I am aware that what I’m about to admit is going to make me look like a giant jerk ball. I’m also confident that I’m not the only single-to-now-married mom who feels this way, or has felt this way at some point. But really, even if I am, that’s okay too.
I was a single parent for more than ten years. During that time, I played mom, dad, doctor, nurse, teacher, coach, etc. It’s the job description that’s required of all moms, sometimes even more so of single moms (or dads). It’s just what you do to keep.swimming.
When I met Ryan, my biggest hope and prayer was that the kids would like him and that he would like them. Of course, being that they’re an extension of me, I knew he’d love them. It was a prerequisite! But, my kids were elbow deep into the tween years, and getting them to like new people can be tough! (No idea where they get that.) Clearly, things went well and…here we are!
Flash forward to this week. While helping Anderson with some homework and cleaning out his Trapper Keeper (hehe!), I found a note he wrote to Ryan, thanking him for always being there for him and Lilly, along with other things! Of course it’s a super sweet note and I would NE-VER be upset that he wrote it, but…it pissed me off!
Because, let me tell you about one of the writings that my daughter wrote about me.
Last summer at church camp, Lilly wrote in her journal that she was praying for me because I’m always mad and tired. She wrote that I always seem upset and overwhelmed. O. U. C. H.
She isn’t wrong.
There’s just a heavy responsibility of being the sole disciplinarian. Of course, it’s not Ryan’s place to discipline them. And their dad lives so far away that I wouldn’t expect his input or help either. So that leaves me. Always the “bad guy” and always the “mean” one. It’s just what it is. But sometimes it really really really stinks and sometimes it really really hurts.
Being a mom is the most selfless job there is. It’s not about me at all. It’s about keeping them safe. Keeping them on task. Holding them responsible, and creating accountability. It’s about making sure homework is turned in, laundry is done, beds are made. It’s about creating tiny humans who will turn into productive teens and young adults. It’s about teaching them that they have ownership over their actions, their body, their words. Everything I do is to ensure they are learning and growing as kids so they can be self-sufficient adults. That is my job. And for now, it comes with zero reward!
I know that with time, my 38 year old daughter will spend a Monday morning crying on her bathroom floor texting me, telling me how thankful she is for me, and apologizing for all the times in her life she took me for granted (sorry mom!). I know that at some point, my son will be there for me, the way that I am always there for him. I know that the rules and restrictions I’m putting on them now (on my own) will benefit them in middle school and high school and cut down on the drama that they just aren’t equipped to navigate. I am confident in my parenting, even though it oftentimes goes unnoticed.
Here’s to all the single moms, working moms, and everything in between…I SEE YOU. I see the effort, the tears, the stress, the heartache, the celebrations. I see all of it. You are doing all the right things. You are doing it all for them. THEY don’t know it, but I DO. KEEP SWIMING. You’ve got this! Do not give up because those kids are sooo incredibly worth it. They’ll come around. They’ll grow up and they’ll realize YOU are the one who kept them on track- even with your constant nagging and occasional yelling. YOU DID IT FOR THEM! I SEE YOU!