WEED: Pink Lemonade + Jack Herer
Listen, being a single parent SUCKS sometimes and anyone who tells you differently is a damn liar! There, I said it! ::hides under desk [just kidding. what desk?😂]:: Now that I’ve got that little bit out the way, please allow me to elaborate before you cyber-stone me. Haha.
The operative word in the ranty sentence is sometimes. Parenting is many things and in addition to being occasional suckiness, it’s also rewarding, loving, funny, fun, exciting, and scary. We’re human and that means we have human experiences, so why wouldn’t parenting reflect that logic? It’s never all rainbows and sunshine in life and one shouldn’t expect any role or experience to be either.
And yet, somehow I imagined that it would be smooth as a baby’s bottom. I truly don’t know how I could have been so silly as to think that, but I guess what they say is true in that you never really know until you walk a day in another pair of shoes (I paraphrased, haha). I imagined that I’d be one of those idyllic moms who bakes, sews Halloween costumes, and is head of the PTA.
HA! While there are many such mothers out there, I certainly am not one of them! Yes, in one way or another, I’ve done all of those things or something related to it, but I’m no Betty Homemaker. Life turned out to be much different than my young and excited musings. When I had my daughter, I was going through a long, scary, painful divorce; I worked full-time; and I was in my early 20s.
I never imagined I’d be going at it alone (I use alone in reference to being a single parent. it took a village with this Kiddo) and yet there I was faced with it. So, that meant more pressure on one person rather than two. Of course the bond with my child suffered because I simply didn’t have the luxury of being as present as I would like to have been.
Any single parent out there reading this knows exactly what I’m talking about. It’s the missed school performances to the late after-school pickups to the rushed dinner/homework time. It sucks. That’s the part that really and truly makes parenting so tough, in my opinion. Knowing that you should be present, and WANTING to be, but having to choose not to.
I can’t tell you how many times I chose work over presence. And to be clear, I believe it is a choice between going to work or staying with your kid. It’s not a choice we actively want to make, but it’s one we have made nonetheless. So, I chose to go to work because I knew if I didn’t go, things would likely decline rather than improve. To avoid that, I had to lean heavily on my parents to help me raise her.
It also meant knowing I may not be able to be as close to her as I should be without really working hard to strengthen our bond. Finally now, ten years later, I’m able to really put in the work to do that. The past several months have been focused on my parenting behaviors and I’m seeing the differences in a very rewarding way!
For all those parents out there who feel like they suck and that they made a thousand mistakes, I say this to you: yeah, you probably did fuck up, BUT you can always fix it! That may mean a different type of relationship, but it doesn’t have to be any less valuable. For me, I knew I needed more time to be the best mom I could. I needed time to get my own head right so I could start being who she needs me to be.
So, I quit my job. Not only was it a racist, shithole of a place (good pay though, haha), but I was absolutely miserable there. One day I came home, and The Kiddo said, “Mom, you’re like a zombie.” I quit that fucking place shortly after she said that and I’ve never looked back. Hearing my kid tell me how much of myself was missing, meant one thing to me: she was missing out, too.
Thankfully, I was in a position where I could do that. I know quitting isn’t an option everyone has. Lord knows it has NOT been easy by any stretch of the imagination, BUT I needed to do what I thought was best for my situation. MANY great things have spawned from that decision that otherwise would never have happened. One of those things is that my daughter is closer to me than ever before.
I can attend almost all of her performances; go to parent-teacher conferences without rushing or doing it over the phone; I can even volunteer for events. Now, I’m DEFINITELY still not that perfect mom. I still work, but only part-time and now I have entrepreneurial projects I work on; however, I can pick her up from school myself right when the bell rings. She can eat dinner without rushing and we can work on her homework without either of us wanting to scream. Lol!
Those seemingly insignificant things that many people might take for granted are huge to us. My work schedule never allowed for much of that availability before. This newfound freedom to experience her childhood in a very present way is such a major reward. I’m definitely basking in the glow of appreciation right now.