This is a shout out to my fellow single parents out there…
This shit is hard. I want to write something eloquent and heartfelt with a side of gentle humor. But I can’t really muster that right now.
And also, I’m thinking that instead of waiting for me to collect all the right words maybe you just need to hear it plain and simple.
This shit is hard.
Tears in the back of the closet so nobody hears hard. Wracking your brain for the next miracle hustle you’ll pull out of thin air to cover the end of month bills hard. Kids delivering up the brutal truth of how exactly not present you are because you’re torn in ten directions hard.
Christmas tree not decorated and panic attacks in the shower over how the hell to pull off Christmas hard. Trying to be everywhere at once hard. Coming face-to-face with your limitations and damn humanness every moment hard.
Being everything to everyone hard. Feeling alone and underwater hard. Dinner not cooked till 9 pm hard. House like a demolition zone hard. Life nothing like you wanted or expected hard. Ain’t nobody there to dry your tears so you’d better hold it together hard. Not gonna lose it till they go to bed hard.
And yes there are blessings and privileges and deep joy.
But it’s actually okay if you’re not feeling them or dwelling there tonight.
Some nights, it’s okay to let what is hard be hard without putting some forced gratitude positive spin on things.
I’m telling you it’s got to be okay mostly because I need it to be okay.
Because yes, this shit is hard.
It’s hard if you do it alone part-time and it is even harder to do it alone full time. I’ve done both and there isn’t an easy road here.
There’s a reason this parenting thing has always typically been done in pairs. A reason that extended families stayed close and sayings like “it takes a village” exist.
We are not fucking meant to do this alone.
Like most specific realities, single parenting is a reality I don’t believe it’s possible to even remotely understand unless you’ve lived it. And if you’re living it with the extra burden of financial fears or uninvolved or difficult ex-partners or medical or mental health issues (or any number of other life complications that I can’t even begin to know or understand) it becomes exponentially harder.
I’m a self-employed single mama who barely scrapes by most months. And even in that, I know all the ways I’ve got it good. I sure as hell do not have it the hardest.
But yes. Still. This shit is hard.
And I see all of you in it. In all your specific single parenting realities and challenges. And by god, I feel you deeply.
So if you’re out there tonight doing it alone.
And if it’s feeling hard as hell and even lonelier and more isolating than that… just know you’re not alone.
It’s my fellow single parents who keep me afloat on nights like this. Because they get it. They get it like nobody else can. The totality of it. The pressure. The don’t you dare drop a ball but balls are dropping all over the damn place anyway. The exhaustion. The relentlessness. The holding up an entire world (or two or three or more) all by yourself.
So if you’re having a night the way I’m having a night. I’m here. You’re not alone. I get it. I’m with you.
Sometimes just knowing that is the only thing that saves us.