Wow. I created writer’s block for myself by entitling my post “Life as a Single Mom.” It’s too big a topic for a blog post. I don’t trust myself to do it justice. But I guess I’m qualified to try. After all, I know a lot of single moms. And, I’ve been one since 2011! So, here’s a little window into the true life of a single mom for all who are really dying to know what it’s like.
First, I’d say it’s nothing like I thought it would be. It’s much better. I thought it was going to be really hard and awful. True, it’s really hard being a single mom of three boys. There’s so much to do every single day. They need and deserve so, so, so, sooooo, soooooooo very much. Bu-uuuuuuut, there are so many rewards. I’ll talk more about that in a minute, but the biggest reward is seeing them grow into confident, kind, healthy young men–and knowing that my daily decisions (which I often get wrong, but often also get right!). There’s a lot of giving as a single mom, and most of it isn’t exactly at the moments you plan. Most of the giving is done at moments when a) you can’t possibly do the thing that is needed, b) you don’t want to do the thing that is needed for an important reason–for example, the phone rings, and caller ID says it’s that company where you just applied for a job! But your child needs you urgently and keeps repeating “mom” over and over and over. Your only choice is the child. Answering the phone would backfire anyway! Or, c) you are dying to do that thing that’s needed–ie, what your child needs or wants–but something else really urgent is getting in the way. For example, your child is burning his finger on the oven, and you have to stop him, but you are also about to pee in your pants because you have waited so long while cooking dinner. Yeah, I think we all know what you choose to do. Child’s finger doesn’t get burned, and now, after dinner, guess what! You have to do laundry in addition to eeeeeeverything eeeeeelse you have to do that night–none of which is fun, it’s all work. But at least it feels important.
Each of my boys is so important and precious. And it’s difficult that no matter how much I hurry, how hard I try, how many things I allow to go undone (things I need, like ironing tomorrow’s work clothes), I can’t do everything that needs to get done. But I have found that I can do enough, barely, almost always! I usually don’t see it as hard; it’s just what I want and need to do. Here are examples of stuff I do by mysef:
- Daily routine–work full-time, get boys up in the morning, make sure they get dressed and look presentable, eat breakfast, and brush their teeth and hair before going to school, fix them snack after school, talk to them after school to hear how their day went and check whether there are any concerns/fears/needs for encouragement or advice, monitor their video game time to be sure they aren’t going overboard, force them to go pay outside which often involves some degree of conflict but I will not relent and force them to go play often with them obviously unhappy with me, fix dinner while feeling guilty that they are unhappy with me but proud that I made the right parenting decision on video games, round them up for dinner, ask questions during dinner to get good life discussions going, give guidance/praise/encouragement when needed during dinner discussion, do some type of “together” activity after dinner (for us, this means watching a movie together, reading a book, or talking to all three individually one by one), ensure showers are taken and teeth are brushed, round them up to get in bed, tuck them in, say a prayer with them, get in bed myself by 10pm to be sure I am not grumpy the next morning when I get up at 5:30am.
- Sometimes–Take them to church every Sunday, parks, the pool, friends’ houses, birthday parties in our town or other towns
- Fall basketball season–take them to one practice and one game each. This means, 3 weekday evenings per week, I take them to their practices. Then, on Saturday, I take two of them to games, and on Sunday, I take one of them to a game.
- Throughout all of this, there is all kinds of the following: Even though my boys are VERY sweet and well-behaved, they are still children, so they often ask the same questions five times or more hoping to get a “yes” when I say “no.” This drives me completely insane and often ends in arguments and makes me really mad.
Ok, but rewards. (Can I just interrupt myself to say that this is the MOST BORING BLOG POST EVER. Who on earth would want to read this??? Well…I haven’t blogged in 3 years. I’m trying…I think after a few, I might get the hang of it and be a little more interesting…hopefully.)
So, yes, rewards. Well, how can I put this? The reward–and sorry if this sounds like I’m over-praising myself, it’s just that this is really how it feels…The reward is that I see my boys growing up to be well-rounded, confident, smart, awesome human beings. And I know that my efforts have a lot to do with this. I see them doing things that I teach them. I see them thinking about people and the world in the ways that I think about people and the world. I am so pathetically far from perfect, but my boys know that in our family and in the world, we love, we accept, we try not to judge, we mind our own business, we respect others, and we avoid people who hurt us and who treat us without respect. I see my boys doing these things. This tells me that I’m doing a good job. And, this means, I am accomplishing the most important job I will do in this earthly life.
Ok. So next time, I’ll try to blog about something more interesting. Such as my dating life, or my communications with my ex husband, or other stuff!