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Every summer, for one week, Mr. O goes away to run his cross-country camp. Years ago I would spend the week living like I was single (minus the flirting). I’d sleep late, stay in my PJs all day, eat what I wanted, and watch chick flicks. I’ll be totally honest; It was fabulous.
Then I had a kid.
My week of freedom changed to a week of being on my own with a helpless child. Not quite the same.
I was not only not going to get to relax, I was nervous. A whole week? Just me and Miss O? With no help? Yikes.
Looking for some encouragement, I called a friend. She of course assured me that everything would be fine and that I’d be a great “Single Mom for a Week.” I laughed and hung up feeling better and didn’t think much of it.
Actually, I didn’t think about it until a year later when, while Mr. O was away at camp our dog bit our daughter.
Here’s the thing. There’s no such thing as a single mom for a week.
When Mr. O goes away, I know he’s coming back. There is a reliever coming – even if I have to wait days for him to arrive. Single moms have no reliever. They are on their own. There is no backup, no B team, no second string. It’s just them.
If life gets overwhelming, and I can’t do a load of laundry and there’s a sink full of dishes, that’s okay. My husband will be back to help me with these tasks… I just have to wait. A single mom can’t just wait for someone to come round and vacuum the house. It’s all on them.
If there’s a true emergency, I have someone to call. If Miss O is hurt, or if I’m sick and can’t care for her, I can call my husband and he will come back early. Single moms have no one to call. They are it.
If making healthy dinners is too much to handle and I decide to have fast food and takeout every night? Well, it’s not good, but we can handle it for a week. Single moms are responsible for dinner every night. They can’t just swing by McDonald’s or Panda Garden every night without ending up with some serious financial and health issues.
If I’m just having one of those days – when Miss O is in her 4-year-old temper tantrum glory – I can call Mr. O and let out my frustration. And I know he’ll totally get it because he knows and cares about her as much as I do. While single moms have friends and family to call on for support, they don’t have the connection and day-to-day experience with her kids a co-parent would have.
So please don’t call me a single mom (for a week). He might not be readily available, but I have back up. I have relief. I have a go-to person who is legally required to assist me.
I ain’t got nothin’ on a single mom.
So, to all the single moms and, for that matter, military moms (and don’t forget the dads), you have my utmost respect.