Being a parent is hard work. The day to day stresses, the schedules, the work and every other chaotic peace that goes into taking care of and raising our kids. It really does take a village. What if, however, you don’t have a village? What if it’s just you? How does one person do it all?
Since moving closer to my husband’s corporate office, he doesn’t travel nearly as much as he use to. When I was pregnant, I spent many nights and weeks alone, but since we had the baby, he’s been home every night after work. I’ve grown accustom to having him around most of the time.
I am a stay at home mom, so I take care of the baby and the house all day. Right around 5pm my husband gets home, and I get help with dinner, the trash, the dishes, the pet’s, and putting the baby to bed. We have created a system in our house when he’s home so we each can get things done or take a minute to breath if we really need it. We don’t have a village, but we have each other and it works for us.
My husband recently returned from a three-day business trip and since the baby has been born, I’ve never felt more exhausted. For three days I was the main body in the house and I did not have family, friends or my husband. It was just me, managing the system all by myself and I was completely wiped out; I was a complete mess.
My day started as soon as the baby woke up and it was a speedway train all the way until she went to sleep. The house exploded into a chaotic mess and the laundry sat in the dryer. I had to walk my dog in the pouring rain with my infant strapped to my chest. I ate cold eggs at noon and had to resort to wiping my entire body with a baby wipe. There was no handing the baby off to shower, no waiting until 5 so I could exhale, no hot cooked meal, and no taking shifts when the baby woke up throughout the night. I was one person, trying to do it all.
So, this is to the single parents, the parents whose significant others travel for work and for the parents of soldiers away on tour. Parents whose coffee’s go untouched, whose food is always cold or stomachs always empty. Parents whose laundry piles up and to do lists go unchecked. Who stay up late every night and wake up early every day. To chaotic days and long nights, crazy schedules, uncombed hair and thrown together looks. Messy buns and t-shirt stains. Parents who rarely get a minute, let alone an hour or a day.
Here’s to you, holding together an entire village all on your own. Building kingdoms for princes and princesses; giving everything you have so your kids get everything they need. Doing it all on your own. I feel you, Mama. You are strong, you are brave, and you are doing such an amazing job, even when you feel like you are making a mess of it all. Here’s to you and to the beautiful babies you raise, day in and day out.