To the Single Mom Who Juggles It All (and Drops a Few Balls)

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Written in one rough, frayed take because . . . no time. Seemed appropriate.

Happy Mother’s Day to the single mom who

  • fiercely loves her children and steps into any and every role to keep her precious family safe and stable.
  • feels the crushing weight of not only earning the family income but also raising the kids, keeping the home going, and somehow modeling healthy ways to manage emotions, resolve conflict—and not feel paralyzed by it all.
  • unintentionally skips meals and sleep, facing the consequences when exhaustion sparks short tempers and weary tears.
  • races each sunrise to keep dishes [decently] clean, food in the fridge [and chicken nuggets in the freezer], school clothes [somewhat] presentable, and gas in the [never really clean] car.
  • makes a 10 p.m. dinner for one by splitting the kids’ leftovers with the pets, plus animal crackers, celery, and peanut butter (who needs adult food?).
  • juggles the bedtime stories, budget, and business but wishes she didn’t have to—at least not all the time.
  • googles why the car’s maintenance light is on, buys flowers for teacher appreciation day, and pays the bills—all on the same day that the milk’s gone and the pet rabbit chews up the baseboards (and the apartment deposit).
  • cherishes cuddling the kids but still aches for touch from someone who’s outgrown toddler clothes.
  • never quite fits with either her single or married friends (exhibit A: the singles can leave the house after 8 p.m.).
  • keeps going thanks in part to the family and friends who save the day with babysitting, adult conversation, and new outlets for the kids’ energy and questions.
  • didn’t set out to parent alone, work alone, or sleep alone but knows that for this moment—and perhaps for always—this life is her own beautiful mess.

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