Monday, February 4, 2013

How I Do It, Pt. 3: What Its Worth

I think parenting, especially single parenting, can best be described as a very precarious juggling act.
You are constantly monitoring several spinning plates, and making sure-or trying to make sure that nothing falls and breaks.
You're also spending more time than you ever imagined wondering if you just stepped in water or pee.
People ask me a lot how I do it, and I honestly don't know how to answer that question in a neat, concise way, other than to say I just do it.
So far in this series we've talked about my village, and how important support is, and we've gone over the hectic and messy day in the life of me and my kids.
But maybe you're wondering how I do all of that.
Logistically, literally, and emotionally.
The truth is, I don't know.
I guess its sort of like a constantly running check list in my head.
I know I have two little people who cannot dress themselves 100% on their own, so I need to get up earlier than I would if the only person I needed to get ready in the morning were me. Ok, set the alarm for 6. Check.
I know I need to get three people dressed, so I start with the hardest one first, which is Jackson. Lainie is 9 now and can {mostly} dress herself. I know Lainie moves the slowest in the morning though, so she needs to be woken up first. Check.
I know that we have to be out of the house by 7:10 and no later, so I should get as much ready the night before as I can. Lay out their socks, clean underwear and Jackson's outfit because he'll usually let me pick for him. Check.
I know they need to fed, and they can't eat pizza every night, so I plan our meals two weeks in advance and plan accordingly for what will keep for two weeks, what needs to be frozen and what I should just buy later. Check, check.
I know I have two kids who both need to feel special and important and wanted and loved and attended to. I know that Jackson will seek me out when he wants a hug or a kiss or someone to play with, but Lainie will wait for you to come to her so she feels like the love is genuine.
So I seek Lainie out, kiss her face and ask her to read to me.
I know I can't always give them both what they want at the exact same time. Sometimes one of them needs to try to wait a minute and be patient. Because Jackson is younger, Lainie is usually the one who has to be patient. It breaks my heart, but I only have two hands. I try to make it up to her, but I'm sure I fail a lot.
I know that their needs have to come before my own. I know I can't yell and scream even when I am so close to yelling or screaming that its almost unbearable. I know I have to step back and breath for a second, even if that means locking myself in the closet for five minutes while they tear the house apart.
I know that they need to take baths and eat all their veggies and follow through with the things they ask to do outside of school, and always be polite and share as much as possible, but I also know that sometimes being the perfect parent just isn't worth the blood on the floor. Exceptions need to be made, grace needs to be given, and battles have to be carefully chosen.
I know they're going to fight, and I struggle with when and how much to intervene. I struggle with the line between encouraging them to play together and forcing them to just get along and stop fighting.
Sometimes that feels like forcing a square peg into a round hole.
I know the house needs to be clean and the laundry needs to be done, and as badly as I want to go to bed right now, I can't. Sometimes though, I do anyway.
I know they need a roof over their heads and clothes to wear and food to eat, and those things cost money, so I work my ass off whether I like the job I have or not, and I've taken a lot of shit from a lot of petty bosses, and I've had to leave them with family members when they were sick because I could not miss one more day of work or I'd get fired, and I know they don't understand, but I hope someday they will.

And I know that at the end of the day I'm exhausted.
I'm tired and I'm over it, and most of the time the day ends with me sitting on the couch alone, watching TV and its lonely.
I wish I had a partner, I wish I had someone here to just be exhausted with me at night, but I don't, and part of the reason is I'm so hesitant to let my kids get to know someone else, after so long of it being just me and them and occasionally Bill.

I know all of this, and sometimes its too much.
I want to cry or scream or go to bed for a week.
Sometimes I want to walk out the front door and just be by myself for an entire weekend.

But I know that when I drag my tired ass to bed, Jackson will instinctively scoot closer to me in his sleep, and Lainie will be softly breathing beside him, and the bed will be so warm, and I will know that this is my home.
This is where I belong, and these kids are just perfect for me.
They are the very best parts of me, combined with aspects of such wonder and beauty, that I know they couldn't have gotten it from me, and in those moments where it all shines through, I know I didn't make them alone.
Whoever God is, however we got here, I see it in my babies when I slow down and really pay attention.

I know its all worthwhile.

No matter how many times I step in pee.


  1. This was a fantastic post. I think honestly it's one of the times you've opened up the most. All the work you do is commendable, and it really does show in the stories of your kids; they may not vocally say it but I think they realize all the things you do in one way or another and truly love you so much for it. Thanks for doing this little multi-post series

    1. Thanks for the great idea! I'm so glad you liked it. I love my kids, so much, and all the exhaustion is worth it because I know one day when they have kids, they'll understand that every time I found their shoes for them, or made them clean their room or missed work because they had a fever, I was saying I loved them in a language only parents understand.