When my first baby was small, I remember lying awake at night, just to make sure she was still breathing. Being an anxious person by nature I didn’t even need SIDS stats or other horror stories to give me something to worry about. I could figure that out for myself.
With my second baby, the fears were just as real, just less. Now I could confidently say the dog wouldn’t eat the baby, the wind won’t blow her away and green Martians won’t attempt to steal her. Still, the more than real (and realistic) fears lingered.
As the kids grew up, these fears were simply replaced by other, more age-appropriate ones. But I had one reassurance – I wasn’t doing it alone. I had a co-parent, someone with a bit more logic when it came to the wellbeing of the kids. Nothing to really be afraid of.
And then my world fell apart. Our marriage ended, and at the same time, he moved to not only a different country but a different continent. I was all alone, except for the two kids, and my fears. Not great company.
Worrying sucks. Worrying alone sucks even more. The longing for another parent, for a teammate, goes much deeper than simply wishing someone else was there to help with bedtime.
Sharing the parenting responsibility means also sharing the fears. A difficult if not impossible thing to do if you
- Are not on speaking terms, and
- Don’t even share the same time zone.
Sometimes you need a real-time reality check, which was impossible in our case.
I do believe that I am not alone in dealing with this. In a world full of worried moms, us single moms again drew the short end. With no one there to remind us that we are being ridiculous, parenting can become even harder and more overwhelming.
Finding a community to belong to, relying on the support of your friends and family, and if possible – working on having a strong parental commitment with your co-parent, are the only ways we can make this work. Finding your tribe seems to be the only way to raise your kids. After all, it takes a village, right?
After months of doing this solo parenting business, I think I have sorted through most of my fears. There are still a few nagging ones, but my fellow mom friends will help abolish the ridiculous ones in due time.
Probably over a glass of wine.
Have you found your tribe yet, or are you still a single worried mom fearing the world? Take my advice, find your tribe!