I have come to believe that single parent is a misnomer — it should be called double parenting!
I always thought single parenting is a daunting task, but I recently got to experience just how difficult it actually is, when my husband was away on an overseas project. And I have come to believe that single parent is a misnomer — it should be called double parenting! As a friend of mine put it, “It is always your turn”. You have to be the strict disciplinarian mama as well as the over-indulging and playful dad — and sometimes both almost simultaneously! You are the good cop and the bad cop, and sometimes just plain “give up” cop!
Nothing ever prepares you for this emotional assault
Most of the time, you don’t know where you are headed, and which pit fire you are going to land into next. You are not only the scolding parent, but also the consoling one. Nothing ever prepares you for this emotional assault — as you go from loving to teasing to apologizing to getting upset to angry and then trying to back-track by being loving again! And it gets worse when you are parenting two kids —each who is very different from the other. While emotional assault is a common theme, add to it, the physical exhaustion of trying to tame an extremely active 6-year-old, and you will know what I mean!
Not all is lost though — there are days, although few and far in between, when the kids are absolute angels
Not all is lost though — there are days, although few and far in between, when the kids are absolute angels. There is help pouring in from everywhere… and everything! From putting away one’s things, to cleaning up, to helping you in the kitchen (this comes along with the tension of having to deal with the possibility of cut fingers!). But mind you, we are walking on egg shells here — not sure which comment or teasing remark, will land you back to square one. I rejoice in these moments however — there is a lot of bonding and fun that can be had at such times. And I don’t get fooled into thinking these will last forever. Ten year olds will insist on behaving like six year olds and six year olds like two year olds!
I think this is a great time to learn more about each other, and more importantly, about oneself.
However, I am optimistic. I think this is a great time to learn more about each other, and more importantly, about oneself. When you don’t have anybody to cover for you, when you are solely and completely responsible for your child’s emotional and physical well being, it makes you step back and think. What impact are my actions and words having on the child? As you try and understand what the children may be going through in their minds, as they miss one parent and yet are not articulate enough to express it, you realize that you need to try harder to fill the emotional gap in the child’s life. Sometimes, however hard you try, it may not be enough — some gaps can be filled only by certain people. I am sure this is a big learning for the kids as well, as they try to deal with their own sense of loneliness and at the same time are trying as hard as they can, to understand the emotional ups and downs of the parent. I am sure we will all come out as better people…
Featured Image credits: rads