Happy Father's Day - A Salute to the Marathon of Single Motherhood
I don’t have a penis. You may or may not have realized that.
And because of my lack of a male member Father's Day brings on a ton of mixed emotions from this single mom of an 18-month-old. On one hand, Ellie and I have been blessed with amazing - and I mean really upstanding, stellar men - in our lives. On the other hand, there is the sometime harsh reality that I am raising Ellie without an actively involved partner. I frequently have to remind myself that Ellie doesn't know anything other than having one parent - and that I am the one that is upset about all of this. She is perfectly happy going about her day blissfully unaware of what is missing from our unconventional family.
Yet for me, some days are great, some days are not so great. However, as I stand here in my torn pajamas and unwashed hair, suddenly a feeling of, "You are doing it...You are actually doing it..." is washing over me. It's sort of the same feeling I had around mile 10 of the half-marathon that I speak about way too frequently. Running 10 miles in 85 degree heat one time, and 6 weeks pregnant the next time, was a test of endurance for sure. But no matter how much I wanted to give up, I was exhilarated by my success up to that point in the race, and acknowledging it gave me the energy I needed to keep on going.
Now I know that there isn't a finish line in parenting - my poor parents can attest to that. After 32 years, they are still running mile ten of their half-marathon - over and over and over again. But all analogies aside there is something to be said for recognizing what single parents pull off when they are playing the role of mom and dad.
When you get up late at night to check out what that noise was...you are doing it.
When you wake up to the cries of a feverish child, and coax them into taking pain reliever all by yourself...you are doing it.
When you work all day and rush home to make a dinner – despite the whining - so you can enjoy a meal around the table together...you are doing it.
When you are scrubbing the tub, while talking to the bank about refinancing your mortgage...you are doing it.
When you kiss their booboos, and console them, while responding to a pressing issue at the office...you are doing it.
When you rush them to the ER because they have been too sick for too long...you are doing it.
When you stand up for your own rights...you are doing it.
When you tell them to say please and thank you, as well as hello and goodbye...you are doing it.
When you find time to shave your own legs...you are doing it.
When you read Elmo Loves You for the 17th time in one day...you are doing it.
When you pay the bills, argue with the landlord, and fight with the cable company...you are doing it.
When you work a 60 hour week, and run around looking for apartments that would be better for the two of you...you are doing it.
When you move to an area that isn't necessarily better for you, but it is better for your kids...you are doing it.
When you solve what appears to be the unsolvable scheduling nightmare…you are doing it.
When you get out of bed at 6am, 7 days a week, and make breakfast…you are doing it.
When you call your best friend crying, because some days are really hard, you are still doing it.
So if you are a single parent, and you are feeling somewhat lost about how to handle Father's Day - please join me in taking a nice, big deep breath and patting yourselves on the back, because - you are doing it.