I’m a single mom to 2 kids, ages 13 years & 18 months.
I know that so many women hold it together, and we all deserve so much credit. I know that there are days when I can’t believe that I’m still sane, still functioning. Sometimes things are such a blur that I can’t remember what I did as opposed to what I was thinking I was going to get done. Sending emails & managing smaller personal things goes out the window, or is crammed into fragments of time while I’m sitting in traffic or waiting for cheer practice to end. Those mornings when the baby didn’t want to wake up, & I have to dress him half asleep & try to get him to eat breakfast before we head out the door loaded up with a day of his stuff like diapers & blankies & favorite stuffed animals & my laptop case & my purse & his diaper bag, while you’re slowly making it to the car already ten minutes behind, & he wants to inspect every object he sees, & he grabs the broom along the way, insisting on taking it with you in the car… So you spend the commute to daycare getting whacked with a corn broom in favor of hearing him cry because you didn’t let him have it.
Or you pay the exorbitant daycare fee, to find that you have just given them 20% of your pay so that he can get sick once a week from all the germs involved in a bunch of kids in one spot, & not even be able to GO to daycare.
Meanwhile your boss is understanding, but still, this is business, there’s a lot to do & there isn’t time for you to miss this much work…
So you end up working late the days you are there, & you don’t get home until late, & you have to pick the big one up @ practice every day @ 5, so you work through the entire day without a break, & use your entire hour of lunch from 4:45 to 5:45 picking her up, and sit in rush hour traffic while the people in front of you wait for an engraved invitation & 300 yards of clearance to make a left turn. So if you have the money, you give money to the big one to order a pizza because you’ve got to get back to work. Or hopefully there are some leftovers in the fridge…
This is why, for me, being a single mom is so hard. Because it’s unending, there isn’t ever a break, there isn’t a backup plan. No matter what, everything hinges on you. When you are sick as a dog, you still have to get up. The best thing to do is lie to yourself & ignore any ailment you have, because acknowledging it only makes it worse & doesn’t lessen the load. Besides, the attendance policy @ work can only handle the absences caused by the kids being sick. When your kids sneakers get stolen because she didn’t lock them in the locker @ school, that’s $100 you have to come up with to replace them, but you barely have time to tell her that she’s got to make sure she locks her stuff up, you can’t afford to replace things that were pretty superficial in the first place.
When you make it home on time, you’re inthe door, you unpack everything, change into sweats, start dinner. We generally end up eating @ 7-8 in the evening. Afterwards, it’s cleanup, & bathtime, & a little bit of play, & off to bed. And the baby is at the age where he is having so much fun he doesn’t go to sleep, so by the time he gets to sleep, it’s past your bedtime, & you crash into bed, & start it all over the next.
Sometimes I’m so tired, I don’t even want to see my family. Going to see the family means another tiring day.
And at work, the people who work for you, they come to you all day long with trivial complaints, as if I’m their psychiatrist, and tell me how they can’t take the stress of work, & they don’t have kids, they’re newlyweds, they’re single, they have a husband to give them a hand, and even though you always keep a happy face & follow all the rules, in your head, you want to tell them about dealing with stress. Dealing with so much stress that you feel as if someone dropped a boulder on your head and flattened you like a pancake. Dealing with so much stress that the only way to handle it is get on the treadmill @ 5am & run as fast as you can for 45 minutes so your body doesn’t have the energy to go postal.
And I honestly think that is the only reason I haven’t gone completely bonkers.
I go to a psychologist, I go once every 4 or 5 weeks, because really, I used to go more, & I couldn’t work it into my schedule. So I go when I can. I tried phone sessions, but I have to multitask it, I spend the call going 60mph on the freeway, & you can’t really get therapy at 60mph. She says I have to keep managing my stress, keep working out… so I do. when I’m stuck in the car I find myself chewing the inside of my mouth, I stop myself, do some shoulder rolls, try to let my shoulders fall, try to remove some of the tension from my body.
Sometimes I think that maybe i should quit my job, take something less demanding, but then, who’s going to pay the bills? I don’t live a lavish lifestyle. I cut my daughter’s cell phone service because of daycare costs, & you would think I tore her arm off. I live in a 4 bedroom cape cod in a good school district. It’s not a big house. There isn’t any way I could move within this school district & lower my expenses. So I stay here. Daycare, that’s what really kills me. I’m paying $200 a week, it’s crippling. Sometimes I think that there isn’t an incentive to do for yourself, that just caving & letting the government take care of me would be a relief. And child support? Ha! They receive $227/month. What a joke.
I feel a little bit better. I really just needed to vent. Nobody understands. No one else in my family is a single parent. They can’t relate. They don’t understand that 100% of the time, it’s all you. That you can’t ever afford to take off your game face. It’s relentless & exhausting. And it snowballs, the more you are stressed, the harder it is to sleep, the less you sleep, the harder it is to manage stress, blah blah blah.
Adios. Back to work.