I have no idea how single moms do it.
I am always reminded of this when my husband’s work schedule gets crazy and I am left to handle my TV job, all 3 kids, a dog, a house, and life … alone.
This past week was a prime example.
My middle child had to attend a special 8:30 am mass where all the second-grade children received special bibles, in preparation for their First Communion.
A couple of days before that, the kids all had a festival of sorts at their school, where my oldest had to do a presentation on track star, Jesse Owens.
Both events I went to alone.
Ironed clothes, made meals, got teeth brushed, printed material, and the other million things that go into getting four humans presentable and out the door.
In the big scheme of things, it’s not a huge deal. But only because I know it’s temporary.
I know my husband will return from his business trip and soon enough I’ll have an extra set of hands again.
But what about the moms who have no relief in sight?
The moms who are the nurse, taxi driver, cook, maid … and dad.
The moms who are on the sidelines cheering at the basketball game, only to return home and wash the dirty uniforms. Alone.
The moms who can’t sleep in because no one else will be there to make the kids breakfast.
The moms who can’t unwind with a glass of wine, because they are the only ones home to drive the kids to after school activities.
The moms who can’t take an hour to go shopping because she can’t leave the kids home by themselves yet.
Or what about the moms who have no shoulder to cry on, no second income to fall back on, and no sounding board to bounce ideas off.
The moms who have no place to channel their worry and no hands to wipe away their tears, except for their own.
Single moms carry the burden alone. Not just when their spouse is on a business trip. But all day, every day. Year around.
And if you are a male reading this, please don’t say, “Well, they can just hire a sitter to help.”
So many single moms don’t even have the luxury because that 40 bucks is already allotted for school pictures.
My point – single moms deserve to be celebrated.
Many of them didn’t choose to be single moms.
And even for those that did, it is not an easy path.
No one grows up thinking, I want to raise kids all by myself.
I hear stay-at-home moms talk about how they don’t get a break.
I hear working moms complain they don’t have a minute to themselves.
All of this is true and relevant because motherhood, in general, is challenging.
But let’s talk perspective.
What if you entered the hardest race of your life with no nourishment, little sleep, no coach, no fans cheering for you, and no one to pick you up if you fall?
And you were still expected to get to the finish line, only to change your shoes and start the next race.
I imagine that’s what single motherhood is like.
So the next time you get angry at your spouse for “not helping enough,” remember how blessed you are to have any help at all.
And for all the single mama’s out there – it may not feel like anyone notices your effort.
But we do.
We see you smiling when you walk in alone. And we see you smiling when you leave alone.
We see your brave face and we admire you.
Your kids may not say it now, but one day they will be old enough to articulate your accomplishments – the ones you don’t even recognize yet because you’re so busy surviving and raising good people.
They will share lovely stories of their childhood with you and share them again with their friends.
They will reminisce about the games you cheered for, the meals you cooked, and the hugs you gave.
And they will always reminisce about the love. Your love, given to them.
Because you might have done it all alone, but you still did it.
And that counts.