Wednesday

single parenting in the rearview mirror

Last night I asked Jon to pick up and feed J and E so I could take H to an appointment and then out to dinner at Senor Taco. H and I really needed some one on one time together.

Anyway, when I got home, Jon said, "I don't know how you did this all by yourself."

I asked him what he meant and he explained that he finds parenting quite exhausting sometimes and cannot imagine parenting three children without another adult in the household to help.

I told him that sometimes even with another adult in the household, only one person is doing most of the parenting, which is beyond his comprehension because he jumped in as a 100% equal parent on the day all of us moved in together - he does as much as I do.

And I also told him that in hindsight, I don't really know how I did it (single parenting plus working full time after my divorce) a lot of the time. Now that I have someone who helps 24/7 without being asked, it's hard to imagine how in the world I managed. I did get a lot of help from my sister in particular, and some wonderful friends, but there was no one there at 6:30 am when I was trying to get three children up, dressed, fed, packed up and driven 23 miles to school.

Sometimes single parenting was really cozy, like when it was just the four of us together at home enjoying hanging out together. Other times I thought my head might explode. Mostly it was just a matter of putting one foot in front of the other every hour of every day and letting a lot of "extra" stuff slide and trying not to worry about it too much.

9 comments:

Katharine said...

I know what you mean, Katie. Single parenting is hard as hell logistically but sometimes even harder emotionally. There's no one there to pitch in or sympathize or give you a break. I'd never, ever do over my single parenting days if offered the chance.

Debra said...

I am so happy for you and your new family configuration. Parenting is the hardest job in the world, but single parenting has to be THE HARDEST.

Anonymous said...

Does that mean that a childless, single person is deemed inept?

becky said...

Anonymous you are a fool if that is what you took away from Katie's post.

firstimpressionist said...

I can't even imagine. My choice, but still. You single (or once were single) mama's have a tough job.

Anonymous said...

I am married and childless. I sometimes babysit for a 16-month old for a few hours at a time, and after just that short time, *I* need a nap. I am certainly not inept; however, I am not up to the job of 24/7 parenting, even with a partner. I applaud everyone who does it to the best of their ability, and hey, 'deemed inept' anon, I think Katie would LOVE any help from her childless, single friends she could get. I've never read one post from her where she derides in any way anyone's choice as to whether or not to have children, or their skills.

Anonymous said...

Yes anonymous,all single,childless people are self-absorbed,self-centered children themselves and they refuse to grow up.They still want to do what THEY want to do when THEY want to do it -and don't want to share.They are inept adults with personality flaws and should all take their toys and go away.

Anonymous said...

In reality,alot of childless ,unmarried people grow into senior citizens that are totally obsessed with every single ache and pain because they have become focussed only on themselves for so long.They run to doctors for attention.Then they go home and tell thir friends how "THEIR" doctor doesn't want them to do this or that.(as if their doctor were their family and truly gave a darn about them or what they had for lunch)It is sad and very,very pathetic to observe.So, if you are a single parent be glad that you will have learned how to share and give of yourself by the time that you get older.The kids may drive you crazy but at least you won't be emotionally stunted.

katie allison granju said...

These generalizations are pointless.

Personally, I have HUGE admiration for people who know parenting isn't for them and so they don't have kids. Far too many people have kids just, well, because...because everybody else is doing it. Parenting is hard, hard work and you should be really sure it's what you want to do before taking it on. If it's what you want, it's the most joyful, spritually important thing you can imagine, but if you want a different kind of life and lifestyle, I commend you for knowing yourself well enough bot to procreate.

Now what I cannot stand are the "childfree" activist types who not only choose not to reproduce, but become aggressively hateful toward children and parents. I don't get these people.