So here’s me, writing a blog post about a subject I know very little about. Promising, right? I’m sure now you really want to read this one.
But hear me out. Me knowing nothing about this subject gives me a unique perspective. One the “experts” in this area might not be noticing.
I’m not just talking about the single moms, the women raising their children on their own. But also parents whose significant other travels for work. The moms who have to do it all.
I’m not a single mom. My husband, Alex, doesn’t travel much for work. At all.
Alex eats breakfast with our son, Henry, nearly every day of the week and is home for dinner just as much (often cooking dinner – I know, I’m the luckiest girl in the world).
But this past spring my hubby took a business trip (I know, woe is me- cue the eye roll). It’s one of a handful of times we’ve been apart in our 5 years of marriage. But this time was different. I had a two year old at home.
My son is a pretty well behaved toddler. He’s kind and he’s sweet, but he’s still 2 and the days are action packed and long.
While my husband was in New York on business, (for a whopping two days) I found myself changing the way I parent. Why? Because I wasn’t used to it and I felt like I couldn’t do it.
Around 4 o’clock in the afternoon on the first day I was “single parenting” I asked Henry if he wanted to watch a movie. If you know me personally you know this is NOT something I would normally do unless I was under extreme duress. Henry watches TV once in a blue moon.
4 o’clock is normally the time of day that Henry and I get excited for daddy to come home… but 4 o’clock that day hit me like a ton of bricks. Daddy wasn’t coming home. No one would be sharing the responsibility of feeding, bathing and generally keeping a 2 year old safe, happy and alive.
Henry had been perfectly behaved that day, we hadn’t had any issues. But when 4pm hit it dawned on me that no one was going to help me. I hadn’t had a particularly hard day, but the idea that I had to do it all by myself was exhausting. After this long day of parenting no one was bailing me out when the clock struck 5. At the stroke of 5pm this cinder-mommy was turning into a pumpkin.
It was like I found a white flag I didn’t even know I owned (probably shoved between the couch cushions. Why does everything seem to disappear in there?!) and waved it wildly. ‘I surrender! I can’t adult any more!’
Henry ended up picking Finding Nemo (his very favorite movie ever) and we cuddled up on the couch and ate a totally nutritious dinner (I probably fed him pizza. On the couch.). When the movie ended Henry asked if he could watch another movie. To make a long story short (and not elaborate too much on my STELLAR parenting that night) my two year old ended up falling asleep in my bed, oh around 9pm while watching the Secret Life of Pets. Winning.
I was on my own and I couldn’t cut it (or even attempt to try).
Looking back on that day I realized the reality of women doing it all alone is something that millions of moms go through. Every. Day.
A large percentage of my friends have husbands who travel multiple times a week for work. I cannot even begin to fathom what that is like. The exhaustion I feel at the end of a trying day is nothing compared to what so many of you deal with as a regular part of your life.
What I’m trying to say is. I see you. I’m not “one of you” but I see you, I appreciate you and I think you’re doing an amazing job. Sometimes, as a mom, it feels like we don’t hear those words enough.
I can’t pretend to know what it’s like. I dealt with this for a couple of days. Not months or even years.
So please, tonight while your kids are in bed, pour yourself a large glass of wine (or whatever your poison is) get some nice dark chocolate, put your feet up and relax. You’ve earned it, mama.