It was Monday morning and I was feeling energized and confident. I knew that being a single mom for two-under-two for a week while my husband was gone on business would have its challenging moments, but I was destined to conquer the week with minimal wear and tear on my energy levels, my sanity and the organization of my house. As Friday arrived and it was time for my husband to return home, I can happily say that I truly enjoyed the blissful chaos that came along with being the only caregiver for my children, but I can also say “glory to the single mommies out there—you’re amazing!”
As mothers, I think it is fair to say that we all have a bit of “supermom” in us. Once we had kids, we magically grew an additional pair of arms and eyes in the back of our heads. We learned a whole new meaning to the term multi-tasking. Who knew nursing a baby while feeding a toddler and sneaking a few bites of “mom food” all at the same time would be the norm? In the past, cooking a meal for two was hard, but now after “supermom” status, it’s nothing to cook three different dinners; one for mom and dad (the “normal eaters”), one for the toddler who rebels against any foods other than meatballs and cheese, and the baby who eats steamed fruits and veggies. Before kids, we simply got out of the car and carried our purses into the house. After kids, and now with our new “supermom” muscles, we somehow carry a kid (or two), diaper bags, toys, and all of the other items our kids have acquired for us to take inside. And of course, you can’t make it easy on yourself (or your back) by making two trips because you have a baby who instantly begins to cry when you put her down and a toddler who hops on his big wheel and starts pedaling down the street. To keep everyone happy and prevent any major meltdowns, one trip from the car into the house, balancing several items in and hanging from your arms, a toy fire truck tucked under your neck, and every jean pocket full of stuff is now how things are done.
Even with all of these new “superpowers” that we’ve developed as moms, there isn’t anything like the power of help. While my husband was out of town and it was just me, I quickly recognized how much easier life was with his help. When two can conquer and divide, life is good. When it’s only one person, life is good, but a heck of a lot more taxing and hurried.
Single mommy week
My husband and I have established an efficient system, or team routine if you will, to tackle the evening routine of dinner, baths, and bedtime. During my week as a single mommy, I didn’t just have my standard “assignments,” but now I had my husband’s as well and I definitely had to get creative and flexible in order to achieve full, clean, and sleeping kids. During single mommy week, I barely made one meal that was complete with the sides I had intended. Instead of the traditional planned and well-balanced meal we normally have, it was more of an a la carte dinner of their favorite items…sure meatballs, a slice of gouda cheese, and a granola bar go great together! After dinner, we always play with the kids for a few minutes and then we head upstairs for baths and begin the relaxing bedtime routine. During single mommy week, there was nothing relaxing about our routine. Independently trying to put an 8-month-old who nurses before bed every night and a 23-month-old that likes to be read to every night around the same is quite the marathon. Yes, it can be done, but I was surely out of breath by the time I arrived at the “bedtime” finish line.
I thought I was tired at the end of the day when I had my husband’s help, but I gained a new definition of tired the week he was gone. After the kids went to sleep (well, after my son went to sleep, my daughter still wakes up every hour or so to be rocked back to sleep) I was so exhausted and at the same time so excited to find the couch or even the bed for an early bedtime. If I had anything to do, I knew I had better do it at that exact moment because as soon as my bottom hit the sofa, it was over. Nothing else was being accomplished for the evening. I like to think of myself as a productive person, but my productivity meter definitely took a hit that week. Of course, I met all of my children’s needs and interests, but once they went to bed, my fuel tank felt so depleted and my ability to get much done was quite challenged.
I learned a lot the week I played single mom. The most notable thing being that single moms are extraordinary superheros. So single mom, this one’s to you!
Dear Single Mom,
Did you ever know that you’re my herooooo (as you’re reading this, I hope you’re hearing Bette Midler singing this to you). I am inspired by your ability to manage life’s many happenings on your own all the time while still attending to the needs and desires of your kids. I am amazed by your strength to “carry it all;” the doctor’s appointments, the sick days, the parent-teacher conferences, the bills, the grocery shopping, the upkeep of the house, the extracurricular activities, the birthday parties, and not to be forgotten, the appointments on your calendar dedicated to your personal self-care. I think you are awesome and admire your strength, energy, dedication and extraordinary time-management and life balancing skills. I sincerely hope that your child(ren) recognize how much you do to provide a happy, safe, and quality life for him/her. It is also my hope that you take a few minutes every day to recognize how special you are and the incredible demands (and stress) that you conquer every single day all on your own—you rock!! Glory to all of the single moms out there!!
Melissa “I greatly praise, applaud, respect and celebrate all single moms” Butcher
And to all of the husband’s out there, you haven’t been forgotten! On behalf of the “wives’ club,” we thank you for the extra help that you provide to take care of the family and the house, you are truly appreciated and loved!