Tuesday, June 4, 2013

My So-Called Single Mom Life

"I'm a single parent.  What's your superpower?"
                         --From a bumper sticker

It's after 4:30 a.m. on a Tuesday morning.  I've been awake since just after 3 a.m. but I decided that it would behoove me to toss and turn for more than an hour.  3 a.m. to 5 a.m. sleep is often elusive.  My doctor told me a few years ago to cut the caffeine but who can LIVE without caffeine?  I woke up thinking about the gazillion things that have to be done here in the last week of school and my brain exploded into about 5 million tiny to-do lists that forced me down to the kitchen for what?? Oh, that's right...more caffeine.

Destined for a life of fuzzy slippers and misshapen housedresses
I am tired.  Not just because it's the wee hours of the morning and my brain is on fire.  No, I'm tired because I have to think of EVERYTHING.  ALL the time.  This is, naturally, my own fault because if I had to pin blame on who made me a single mother my finger wouldn't waste any time at turning on me and pointing directly in my face.  Oh, you didn't have it so BAD when you were married, did you?  You whiny, silly creature.  Well, THIS life is what you get when you turn your nose up at marriage, missy.  

So, yeah, I know it's my fault that I ended up here.  And now, as I tell my children all the time about life, I have to deal with the consequences.

On any given day, I:
  • get the kids up, lunches made, out the door (one in the car, one on the bus)
  • feed the dogs and the cat
  • buy groceries
  • pay the household bills
  • worry about the gutters that need cleaning and the wood that is rotting on my house
  • mow the lawn
  • make dinner
  • clean up after dinner
  • think about what's for dinner tomorrow night
  • worry about that light on my car's dashboard that keeps coming on
  • think about when I need to change the car's oil
  • worry about trying to figure out what NEW car I need and, even better, how to pay for it
  • go to work and try not to focus on what needs to be done at HOME so I can get my stuff at WORK finished
  • figure out summer camp schedules/plans
  • wonder if I will be able to take a REAL vacation again...ever
  • worry about how my kids are suffering in their broken family lives
 That's a partial list.  I think I'll build on it as more things come to me.  The point is this:  I don't have a partner.  I can't say to anyone "Hey, if you'll mow the lawn, I'll make dinner!"  There are no bargains to be struck.  Things slide.  And that's all my fault, too.  Because, quite honestly, I COULD get it all done if I just FOCUSED.  I could work from sun up to sun down and some of the hours in between and my house could be clean, my lawn could be mowed and my children's clothes would be all put away instead of draped over the ends of their beds waiting for THEM to put them away.  But I don't have that kind of focus.  I don't have the personality that thrives on work, work, work.  Things slide. And I wake up at 3:00 a.m. worrying about all the things that are sliding.

So, I make bargains with myself.  OK, if I can get dinner made and the kids started on homework BEFORE 7:30 p.m., then I can take a walk.   Or, if I get three loads of laundry done today (which requires one load going in first thing in the morning and the second load started at lunch), then I can watch 30 minutes of the Gilmore Girls before bed.  

I realize that moms who are married are ridiculously busy and overwhelmed, too.  I know all about that.  But, here's the thing:  at the end of the day, you have someone to look over at (in loathing or in love) and say, "MAN, today SUCKED, didn't it?"  And you have someone there who loves those little hoodlums just as much as you do.  And you have someone there who can say, "Screw the laundry, let's watch the whole first season of 24!" And, somehow, just having that other person there makes all the crap a little easier to deal with.  All I have is a mirror.  And that mirror is often so harsh and judgmental.  Crappy mirrors.  Remind me to add "get rid of mirrors" to my to-do list.

OK, fine. I'm having a little pity party.  Mostly because it's 5:00 a.m. and the last week of school and I have so many undone things on my list that really must be done and I'm TIRED.  And there are things that WON'T get done and I'll feel guilty about them for the next three months until the new list of Things to Feel Guilty About overwhelms the current list and I forget all about the transgressions of early 2013 because they've been replaced b the NEW transgressions.

Endless, vicious, single mom guilt circles.

I've vented enough for today.  But it's too late to go back to sleep.  Guess I'll start some laundry.  Maybe scrub some floors.  WHERE is that to-do list???

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