One of the things I love about being a single mom is the bond I’ve formed with my kids. Sometimes it feels like it’s just me and them in the world. They know I will always be there for them and protect them. I’m the one they count on to take them to school, pack loving notes in their lunch and take them to after-school activities.
I’m there to get them water in the middle of the night and soothe their minds when they have a nightmare. I’m the one who reads them Judy Blume chapter books in animated voices every night. I help them with homework and teach them how to be the men of the house by giving them some responsibilities (including housework!).
It might seem self serving, but I always tell them that we are a team and we need to help one another even if we don’t feel like bringing our dishes to the sink or emptying out the dishwasher.
We do fun, random things, like pull over on a side road during a road trip to look at puppies for sale, or have scrambled eggs for dinner for what I announce is Backwards Day. Sometimes on weekends we wear our pjs all day and I take them for pancakes through the drive-through wearing a robe.
I wonder if all my effort will pay off. If they will grow up feeling safe and secure. Like they can tell me anything and know that I will love them no matter what.
There are times when I’m overworked and beyond frustrated. Sometimes they bicker and fight about ridiculous things like toys or socks.
A few weeks ago, one kid accidentally clogged the toilet and then, of course, the other decided to flush it out of curiosity. The whole toilet overflowed and as water gushed all over my bathroom, for a moment, I felt like I’d failed at being their mom. I want to be someone who they respect and listen to, especially when I say, pleading, “Please don’t flush the toilet, please don’t flush the toilet!”
But nope. I heard the whoosh—the toilet gets flushed and we end up with a leak that seeps through the kitchen ceiling on top of it all.
But then, after the kids leave for their dad’s on Saturday afternoon and I’m tidying up, I see a picture they drew that says, “I love mom.” I will pause and get teary eyed.
And that’s when I realize, maybe I’m doing a good job after all.