This is what I look like when my kids act like crack monkeys in the grocery store.
Before I say anything, I would like to say, that I've said all of this before.
I have talked about what being a single mom is like.
I have talked about how hard it can be, and all the little ways in which it can be tiring.
And I have said before, as I will say now, that I know this is the life I chose when I decided to have children.
I know that being a parent in inherently hard. I never expected it to be easy.It insults me when people respond to my exhaustion, my worry, my frustration and my loneliness with
"No one said parenting is easy."
OF COURSE NO ONE SAID IT WAS EASY.
That doesn't mean that sometimes it doesn't just suck that it's so hard.
Today, I'm tired.
I am exhausted.
There are just days when doing this by myself wears me out.
And to add another disclaimer: saying I do this by myself is NOT meant to be a slap in the face to those who do help me when they can.
It means that the day to day, the morning noon and night shit that comes with keeping a household of three people together, I do that shit by myself.
And it's exhausting.
Do you know what it's like to answer every question a three year old boy has, because you're the only one there to answer them?
I once thought that if someone asked me what I expected the hardest thing about being a single parent would be, I would've said providing for my kids. If they'd asked what I thought the most important thing a parent had to do would be, I would say making them feel loved.
Now I would answer both questions the same way: Talking to them.
Do you know how hard it is to find time to talk to your seven-almost-eight year old about her day and her thoughts and every single thing she wants to tell you, when you have a three year old boy....anywhere in the house?
Do you know what it's like to never do anything by yourself? I mean nothing. I don't grocery shop, get gas, run an errand, clean out the van, clean my house, do laundry or cook dinner without my kids in tow. Hauling two kids around everywhere can make even the simplest task utterly exhausting. Just going to get something quickly from the story means:
Get everyone's shoes on Find everyone's shoes, primarily Jack's because he seems to hide them like they're fucking Easter eggs every time he takes them off, get the shoes on, tell both kids "No you cannot bring that toy/book/doll/whatever with us, we're going to the store for five minutes" about 20 times, walk everyone out to the car, yell "Jack get back here! Lainie slow down! Jackson! Get BACK HERE!" about 5 times, get Jack into his car seat, buckle him, break up a fight about who sits where, make Lainie sit in the way back so they're separated and can't find, get in, take a deep breath, start the car and field about 200293089238238 questions about life, the universe and everything in the 10 minute drive to Fry's. Find a space, tell everyone ahead of time you are NOT buying toys/candy/ice cream/cookies/whatever before getting out the car. Get everyone out, hustle them into the store before Jack wiggles out of your grip and gets run over by a car, grab a cart and yell at everyone to STAY WITH YOU FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, negotiate the isles with your cart while simultaneously trying to keep your kids from pulling everything off the shelves or throwing random shit in the cart. Stop to pull them up off the floor about 8 times, since they keep stopping and throwing themselves down in front of the cart to....do something that appears to be breakdance fighting.....apologize to the 40 people they've bumped into, cut off or stepped on, and try to get the fuck out of the store before you start crying.
And that's the short version of a trip to the store.
It's just so much to do all by yourself, all the time.
From the moment I wake up, I have 3 people to get dressed and out the door, and no help. I pick the kids up, everyday. I make every meal we eat in this house. I wash every load of laundry. I wipe every tear, I give every bath, I brush Lainie's hair every night, I make every bed, I read every story, I wash every dish, I take out every single bag of trash. I fold all the washed and dried laundry. I carry it upstairs and put it away. I drop the kids off I pick the kids up I clean up after the kids.
What I wouldn't give some days to be able to text someone and say "hey can you grab milk on your way home? I need it for dinner. Thanks" or "Hey I'm running late, could you start dinner?" or "I didn't get to the dishes last night, could you start them so I can start dinner as soon as I get home, cuz the kids are ravenous already and if they wait more than 20 minutes for dinner they'll eat my soul."
And some nights, like tonight, I wish that after that was all done, that I could sit on the couch with someone who would bring me ice cream and put on a movie.
I have to coordinate, organize, clean up and look after the lives of three people. Sometimes doing that by myself just makes me so so tired.