Thursday, December 15, 2016

Parenting Alone

Most days, single parenting has become second nature to me.

I'm used to doing it almost completely alone, from the homework to the bedtime routine to the tantrums. I'm used to my children needing me when I'm already so completely exhausted.

It's been three years so I really should be used to this new normal. 

But sometimes it catches up to me. 

Sometimes I don't feel like I can take another step on this parenting journey alone. 

A few weeks ago, a lady I had only just met was asking about my kids and my life and when I told her I was divorced, she immediately asked if their dad was in the picture.

Me: Well, yes. He takes them every other weekend. 
Her: I just get so jealous of that! My husband travels all the time and I WISH I could have every other weekend off. In some ways, you are just so lucky that you at least get that break. 

You guys, this isn't the first time somebody has said those things to me and I know it won't be the last.
And while I know she meant well and that her struggles are just as real as mine, it feels like a knife in my chest when people say those things to me.

Because I DON'T wish I had a break from them every other weekend.
I wish our family all lived under one roof together. 
I DON'T enjoy the times they have things that I miss out on when they are with their dad.
And it is honestly so hard to be alone every single night in this house, wishing I had a companion who could tag team the tantrums and the homework and the bedtime routine.

This week, being a single mom caught up to me. 
It caught up to all of us.
And we've all been a mess. 

Major meltdowns have happened by all three of us this week.


And I'm just so exhausted. 

I'm exhausted and I am having a hard time leaving my house with a smile on my face.

I know it will probably feel better soon but during these times where it doesn't feel better---where divorce feels like the worst thing that has ever happened---I get so completely exhausted and frustrated that I am not a better mom to these beautiful babies of mine.

Friends, I hate complaining about this stuff because I'd do anything for my kids. My whole life is them.
But some nights it just hits me hard. Some nights I feel like I cannot take another step.

This is real life today. 

It is hard and messy and unpredictable. 

Real life this week consisted of one child telling me they hated me and then unbuckling their seatbelt while I was driving on a main road (Have no fear, I pulled the car over).
Real life this week consisted of another child participating in a gift exchange with friends and then crying because their gift wasn't like the other gifts (Enter the utterly embarrassed mother who swears she has taught her child better than this).
Real life this week consisted of so much more yelling and/or crying from the only adult in the house.

It's not always this hard---but right now, it is. 

And I'm not going to pretend that everything's always peachy over here. Because that just isn't reality.

And we are all about realness over here. 

The truth is that I'll wake up tomorrow, ready to be their mom again and throwing every part of myself into doing what I can for them. I already know that. I know I will never give up---even though I might rant to my friends that "I'm done!" and that "I quit!", which seem to be my go-to phrases when things feel super crappy. 

I'm never gonna quit. 

And I know life won't always be like this.

But right now, it is. 

And I just have to hold on to my faith that God knows me and will meet me in this hard place and eventually help me out of it.

Because without Him, I know I wouldn't have even made it this far and I'm grateful on these really low days to be able to look back and see how far we have come in the past three years.