Today ends my three-week stint as a single parent. Granted it hasn’t been a full three weeks and I did get some breaks over the weekends, but man, what a ride. God bless anyone who is an actual single parent!
Never mind the absence of another set of hands to help out. What was more exhausting was not having a constant support system. Gone was the person to share the misery that is a toddler meltdown, or a sick baby. There was no one to accept my eye-rolls and respond with a gesture of understanding. How lonely to be with two children all day and not have someone say, “You did a good job” at the end of it!
The experience was not without several low points, some moments where I thought I would go insane. In fact, here are some crazy thoughts that crossed my mind at some point during this challenge (and I do mean challenge).
1. How did I raise such a jerk?
This sounds harsh, but kids can be a-holes. My daughter knows how to be polite, saying please and thank you, and whatnot, but she has yet to demonstrate any real empathy. She says hurtful things like, “I don’t love you anymore,” and raises her voice as she pouts. Over the course of these three weeks she has kicked me, walked away from me, and been blatantly mean to her brother. I know all this is normal for a toddler, but sometimes I wondered if she’ll always be a jerk.
2. Can I sneak this chocolate in without getting caught?
Husband and I try to teach our children good eating habits. We emphasize sweets should be enjoyed only occasionally and in moderation.
What happens when I’ve had a rough day and want to shove four cookies into my mouth? I shouldn’t have to hide my binges from my children. I’m an adult, I can eat what I want.
But, we must lead by example. Hence the need to strategically time my indulgences. And I did indulge. It was necessary. There’s a reason people eat their feelings: it helps, at least temporarily.
While sleeping with both kids in the bed:
3. If only my left arm wasn’t here, I could really get comfortable.
You know you’re exhausted when you’d give up a limb for a good night sleep.
4. As long as I’m in the shower nothing bad can happen.
Scenario: both kids are in their beds. Last night Baby woke up just as Toddler was drifting off and I decided to forego the shower to get into bed and end this god-forsaken day. Tonight, I need to clean myself.
At first I figured I’d do a quick rinse. Once I was in the tub though, and the water drowned out all outside noise, I just stood there. Surely I’d be able to hear someone if he/she woke up. Right? I took a long shower and braced myself when I finally turned off the water. Thankfully, the house was silent.
5. Will this ever end?
It’s tough when you’re in the middle of something to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I remember being in a dark place after my son was born. I was beyond tired, constantly milk-stained, and trying to manage my daughter’s new reality of no longer being a single child. Now my son’s first birthday is fast approaching.
Everything is temporary. This goes for the good as well as the bad. While it isn’t crazy to feel overwhelmed at times, I realize it is crazy to wish time away. I did have some wonderful moments with my children while their father was traveling, but I am beyond thankful he is back home.
Pass me some chocolate. I deserve it.