I've been a Mom for 22 years. It has been one of the hardest, most exhausting, most rewarding jobs of my life. I have been there for first steps, first words, first bike rides, first touchdowns, first dances, first drives, first loves, first heartbreaks and first jobs. I've been their nurse, their listening ear, their taxi driver, their teacher, their cheerleader, their driving instructor, their housekeeper and their chef.
I've gone weeks without decent sleep and have spent countless hours crying out to God on their behalf. I've been very proud of my performance as a mom. Maybe at times a little too proud.
It can be easy to look at other moms and compare yourself. Maybe you are at every sporting event and they're not. Maybe they volunteer in the classroom every week and you barely make it to open house once a year. Maybe they prepare gourmet dinners and you eat fast food in the car. Maybe you work a full time job plus overtime and they don't work outside the home. Maybe they read aloud as a family every night before bed and you just make it up as you fill out the reading log. Maybe they always have the laundry done and you can never find a clean towel. I'm a firm believer in the saying, "We're all a hot mess, some just hide it better than others".
We have to be careful when making assumptions about the actions of other moms. We don't know the battles that they're facing. Maybe that mom isn't at the sporting event because she can't miss work. Maybe the mom who works full time does it to put food on the table for her family. Maybe a second job keeps that Mom from reading with her child every night before bed. Maybe the laundry is never done because she chooses to nap during her free afternoon to regain some strength for the rest of the day.
I have to admit that I have been guilty of judging the choices and actions of other moms. I could look in from the outside and think I knew what was going on. And then my world was turned upside down and I was forced to make the hard choices.
Of course I want to be there for everything for my kids, but I am now a solo momma who has to provide food, clothing and shelter for myself and my kids with little help from anyone else. I became the primary provider. It's just me and God paying the bills and putting food on the table.
I don't have a partner to fall back on when things get tough and I want to just stay in bed all day with the covers over my head. I don't have a teammate to help carry the daily load of taking care of a home and raising 2 teenagers. I don't have the choice to not do things because I'm tired or not feeling well. There is no one to rub my back or give me a hug and tell me that everything is going to be ok. I don't have the luxury of blowing things off or not planning ahead. This is such a crucial time in my kids lives. I can't give them everything that they want, but I will do my best to give them everything that's in my power to give them.
Some days I may get 8 hours of sleep and some days I only get 4. Most of my days off are spent running errands or catching up on things that got pushed to the wayside during a busy work week. The mental load of "all the stuff" can be quite overwhelming and at times seem impossible. However, when you are a solo momma, quitting is not an option.
Solo mommas just keep doing what needs to be done for their children. You don't think about whether it's fair or right that you have to give so much. You just do it for your kids. You somehow find the strength deep within to just never stop.
People tell me that they don't know how I do it. They ask me if I'm taking on too much. My answer to that is very simple....there is nothing that is too much to make life better for my kids. They are only in my home for a few short years and it is my job to give them as much stability and love as I possibly can. I need to be there to listen when they have exciting news to share or a problem to solve. I want them to know that the only thing in my life more important than them is my relationship with Christ.
Am I stretching myself thin? Most definitely. Would I like to get more sleep and have more "Me Time"? Yes, it would be nice. Do my kids' needs and wants come before my own? Of course. Do we get on each other's nerves? Ummmm......YES!!! Do I always have money for what they want? Nope. Do they know that if it's important to them that I will move heaven and earth to make it happen?? Absolutely without a doubt!!!Will they ever doubt my love and devotion to them? Absolutely Not!!!
Being a solo mom has given me a strength that I never knew I was capable of. It has opened my eyes to struggles that I didn't fully understand before. It has shown me how easy it can be to misjudge something when you've never lived it!!!
I am a Christian, a wife, a mom, a VBS crafter, a coupon clipper, a thrift store shopper, a football fan, a cook, a student of the Bible and an avid reader.