An open letter to single moms from a mom that doesn’t get it

Dear single moms,

I don’t get it.  How do you do it?  I am a married, working mom of 3 young boys. My day starts at 5 am and ends around 9pm right about the time when I am so physically and mentally exhausted that all I can manage is crawling into bed or curling up on the couch where I quickly and most times unintentionally fall into a deep sleep. Even when I know that there’s a mountainous pile of laundry that needs to be done, bills that need to be paid, spending time with my husband with no kids around, or simply catching up on all the things that slip through my fingers throughout the hectic day. None of those things are usually enough to convince my eyes to stay open just a little while longer. Regardless, it’s not a deep sleep for very long.  It’s the kind of sleep that often gets interrupted in the middle of the night by one of the kids, or the dog barking, or because I suddenly wake up in a panic worried that I forgot to do something important from the long list of to-dos that plague my daily routine.  Don’t get me wrong…I love my life and my family and I’m beyond grateful for the many blessings that I sometimes take for granted.  But being happy doesn’t mean that its easy.  I wake up in the morning to fix breakfast, pack lunches, pack bags, get kids and myself ready usually in a mad rush, get them to where they need to be and rush to make it to work with seconds to spare.  I make it through the work day to then pick all the kids up, get home to then make sure homework gets done, projects complete, and depending on the day get them ready for a school program, karate, soccer, or anything else they have going on throughout the busy week, prepare dinner, get them fed, get them bathed, squeeze in some quality time with them then get them all into bed, after which I find myself back on the couch or in bed fighting sleep so I can stay up for at least one more hour to tackle what I couldn’t when everything else took precedence. I can’t say that I do this all alone.  I have a husband who is a wonderful father and is as hands-on with our sons than any dad can be.  He helps with everything, even laundry.  It’s truly a blessing.  We’re a team.  Yet, even with all the help and support I get, I still find myself drowning in the sea of responsibilities.  During the most overwhelming moments, I often think to myself, I could never do this on my own.  I couldn’t manage all of this craziness and stay afloat without my partner, my life vest. In the times I feel like I’m drowning, I know he’s not far to rescue me.

 I often think about you.  I think about how you do this all on your own.  I wonder how you have so much strength, so much endurance to conquer each day as a single parent.  It’s a thought that humbles me.  It makes me think twice about complaining of all the to-do lists and the chaos of everyday.  While I think about how overwhelming it is to be a mom even with the help and support of my husband, I remember that not only are you just as busy trying to be a mom, that you are also busy being a dad.  You are doing the job of two.  You are teaching them how to be compassionate, but also strong.  You are teaching them how to cook, but also how to throw a ball.  You are teaching them how to be kind, while also showing them how to defend themselves.  You are nursing them back to health, while still trying to make them tough. You are pulling double duty, all the time.   And I just don’t get how you do it. I think of how hard it is to be a full-time working mom of 3. Then it occurs to me that you are not just working full-time, you work countless of hours overtime. You are the sole breadwinner. You have to make one income look like two. You are the one who comes home after long hours to then cook, clean, bathe, tell bedtime stories, tuck them in, all without any help.  You are the one who has to wake up in the middle of the night to tend to one of them every single time because there’s no one there to do it for you.  You have to kiss all the boo boos and nurse all the fevers, even when you are also sick and no one is there to take care of you.

As much of this has already become part of your daily routine, you are probably used to it all.  You probably just take it day by day and do what you have to do for the sake and love of your children. You probably have forgotten or just no longer think about how much you have sacrificed.  I am writing this because I want you to know that what you do, doesn’t go unnoticed.  I want you to know that its not just your children who appreciate or will someday appreciate everything you’ve sacrificed for them. It’s not just your family who sees your struggle and how you find the strength to keep everyone above water.  I notice it too. Even if we are complete strangers, I admire your strength.   You are a warrior and whether you realize it or not, you make me want to be a better mom.  I’m sure there are moments when you are so completely overwhelmed that you hide in the bathroom to cry or sit alone in the closet so that the kids don’t see you at your weakest. Know that I also have those moments, but it’s the thought of you that makes me stronger.  You are a woman of unbelievable strength.  You are a woman that inspires me to just keep going. You are a mom and a dad.  You are a hero.  Not just to your children, but to me, and I’m sure to many others. I have a profound respect for you and whether you know this or not, I am a better mom because of you.

No, I don’t get how you do it…but I get why you do.  It’s out of love and love knows sacrifice.  Love knows putting others ahead of yourself. Love knows that when your children become parents someday they will then know what you did for them, what you went through. That’s the kind of love they will pass on to their own children and that is the greatest inheritance you can leave them. I don’t get your strength, but I understand your heart.  And I hope that at your weakest, that love always makes you the strongest.  

So, how do you do it? I’m pretty sure that love is the answer…and the greatest part of that answer, is that it never fails.

Sincerely,

An Inspired Mom

 

 

5 comments

  1. Susan Croox

    Yes!!! I think these thoughts ALL the time. Thanks for voicing them. It needs to be said.

    Reply

  2. Amy

    Such a kind and a beautifully written post!! I’m lucky enough to have a partner on this journey, and there are still hard moments. My hope for every parent out there is that they have one or two people that are really in their corner and ready to jump in when needed most.

    Reply

  3. Liz F.

    I love this post and shared it. It’s so true! I can’t imagine having to do it alone! When my husband goes away for a week at a time I think about all those single moms who do it every single day.

    Reply

  4. Derika

    This definitely hits home to mothers who are, amazingly, doing it all on their own!
    It’s so easy for us, with supportive spouses, to complain about the littlest things but we aren’t doing it all on our own.
    It takes a different kind of strength and courage.
    Single moms keep the world afloat.

    Reply

  5. Cathy

    Thank you for writing this. As a single Mom, I can tell you that yes, Love is the answer.

    Reply

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