The first post I ever wrote on this blog was called Saturday. I wrote it to try and articulate what an average day (weekend in that case) was like in my life. I was trying to figure out how to be a single-mom and every day felt like an epic fail.
Five years later not a lot has changed…
It’s been a while since I’ve written about what it’s really like to be a single mom. Mainly because like anything in my life I don’t want to complain about it because I know how to count my blessings and try as best I can to focus on those rather than the struggle. But people always tell me “I don’t know how you do it” or “it must be tough.” I just nod and say “yeah it’s a struggle some days, that’s for sure.” Well today was a struggle so I thought I’d lay it out so anyone who ever wondered what it’s like to hustle as a single mom can try to put themselves in our shoes.
This is my daily hustle…
6:00 AM: Every morning at 5:55 AM my alarm goes off and I dial into a conference call with my sales team for my “day job.” The one I work full-time from home, unless I’m traveling for client meetings. It’s my dream job, but it’s not easy. And 6:00 am calls every single morning are not fun, I can’t lie.
6:30-6:45 AM: After the call I have about 15 minutes to check emails, messages, texts and brew a pot of coffee before my morning ciaos begins in earnest.
I hate mornings. Let’s just establish that from the jump.
6:50 AM: I’m turning on every light in the house hoping to God that it will be an easier morning, relatively speaking. That this morning the girls will actually get up and get dressed before the 50th reminder, and before I’m actually yelling at them fifteen minutes later.
7:15 AM: It’s a full on crisis in my house. Breakfast is getting soggy, lunches are half made, I’m in my robe yelling at the girls to “please for the love of god, get dressed!” The bathroom facet is running because someone started to brush their teeth but didn’t finish. Mira is fixing her hair instead of finding her homework and eating breakfast, and Izzy is still pretending she can’t hear my repeated pleas to get her shoes on.
I’m trying to breath and not totally lose it, because I know that the morning sets the tone for your whole day, and I really, really don’t want to have a shitty day. AND I don’t want them to have a crappy day because I was on them all morning.
7:30 AM: And it’s basically hopeless at this point. There is no way we are going to get to school before the tardy bell rings. And now I’m threatening to walk out the door and head to the car whether they are ready or not. I secretly wonder if pulling out of the driveway one morning would do the trick, get them to understand that in the mornings I mean business. But I don’t have the balls for it.
7:45 AM: And we are finally in the car headed to school. The girls are either quiet because they know a lecture about how disrespectful it is to be late, is coming… or they are chatty Kathy asking me to turn up Taylor Swift.
8:03 AM: They are piling out of the car tripping over their backpacks, and I’m telling them like I do every morning to; “have a delicious day. Be delicious humans.” I roll down the window and yell after them, to “RUN” not stroll to the back entrance and remind them the bell has already rung.
That’s a good morning. One when I don’t have a work conference call at 7:00 AM (because it’s 10:00 on the east coast). If I don’t have an 8:30 meeting I can run through the drive through at Starbucks, because… umm I’d never actually leave the car in the physical condition I’m in. Hair a total mess, no makeup, hopefully workout clothes and not actual PJ’s. I’m a train wreck.
8:15-8:30 AM I’m making Kanen’s lunch trying to catch up with him on what’s going on in his world while I make him breakfast and get him ready to catch the bus.
8:30-11:30 AM I work. Book meetings or run them, finish client stuff, address the emails in my inbox and find new ways to generate business.
11:30-1:00 PM on a good day I try to get in a workout. Go to Barre3 class or run, but it’s hit or miss because I normally have meetings then too.
2:30 PM I pick up the girls from school. Rush home to finish work and get back on calls until roughly 4:30-5:00 when the kids are all screaming for dinner.
(I’m so glad Kanen’s football is over, because the next two hours would be spent running him across town to practice and back)
5:00 PM is dinner. If it’s a good day I’ll try to make it, but chances are I’ve not gotten around to prepping it in time and the kids can’t wait. So it’s something quick, pizza or Trader Joe’s frozen dinners, but at least we are all sitting down as a family to eat together. It’s our one moment of solace in the day so far.
This is the point in the day when I begin to feel like a total failure. I love to cook, but it’s probably 3 nights a week that I get all my shit together right and can make that happen. It’s loud and the house that was clean when the kids got home is now quickly turning upside down, and with it the walls are closing in on me.
6:00-7:00 PM we work on homework and clean the house, and I’m sounding like a broken record. Sometimes I think that’s 90% of my role as a mom to constantly be repeating myself, I wonder if there will ever come a day when I can say things, say 5-6 times and it gets done?
I got back two days ago from a work trip that had me missing over 24 hours of sleep with time changes and red eyes.
7:30 PM we finally all sit down and we snuggle on the couch to watch Curious George. This our favorite part of the day. It’s the time when we get a chance to breathe, and snuggle and the house is clean and quite.
8:00 PM The kids are in bed and I’ve sung “Hush Little Baby” to each of them, said prayers and tucked them in.
And now it’s time for me to work my “night job.”
8:00-1:00 or 2:00 AM I’m writing my book, or blog, or newsletter. Doing interviews for the book or updating the many social media accounts related to my true passion. This is the time of the day that I look forward to. It’s my time. It’s my happy place. I’m having a glass of wine and doing what fulfills me.
I put this out there NOT to be all “poor me,” because I know that every parent out there is going through some version of this, and I’m hoping that their days feel as out of control as mine sometimes do. But I do think that maybe if you have never been a single parent, and you know one, that maybe you’ll look at them a little different than before. Because though all parents have these crazy lives, single parents have no one to share days like this with. That’s the main difference. There is no one to tell you that your not totally screwing up your children for yelling at them all through breakfast. Or that it’s okay to have one of those days when you really just don’t want to talk to anyone and that doing that is better than being a mom-ster.
If you’re married (or have a partner) you have someone to yell at when your ceiling is raining (like mine was last week). Someone to take over if it’s just one of those days that you’d be better off taking an hour time-out. Someone to share the craziness and the joy of raising your children with. For most of us (me at least) you are on your own. I thank god for my two best friends who check in on me daily and keep me sane from 3,000 miles away, without them I dare to think what a hot mess I would be.
And I share this because I am praying to god I am not the only one out there going through days like this. Feeling like a complete failure. Feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. I am praying I am not the only one…
So there you have it. That is my Hustle. It’s never ending. Some days I feel like I’m winning, but many I feel like I’m barely keeping my head above water. On those days it takes every bit of training I’ve given myself the last few years to not sink into a place of being totally overwhelmed.
But I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I know the hustle and the struggle will pay off and I can almost taste it. I just hope that when that day comes I can hire and assistant!