Being a parent is truly a wonderful experience. I can’t wait for the day I can experience all the one in a lifetime moments with my children. I commend all parents, but I give a special praise to single parents. The job of parenting isn’t always an easy task. I’ve known this after watching my mother raise both my sister and I. She is a single parent and made sacrifices to make sure we had all that we desired to prosper in this world. However, I never truly knew how hard her “job” of parenting was until I had to do it. Recently, my mom was hospitalized with a rare lung condition that requires extensive medical treatment. She entrusted me with the task of watching my little sister. I chalked this task up as being not a “big deal”—until it was.
I never knew just how much my mom sacrificed for me; she made it all look so easy. She worked, cooked dinner, helped with homework, and provided me with more than the essentials during each phase of my life. Yet, who helped her when she needed a hand or just a break? I pondered this question for the third time in a week. I was at my wits end and I just needed five minutes to think. All I could do was cry and push through until I had those five minutes to gather my thoughts. The reality was that I couldn’t get those minutes until I attend to the needs of the child in front of me. Her needs became a priority over anything I had going on. As someone who is free to go without warrant this became more than I bargained for. I slowly felt like I was losing who I was. My life wasn’t just about me anymore. My routine was no longer based around my needs, but hers. I wasn’t aware of just how much attention children require. I wasn’t aware of just how much influence you have over a “mini me.” They watch what you do more than what you say and for some reason they think you have all the answers. They have bad days just like we do and need emotional guidance to navigate those days. So many days I wanted to just throw in the towel. Yet, I woke up each day to tackle the task at hand even on the days it wasn’t easy to do so.
I’m slowly finding my way each day on this journey of temporary parenthood. I’ve realized that taking time for myself each day and practicing some form of self-care is imperative. The only way to stay sane is to meet your needs just as much as you do theirs. Each day has been filled with those once-in-a lifetime memories, but also a few days of tears. The one thing I have learned is that they are watching us and they expect us to be what they need in any given moment. I also realized that I can conquer the journey of being a single parent, but I don’t necessarily want to. Although, some adults successfully conquer parenthood alone, it is definitely a job made for two.