I commend single mothers. There is no way in the world I could do it. I am not strong enough. I am sure if it came down to it, something would kick in and at the end of the day I would make it work, but I really do not know how.
Andrew works out of town a lot during the summer. Last week he was in New Orleans, and his next trip sends him to Washington. When he started traveling, he was going to be gone either all or part of 8 of 13 weeks.
Some weeks he is just gone for three days, like he was last week. And over those three days i realized how much I need him. Not even to actually help me do anything with Turner, but just for the support he gives me. I cannot explain it, but when I am changing a dirty diaper or warming up a bottle, just having him in the same room makes it easier.
I do not think I am a strong enough woman to be a single mother. Before I had Turner, I had an entirely different opinion of motherhood and being the strong-willed, stubborn person I am, had no concern of keeping Turner alone when Andrew went away because I am so independent, I thought it would be a breeze. Well, boy was I wrong! It really takes two people. Actually, it doesn’t just take two people, it takes two parents. (not going to say a mom and dad because I think any two people working together can be parents). But it has to be parents, it has to be a team. When my mom stepped into help and came to stay with me, it is just not the same thing.
My mom cannot replace Andrew. She raised three girls of her own, but it is just not the same. She cannot give me the support, the strength and the help that Andrew does. It is just different. I don’t know how to explain that it is different but it is. My mom loves me beyond words and would do anything for Turner, but she is not his parent and she is not my partner. She cannot fill Andrew’s shoes.
I need Andrew. More than he can ever understand. I need him beside me. Even if he doesn’t literally do anything, knowing he is there if I need him to, is all the comfort and encouragement I need. I don’t think it is important just for my sanity, but I think it is a really important aspect of nurturing Turner. He needs us both. There is a discernible difference in Turner’s behavior if one of us is absent. He acts better, as if he feels safer.
I know that there are circumstances where there is no choice but to raise a child alone. I do think it can be done and I think that child will be afforded the same love and comfort as any other, but not without extra work. I am jealous of women who are strong enough to do it alone, because I never could. Single mothers are a kind of superhero that no one talks about and a caregiver that does not get the recognition and praise that they undoubtably deserve.
I have to be a single mom three days every other week, and between that and working full-time, I am on the border of a meltdown. It is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. It makes me appreciate Andrew so much more. Not enough can be said about the joint effort in raising a child. I may have carried Turner for 9 months and given birth to him, but that doesn’t make me any more of a parent to Turner than Andrew is. In my opinion, Turner needs us both. I need them both.
My little sister pointed out to me that women do it all the time. Like women in the military. That is just remarkable to me because I don’t see myself being able to do what they do, while working full-time anyway.
In a perfect world I would be a stay at home mom. I would love to stay with Turner all the time. I would love to focus on his growth and development and be there with him every step of the way. I think that is the ideal form of parenting and what children need. But lets be honest, it is just not practical in today’s day and age. I work full time and take care of Turner. Not that I should get any praise for that because it is what needs to be done so I am just doing what is expected, but it is not easy. But I think it is easier than having to do it all alone.