Lori from A Day in Motherhood and I met on the Disney cruise we were both sent on in October. Assigned to the same table (and just us with the kids!) we quickly realized just how much we clicked and spent the majority of the cruise together. I’m so honored to have her here today, writing about becoming a single mom to 3 girls under 6 and working from home for the income needed to support them all. She inspires me to dig deeper when I feel like I’m maxed out as a WAHM!
I think that, as moms, we all want to do our absolute best at one thing: being a mom. At least I do. I want to be patient, attentive, creative, loving and amazing. And I think I was… for the first few months of all of their lives.
And then life stepped in. Three children in three years, a stressful move, the depression of money issues and finally, the divorce that was put into place that, truly, had been coming since the beginning.
And my perfectly imagined motherhood suddenly seemed unattainable. I had other things to think about in order to take care of these children. Bills to pay, a house to clean, homework to help with and the emotional stress of a bad marriage that they witnessed and the ugly divorce that followed.
I will say, my soon to be ex has been gone for about 7 months now and it has been both freeing and scary as all get out at the same time. Once I picked myself up by my bootstraps and wrapped my head around the reality of the situation, I had to get serious really fast about not only my future, but the future of my three little girls too.
To my complete amazement, I seem to be doing OK with it all. But I could not tell you how, to be honest. I guess my lessons from childhood to let the past be the past and look to the future are paying off. And to take it one task at a time, marking them off as done.
But I do get questions from moms – single and happily married – as to how I do it. How do I mange three little ones six and under, a house that is 30 years old and always in need of repair and cleaning, and a blog that supports us all and could, literally, consume 23 hours out of the day if I could let it.
The answer is, I don’t do any of it well. I am not going to lie to you. But I do my absolute best and pray it is good enough in the categories that matter. I love my children with every ounce of my being. Every cell, every heartbeat, every breath is better because of these three little girls. I can not imagine my life without them. As I navigate through my days, I always have them and their best interest in my heart. I don’t think any mother in the world would not be able to relate to that.
In that light, my work had to be a priority as well. It is what feeds my kids, keeps them clothed and gives us the ability to pay for the roof we live under. So I have to work. The issue here is guilt. I feel very, very guilty when my kids want attention and I have to meet a deadline. Because I am in the house working, I am – clearly – at their beck and call. But sometimes, I have to work and I can’t just reserve it for before they wake up and after they go to bed. I am already up at 6am and don’t go to bed before midnight. Seven days a week.
It is a little different than if I left every day and went to an office and they went to school and daycare. I do not ‘disappear’ for the day and come back in the evening to give them 100% of my attention until the next day. And my job is not 8 – 5. It is 24 hours a day and I, often, have to stop and reply to something or accept something or fix something right then and there. My kids are sort of used to it. But on the days when I have so much to do, I feel the guilt pouring out of me and crushing my dreams of being the most attentive mom I can be.
So my solution to still give myself some time and energy for my children and my work was to not be so crazy about my house. Now, if you ask my ex, I stopped being crazy about the house when I started the blog. But that is not actually the truth. In fact, I had so much energy when he finally left that I used to spit shine the floors! So I got used to having a nice, clean house. The problem was, when I came off that high and the low hit, I stayed in bed a lot. I let the house go, started missing deadlines and the quality time I spent with my kids was watching movies.
They did not complain, but that is not the kind of mom I wanted to be.
So when I came out of the fog, I prioritized. Kids first -always – work second and the house… well, it might come in 5th behind showering and actually wanting to clean the house. Laundry is twelfth but I think it is in any household no matter what the structure. Who invented laundry anyway? They did not think it through well enough.
I don’t have a perfect solution to balancing it all. I don’t even have an inkling of a clue how to do it right. But, truth be told, I don’t know if anyone knows how to do it all right. And whether you have one child or five, are single or married, are a Type A or a little more on the laid back side, parenthood mixed with anything will leave you feeling like you have not done enough.
We all struggle to be better, more patient, more attentive, more honest, more predictable. More like we all think motherhood should be. But the reality is, if it were that way, it would never be near as fun or rewarding.
Nor would it be life.
Find more Motherhood Posts at My Recent Writings