Single-parents know it’s hard for others to imagine, but as stressed as you are as a full-time student, as an active member of the full-time workforce, a stay at home mom to 4, or as a dad who works full-time and also coaches his son’s football team, being a single parent is like the stress of all of those combined in one.
We don’t only worry about the house needing to be vacuumed and the kids needing to be picked up from school. Or getting off work and mustering up the energy to help our kids with their homework. Our minds are this cluttered at all times:
“Once I get done at work, I need to pick up the kids from the babysitter’s house, go home, make dinner, do the laundry that hasn’t been done in 3 weeks so the kids have something to wear tomorrow, besides bath towels…speaking of baths, the kids need a bath…when even was the last time they had one? I should wash the bed sheets when I’m doing laundry and the kids should have a bath before I put the clean sheets on the bed so I can make them stay fresh longer… …Speaking of bed, I need to do my homework, shower, make school lunches for tomorrow, call my grandma back who’s been trying to get a hold of me for the past 2 months, call the doctor and schedule the appointments for my daughter before I go to bed…speaking of the doctor, when was the last time I went?…eh who knows? …who really cares even? … not like I have the money for myself to go to the doctors. Hopefully I don’t have cancerous cells spreading throughout my body or a brain tumor……Speaking of things I don’t have money for, Sarah’s wedding shower is Saturday and I need to get her a present before then. Should I have the babysitter come at 6:30am tomorrow so I can run by the store on my way to work or should I squeeze it on on my lunch break? Wait no… I need to swing by the auto shop and get my oil changed on my lunch break because that will save me more time than it will if I do it by myself later. Speaking of later, I told my kids I would take them to the park tonight. Great…how am I going to fit all of this stuff in before I go to bed tonight? I guess I can start the laundry the second we walk in the door, it will run for 45 min so during that time we’ll go to the park and they can play and by the time we get home, the sheets will be ready to throw in the drier and while they’re in the drier, I’ll put dinner in the oven which will need to cook for 20min so during that time I can give the kids a quick bath and by the time they get out, I can get dinner out of the oven and serve it to them and for the 5-10mins they actually sit still at the table, I’ll run upstairs and put the sheets on their beds. Then once they are asleep, I’ll just stay up until 1 or 2am so I can actually shower and get all the other things done that I need to do. Maybe I can put my laundry off for another day… wait no, tomorrow I have to leave work early to make it to my daughter’s school for her mommy and me lunch hour and after school she has ballet and soccer and the next day I have work, then church, plus studying for that test…and I was already out of dress code the last two days due to my lack of clean clothes to choose from… so I guess I have to do my laundry tonight. Maybe I can cut out my homework? Well… If I don’t do it tonight the only other block of time will be on my day off after our pool date with the kid’s friends and before my bible study at night and that might be the only other chance between now and then I have to take a shower… so I better do my homework tonight too. And yes, I think the babysitter will need to come at 6:30am tomorrow because there is no other time I can go buy that present. The kids will wake up around 6, so that means for me to have time to get ready for work I’ll need to get up at 5am, so I guess I’ll only sleep 3-4 hours tonight….”
…scary to think someone could be so strategical with planning their time, huh?