I have a new respect for working single mothers. For working mothers. For single mothers. For mothers.
I don’t mean to auto-mechanically make this about motherhood but Aaron’s traveling for work this week in a different time zone which makes connecting with him even harder with my work schedule and the kids with day care and camps and it’s like he vanished but I get texts from a guy named Aaron sometimes and it’s weird because I like him and want him to call me but hasn’t and our first date was really good and ugh.
So the circus act of solo-parenting while working is on my mind. Just a little.
I’ve made an assumption and decided that single parents are wonder-people. Men and women alike. When we see them at our kids’ outings smiling, volunteering to throw the ball, to coach and bring snacks, to have friends over and offer rides … we all think “Wow, they’re amazing.” and that is the truth. But also, they’re exhausted and if they have to bring their kid to the park why not bring your kid too? They have to sit in the stands to cheer, they might as well coach. Because if they stop, if they idle at all, even once, they will stop moving.
If they sit down, they will not get back up. Momentum. That’s what single parenting is all about. Wake up, feed them, dress them, pack a back pack and a lunch, get them to their destination – arrive at your own destination (preferably dressed and fed, both debatable) on time some how (enter Wonder-status) and put in the hours at your job.
You will not complain. You are firing on all cylinders and know ahead of time that you will have to get groceries in the 23 minute window you have between work and the absolute dead line time to grab your kids from their angel-care takers. Somehow you remember that one of your kids needs shoes (you grab them), you think of someone and pick up a card, you mentally invite a few friends over and prepare in advance for appetizers. You forget bologna and have to stop at the gas station for milk – but you make in time to pick up your kids.
You have to make dinner, clean them up, clean up the house, throw another load of laundry in the machine and fold the 7 waiting for you. You water plants, and your garden (because you have time for that?), you host the neighborhood kids in your yard while you flip through mail and take the trash out.
You carpool your kids’ friends to the lake for a playdate, you work remotely in order to make this all possible, you print important documents via your phone with google-print while you’re in the doctors office waiting room because if you don’t, no one else will.
And I’m used to coming home to a partner who converses with me, cares about the 40 million things I did that day, likes the food I make him, and takes over childcare after dinner so I can actually rest.
When he’s gone? I know how to do this, it’s a routine my kids and I step into without pause, but the absence is felt more and more with each passing night as I round the corner ready to pass the baton and the water station is empty.
I can’t stop, if I do we’ll never get to the finish line.
To the working single parents, to my own mom for all those years,
FREE DRINKS ON MY DECK FRIDAY NIGHT!
Ha. ha. ha. [nervously looks around, darts eyes]
I’m not really kidding.
Thank you is a pretty shallow offering, you deserve actual time. Actual relaxation. I can’t offer you that, but I have rum.