Friday, January 05, 2018

Ten Things That Royally Suck About Being a Single Parent

Back in the day, anytime the husband was out of town for a couple of days, I would lament dramatically about how hard being a "single parent" was. I would heap praise upon single mothers for their heroic efforts, as I swooned on the couch like a damsel in distress, hair in a messy bun, yesterday's makeup smeared across my eyes.

Then I became a single mother in real life, not just for a weekend, but for, like, forever indefinitely, and I realized there are way more things that suck about being a single parent than just feeling and looking tired all the time.

As my days go by, I discover more and more things that just suck. Some of these are specific to single parents; most can be shared by single folks regardless of parental status. But the following ten things are what I have found to be the suckiest parts of single motherhood. (I could also offer a money-back guarantee that Scott feels the exact same way about being a single dad, but there's been no money exchanged here, so just take my word for it.)

Ten Things That Royally Suck About Being A Single Parent (or single whatever):

1. Having to carry all your own groceries into the house. SERIOUSLY. It's like twice as many trips to the car, and then you have to put it all away yourself too. There is, of course, the cutting-off-circulation-to your-wrists method by slipping 6 bags onto each arm and clutching the gallons of milk in your fists, but you then risk scratching the paint on your car by trying to close the trunk with arms full of swinging cans of mixed vegetables. Yes, you can recruit the kids to help, but suddenly they all find a bag of bread sooooo heavy, Mom and you just want to give up right then on the driveway in front of your neighbors and God and the city alderman who lives two doors down. (She throws great summer barbecues.)

I use the cut-off-circulation method every time.

2. Not having someone to make a quick run to the store whilst you're cooking when you realize you're missing an ingredient. You know, you think you have everything you need, so you start stirring the pot on the stove and shoving food in the oven when you realize, "Aw crap, I'm out of ketchup!" But there's a half-ready dinner cooking, and with no one to run to the nearest supermarket to grab a bottle of ketchup for you, your dinner is ruined and the kids refuse to eat it.

I always run out of eggs.

3. Having no one to call to when you're in the bathroom and out of toilet paper. Y'all know what I'm talking about - you've had a satisfying few moments of silence, until you realize you're out of TP. So you do the awkward shake off then commence the pants-around-your-ankles waddle to the toilet paper closet and back. (Does everyone else have a toilet paper closet?)  Anyway, I've called on the kids once or twice when they were within earshot, but I'm trying to train them to leave me alone in the bathroom, not join me there. Inviting them in to hand me a roll of toilet paper is as counterproductive as inviting them to sit across from me on a stool and tell me again all about their favorite YouTuber.

Ah crap.

4. Similarly, having no one to call to when you're in the shower and forget to get a towel. I hate the feel of sopping foot prints on my bathmat, but when you forget the towel, you've got to drip drip drip all the way to the towel closet (surely you all have one of those) and all the way back. Then the bottoms of your feet get all covered in fluff and hair and tiny bits of paper that didn't exist until that very moment, and you will need another shower again to rinse off all the filth. And then you'll have to vacuum your carpets right after that because you had no idea they were so disgusting.

Is there anybody out there?

5. The sole responsibility is on you to remember to drip the faucets when it's cold outside. Okay, this one's personal. But I came home from work yesterday to burst water pipes, and it was all my fault for forgetting to drip the taps just that once. The adulting is too much.

Actual footage of my basement ceiling.

6. Flying solo when the kids are absolutely doing your head in. Let's get to the real parental brass tacks here. When there are two sane adults in the house, one of you is allowed to sometimes succumb to the overwhelming insanity and retreat, while the less perturbed one rallies the troops. But when you're the only adult around, there's no one to pass the buck to. You just have to keep on truckin', and try not to Hulk smash anything.

And it's only 8am, honey.

7. Having no one to pick up the slack when you're sick.
I remember last Valentine's Day being surrounded by puking children and feeling pukey myself. While I was lying bed in the middle of the night, trying not to move a single muscle to keep my stomach still, I heard a kid hurl all over the bedroom carpet. I had to soothe a crying child, mop up puke, and suppress my own heaves. It was god-awful. Then there's the times I get a migraine, and even the slightest noise or light makes me crazy. It's those times when the kids decide a mangled Pokemon card is worth fighting to the death over. And don't get me started on what it's like the week before I start my period.

I just can't even.

8. Trying to juggle school nights all on your own. Homework, dinner, cleaning up, bath time, bedtime, kill-me-now. I may pretend to be supermom, but after a full day of work and getting home at 5:30 - 6pm, trying to assist three children to varying degrees with homework, whilst cooking dinner and running a load of dishes and throwing in a load of laundry all before bath and bedtime - after all of that, I feel like the worst mum ever. Plus, my fifth grader's math homework makes me feel like an idiot.

You and me both, kid.

9. Having no one to unwind and be an adult with at the end of the day. After all the hard work is over and the kids are tucked peacefully into their beds, you look around and it's just you. There's no other adult to plop on the couch next to and share a glass of wine with. No one to just look at and laugh off the ridiculousness of your evening with. No adult to vent to about the walls your toddler Sharpied today or that woman at work who drives you crazy. No one to cuddle with while you unwind to an episode of Walking Dead (or The Bachelor, whatever floats your boat). No, it's just you. Some days that's perfect. On other days, it sucks.

Guess I'll just eat this whole cake myself.

10. Feeling overwhelmed when the kids are there and feeling lonely when they're not. Though having the kids 24/7 is overwhelming and at times maddening, when they are at their dad's house, everything feels so empty. My house is just too quiet. I enjoy it the first night, don't get me wrong. I then get a little restless the second night. After a few nights, I start thinking about all their sweet qualities: their hugs and kisses, their funny sayings, their bright eyes, their peaceful faces while sleeping. And I start to miss them, like, in the tenderest part of my heart. I miss them so much, it hurts. It really sucks. Royally.

I even miss their incessant, unintelligible chatter.

Image Sources: Unsplash / Pixabay / Adobe Stock