A few years ago, when Saoirse was a baby and David was travelling for work, I wrote something on Facebook to the effect of “Gosh, I have so much respect for the single parents out there, because this is HARD wah wah if-I-try-to-be-funny-you-won’t-judge-me WHINE.”
I want to smack myself over the head and erase that post. Because, seriously? Seriously. Who the hell was I to say something like that?
Here’s the deal:
Some of you are full-time parents. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter if you chose this path or if it fell into your sweatpant-clad laps, you are with your children all. day. long. It is what it is.
Some of you juggle paying jobs and parenting, either by choice because you love your career, or necessity, because hello, that gas bill ain’t paying itself, or a little of both. It is what it is.
Some of you are widowed parents, divorced parents, single parents. You may struggle with an emotional burden along with the practical ones, and it is what it is.
Some of you are trying to balance it all with hobbies or dream-chasing or second jobs. Some of you sing in a band, or knit, or wait tables while the kids are sleeping. Some of you dream for better choices, better outcomes, a better lot in life. You do what you need to do. It is what it is.
And some of you seem to the rest of us like you have it all, with your fancy suits and oceanfront summer homes and four Caribbean vacations a year, but struggle with pressure or expectations or the feeling that sometimes, maybe, it’s still just not good enough. It is what it is.
Why am I telling you this, you ask? You already know this, you say. But–BUT–if we already know this, why do we insist on telling people, either on social media, or in actual, real, face-to-face conversations, “Oh my gosh, I could NOT do what you do. I just tried it out for, like, five minutes and holy crap your life SUCKS, bless your little heart”? Because really, how much do you want to smack somebody in the face (not advocating violence, children, but the urge might still possibly be there, so try to fight it) when you’re the one on the receiving end of the statement?
Of COURSE you would go nuts if you stayed at home all day with your kids. Why do you think I drink?
Of COURSE it’s amazing that the single parents manage to keep their family’s heads above water every day. Hush your mouths and pour them a drink.
Of COURSE the other side appears foreign and scary, because it’s different from what we know, and what we don’t know sometimes makes us very, very nervous. It is what it is, and truthfully, we’d rather have our “it” than yours. So maybe we should stop telling our friends how amazingly well they handle their own lives–because basically their lot is way worse than ours, suckas–and just focus on making the most of our own days, yes?
In the meantime, here’s a cold beer for you. I’m a stay-at-home mom, so don’t fret. There’s always more where that came from.