Friday, January 15, 2016

5 Reason Why... I am NOT Failing as a Single Mother

The past 3 weeks without Spencer,
especially yesterday,
I cannot stress enough,
especially yesterday,
have been very challenging for me.
I don't even know if challenging is a deep enough word to explain parenting
life for the past 3 weeks.
It's definitely not impossible to be a single parent,
but it's definitely not the most fun,
or easiest thing ever.
Far from it.
In fact,
Due to my experiences of the past 3 weeks,
I am actually feeling a little,
and I mean very very little,
sympathetic towards Kate Gosselin.
Never thought that would happen....

When Spencer was here I could at least have a break,
I could escape if I needed to for a minute.
I am all mom,
all the time.
As much as I LOVE my children,
and you all know how obsessed I am with my babies,
sometimes a parent just needs a break.

Even though there are definitely moments,
multiple moments,
every day,
every hour,
every minute,
every second.... too much?
where I feel as though I am failing,
or in which I have actually failed,
here are 5 reasons why I am definitely not failing as a single mother.

1. Organization

I have always been very organized. I am weirdly obsessed with being organized. It's just so much easier to know where everything is at any given time. Even my children's toys are sorted into bins, and each bin is designated for a specific type or category of toy. We have pictures on the bins so that my children know what goes in what bin during clean up time. Let's be honest though. I'm so OCD about making sure the right toy goes in the right bin that most of the time I am the one cleaning up. Even if they do clean, I re-clean.

I knew that in order to be successful as a single mom, I needed to be organized. I plan our days the night before in writing. I am a HUGE list person! Every day, nap time is the same time, meals are served at the same time (most nights), bath time is followed by scriptures, books, prayer and bedtime. Our routine helps me to feel successful and actually gives me motivation to do it all again the next day.

I know that things will come up unexpectedly, and I allow for that, but I try really hard to stick with our routine. I really think that this not only helps control the chaos of my time and my mind, but I think that it has helped with the kids to know what to expect, especially since having Dad gone is not something that Benson does not understand at all where Dad is and has had serious trouble adjusting and Aniston has also struggled with this big change. Why is potty training linked to change? Just when she has been great for 6 months, we switch it up on her and it's like her body reacts. Challenging.

But organization has really helped me to know what to expect, to prep the kids, and to not feel overwhelmed during this time.

2. Prayer

Guys, I pray everyday all day! The first couple of nights Spencer was gone I had a really hard time falling asleep. I had so much anxiety and probably because I would watch Making a Murderer (so good... and really... I'm like 93% positive that he is innocent) right before I feel asleep, my mind would race with a thousand different things that could happen while I was sleeping that would prevent me from ever waking up.

Every night I would close my eyes, get on my knees and pray that I would be relieved of my anxiety and be able to sleep so that I could effectively function the next day. And you know what? It worked! 

I have had so many blessings and prayer answered since Spencer has been gone. Another example is that both children were getting flu shots last Saturday. Although Aniston LOVES shots (I am totally aware that that is so weird and uncommon) Benson is the worst when it comes to shots. Aniston went first and could've cared less, Benson went second and cried for about 2 seconds and then started laughing... I had so much anxiety going into the doctors office about how I was going to console two upset and hurting babies at once, and although I didn't drop to my knees in the doctors office, I said a silent prayer and everything worked out perfectly! Tender mercies!

3. Family/Friends

It has been a HUGE blessing that my parents live so close during this time! My Mom has been AMAZING and has been able to take Ani to school, since it's during my office hours, and she has made herself available to babysit as often as she can so that I can get work done or attend meetings.

My Dad has been a superstar maintenance man around the apartment complex and I seriously couldn't ask for a more knowledgeable and smart worker. It's kind of fun because he has so many students who live at our complex and they always love seeing him around.

I have had friends bring over dinners (AMAZING) out of the goodness of their hearts and invite us to dinner or to play dates. Although I am not really a fan of leaving the house with two kids, especially in the snow or during nap time these days, I have tried really hard to be welcoming and attend the invitations that are difficult to go to because it means a lot to me that people are thinking of us.

We all know how much a loathe asking for help. But, maybe this is an opportunity for me to grow and learn and to ask for help.

Support for a single parent is a necessity. To know that people care and are thinking about you goes a long way and can so quickly turn a bad day into a good day.

4. Time for Me

With my office hours in the morning, and the kids activities in the afternoons, I work really hard to make sure that after I put them down for bed that I take time for myself. This might be simply watching a show that isn't a cartoon or 4 grown men in brightly colored shirts singing and dancing, or it could be working on a puzzle. I just LOVE puzzles. It always includes a very warm and relaxing bath as well as a couple games of Yahtzee on the iPad.

It would be really easy to just go to sleep and not take time for myself, but being a single parent can be super draining. I think that it's absolutely critical that a sliver of the day is reserved specifically for the parent to do not parenting things. Saves my sanity.

5. My Children

Everyday, multiple times a day, my Aniston tells me that she loves me. She hugs me and kisses me and makes me feel loved.

Benson laughs and smiles and reaches for me often and this makes me feel loved.

Every morning, they wake up at the same time. The second I walk into their room, their love is so consuming! They both get so excited to see me and life is amazing in that moment. I watch them playing together and smiling and I know that they are happy. This assures me that I am doing the right thing and that I am parenting them to the best that I possibly can at the moment in this circumstance and that I'm doing okay.

Although there are moments in the day where all three of us are crying, and the house is a mess, we are doing okay. The moments that we spend laughing, reading, wrestling and even just sitting together quietly on the couch shows me that we're doing okay.

It's nice to know that being a single mom, 
for me, 
is temporary.
I don't know how so many of my friends have managed single parenthood. 
I am amazed by them.
I am inspired by them.
I have a new found respect and admiration for them.
I pray for single parents daily,
because I know how much prayer can assist.
I may not be doing everything perfectly,
but I know that I am doing the best that I can,
and thank goodness,
that seems to be enough.

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