This blog post is dedicated to my new found respect for the single parents. Whether you are temporarily a single parent, like myself or your life has brought you solitude in parenting, this ones for you.
I am going to start by saying this blog post is an exact representation of what my experience with single parent life has been like a big old OH SO YOU THOUGHT! I initially had it almostttt done Friday evening and had planned to finish it up and publish it on Saturday. Here we are Sunday night starting from square one because 1. it did not save for some unknown reason and 2. I was dead to the world on Saturday, as I was horribly sick. So now I am re-typing the entire thing while fending off my daughter from hitting all the keys every two minutes.
Even though I was SICK on Saturday I still had to play my mom role because moms (and dads) have no sick days! Luckily enough for myself my knight in shinning armor, otherwise known as my Mother in Law, swooped in at 6 o’clock and saved me by taking my toddler-saurus rex for the night so I could rest up and be miserable in peace.
It is wonderful that I have such a great support system at home I can count on. But day in and out I am still (a temporary) single parent and what I am finding I highly underestimated with this deployment is how difficult single parenting is. It is all the mundane, tedious tasks I find that add up. Every bedtime, sippy refill, diaper change, car seat buckle and meal made ADDS UP. You instantly become responsible for your partner’s job on top of your own. This means you have to be the good guy, the bad guy and the funny guy which is so not my role at home, that is definitely my husband’s job as he has worked diligently perfecting the fart noise. It means all the laundry, all the clean up and grocery runs are a one man band job. I am lucky enough to have jobs I drag my daughter to, six days a week we have somewhere to be. I also know not every parent has this luxury which would then include the hassle and financial burdens of daycare. Not to mention, I can only imagine the difficulties of above said tasks increase in hardship when the amount of offspring is also increased.
When you are a single parent there is a lack of time for self-care. The balance between everyday living tasks, on top of work added with trying to play, read and spend quality time with your child takes a toll on the clock. I have difficulty in finding time to even shower. Single parenting is hard on your mental well being, which requires self-care too. To aid mine, I made three relatively small personal goals to achieve; go to church, the gym and read more. I struggle with balancing them in, finding the time is difficult.
Being a single parent takes an emotional toll as well. I am sure this looks different for everyone, as everyone’s situation and children differ. For myself, being a temporary single parent, my two year old is highly confused and upset where her dad is. She will call for him in crowded places and will get excited when she sees a truck like his, thinking it is him. Sometimes, when she is able to facetime with him she will bury her hands in her face, her way of showing she is upset and wants to cry. It is devastating to watch and comfort her sadness. It takes an emotional toll on me as a mother too. I highly value my husband’s parenting opinions. So much so that I find myself texting him all the time about various situations and what he thinks I should do even though he isn’t even here right now. It takes a toll on the family idea inside your head. Longing for that fulfilled family picture. Something as small as matching Christmas pjs hits differently when you don’t need as many.
Although single parenting comes with it’s fair share of difficulties it has some pretty amazing perks I want to accredit too. First of all, as I said above, I am blessed to have an amazing support system. My daughter has so many people in her life who love her dearly. She has grown even closer to family members since my husband left for deployment because we spend so much time with family. Secondly, my daughter and I have had the chance to spend so much one on one time together. By that I mean day in and day out from morning to night unless mommy requests for a grandma-sitter getaway night. We have had awesome one on one dates to play places, parks, libraries, restaurants, shopping and more. She’s my go to side kick for all my events I attend now. It feels good to know how much I mean to her in this time and that she find comfort in me being her caretaker. Little does she know I feel the same about her. As far as the matching Christmas pjs go, pocket the money you would of spent on the missing pair, spend it on wine instead. Expert advise if you ask me. The positive to being a single parent wether it be temporary or full time is that family is family. There is no magic number that makes a family a whole. I know some amazing single moms and dads who OWN IT & are BAD ASS.
Although I am only living in this role temporarily it is still a hard task to feat because it is EXHAUSTING but I am doing it. I’m making it happen. It is difficult but it is making me a stronger person. Mentally and physically. (Did I mention I haul that big 30 pound baby and her heavy diaper bag with winter coats on, coffee in hand up and down a two story parking garage more than 5 times a week?) Being a single parent means twice as many responsibilities and twice as many kisses. I know there are many moms and dads out there who do it all on their own 24/7, 365 days a year and to you all I say YOU ROCK. I see you, I know it is not easy, I am living it. But family is family no matter how big or small.