Dear Single Parent,
I get you. I am there with you. I know how exhausted you are. I know your routine. I could probably step in and live it moment for moment like I had been there all along. The morning rush, drop kids off, off to work, work hard for 8 hours while part of your mind is still on your kids, your drive home thinking about all you have to do once you get there. You need to cook dinner, clean up, be present with your child , keep your patience and temper under control when you are getting stressed, showers, prep for the next day, attend to a pet, do a bedtime routine, get the kids to bed and finally pass out just to do it again the next day. In between if you find a free second you need to schedule doctors and dentist appointments (that you will attend with them alone), school meetings (that you will attend alone), sign them up for extracurricular activities, plan vacations or playdates, pay the bills, figure out HOW To pay the bills on one income, try to stay in contact with important friends even though you can maybe one send a text every once in a while, try to remember who you were and who you are. It is overwhelming. I get you. I am overwhelmed too.
Sometimes it feels like it can’t get done. Sometimes you feel like a superhuman and other days like you aren’t even keeping up with any humans. You feel proud of all you can do on your own, but at the same time so jealous and angry of your friends and people on social media who always share about their spouse and how much help they are blah blah blah. You feel like you are everything to everyone and yet you feel like you aren’t 100% in anything you do for anyone. I get you. I feel these same emotions.
The stress . . . oh the stress. Sometimes the clock ticks so fast it is like a ticking bomb in your ear. It starts sounding like an anthem “you will never get it all done, you will never get it all done”. The pressure to be successful at work, loving at home, happy at all times, it feels like giant man sitting on your chest. The weight and pressure of him literally hurts. Sometimes you can’t breathe. It is just too much! You want to cry out GET OFF ME! But you would just be screaming at life in general. GET THE FUCK OFF OF ME, LIFE OF MINE! THROW ME A GOD DAMN BONE!! I get you. I hear you. I join you in those cries.
Sometimes when an unexpected emergency comes up and you have to rearrange your preplanned day, week, etc. it feels like you are in a tornado and you cannot hold on to anything. It is a full on panic and you feel your insides shaking with anxiety like an inner earthquake. Yet you have to stay, calm, cool and collected on the outside. I get you. I am shaking and hanging on with you.
When an unexpected financial cost comes up that you didn’t plan for, because as a single parent we have to budget down to every penny, it feels like you are being choked. The air can’t get in or out. It is tightening so quickly, just like your bank account is tightening. You wonder how you will ever get out of this mess. Will you ever catch a breath? Why do you even bother to work as hard as you do? Will you ever get ahead?? I get you. I hear your fears. I fear them with you.
When you finally get a break from your children and get to have some adult time but you crash out at home alone because you are too exhausted to look nice, or walk out the front door, or put on a brave happy face. You just need to self soothe and sleep. I get you. But then when you do that and in turn feel even lonelier because you do not have much adult interaction besides co-workers or teachers and doctors. I get you. When you wonder how on earth you could EVER find a special someone who will accept what a fast paced shit show your life is. I get you, I wonder it too.
When your child is away and it feels like your right arm has been cut off and you miss them soooo much. You spend time planning how much you will do with them when you see them and how happy and loving you are going to be. You are done losing your temper and being stressed around them…. but then life happens and you feel guilty that it all didn’t work that way. I get you. I feel that guilt daily.
When it has been a REALLY long week and you do get that break from your kids and on the way to pick them up, as much as you love them and they are your whole life, you wish the drive could take just a little longer because you were just starting to feel human again. I get you. I feel that. I drive slowly too.
I don’t have all the answers for us. Shit, I don’t even have some of them. I do have the confidence that we will get through all this, that we are doing the best we can, and that is it so worth it. I know that we will get it all done, we will raise happy healthy children, and we will survive. I know that we will be stronger than many of our counterparts. I know that we can handle much more than most people, even when we don’t want to. I also know that no matter what I am feeling or what you are feeling. Someone else gets it. Just like I do.