Hey single parents, I don’t know how you do it (and I’m in awe of you)

You are my neighbour, my friend at mother’s group and my kid’s kindy teacher. I know lots of ‘you’ — mums and dads who are doing parenting on their own, and I think you are all amazing. I honestly don’t know how you do it. I know you hate it when people say this to you, because you don’t have a choice. But while I don’t pretend to know your reality, I know you need to hear this.

You have my utter respect and admiration and I take my mum hat off to you.

Here are few reasons why …

I find parenting hard enough with help 

I confess there are days when my hubby gets home from work where I shoot him a ‘they have been giving me hell look.’ On these days my kids’ dad is my lifeline. He can see I’m at my wits end and need a break. When he rumbles our boys on the floor as I start preparing dinner, and I slowly decompress, I think of you. 

What do you do for parenting relief on those hard days? Those days where your little ones push your buttons and make you wear your cranky mum pants? Maybe you are better at keeping your cool than me, or maybe you’ve found other ways to stay calm? Or maybe you are just cranky and still keep on going because you have to? I don’t know. But I admire you.

I miss my kids but not like you miss yours

I love picking my boys up from kindy after a day at work, but I never have to pine for them for too long. But I know you usually share custody with your ex.   

“Got Oliver this weekend?” I ask when I bump into you at a cafe on Sunday morning.

“Nope, his turn,” you shrug. 

Although I can see you’re enjoying your flat white in peace, I sense you are missing your boy.

“It will be nice when you pick him up,” I offer.

You give me a little smile and then I wonder if I’ve been insensitive. I’m sorry, it must be so hard to have to share your loves. I think you are strong. 

mum holding two kids

I drop the ball all the time   

As I dash down the road to get milk, leaving my husband on daddy duty after the kids have gone to bed, I think of you.

What do you do when you run out of milk and it’s too late to buckle the kids into the car to grab some? Maybe you don’t run out of milk because you know you can’t do post-bedtime trips to Coles? You are probably much more on top of things than I am, because you have to be. Or maybe you have that long life stuff in the pantry at the ready? I don’t know.

I’m in awe of how you run your household and also raise such gorgeous kids. I really hope though that you are surrounded by lovely neighbours who lend you a cup of milk when you need it.

I rely on tag teaming 

As I tag team bedtime stories with my husband because my toddler isn’t into the same books as my preschooler, I wonder how you manage this because you, the you I’m thinking of that is, has two kids the same age as mine.

I guess you read to them at different times, or have taught them to wait their turn for their book (turn taking, now that is parenting goals) or they snuggle into you together and you enjoy a special group cuddle? I don’t know. Bed time is hard and you must have a system that works for you. 

Dad reading to girls in test

I think you’re a supermum (or superdad)

So single mama and single dada, I’m sure there are a zillion little scenarios that I could play out in my head right now that make me wonder how you do it. But to me you are a super-parent. You have a very different kind of juggle to the one that I know and you are doing an amazing job at this parenting thing. 

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