Single Mom Life is not for the Weak Hearted
It is so easy for all of us to see that picket fence and assume that the grass is greener on the other side. That the person's life we follow on Instagram is so much more perfect than our own. We struggle with a sense of fulfillment that we have done all we can, that we are good enough, and that we can find happiness no matter what stage of life we are in. So, in honor of Women's Day last week, I shall peel back the layers of perfection that you cannot see in social media and take you on the wild ride, of my oh-so-glamorous, single mama life.
I am the single mother of a little boy, two dogs, and one cat. I am out numbered at every turn. I basically live in a petting zoo.
My day truly begins somewhere around 4 AM when one of my dogs decides they need to pee and they will incessantly bark and whine until I come to the rescue. This is both irritating and endearing. And no matter how fast I get out of bed I still run a 50/50 that one will pee on the floor. And not just a tinkle, the explosive gallon of pee that splatters out of my 65 pound dogs.
Finally after letting them out and most likely cleaning up pee, I get back into bed and if I'm lucky the brain-hampster that lives in my head will let me sleep. This is short lived of course, because I'm a mom. And as we all know, sleeping is over-rated.
And my dear sweet son will pry my eyes open. This is naturally disorientating and rather confusing. The world is blurry and there is a tiny face staring at me. He giggles, which somehow makes it all alright. And thus my day begins...The age old question must be asked now, to shower or not to shower? That is the question. Each day it is weighed against the mom-scale and a decision must be made.
1 How late am I?
2 How bad do I smell?
3 How bad do I look?
4 Will wearing a hat and some mascara give the smoke and mirrors effect and make me passable?
5 ...I don't remember number five, I'm too stinkin' tired, but I'm sure it was important.
Now whether I shower and get all painted, or I just rub some mascara and lip gloss on my face while quickly spritzing myself with essential oils and call it a day, doesn't matter. Or even if I'm wearing ever-so slightly dirty clothes. The next thing happens at a 40/60 ratio. It can not be predicted or stopped.
The toddler melt down.
I am torn between deep loving empathy and staring at a strange creature that was sweet just moments ago and somehow now has turned into a nightmarish circus act. It is both mesmerizing and horrifying. Especially if I dare look at the clock... Wait! What? It is how late! Get up already! Why are you still in pajamas?!?
This begins the toddler dilemma of whether or not today is the right day to make a stand and become a nudist. No seriously. Why do 2-5 year old children always want to only wear undies? I try to remember my own childhood, a vague distant memory...yep I was always just in undies with unwashed wild red hair. Barefoot. Filthy. Dang that was a good childhood. Okay fine, don't put on clothes, but we need bacon.
Bacon, the breakfast of champions. Each and every day I pan-fry one piece of bacon for my son and one piece of bacon for me. Yes, every day. Like clock work. This does not get weighed against the mom-scale. This is an infinite fact. Because, well bacon is yummy. I can go into a long argument about how we all need healthy fats each day too, but why bother. I don't need to convince you that bacon is yummy. So I shall continue.
We feed the two dogs and the cat. Water them. Pet them. Generally my son kisses one of them on the nose.
At some point my son gives in and picks out an outfit. Somehow making bacon convinces him not to be a nudist? Or some subliminal mom power I hold? Whatever the root cause, I'll take it as a win.
At this point one of my dogs will pee on the floor. Like a well trained assassin I will hear that sound three rooms away...the sound of pee splatter on a rug. Seriously, you've been out twice! Is your bladder the size of a pea? Don't fight it. Just clean it up. Hands and knees on the floor cleaning up wiz....for potentially the second time.
I bloody well burnt the bacon. Face-Slap-Failure!
While getting out my son's coloring book at the kitchen table, setting out fruit for him to munch, I grumble to myself as I get out a new pan and fresh bacon and start all over. No day can start without bacon. We eat breakfast and share a laugh and talk of the day. What we hope for and lots of kisses.
Then naturally because it is going well, it must shift and it begins this rare, but odd scene. No I don't want to wear this outfit that I picked out. Say what? Why is it my fault? Sigh.
I shall now hide in the closet while eating a cookie at 7:30 in the morning, to regain strength...we shall call this second breakfast.
Finally I summon the mama-powers of all the mothers before me and I give my son a hug and convince him to wear clothes again. I assume this is just a second attempt at not wearing clothes. And frankly it is kinda funny. So I smile and kiss his nose. He laughs.
And it is off to the races as we rush to school.
On the way we talk about the weather, the clouds, the birds, the other cars, things he wants and dreams about. I tell him how great a day he will have and what cool things I hope he gets to do. Then it comes...school drop off...my least favorite part of the day. Is there anything that hurts your heart more? I hate leaving my baby there, I want him with me always. If I'm lucky it is an easy drop off and there is something fun he wants to do. On hard days, he begs me to take him with me. Tells me how much he just wants to spend the day with me. Typically my heart shatters into dust and I hold back tears while I tell him again how much fun he will have and point out all the fun things going on in the room. And reluctantly he lets my hand go and I hold back the urge to rush after him.
I get in my car. Try not to cry and head off to work.
I enjoy my job and work with lovely, kind people. I settle in and realize I forgot my lunch on the counter at home. I imagine the cheese stick and cocoa I left there. Nearly weep. And continue on with my day solving problems.
I rush for pick up, now it is my favorite part of the day. I get my baby back. Yes, yes I know he's not a baby any more...but as all moms know, they will always be our babies.
We talk about his day and what was best, worst, and weirdest. We make dinner, do homework, play with toys. While we eat and talk I sometimes fold laundry...this is not weird I swear. There are just not enough minutes in the day!
Next we do the dishes, feed the dogs. Feed the cat too, he won't stop meowing until you do.
Play a game/do an activity or sometimes watch a little bit of Super Wings. To which my son sings along and says "This is my Jam!" Hahahah. I smile and snuggle him close.
Finally I have to say those dreaded four words, It's time for Bed. We naturally disagree about whether or not the other children have to go to bed in the world. But we begin the tradition; bath, pjs, brushing teeth, books, and lights out. After bath and squirting mom with a ton of water we banter about whether or not he needs to wear clothes or can be a miniature nudist. I smile as we agree undies are important. Then, brushing teeth takes thirteen seconds, then we talk about whether all his teeth are clean or not. And then finally he lets me assist. When his teeth are sparkling clean we can read three books...and he begs to read "just one more" book.
Of course I give in and he gets a bonus book. I'm not a monster.
I tuck him in bed. I cover him in kisses, hugs and love. Sweet perfection. We sing a song together under our glowing star ceiling. I kiss him again and head to my bed and lay in peace for .... five minutes.
He comes into my room, climbs in my bed with all his stuffies, says he's scared and snuggles up, closes his eyes and falls asleep. I kiss his head while he burrows his feet under my back. It is all worth it. Every struggle. Every rush. Every failure. Because that little boy loves me and needs me and I provide for him and love him back more than anything in the world. He carries a piece of my heart in his chest. There is no greater love then that of a mama and her child. And finally I fall asleep.
This is a photo my son demanded to take of me while I was washing dishes, while we were both home sick. No make up, hair a mess, ratty hoodie, messy house, sick and miserable, taking care of my sick baby. Real life is more beautiful than anything even I could dream up in one of my novels or anyone else could post on Instagram. Live and cherish everything because life is so much shorter than any of us can comprehend.