Wednesday, 14 September 2016

The Blessing of Partnership ... And a Shout Out to all the Single Parents!

Every once in a while, I get the tiniest taste of what it must be like to be a single mom. Last night was one of those nights. Andel was working the late shift, and I was home with the boys. This is not an uncommon scenario as Andel does this at least once a week, and I am usually quite fine on my own. But then, usually, both my kids are healthy and cooperative.

It's true that it takes just one anomaly to set a collision course in motion. This was me last night. Sam was ill. We'd kind of seen it coming but thought it was more teething than ill, so we hadn't done much about it. Of course, by the time I collected him from daycare yesterday he was a puffy, snotty, miserable mess, and I needed to take him to the doctor.

At 19h00 I was simultaneously: cleaning my bed, my baby son and myself of the poo'd-out gunk (including the suppository I'd just inserted 10 minutes earlier) that had overwhelmed the nappy; preparing a basic dinner of box pizza; trying to get Zac to stop phoning his father from my phone, and rather make an attempt to get out of his filthy school uniform and into the bath; and find someone to relieve me of duty at home so I could get to the pharmacy - or go on my behalf.

Needless to say, by 19h15 I was sitting in my underwear on a bedding-less bed, picking up leftover burnt dinner (with blistered fingers) while holding a screaming Sam (with a new suppository inserted) and trying to charge my dead phone, and desperation-giggling at Zac who had fallen asleep on my bed, still filthy and in his school uniform.

Single parents: I. Don't. Know. How. You. Do. It.

Now, I know people don't set out to go this gig solo. I know that often there is a story of real heartache and disappointment. Let me also say, I am not nearly naive enough to think for one minute that this makes them different to every other parent - single or not - who is working their butt off trying to be a good one.

Still, it would be amiss of me not to point out what a wonderful, purposeful and practical blessing it is to partner with a spouse in this journey of parenthood. Two brains are most definitely better than one. As are two hearts, two laps, four eyes, four hands... 

Andel, you are my rock. You hold my hand while I try to navigate the ins and outs of being a mom. You are my anchor when the waters are rough, and my safe place when I need to retreat. We are so incredibly different - incompatible even - but no matter how much my methods or approach may differ from yours, we've managed to give our kids the best between us. I could not do this without you; neither would I want to.

To my colleagues, friends and relatives who do this, daily, all on your own. I can just imagine how tired you must be sometimes. I bet some days you feel alone, or you wonder whether or not you're doing ok. I want you to know you're amazing! Your kids are loved and have the wonderful example you are setting them. You are not forgotten, you are always supported, and help is never far. You are doing the most phenomenal job. You are the real heroes!

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