I had a long weekend, and not in the good way. I’ve had a long week, which followed a long week before it, and before that… My life lately feels like one long day/week/month/year.
But this weekend in particular. Because when I have a long day or a long week I am usually the only one that is affected, right? I just need some sleep, I just need to take a rest. But one of the many things I am discovering as a newly single mom is it’s not just me who needs these things. It’s not just about me.
Yes, I have been a mother for 7 years, I know it’s not just about me, but until recently I had a daily partner that could “tag me out” when I was overwhelmed. Or had my children while I was working on the weekend, which didn’t compound the stress, not to mention the stress I am feeling by my newly minted single mom status.
I’ve been privileged for many years, I know there are many, many problems with what I’m about to say, but the reality is I’m the mommy. In the US as all across the globe the “norm” and “default” still is that the mommy is the one in charge of the children. But this wasn’t exactly the case for me. I never kept this a secret before and there’s really no reason to now. My ex-husband was the primary parent.
Yes, we co-parented well, and for all intensive purposes, given our new reality, still do. I kept the calendar and was on call in the middle of the day because I had a more flexible job. But the home stuff? It was pretty much all his. He did mornings, he did bath and bed, he had them all day Sundays while I worked. I did plenty, it’s not about me feeling inadequate as a parent, in fact, I can say I’m a great mom. But for 7 years I’ve only had to be a mom with someone who was an amazing dad. Now… now I’m struggling.
I have my children 7 out of every 14 days, but there is no moderation. When there are 2 parents, there is moderation, or at least there was in my house. Now it’s all or nothing. I am either all in or all out. This past weekend, with the kids, my worlds collided and I had no escape, no other parent to help me, no partner.
I had several work events this weekend. My oldest has been BEGGING for play dates with friends. My son was being 4, and throwing a fit about everything. About 4pm yesterday I lost it. I had tried to do too much, not just tried, I had done too much. Luckily I was with friends who took over for a few minutes. I broke down and cried, but not enough, I pulled myself together too quickly.
When the kids and I got home I was still on edge. They couldn’t get to bed fast enough for me, my expectations were high, my purpose was clear. Get to bed. RIGHT. NOW!
I made it (barely) through 2 books and tucked my son in bed. I walked into my daughter’s room who whined that she didn’t want to sleep. I yelled at her something like “too bad, go to bed”. I was not nice about it, I was not calming her fear, I was not patient or kind. In fact, I was ignorant and rude, I was insisting on my own way. I immediately went into my room to shower, I needed to wash the ugliness of this day off of me, when I got out I heard sobbing.
I pulled myself together, took a deep breath, laid myself on my daughter’s bed, held her and said, “I’m sorry honey. Mommy wasn’t very nice today was she? She wasn’t mad at you, you are wonderful, you didn’t do anything wrong. I love you, and I’m so, so sorry mommy hurt your feelings.”
We talked for a little while and then she drifted off to sleep. I went to watch football and internally beat myself up. This morning I am doing my best to allow myself the grace I need and deserve, but I’m still in the middle of the beating.
However, I am proud and will gladly hold on to the fact that I am a great mom. Even in my new single mom status, even in my terrible weekend when I was trying to be super woman and failed miserably. Even when I am impatient, rude, and sometimes downright mean to my kids. Because I am also a mom who is teaching her children that there is no shame in admitting your faults, in fact, there is only shame in NOT admitting them.
I confess this day for what I have done, and what I have left undone. But I have also sought reconciliation. I’m so sorry my sweet babies, I will do it again, because mommy’s human, and I will apologize again, because you are wonderful.