A New Found Respect for the Single Parent

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I want to start by saying that I genuinely commend you single parents for busting your hump to provide for your children. I have been given a taste of what it is really like to be a single parent. My husband, as some of you know, has been deployed and I've always found it easy to lean on him for support so when he was suddenly gone I had to struggle to regain my balance. Financially everything is the same, but I was suddenly without my backup and I wont lie...the struggle is still active in my house.

My 2 year old has brought out of retirement his old routine of slapping me across the face when I tell him no. It will sound terrible but, I have a hard time not slapping him back at times. Like for one instance, we went to the Halloween event on base and everything was fine and dandy. My son was digging the navy blue mustang, that was available to be won, and the red hot fire truck. For whatever reason there was a police car parked across the road and a few people were standing around talking to the officer, the car had its lights flashing and this caught my son's attention. He tried time and time again to get across the street to the police car and every time I would stop him. My son finally got so annoyed with me he started screaming, "If you aren't going to listen or behave then you're going in the stroller," I told him. I picked him up and placed him into the seat, he started to stand up to try to get back out and so I reached for the buckles. Between fiercely kicking legs, I managed to get the buckles together and was trying to calm him down....get him to quick screaming. He glared at me angrily and, very knowingly, he punched me as hard as he could in the face. People were staring and eye brows shot straight up as they watched my sons tantrum spiral into something that could become even more regrettable. I hurried, with eyes watering, down the sidewalk a couple of blocks to our truck. I placed him, still kicking, punching and screaming, into his car-seat and hurried around to the drivers seat.

It was times like this that I knew I needed my husband to help me, to back me up to our 2 year old. For whatever reason my son listens to his father but can utterly ignore me all day. With my husband's previous work schedule he was usually either working or sleeping most of the time so I had to do majority of the disciplining, so I'am sure that can't be it.

Anyway, I am getting off track.

I have never not had help before, grandparents to take him too, a friend to watch him...my husband to take over. So now, I am sitting here feeling like I could possibly rip all my hair out half the time. It takes a certain kind of special to be a single parent, I never truly noticed before how hard it really was. I still have it easier than single parents because my only job is to look after the house and my son, I don't have a job to report to everyday or have to pay day care or worry if the sitter is sick. I knew that being a parent in general was nothing to be taken lightly, but I never really knew how hard it could be when there was just me.

Just me to clean up the endless tornado of toys tossed everywhere; just me to make the meals and clean up the mess; just me to remember to pay all the bills on time or I might not have water for my shower in the morning. Just me to make all the doctors appointments and then just me to take him to them; just me to deal with the bad attitudes that have been coming more frequently; just me to give him baths; just me to battle him to brush his teeth; just me to get him to eat healthy meals; Just me to deal with sleepless nights when he has a nightmare and has to sleep with me (and waking up with bruises all over me and a black eye); Just me to run all the earns; Just me to take care of the lawn; just me to take care of the truck when something goes wrong (and you know it does, because my husbands gone); Just me to juggle my home life and college; Just me and no back up & no breaks.

My mother used to be a single parent for nearly eleven years, when she married my step dad. She had my older sister and I to look after so she worked 3 different jobs, kept us taken care of and on task, the house clean and us healthy and fed. I asked her how she managed to do it all she just smiled, shrugged and said, "I just did what I had to," hmmm.....not very helpful. But all the same, single parents deserve so much more credit than they get. I am chomping at the bit until my husband returns and I can once again share the responsibility with him.

I know how tired I am all the time from trying to manage everything I did manage before and then a few of the things I didn't on top of never getting any Me time, I have been feeling the stress like a fierce aching burn you get while working out...but with the soreness of yesterdays workout still tender. I absolutely love my son, I want to state that right now, but I am sure that other parents can agree with me when I say, "sometimes I need some time away from him." I thought I had this whole parenting thing down pat. I've gotten a real glimpse into the life of the single parent and it's really hard.

So I commend you Single Parents, for everything you do. You're children will one day realize how much you sacrificed and fought to keep them happy, healthy and provided for. You truly are the All Stars of the parenting world and I have found an entirely new respect for you.

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