity of what she was going through (and realize how selfish I was being). Her dream was broken and there was nothing she could do to repair it. How could she have ever guessed that the man she loved, the man she decided to have a child with, would tell her one day that he was through? This marriage and family was not for him. How do you get over that? How do you do everything right only to have it fall apart?

It’s been 23 years since my Dad left, so it’s fair to say that she “got over him”, but I don’t believe she ever got over the heartbreak or trustbreak. She will tell you that she doesn’t date because the pool of single, interesting men in her hometown of 18,000 is very small, which is true, and she will also say that she hasn’t dated in long enough that she wouldn’t know where to start. All of these facts are true, but something is preventing her from putting herself out there.

When I was young and thought the entire world revolved around me, I didn’t want my mom to date. She and I created a perfect world: us vs. them. Now as an adult there is nothing I want more than for her to experience love again. She deserves it. Oh, does she deserve it.

My mother is one of the most beautiful and vivacious women I know. These words are not the one-sided musings of her daughter either (I will add that she can be a stubborn pain-in-the-butt sometimes just so you don’t think I have rose-colored glasses). She raised me to always look for the wonder in the world. She would get teary-eyed telling me the stories of Native Americans and Gandhi. We always enjoyed going to museums and zoos and nature walks as our two-person family. We still do. Mom and I take yearly expeditions and even though we bicker about what food we’re going to eat and at what time (I like exotic food, she doesn’t), I wouldn’t trade these journeys for anything.

mother and i

Her smile has always been magnetic, even though she may not believe it. Constant criticism from my grandmother, a woman we both adore and who was my mother’s work boss for 35 years, leads to questioning of her importance. Even to this day, my mother, who takes care of my aging grandmother, has to listen to the matriarch criticize and scold her for minor instances. My mother, who is an extremely beautiful, talented, thoughtful, and adventurous woman, had to constantly have all those traits checked by my grandmother. My grandmother is a good woman, but comes from a generation and culture where everything has to be just so. My mother, who so desperately wanted to go to art school, was not encouraged by my grandmother or our family. Through the years, my mother has continued her artistic endeavors and is constantly reminded of what an important outlet it is for her. She loves traveling and taking photos, often taking 800 photos on our trips. She will make them into creative scrapbooks and photobooks. These books my grandmother doesn’t understand, but I do. I see an artist trying to break from her shell.

My mother is excited about living. We talk every day. Sometimes for a minute and sometimes for 30+. Her silver-haired ADD has gotten worse, but I’m learning to enjoy her “Ooooh, a squirrel!” moments. In fact, today she had one of those moments, but replace “squirrel” with “nectarine”. Though this ADD can make conversation difficult, it means that she is excited about everything around her. Because she is a mostly positive and upbeat woman, when she is down, she gets very down. Usually that period passes quickly, but hearing my mother cry is one of the most knee-twisting sounds I can hear. No child can bear to hear their mother cry. Just last week she broke down when she told him how refreshing it felt to have her classmates at her class reunion look through her photobooks and tell her what a talented photographer she is. “It’s so nice to have someone tell me that,” she said between tears. I nearly lost it.

My mother taught me to follow my dreams, something she regrets not doing. Though we are extremely close, she never wanted to hold me back and encouraged my travels around the country. When I told her I was offered a job in LA while still in college in NY, she trusted my decision to leave. Through all these years of confusion and questions and late-night phone calls crying or drunk or crying while drunk, she listened to me and helped guide me. She is my number one cheerleader and I can’t imagine a life without her.

This woman deserves love.ย She has the love of her daughter, mother, family and friends, but she deserves even more. She deserves moments of passion and excitement. She deserves to be taken away once in awhile from the stresses of life. She has given so much to those around and now it’s her turn to be wild and free.

It’s never too late to love, I just hope she can see that.


P.S. Before making this post live, I texted mom saying that I wrote a glowing post about her, but didn’t want her to read it. She asked why and I explained.

“Are you trying to set up a dating site for me on your blog?” she asked.

“Haha…no,” I replied.

“There is someone out there for me, but I’m am in no rush!”

I love you, Mom.



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  • Reply kimfromaustin August 13, 2013 at 11:09 am

    Actually, I think this would be a great dating website profile for your mom!

    • Reply hipstercrite August 13, 2013 at 12:13 pm

      Haha! Hmmm….you got me thinking!

  • Reply LAM August 13, 2013 at 11:12 am

    Beautiful article. Your mom is blesssed to have you as her daughter.

    • Reply hipstercrite August 13, 2013 at 12:14 pm

      Thank you so much! I’m blessed to be her daughter!

  • Reply Chris Carrasco August 13, 2013 at 11:46 am

    I love this!, something similar happen with my mom..

    • Reply hipstercrite August 13, 2013 at 12:14 pm

      Thank you! Maybe our moms can be friends!

  • Reply Sheryl Moore August 13, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    I’ve always thought you were so lucky to have her, and Brenda is one if the most amazing women I have ever known! I love you both ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Reply hipstercrite August 13, 2013 at 2:24 pm

      Thank you so much, Sheryl! Love you too!

  • Reply Kirsten August 13, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    This is a lovely post, Lauren. I felt very similarly about my mom for a long time after she and my dad split up. She did try dating, but Cortland certainly did not have the ideal dating pool.

    She was eventually set up on a blind date orchestrated by my aunt and her best friend. My aunt was super apprehensive to get in the middle of the set up, in case “anything went wrong”, but my mom ended up marrying that man.

    My mom was always full of joy and love and encouragement for my sister and I, but it wasn’t until she was with Mark that I saw her completely happy. They are both total weirdos, and they are the cutest couple ever.

    Finding love at any age is possible, and your mom absolutely deserves it.

    • Reply hipstercrite August 13, 2013 at 2:25 pm

      Aww…I love it, Kirsten! That is so refreshing to hear!

  • Reply Mark August 13, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    This was a wonderful post by an amazing daughter about her fantastic mother… trust me, if I were single and local, I am sure that you could fix her up with ONE brother..!

    I do hope that your mom finds someone to love her… I have no doubt that she will have any problem expressing her feelings with the right person..!

    • Reply hipstercrite August 16, 2013 at 1:44 pm

      Thank you so much, Mark! I really appreciate your sweet words. <3

  • Reply yong August 13, 2013 at 11:03 pm

    very touching post.

    • Reply hipstercrite August 16, 2013 at 1:44 pm

      Thank you for reading!

  • Reply Jill August 31, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    That was an amazing post. I am a newly single Mom of 2. I often wonder how things changed so much after being married for 10 years. But the yelling and arguing was too much for me or the kids to bear. Often my son says “Mommy it’s better this way”. My daughter well shes just protective.
    I know Im no where ready for anything but I stay upbeat and focus on my kids. But at some point as they age I hope they understand why this had to be. They are my life my loves and the ones that are most important to me. It’s hard but I move on I roll on ….

  • Reply skip pereira August 31, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    hi…your mom sounds great…i’d love to be a pen pal, maybe via facebook…i’m 58 and single and not a creep…i’m a serious amateur photographer, looking for work in the culinary field, and i love the big bang theory…haha…my name is skip pereira, from somerset, mass. if she’d like to friend me and maybe chat about life…thanks!…

  • Reply Nancy Standeffer September 3, 2013 at 3:08 am

    Your Mom sounds amazing! And she is so cute! You guys have an extraordinary relationship, I hope you realize that. (I hope she will ‘friend’ Skip on FB!)

  • Reply Heather September 3, 2013 at 11:59 am

    My parents divorced when I was five, right before my sister was born. She raised the two of us on her own and didn’t date for twenty years. Two years ago she married Dan, a strange but loveable guy. We, my sister and I, were apprehensive about this new guy–it had even us three against the world for as long as we could remember. My sister is still accepting the fact that he is a part of our family. I didn’t like the Dan very much to start with, but then I saw how happy my mom was with him, that he treated her like a queen and did things for her my father never did. They are so happy together, and it is a testament that it is never too late! She got remarried at 56. Your mom seems like a wonderful lady that deserves nothing but the best! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply London December 20, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    I realise this post was written a couple of years ago now but I came across it when googling ‘my mum has been single for years’. My mum has been single for 25 years, she left my father who was extremely violent. She had married him thinking it was for life but left him for good when things went too far. I was a year and a half old when she left him and she didn’t look back. I grew up not seeing him, he wasn’t supposed to know where we were. I didn’t see him or his family because my mum cut all ties for our safety. When I was 17 I met my dad again and I hoped this would be closure for my mum but it wasn’t really in the way I hoped. I thought that because she had focused on bringing me up ans because she had a fear of my father being out there somewhere, by facing him she would be able to deal with the past. She did deal with it very well but remained single.
    2 years ago she met a guy on a training course, she told me she liked him. I thought it was great because she had never told me about anyone she likes. I saw this as a great sign. It turned out the guy was having issues with his ex and was not ready for a relationship. Over the 2 years they kept in touch and now out of the blue he wants to come and see my mum. They have not met in person since that time 2 years ago. She is really nervous, understandably. So tomorrow, he’s coming over to her area and they will go out to a restaurant. He is the same age as her, divorced and sounds similarly cautious. I hope it goes well tomorrow. It may not seem like a big deal but it really is a breakthough.
    I could really relate to your post ans it is comforting to hear about other people who have been single for so long especially because my mum feels ‘stuck’ and ‘pathetic’ sometimes for being alone. I think our mums are strong women who want to make the right decision for them. They have protected themselves for years but know that being alone isn’t the answer either. They want to meet someone but in their own time. We just need to support them like they have done for us ๐Ÿ™‚
    I hope that your mum is well and that she has also been able to dip her toe in the water so to speak and start dating ๐Ÿ™‚
    Not sure if you will read my comment but I hope you do as I would like to know how your mum is getting along, your blog inspired me ๐Ÿ™‚

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