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Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Maniacal Never-Ending Role of Single Moms (or Dads)

3 Kids in 3D Getting Ready to Watch a Movie

This past week, while two of my daughters and their husbands vacationed in Mexico, I was responsible for taking care of three of my grandchildren. Not a big deal, since I have been caring for children since I was 11 years old. For some reason, though, I forgot the 24/7 specifics about what is entailed. 

The way I used to describe raising children was like living in the midst of a tornado surrounded by a hurricane while stumbling through an earthquake with Earth spinning out of control, because the universe in which I had lived prior to having kids changed dramatically the moment they arrived. 

This week I had a chance to relive those wondrous experiences. Spending a week with three grandchildren, between the ages of 2 and 9, reminded of how every little moment is filled with all the little details I had forgotten: 

Dishes continually pile up in the sink, multiplying before my eyes, because as soon as I wash one, more of them appear;

Laundry grows even after I just filled up the washer, threw clothes in the dryer, folded and hung up all the clothes from the previous load, and what? - the hamper is full again;

Clean up messes (continually) and pick up toys and projects;

Gather homework from the night before – pack lunches into back packs;

Make sure everyone brushes teeth and hair;

Get everyone out of the house on time;

Make sure homework gets done when they come home from school;

Prepare dinner, give baths, put on pajamas;

Finally, get them in bed at a reasonable hour so they will be fresh in the morning. And then the day starts all over again.

Remembering my own experiences and living through them this past week, I don't think parenting today is any more hectic than it was when I was raising kids. In the days when I also had a full- or sometimes several part-time jobs and I was going to school full-time, I had to be ultra-organized, especially when my kids had numerous after-school activities to attend. After spending a week with my grandkids, I'm amazed that I performed all of those functions – alone. But I did! 

Since 1969, I have been on hyperdrive, raising four children, maintaining a home, working, and looking forward to retirement. Today I'm retired, but I'm still in hyperdrive. My youngest daughter graduated from high school in 2002. So for over 30 years, I lived as a maniacal mom, frantically trying to get everything completed within a reasonable period of time. Often I failed. We were late to a basketball game this week by 2 minutes, because the game had already begun.

After a whirlwind week, I had prepared my grandkids for their parents return. The week was over and the kids would awaken yesterday morning with both parents home. They were so excited, and so was I – I made it through the week! I have to admit, though – last night I slept for 9 hours!

So for all you single moms (and single dads) who are living in that hurricane-wrapped tornado, please know that one day you, too, will look back and wonder how you made it through these times. Do yourself a favor and  take time today to congratulate yourselves and reward yourself once in a while, because one day you'll forget the day-to-day things – unless you offer to care for your grandkids while their parents are away – and then it will all come back to you as it did to me! And as far as retirement is concerned, I'm not really sure what that is yet.

Want to read more from this author? Please click my Gallery of Posts and THANK YOU for reading. 

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