I see you. You are doing better than you think.
Even though you are struggling during quarantine, you will endure.
If nobody has paused today to tell you this, then let me be the one to say: you are doing good, way better than what you would give yourself credit for, and definitely way better than what society would assume.
I do not know your backstory or circumstances, just like you are not fully up to date on mine. Maybe there used to be a dad in the picture, or maybe you choose this way of parenting. Whether by choice or by luckless fate, this hand that you have been dealt is nothing to be ashamed of, neither is it a drawback. Not for you or your kids.
The fact that you chose to be a mother automatically places you on the top echelons of the world. Being a mom means far more than simply giving birth to a human being. It means caring for that tiny human in spite of anything else. It means placing their needs in front of others. It means looking after them, sometimes without looking after yourself. And being a mom, with no fulltime support from another parent, gives you superpowers.
Don’t you dare compare!
It is all too easy to fall into the comparison trap. Seeing two-parent households and automatically attributing their success to the 2 parents. Kid excelling at school? Cause dad’s there. They can afford to go on that trip? Because they have mom and dad in the house. Such a sweet, well-behaved kid – yeah, you guessed it. In actual fact, two is not always better than one, and you, in your single home, can give just as much (if not more) to your kids.
I AM SHOUTING THIS SO YOU CAN HEAR ME!
YOU ARE BRAVE!
You do not have to be strong; you just need to be brave. The brave face their fears, they do not deny their existence. The brave does what is necessary, no matter the perceived consequences. The brave goes where others fear to tread because that is what their little family needs.
The brave also knows when to call it a day, when to give in to “enough” and when to walk away. You are brave.
There will come a time that you will grow tired of being called brave, superhuman, wonderful. You will want to hand back the badge and wish for someone, an equal partner perhaps, to help you carry this baton across the finish line. You will stop seeing the beauty and the privilege. You will just be tired.
If that day is today, with all the new pressures that we are currently facing, I want to gently encourage you.
If you feel lesser than because you are just not getting into this home-schooling thing, you are doing good. If you have thrown your hands in the air and declared “then do it yourself!”, you are doing good. If the most that you can muster is a wishy-washy schedule, and there is no routine insight, you are doing good. If you are smiling to their faces but crying yourself to sleep because you are worried about your next paycheck, you are going to be ok. If you have not exercised in weeks, and you are starting to worry about the example you are setting, you are doing good.
Now is not the time to berate yourself for every missed teaching-opportunity. For every fight you simply ignored. For losing your cool because your 5-year-old again only ate the tomato sauce and fed the fish fingers to the dog. For feeding them fish fingers instead of a balanced home-cooked meal, since “you now have the time”.
Now is the time to live by three mottos:
1. My love is more than enough
2. Choose your battles
3. Done is better than good
Two-parent households are also struggling. Everyone is struggling. And although you might think they have more support, or have their shit together, everyone has a story behind that perfect Instagram feed. Take comfort in this – we are all human.
Dear single mom, you are doing better than you think. And if you feel that you royally screwed it up today, then tomorrow is a fresh chance to make up for it. Just the fact that you feel that you can do better already makes it better, and proofs that you are a good mom. A brave mom, because you could confess to yourself that you made a mistake.
While I know, these words will not win your internal battle, I sincerely hope it will at least strengthen the winning side: right now, in this season of life, under these weird and abnormal circumstances, you, brave single mom, are doing a stellar job.