The Single Parent Gig

So, in the last week, two different (partnered/married) friends have complained  (understandably) about having a tough week due to a partner’s out of town travel.  They both referred to having to do the single parent thing, and then immediately apologized to me.  

I don’t need an apology. 

I am a single parent by choice. 

Well, not totally by choice.  I always thought I’d do the married 2.2 and a dog thing. Well, without the dog. So yes, single parenting wasn’t my life plan. 

But I did plan to raise Selam alone. 

And just as I get very grouchy when others try to exert their will over decisions regarding Selam (mainly the school so far), I totally get and support being grouchy about temporarily single parenting when you signed up for dual parenting. I didn’t sign up to share the decisions. Others didn’t sign up not to share the labor. 

This week a popular blog ran an article about single parenting, about the 5 good things about being a single parent. Many of the things in this article were in relation to no longer fighting with an ex. Though the article had a pleasant slant, there was an undercurrent of “this is good because it’s no longer bad.” 

I’m just not there. 

I understand the frustration and even anger that comes with single parenting due to divorce or abandonment.  Even when that divorce is the very best thing for all parties, there is a sense, it seems, of a broken promise.  I can’t imagine how hard that must be. 

This, however, is the life I chose.  There are plenty of things that are hard about being solo, just as there are plenty of things that are hard about being partnered. 

But I wouldn’t trade it. 

I’m grateful for what I have. I’m grateful that I get to call all the shots. I’m grateful that I get all the time, all the hugs, all the snuggles.  I’m grateful that even without a partner to make a baby the old fashioned way, or a second income to make adopting an easier call for the agency, I got picked. I got lucky. I am so lucky. 

This has been a hard month at work.  I have an unexpected major project that is kicking me at the same time as I have a number of planned programs and a medium sized planned project and, of course, the week of exam grading. It’s been a month of working really late at night, and early in the morning. Selam has mostly rolled with it, though she is not above a fake injury to get the computer put away. 

Today, I got to the JCC at 5:50. They close at 6.  At 5:30, all the last to be picked up are herded into one room, where they play with limited toys and wait.  It’s a bit of a forlorn room, and I hate it when I have to pick her up there. 

As I walked around the corner, I heard the counselors calling out to another child, “S, time to go.” “Whose day is it?” the child called from the room.  There was an answer, but I don’t remember who picked him up.  The counselor spied me, “Selam, get your backpack.” “Whose day is it?” she quipped. 

“Whose day is it always, Selam?”

“Mommy’s. Every day is mommy’s day.”

She’s laughing now, and I get a rare pick up hug. She usually waits until we’re out of sight of the big boys. 

Every day is Mommy’s day. 

I’m the lucky one. 

One thought on “The Single Parent Gig

  1. Wonderful post! Every time I try and write something similiar it comes out ranty and defensive. Plus, it’s harder to get these points across when you’re on my side of the parenting divide. Such a delightful read and makes me feel warm and fuzzy about my choices when I’m having a hard time right now with the adoption application process. Thank you!

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