The hardest thing

In my head I’ve composed dozens, if not hundreds, of blog posts over the years. Things pop into my head, especially while I am driving, and I explore them and roll the thoughts around in my head and try out different words and then usually when the boys are finally asleep and it is time to turn those thoughts into words on a screen–forget about it…I’m too tired or the thoughts are scattered and I just don’t do it. Yesterday while I was doing laundry I was pondering this and thinking about how when I was sick last week  I had all these great ideas about things I was going to write and how the moment I was feeling a little better I couldn’t seem to make the time to sit down and write them. And I was vowing that I would sit down and write about how the hardest thing about being a single mom is getting sick and having no one to take care of you and how you have to manage to take care of your kids and yourself when really all you want to do is drift into a Nyquil-induced sleep for about 4 days. But then I realized that so many of the posts in my head begin with “The hardest thing about being a single mom…”

They can’t all be the hardest.

So, let’s see. Is it:

when they were newborns and I was ripping the sheets off the bed and the pillow cases off the pillow at three in the morning while desperately trying to keep my babies from suffocating and there was no one there to tell me they were sleeping safely in the co-sleeper and that everything was just fine? That was certainly no picnic.

Or nights when one baby would start crying just as the other one stopped and then the other would start again while I stood between their cribs making shushing sounds and trying to sing while bawling my own eyes out? That one still makes me feel sad.

How about going to a doctor with 3-month twins in tow, feeding them and fussing over them, while I cry to the shrink about how I just screamed for no reason and how I was sure that I was cracking up or suffering from post-partum or something because normal people don’t just scream and having her look at me and shake her head and say “I think you are just learning to adjust to your new situation”? Well, um, ok…

Of course, there was going to work and leaving them with a nanny for 10 hours a day starting when they were just 4 months old and realizing that I was not going to be able to make ends meet OR spend time with my babies.

And not being able to get my hair cut whenever I need to. Letting myself “go” because keeping myself “up” is a luxury of both time and money that I can’t afford.  Realizing that pride in myself may be a thing of the past.

What about the nights lying in bed alone thinking of the adorable thing that one of the boys did, or the new word they said, or the great skill they achieved and having no one to share it with and feeling the most profound loneliness and realizing that the boys would one day feel that too when they have something they want to share with their Dad.

Possibly, it has been when each of the boys has been sick or hurt and I have been so worried for them and having to go to doctors and hospitals and for tests and surgery and wanting–needing–someone to share that burden of anxiety.

Maybe it is being determined to be both mom AND dad. Good cop AND bad cop. Ying and yang. Trying to “make up” for the fact that they are stuck with the mom in the sea of dads at sporting events and cub scouts and everywhere else.

Or the feeling that every decision I make, however large or small, is going to influence whether my children grow up happy and well-adjusted or turn into serial killers.

I guess I could go on and on. I could write post after post about each of the hard things I’ve done. But then, so could any parent. Being a parent is hard. Being a single mom of two wonderful boys is super hard sometimes, but we are all out there doing the best we can, hoping to raise happy kids and to be happy in ourselves. I guess that is the hardest thing for all of us…finding the balance in life that will allow us to be truly happy in all our endeavors.

But for all of you coupled parents out there- the next time your spouse gets sick, remember to take care of your children and let your honey crawl into bed in their Nyquil-induced stupor with nothing harder to do than drift off to dreamland and know that they are loved and that their children are in good hands.