people always ask me how i’m managing to raise my girls alone. i’m not sure i’ve ever had any kind of real answer. from the outside looking in, i suspect that there are two very different ideas about how my household runs. there’s the glossy, filtered social media version that suggests i’m some kind of mama pod that has my shit completely together and my kids are perfect angels.
then there’s the much more realistic version that has me spending most of my spare time in track pants trying to organize and facilitate 3 different schedules (let’s be honest, 2) and yelling things at frustrating small humans, that i will undoubtedly later regret. some days it’s hard to get out of bed.
bottom line? it’s getting done, but it’s not easy.
like most parents, i have no idea what i’m doing. every move and every decision is as good as a guess and i am worriedly flying by the seat of my pants.
and when you don’t have someone around to directly bounce your crazy off of – especially when you’ve locked yourself away and you just need 5 minutes to think without constant chatter about when you’ll allow them to have their next snack (by the way, snacks will be the end of me) – it tends to magnify your inexperience and general incompetence.
it’s also fair to suggest that sometimes you just need someone to validate your existence. in those moments of what am i doing/how did i get here/help me get out, it would be kinda’ great to have an extra adult-sized person around to tell you that you’re still a human… that you’ll be ok… that you’re doing great.
i remember the moment that i first realized i was alone alone. i needed to have a long overdue shower so i set toddler lola up with my mom in the living room and escaped to the confines of the bathroom. i let the hot water muffle any outside noises and zen’d out for approximately 4 and a half minutes of pure bliss. as i turned off the tap, i could hear a full mid-sentence, one-sided conversation taking place on the other side of the door. my small person had found me and she was rambling on as if i was directly in front of her. i half laughed and half cried and it was then that i knew it was always going to come down to me.
but i also remember the moment that i realized being alone in the house didn’t mean being alone in the world.
i was having a hard day with the girls and had lost interest in being any kind of decent parent. i’m absolutely terrible at asking for help so i cancelled on a girlfriend who was supposed to come for dinner. i hate showing people my weak side. she showed up anyway, with food for me, activity books for the girls and a helping hand to get them to bed. i didn’t think i needed it and she knew i did.
see, my kids aren’t just being raised by me. there’s a whole mess of people who, whether they know it or not, are doing this with me. (and just to be clear, to those of you i am speaking about… you will never be released from your duties. my shackles are bulletproof.)
they come in the form of friends and family, neighbours, coaches, co-workers and teachers. even the girls’ doctor who is so unafraid of looking a kid in the eye during a tricky conversation, i let her take the lead on the puberty talk. (i cowered in the corner while smiling and nodding. #twothumbsup)
sure, taking the kids off my hands for an hour or a day or a weekend (one can dream!) is like winning the lottery, but the small everyday moments and the time and effort given without thought or agenda, are just as significant and important.
there are a hundred different ways in which we profit from their love. simple things like facetiming, handwritten letters in our mailbox, spontaneous dance party participation, emails and texts just to check in, and lot of hugs. these are the things that set us up to not fail. these are the things that make me feel less alone. these are the things that have an impact.
it’s a bit of an exaggeration to say that the world is my co-parent (i mean, where’s the world when i’m trying to explain how babies are made?), but there is a community around me that has a firm second seat in the shaping and guiding of my girls. and the truth is, their effect is immeasurable.
i am thankful to all the beautiful creatures helping me to raise my babies.
they are the reason i get out of bed.
**in my first ever vlog, i ramble on about co-parenting, (subscribe if you’re so inclined, i promise to get better with lighting & speaking in general)…
this is the article that got me rambling… http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/co-parenting-modamily-singles-children-1.3982908