I’ve been working my @ss off,
trying to boost my finances
for what will come.
I’m tired, overhwhelmed,
my body aches, my mind is fuzzy,
and I’m flooded with a sense of futility.
And it hits me…
I’m doing what my
grandmothers and grandfathers did…
I am struggling just to get by.
I thought when I married him
I’d be taken care of.
I’d raise our children
and take care of the house
and he would take care of us.
But that dream was shattered
in an ugly, unkind way.
How can my faith in life be restored?
My family struggled through
the Great Depression.
And countless ancestors before them
struggled through poverty, famine,
sickness, and endless toil…
and through it all…
they somehow survived to procreate.
And so I was given a chance at life.
Sometimes I wish I hadn’t been given this chance.
If I had known I would end up here,
wondering where I’ll live
and if I’ll have the mental fortitude to keep going,
I’m not sure I would’ve signed on.
What’s the point of living
when you’re struggling just to get by?
And I’m being asked to take on
and even greater challenge…
be strong for my progeny,
give them a reason to keep going,
pretend through it all
that I’m good at this,
that I like this,
that this is all ok.
Hats off to all the single moms out there
who managed to pull this off…
you deserve an award for your performance.
But frankly I resent being here.
I resent the weight of this burden.*
*I just want to acknowledge that in comparison to many, many people on this planet I am doing quite well. I currently have food, clothing, shelter (for now) and access to resources that could be of help. I recognize that all my whining and moaning and complaining about my situation here might elicit absolutely no sympathy at all from people who have been through far worse. I’m just sharing how I feel. I don’t expect that my feelings make sense to anyone. I’m just sitting in the middle of my own suffering wishing I could get away from it. Maybe one person out there knows this feeling. Maybe one person out there now knows that they aren’t alone.
I just want to be a good mother.
I try so hard.
And at the end of the day,
I lose it sometimes.
I lose it with my kids
when I’m tired and they’re tired.
There used to be another adult around
who’d step in
when I couldn’t anymore.
That adult is gone.
When I’m tired and sick
there is no one else to take care of me
I’m tired of taking care of myself,
tired of being alone.
I want help.
It’s in these moments
that the anger wells up
if I don’t stop it.
I get angry for being thrust into this place
of missing my kids when they’re not here
and overwhelmed when they are.
I’m tired of this mess, this story.
I can do so well for hours and hours.
I can be proud of my mothering,
the balance I manage to find.
But at the end of the day
I’m tired and they’re tired
and sometimes I just lose it.
Both of my kids are in bed.
We had a great night;
coaxed them through homework,
they ate a good dinner,
Then we read two chapters
of Prince Caspian
and now they’re in bed.
I’m feeling like a successful
single mother right about now.
Spring was in the air,
so I threw open
all the windows,
rolled up my sleeves,
and got to work.
Load after load of laundry,
sorting through odd bits,
so much cleaning.
Kids got home
and we went out,
out to the forest.
We slogged through mud,
and fallen logs,
Back home, homework,
I AM SO EXHAUSTED
AND I THINK I MIGHT HATE
THIS IS NOT
WHAT I SIGNED UP FOR
Then I write this
stream of consciousness poem,
and soon I’ll write in my
Ahh, I made it through another day.
Kids woke me up at night.
Lost my temper. Yelled.
Too angry to sleep.
Tossed and turned all night.
Morning came. Groggy.
Meditation was a joke.
Worried my teaching would be compromised.
Taught two yoga classes anyway.
Grocery store, card declined,
scrambling to scrape up money;
a girlfriend lent me the rest of what I needed.
(Had to drive to her house to borrow a card
and drive it back again.)
Turned it around,
read the kids a story.
Snuggled my son.
He said he loved me.
Then he said he loved his dad.
The he said he loved the other woman.
He said her name as we were snuggling.
The kids went to their rooms. To bed.
I lost it again.
I was slamming and screaming
This isn’t fair!
I don’t deserve this.
Slamming and screaming.
Don’t traumatize the children.
I asked my husband to get the kids.
I told him I needed to get help.
He came and got them.
My daughter cried;
she didn’t want to leave.
I tried to reassure her that I’m going to be ok.
I was trying to reassure myself too.
Spoke with two recovery friends.
Feeling a little better.
Trying to rest now.
Wish me luck.
Taking my hat off
and bowing low
to the single parents out there
who keep it together
day after day.
How do they do it?
How do they get their own needs met?
Today was an exceptional day–
I wasn’t able to find childcare
so that I could teach my evening yoga class
and was longingly thinking of my students
when 6pm rolled around and it was time
to concoct some kind of reasonably healthy meal for the kids.
In addition to not getting my normal time out
(and interacting with adults)
my husband had plans to meet a friend
So not only did I not get to leave the house,
but my back up was not going to arrive in the normal time frame.
Eight hours, just me and the kids.
I watched myself grow more tired as the day wore on
My fuse was shorter
I even felt some resentment creeping in.
I caught myself snapping at my kids
and immediately apologized.
And then I wondered about the single parents.
How do they do it?
How do they keep their cool
and raise healthy, well-adjusted children?
I take off my hat and bow low to you,
and acknowledge that finding balance
in your busy life is no small feat.
After eight hours of tasting single parenthood,
I’m in awe of those whose love
shines more clearly
than the stress, the fatigue, the isolation.
I take my hat off to you.
And I thank you for all that you do.