Nov 12, 2009

Single Parent should be an oxymoron

sin·gle par·ent (noun) Definition: Somebody who raises child alone: a parent who brings up a child or children alone, usually because he or she is unmarried, widowed, or divorced.

I never wanted to be a single parent. I had thought how awful it would be as a single parent when Mindy and I were going through rough patches. All my thoughts then focused on only being able to see my children on designated days, effectively letting the courts control my family life. The life I live now wasn’t the picture I had painted in my head during those times either; in many ways it’s worse.

In a conversation with my Teen one night I asked her about her mother. She said she thinks about her a lot. She misses her. These were the most forthright and honest answers she’s given me in a long while. She said “I wonder if it would be different with her here?”. That one I can handle; yes it would be. It most definitely would be. Maybe it’s because I’m still relatively new to all of this, or that I’m just not ready, but being a single parent is very hard. I’m out numbered to start with and then toss in that Mindy was a stay at home mom…I’ve got a long way to go.

I also find that I’m a little paranoid now that I’m the one solely responsible. Every little change in their behavior sounds an alarm in my head. My Teen loves to spend time alone. Sometimes reading or drawing but just off by herself in her room. Lately she’s been clinging to me a lot more. This week I’ve had an especially rough time. I’ve had to work quite a bit, some straight through the night and into the next day. I went to bed early Tuesday night, exhausted from being up for 40+ hrs. I fell asleep fast and hard at about 8:30p and it was just me in my big lonely bed. I awoke at about 3:15a to find little princess’ crying and my Sugarbear snoring to my left. I rolled over to find a set of elbows from my Teen near my head to the right. I was surrounded! My Princess woke up and couldn’t find her blanket, therefore a full on disaster plan was initiated to wake Dad and find said blanket; which was located under her pillow. I ended up with all three of them crowding me in what previously seemed like a big bed.

The next night I was still exhausted having not really gotten much rest and still putting out fires at work (figuratively). I sent the kids to bed a little earlier hoping I could catch a few more Z’s after I finished working and before the sun jumped back over the horizon. My Teen showed up again wanting to crash in my room. She never does this, not unless she’s sick. So I prodded her a bit about how she felt and why her room wasn’t making the grade, but as with everything else I ask her there was no real answer. She fell asleep in a matter of minutes while I worked. The clacking of the keyboard and the glow of my laptop didn’t seem to bother her at all. Here is where the paranoia set in. If she’s not sick, and this is not her usual behavior then what’s going on with her? Maybe nothing, maybe she just needs to feel extra protected; only time will tell. I wish Mindy was here to handle this stuff; single parenting is no walk in the park. The little ones do this all the time, mostly because they don’t want to go to bed, but not my Teen.

I don’t get much sleep anymore anyway; but with all the “All Nighter” for work in addition to my regular schedule, and the kids waking me up it’s really catching up with me. My house is a disaster, we’ve eaten out all week, and I feel like the kids aren’t getting the attention they need. This time of year doesn’t make it any easier. Things are not going to slow down any for a couple of months at least. There are birthdays, holidays, extracurricular events all right around the corner. So the definition may state that a single parent is a noun, a title bestowed upon someone, but I believe it should be an oxymoron. Maybe the lack of sleep is just making me into a moron?!?


  1. I have often wondered how in the world you do this with three, when I have a hard enough time doing it with one most days. It sounds like you are doing it well, especially given the various demands on your time. Just hang in there.

    As far as your teen goes, it sounds like maybe she does just need some extra reassurance right now. I think it's harder for older kids to express their grief than it is for younger ones. I was nine when my dad died and I remember being much less sure of how to express my grief than my daughter is. Just try to keep that line of communication open as much as she'll allow it to be. And again, keep hanging in there.

  2. I find that parenting alone is one the hardest tasks I've ever had to take on in my life. I have one..I can't imagine three. I'm routinely jealous, if not callous, of two parent teams...though there's not enough time for comparisons these days. I'm too busy being a single parent..laugh. What I'd give for full night's rest...located your blog through matt's. Check'en out other young widow blogs tonight..thanks for sharing your story!

  3. Dont be afraid to ask people (family, neighbours, friends) for help. Just ask. You may be suprised.

    You need to find out whats troubling your teenage daughter. Do something with her alone without the other kids. Maybe she will open up to you. Teenagers and young adults often need their parents more than when they are small. Spending some alone time with her is key.

    Good luck!

  4. 'Single Parent' IS an oxymoron! All children have two parents, even if one is absent.

    Best wishes, Cro.

  5. I sympathize with you as i am also a widow at 32 with 3 kids. Ive been through a lot but with God's blessing and guidance i made it till now. It's a good thing that my kids are so cooperative and understanding of my other responsibilities in organization and business sometimes they just sleep with their nanny but i always made sure that we do have a family time together during the weekend where we attend church, going to cemetery and stay overnight in our resort. I pray that you and your kids will overcome the trials that you are in right now. May God guide you and bless you always.... Marie Aldenese