* This post has been sponsored.
I had a rough day on Friday. I mean, a really rough day. My youngest has her normal 359 pounds of things packed to go to her dad’s. I got my older daughter to school a little late. Then work ran long. Like I ended up leaving an hour late to pick up my oldest. We were then supposed to: (1) commute back an hour to the house, (2) get our bags ready to go, (3) load the dogs up in the car, (4) go to the barn to let my oldest ride her horses, (5) drop off the dogs 30 minutes away in Petsmart and finally (6) check into a hotel where we would go to bed early for our 6 am flight to Oklahoma, where my oldest girls’ dad lives. We made it back to the house, but ended up turning back twice because we forgot the dog’s medicine, and then my camera bag. By that time, we were running so late that I was afraid that we wouldn’t get the dogs dropped off in time. Basically in tears, I called my daughter’s riding instructor and told her we weren’t going to make it. Cue the mom guilt.
While I would like to say that such a day is an isolated incident, sadly, it’s not. As a single, working mom there are a lot of rough days. Days when I would give practically anything just to have someone help. Even if it meant doing a load of laundry, cook a meal, or run an errand. But at the end of the day, if your kids go to bed fed, homework done, and not a complete mess, it’s on you. For better or for worse. If you’re a lucky single parent, you have a lot of resources out there to help you – relatives, friends, etc. While I am lucky that my ex-in laws watch my youngest daughter before and after school, the rest of my support system pretty much looks back at me in the mirror. This is the life of a single parent. And I’m not alone. Out of 12 million single parent families, 9.8 million households are single mother families (that’s 84%). Nearly half of those single mother households have an annual income less than $25,000 and the annual cost of center-based infant care averages more than 40% of the state median income for a single mother.
Bottom line – it’s not easy. But it’s not all bad either. I have a deep, deep relationship with my two girls. We bond on vacation, at meals, and yes, even through dealing with struggles on a level that I know I wouldn’t otherwise if I was not a single mom. We are a team. A lean, mean, getting stuff done machine. We pitch in. We help. My girls will be strong and independent. My oldest is learning to cook. Not only is it a life skill that’s important for her to have, it helps her contribute to the family because Lord knows there are 45825 things that need to get done when we get home, and her making dinner is a great way for her to learn and fill up her Instagram feed with all the yummy food she makes. My youngest delights in cooking breakfast on the weekend. We live, and love, and laugh. I get stressed and yell sometimes. They learn that it is okay to apologize, and be human. We learn and communicate together. We watch all girl movies, all the time. We laugh. We laugh so much. And in those moments, there is such joy to parent-singlehood that I would not give up for the world.
In recognition of National Single Parent’s Day on March 21st, Angel Soft toilet paper has launched a new video celebrating the joys and challenges and being a single parent – sharing the story of three single parents and how they have overcome incredible odds, and granting a wish to help make their lives a little easier. Cue the tissues for me.
So take time out over the next few days to honor and appreciate the single parents in your life!