Single Parenting: Doing the Best I Can

BlogHer Original Post

During the course of a conversation I had recently, a friend mentioned having parented solo for a few days the previous week while her husband was out of town on a business trip. 

"I have no idea how you do that all the time, every day," she said. "There's no way I could."

I get that a lot.

Before this year, I could never have imagined how I'd do it either. But I have.

And when a friend asks me how, in a tone equal parts admiring and disbelieving, I set them straight. There's no secret, and I'm not special. The simple truth is that when you have to, when there is quite literally no choice but to, you find reserves of strength you didn't know were there. When there's no one to lean on, to share the burden with, or to fall back on, when there's just you and only you, you rise to the occasion. You have to. That's it. There's no other option.

And sure, sometimes you miss the mark. Of course you do. Sometimes you flounder, you fall short, you make mistakes, you forget things. I have. I am painfully aware that I have.

Over the course of the past year, I've forgotten the birthday of almost every single person I care about. I've missed school deadlines and forgotten to sign permission slips. I haven't sent even one thank-you note, though many people deserved to receive one from me. I've lost track of emails, neglected to respond to people who deserved a response. I've forgotten to call, even when I said I would. I haven't said thank you enough, or apologized when I should've, or reached out to those people I could, in fact, have asked for help. I've had a hard time asking for help. I'm stubborn, and proud, and I don't want to be anyone's burden.

It's been difficult, for sure. Hardly a day has passed in the past twelve months that I haven't felt that on some level or in some capacity I'm scrambling to keep my head just barely above water, struggling to keep up and keep track.

But here is my little girl, on the morning of her last day of first grade:

M-last-day-school2

She's happy, healthy, funny, smart, confident, and beautiful in every conceivable way. She's thriving, growing like a weed, flourishing.

So, all of this to say: I'm doing the best I can. And it's not pretty, and mistakes were made, and I'm sorry, I am. But all that said, it seems to me that the best I can do -- deeply flawed and ragged around the edges though it may at times be -- is, in the ends that truly matter, really pretty okay.

. . . . .

Tracey Gaughran-Perez, aka Sweetney
Author/Editor of Sweetney & MamaPop

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