Single Parents: A Tribute

I had a great work story all lined up for ya’ll. It was about the time I interviewed for an entry-level position with McKinsey, that fancy-schmancy consulting firm.  I was 21-years old and full of confidence that they needed me to do whatever it is that consultants do. (I didn’t see the need to burden myself with researching that in advance.)  It was going well until my watch alarm (Timex Ironman) went off, which was bad enough. But for some reason I thought my watch wasn’t professional-looking, on account of I bought it at Wal-Mart that summer while working as a camp counselor in the Hill Country.  So, before the interview I put the watch on way up by my shoulder so the interviewer wouldn’t see it under my shoulder pads.  Twas a little awkward to explain my theories on change management while trying to make my shoulder pad stop beeping.

But I’m not going to tell that story.


Look at this! A map with statistics! An Outlaw Mama first!

Look at this! A map with statistics! An Outlaw Mama first!

I feel like talking about how people who parent solo make it work.  Single parents? Um, yeah, heroes, people.  Heroes.  So, this is my tribute post to them– the mothers and fathers out there who do all the things I do, except they also have to do all the stuff my spouse does too (like cook, clean, teach the kids wood working, etc.).  I’m not naming any names, but you know who you are and you deserve a lifetime pass to Costco with a first-shot at all the samples.  Especially the chocolate ones.

I have no idea what it’s like to walk the road you walk.  Normally, Jeff travels for work and because he is as hands-on as any father I have ever seen, it’s a big deal when he’s gone.  No Jeff = no one who knows how to cook or change light bulbs or explain thermodynamics to our children.  It’s a real hardship.  And when he goes, I do lots of things like feed the children cereal for breakfast, lose my mind during bath time and text my friends with my myriad complaints about having to do it alone.

But you know what I’m not? I am not a single mother.  A few nights a week here and there don’t make me a single mother, because when Jeff’s gone (1) it’s temporary, (2) I can call him crying about how our children repel sleep, and (3) I know that when he comes home I’ll get a break.

I’ll just say it right now: I am in awe of single parents.  How they face the juggling act that is parenting without a partner makes me feel like unhinging my jaw in wonder.   I seriously don’t know how  you do it.  I mean, who do you blame when things go awry?  Who do you yell at when you’re at your limit? That’s what spouses are for!

My favorite post this week is about all of this: Being a single, working parent, and trying to fit it all in, including exercise and making our own lunches, not to mention the kids’.  I simply adore Courtenay from Soup Mama.  Check out her post here where she outlines her schedule for a typical day.  Prepare to feel like dying of exhaustion when you are done reading.


35 thoughts on “Single Parents: A Tribute

  1. It may be a first world problem, but the travel can be brutal. And I have to remember he comes home. And I get a break. It’s mostly that I can go “victim” pretty fast and then I feel trapped in the hell that is “temporary single mom”. In reality I’m pretty capable, but also damn glad it’s not all me all the time. And the single parents who don’t even get the “every-other weekend off”???? Not sure how they keep going. They are rock stars.

  2. I’m not a single parent, but I am a part-time single parent so I get “days off.” But if given the choice my children would be with me every day. I’m sure there would be times where I’d go nuts, or times where I reach the end of my rope, but I’d rather that than miss another second of their lives.

  3. That was great, thanks from this single mom! So where do I get my Costco card and chocolate samples? And who do I yell at? Unforunately, it use to my son but now it’s my dog. Poor baby but since he’s a dog, he always loves me 🙂

  4. Courtenay’s two schedule posts made my head spin. I don’t know how she’s doing it. And also NaBloPoMo. I’m also in awe of the single parents out there!

  5. You know, I think that even single parents have someone else to compare themselves, too, someone else who is in a tougher spot. I am a full-time single mom and teacher and love every minute of it. I get a decent amount of child support and I have summers off, which makes things so much easier. A friend of mine works full-time year round, gets no child support, and has one handicapped child. So, there is always someone else who is the real hero.

    • yeah it’s sort of lazy of me to make blanket statements about categories of parents. Maybe next time I’ll admire courtenay and specific people bc it sounds sorta glib. And I feel joy hearing how you love your life.

  6. It’s not the easiest gig especially going to school full time. I am hopeful that it will get easier once school is over but I am lucky to have my mom help me right now. Thanks for your tribute to single parents. It’s always nice to know that this job comes with perks like Costco memberships and chocolate!

  7. And, though I commented on your Facebook feed, I wanted to thank you again for your love. I don’t want to be a super woman, but I do want to be the mom that gets thanked in her son’s valedictorian speech. Mostly because he was my hero today when he fetched toys out of the floor vent with a pair of tongs for me because my arm was too big to get in there.

    Without a doubt, this is not the way I expected life to go, but I con’t think anyone does anticipate stuff like this. And I don’t think I have a bad life — my house is full of love and my kids are happy and I am happy, too. I miss having back-up, for sure, But I try to stay present in as much of the time I have with the kids because they deserve that.

    I have a friend whose husband died of cancer over the summer, leaving her with four kids roughly the same ages as mine. That’s a tragic situation, mine isn’t. I’ve always said that I will be fine and I know that is true. I might be crazy tired, but I will be fine.

  8. I could not agree with you more! We are struggling with my son hating school, needing orthotics, keeping the house semi- clean and eating good enough meals. It takes two…and many days I think we should add a sister wife!

  9. Pingback: My Mother…Still Taking Care of Me | joynpain2

  10. I felt the same way when my husband went away for a total of 7 days—by far the longest we had been apart. And just like your guy, mine is hands on, so when he’s gone, you feel it. I even told my brother (who is a single dad) how I’m in awe of what he does considering that he’s a single dad 24/7 and I only had a taste of it.

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