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Shout-Out to the Single Parents

Updated: Jan 11

Single parenting is not for sissies. It's really tough. So I want you to know today that you are seen. You are known. You are loved. I understand, because I am in the trenches beside you. Most of us didn't plan to become single parents. Life took turns we didn't expect, but yet here we are.

Single parenting is ...

Relentless. Smiling through the exhaustion, then getting up the next day and doing it again. 24/7 without much relief. Paying the bills, chauffeuring the kids, working full days (often at multiple jobs) then coming home to make dinner, help with homework and clean the house - all the things other parents do, but without another parent at home to carry part of the load. To share the burden with. On days when you are too tired to stand, you stand up anyway, because your children need you to.

Lonely. The single parent rarely gets to be in the play groups or help out at the school to meet other moms/dads, because of work. And rarely gets to go to the work parties or events because of obligations at home. Constantly torn between two worlds, without fully participating in either. (And don't even get me started about the complications of trying to date as a single parent.) When there are problems, you must find solutions by yourself. But, some days you really wish you had someone waiting for you at the end of the day just to hug you and tell you it will be ok. Single parents have to dig deep to find that strength alone.

Impossible. You can't actually be both father and mother, even though you try. You can't fully take away the pain for your kids that they don't have both parents full-time either, but you try. You can't be in 6 places at once, but you run as fast as you can to try. You try so many impossible things, and feel you are failing nearly every day. When well meaning people say, "I don't know how you do it," I grin and think, " just do when you don't have any choice." You just keep trying your best, even when the task at hand sometimes feels "impossible."

BUT take heart. Single parenting ALSO is...

Resilience. When you get thrown into the deep end, you learn to swim really fast. Every day that you feel like giving up, but don't, you get stronger. Every new skill you have to master makes you smarter. You draw upon more creativity than you ever knew you had. Brick by brick you build a house of confidence, faith, growth and bad-assery. In the process you can teach your children to do the same. They will learn by your example that they can do hard things too.

Love. This is why we do what we do each and every day. We love our kids to the moon and back. It's so important to stop sometimes and remember how truly blessed we are to have them in our homes and lives. To make the time to play with these wonderful people that call us Mom or Dad. To take long walks and share long talks about life and their interests. Be involved in their activities. Give hugs and tell them you love them as often as possible. They need it, and so do you.

Laughter. My kids are hilarious. All 9 have wickedly sharp sarcastic senses of humor. (I don't know where they get it from?) They make me laugh ALL the time. It doesn't all have to be drudgery. Parenting should also be FUN. These slow days will seem to have flown by in a flash, and you will miss them someday when the family has grown. Enjoy it as much as you can, while you can.

So to all the single parents smiling through the hard days, taking care of business and nurturing your families with gigantic hearts...I salute you. I stand with you. I love you! This one is for you. Keep going. You've got this!

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