Single parents, I salute you

Super mom is gone.

She left us this morning – temporarily of course, not voluntarily, to fulfill her training obligations to her new employer. Neither one of us is happy about this brief and forced separation because for all intents and purposes, Super Mom is the center of our testosterone driven universe. She is the glue that holds us together and it is her voice that sounds the war cry when the troops are weary and in need of motivation to mow the lawn, wash the dishes, empty the trash and hit the showers.

Super mom IS our universe and to be without her for even 24-hours throws a major wrench into a well-oiled machine. Me? Most days I’m just a casual observer to her whirlwind of activity and though I’ve tried to help out at times I know when I’m way in over my head, Super Mom shoves me aside and gets the job done more efficiently. She’s one of my hero’s and I’m gonna miss her for these next few weeks. And she’s just 40-miles away!

Agonizing and anguishing over the prospect of playing the dual roles of dad and mom in her absence, I can’t help but wonder what it must be like for single parents. This isn’t the first time I’ve had to play single parent (I’m sure Super Mom would say that she does it all the time) and I can attest and reaffirm that it is a very hard job. I’ve had those days without Super Mom around where I’m burning dinner, leaving the kids in the bath too long and putting diapers on backwards.

So when I say that I have a very deep respect and admiration for single parent families who are providing for and maintaining their homes on their own, I mean that with every ounce of sincerity. How do they do it?

I grew up in a traditional household with two parents and when I was a kid I didn’t have a single friend who was growing up without both parents at home. That’s just how it was back then. Nowadays it is very common to see single mothers and fathers busing their kids to daycare or to school each morning before running off to work then picking them up again later in the day. And all the while they are wondering what to make for dinner, how they are going to fit in time to help with homework, cook, clean, manage the finances, attend parent-teacher conferences, take kids to soccer games, dance lessons, etc, etc the list goes on. How do they do it?

What do you do as a single mom or dad when your kids become teenagers? You don’t have an extra set of eyes or a second opinion when you don’t want your daughter to go out with that kid down the street whose pants are hanging down to his knees and he has a ring in his nose. You don’t have someone to dump all your frustrations on when you’ve had a bad day at work or someone has mistreated you in some way. How do they do it?

As a guy who has a loving companion who is my exact opposite but who compliments me perfectly I’m on the outside looking in when it comes to a single parent household. But knowing how hard it is to raise a family with two parents, I have no right to criticize a person who is doing their absolute best to raise a family on their own. On the contrary; they are truly hero’s to more than just their kids.

There are several single mothers whose sons play with my own sons in several organized sports. My heart goes out to these valiant, indomitable women who sacrifice their own search for happiness for the sake of their children. Or perhaps, they have already found their happiness in providing for and feeling the love reciprocated by their children? Whatever the case may be, I have so much respect for them because I could hardly survive without Super Mom, who is a constant source of strength and stability for me and my sons.

I’ve heard it said before that, “simply having a child does not make one a mother or a father.” In the case of single parents who are doing their downright best for the sake of their kids, I applaud you. If Super Mom would let me, I might even hug you. But for now I pray that my words would suffice. You guys are amazing.

And to Super Mom I say this, “Hurry home! I miss you somethin’ fierce!”

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