Recognize them for all the exhaustion that comes with it. You know…shit falls through and nobody comes to your rescue.
Not that parenting in a couple isn’t hard…but doing it on your own is way more work.
And normally, I blow through that shit until someone pisses me off–and then I rant and rave and move on with my life.
Because what else is there?
But today, I feel the single-parenting bug of exhaustion.
Multiplied by a million.
An afternoon spent in the E.R. with one kid bleeding obscenely from the face and the other two being kids pretty much sucked my will to live.
I was already on burn-out mode when the day started.
I was already tired and stressed.
And as the day passed, I was more than annoyed with the fighting.
And frustrated with the rough-housing the always ends with tears.
And closing my eyes and counting to a million when yet another cup of water splattered across the house, turning the hard floors of the main room into a slippery accident waiting to happen.
By 12:30 we were at the park.
By 1:15 we were at the local hospital.
By 4:30 we were home, armed with a pizza and the blissful idea of pizza and movies.
And of course that didn’t happen.
There were more tears and spills and tempers.
And I was my only Plan B.
Today was a long day.
I can tell this is the vibe of the weekend.
The energy in the house is off-kilter.
And it’s only Friday.
I’ve entered into a phase of parenting where I’m wishing away my present to be so far in the future I can get a break.
A place where I’m not the only one who can fix shit and wipe butts and make food and clean up.
I’m ready for a place when I’m their Plan B instead of their rope of survival.
And it isn’t because I don’t love my kids more than life itself or want to do and be everything and everyone to them.
But it is because I’m tired.
There is this show on Showtime called Shameless and the lead is this girl Fiona who basically holds the world together. When people try to help, she pushes them off and says she can do it on her own…afraid that the second she lets in help, she might get used to it and when that person ups and leaves…she’s back in square 1 of holding the world together.
I feel like Fiona.
Today I probably could have used some help.
Three kids in the E.R. for hours is beyond.
Sitting there with one kid bleeding to the point I just threw away the clothes she and I were wearing away and the other two stuck in this childhood purgatory of wanting to behave but not sure how to hold it together for so long in a stupid E.R. is just Beyond.
But – why did I do it that way?
The same reason every other single mother I know pulls her life together ALONE, rarely asking for help, the same reason Fiona doesn’t ask for it.
It isn’t worth it.
Help is fleeting.
There really isn’t anyone who you can depend on but you.
Calls, when you make them, are either filled with excuses, pity or guilt.
So – you learn early on not to make them.
You figure out how to do it on your own.
Things around the house that need fixing or moving or whatever are pushed to the side or covered with a picture because if you can’t do it…it just doesn’t get done.
You don’t ask for help.
You learn to do it on your own or suck it up and deal with it being undone. Or done poorly.
And you move on.
People have asked, “What about their dad?”
What about him?
The person who I have the least amount of trust in on the planet?
When shit hits the fan, I let it fly.
I don’t ask for anyone’s help. Especially his.
I guess the moral of the single-parenting story is that all us single mammas do it all.
And it is exhausting.
But the true sacrifice is that as single parents we understand that it is us and our kids.
We don’t trust anyone else.
Because, like Fiona, we know that nobody sticks around.
And the more help we accept, the harder it is to get back on our feet when we are left alone again.
So, we don’t ask.
We just do.
Even when it’s only Friday.
Or only Monday.
Tomorrow is the same.
Making shit happen.
and blood loss.
We just do it.
But, I guess it makes the victories bigger when we see them and the smiles and the laughter that brighten the good days just that much sweeter.
I wouldn’t change much in my life.
I wouldn’t trade the exhaustion for help.
Because I know the help won’t last.
And I know the exhaustion will pass as well.
This isn’t the life I chose.
I didn’t choose to be a divorced mother of two toddlers and a newborn at 30.
I didn’t choose to be abandoned by nearly every person who I trusted and believed would “always be there” as the divorce got dirty and my life seemed to melt into a puddle.
I didn’t choose.
But, now I am.
I choose to be a single parent who doesn’t ask for help.
I welcome the offers from my parents because I know my kids love them more than I think they love me (darn those Grandparents taking the glory), and even then, I don’t reach out on days like today.
It isn’t worth it.
I just do it.
And hope I don’t fuck things up too royally in the process.
Because, in the end, all I’ve got is me.
And even when I feel like me isn’t enough.
I have to trust I am.
Because I am Plan A, Plan B and Plan C.
I’m all I got.
I’m all they have.
I am a single parent.
I am enough.