Lying in bed the other night with a stomach flu, covered in a cold sweat, exhausted, skin pin-pricked with goosebumps from a fever, kids finally asleep, I had the thought “This single mom thing sucks.” Moments like that are my low. Moments when I am made painfully aware of the fact that these little humans depend on me for everything and if I am a not feeling 100% too bad so sad, throw myself a pity party and then just put one foot in front of the other because I have no choice. I HAVE to be there for my kids. I CAN’T let them down. And even when it doesn’t feel like I could possibly “adult” for another second I pull myself together and somehow make shit happen.
But those aren’t even the worst moments. The worst moments are when Cyrus cries for his dad. When he tells me that he misses daddy and wishes daddy would come back home. When he tells me that he “lost his family.” In moments like that I swallow my heart, fight back tears and try to sound cheerful as I tell him that he’ll see daddy soon. Its moments when I see another happy “whole” family, a family like we could have been, like I wish we had been and I mourn the loss of my own fractured family. It’s moments when my child takes his first step or does something so funny I am snorting milk out my nose laughing and yet there is a tinge of sadness because there is no one to share the experience with. No one who will care like I do.
But its not all bad. Sometimes its nice to be the only one in charge. No one to argue about plans with, no one to match schedules with. If I want to spend a few hours with the kids at the pool one evening, I do it. If I feel like taking an impromptu road trip to the beach, I can. If I feel like making pasta for dinner the fourth night in a row, my kids applaud.
It’s been a little over a year since I have been separated from my ex-husband and I am finding my stride in this single mom thing. I’m going to be honest, the first few months were rough– a blur of tears and stress and sleepless nights and caring for a newborn. Adjusting to having two kids is hard enough without also having to deal with a separation, but I took one day at a time and I made it through. I got stronger. I started to feel more in control. Even the lows didn’t feel so low. I started to feel grateful again. I started to feel happy and at peace. My time with my kids is precious and as difficult as it can be sometimes (especially when having the stomach flu) I wouldn’t change it for the world. I feel blessed to be the mommy of two amazing sweet, happy healthy little boys and it is my privilege to guide them through this part of their life. They give me so much purpose and joy. I am proud of myself for stepping up to the challenge of being a single mom and for not only surviving but thriving.
I have also realized something. Everyone has their struggles. No matter how perfect someones life looks, they still have problems. Don’t judge a book by its facebook profile. Everything is not as it appears. If you are struggling with something, know that you are not alone. The greatest power we have in facing our struggles is perspective. Choose a perspective of gratitude and those struggles can only make you stronger.