Single Mom Slice of Life:
Why My Parenting Shortcomings Are
The Things They’ll Remember Most
Remember that one time when…?
Or what about that one place where…?
How would ever forget that person who…?
Now that my oldest just recently turned 18 I’ve come to the startling realization that I’ve spent so much time trying to keep our world afloat that I never really had a chance to enjoy the cruise. It was like a giant slap in the face to realize that I spent so much time trying to raise my kids, I never really had a chance to enjoy them.
I mean, after all, it’s been over 10 years of being mom, dad, chef, chauffeur, nurse, CEO, confessional, teacher, preacher, and sometimes judge and jailer. That’s a lot of jobs, jobs that don’t offer vacation time. Plus, there are two sides to every coin, every story. Was it entirely possible that where I was hoping our sacrifices were building character were really just building up to an extremely expensive future therapy bill?
My youngest just turned 14. During dinner, we laughed that, thanks to our birthday tradition of birthday cake for breakfast, we were enjoying eggs and pancakes for dinner. This started a conversation of last year’s birthday celebration… and the one time Nick took mini clown cupcakes to school for his birthday… and the time I picked everyone up early to go to the movies and snuck popcorn and ice cream into the theater… and the weird cat we adopted that would only sleep on the kitchen table… and the grocery store we used to walk to that was right next door to the donut shop that sold donuts the size of their faces!
I sat, dumb-founded, growing angrier and angrier at each story. I honestly hated hearing my kids strolling down memory lane, pointing out each of my failures as a parent. I mean, please! Nick took clown cupcakes because I only had one box of cake mix, half a container of vanilla frosting, and 2 tubes of food coloring. That day at the movies was because it was cheaper to take two kids to the matinee of a three month old movie that pay for two different field trips. (Plus, don’t we all sneak food into the theater?) We didn’t adopt George the cat – she adopted us; and she slept on top of the kitchen table because it was right next to the pantry where I kept the cans of cat food I bought from the 99 cent store. We used to walk to the grocery store to save on gas, and the donuts – well, okay, they were huge, but I only bought one and split it 3 ways to make up for the fact that we had to walk to and from the store.
Related: Tales Of A Twin Mom: We Are All Moms
Except – they didn’t see any of it as failing. They laughed and enjoyed the memories. These were things they would carry with them as cherished childhood memories. These were things no other kids in their current classes could compare with. What I remember as shameful attempts to save money the boys saw as creative and fun experiences. Where I cringe at having made my young children help carry groceries, they laugh and ask for more donuts.
No one wants more cupcakes. The maraschino cherries bled all over the frosting, they were messy, and the frosting stained EVERYTHING.
Anyway, I’m not saying my kids won’t end up in therapy. I mean, hi… they have me for a mom, they really don’t stand much of a chance. But at least the damage doesn’t appear to be as horrific and soul crushing as I made it out to be. Turns out, as single moms go, I was good enough.
What about you? Are there things you always thought about one way in your own mind but turns out, really weren’t that bad?