Mommy Wars have been around a lot longer than I have. Why, I still fail to understand. Seriously, isn't being a mom hard enough without bickering with our peers about who's a better mother? Until recently, I've never found a winner in these Mommy Wars. Instead, I see pros and cons on all sides. Until this week. After the week I've had, I think single moms win hands down!
The traditional Mommy War has been between working moms and stay-at-home moms. Since I'm a working mom who telecommutes four days a week, I think I have the best of both worlds. But honestly, I think each family has to find the solution that works best for them and that might not be the same for everyone.
Then recently, another Mommy War emerged. Marketing companies have been targeting what they call the Alpha Mom. Alpha Moms are well educated, tenacious and tech-savvy. When I read about Alpha Moms I saw a lot of my own characteristics described. But I didn't see the title as an honor or a badge of achievement -- rather just a marketing label. But apparently some moms took offense at the description and thus, labeled themselves Beta Moms. Hence a new battle on parenting styles has ensued.
To the wagers of the Mommy Wars, I say stop fighting and let's start to learn from each other. I've done a bit of learning this week and I have to say that I really admire single mothers -- let me rephrase that, single parents. They have more challenges that I ever realized.
This week my father-in-law is in the hospital in very serious condition. My husband has been spending 14 to 16 hours day there helping his dad. The unit he's in doesn't allow visitors under 12; therefore, the twins and I have been on our own for the last four days. And I've had a brief, but temporary, look at single parenthood.
I love my kids and, despite my original doubts about my abilities as a parent, I think I manage with them pretty well. However, it's entirely different when it's just you and them from the time they get up to the time they go to bed. And then add the need to manage work, two dogs and a house (which I didn't handle spectacularly) and it's a lot for one person to handle. I have to take off my hat off to single parents everywhere for what they manage each and every day.
The twins and I have been on our own before when my husband's traveled for work. But usually on those weeks I have time to plan out little adventures for us or to have girlfriends come over and visit. In essence, I have time to put my support network in place. But this week, I don't know if it was the suddenness of my husband's absence or the emotional toll of what was going on, but I felt exhausted and lonely. No fault of my husbands, though.
My first day as a single parent this week, the twins graduated from gym class. Trying to capture the event, I juggled two toddlers, a video camera and a digital camera. The kids' instructor and one of the other parents helped me out thankfully.
Today, we managed to attend a crowded local festival on our own. We made it out in all together and in one piece, so I consider it a success. And last night we attended a friend's two-hour preschool graduation followed by a nice dinner out. We were kicked out of neither, so as far as I'm concerned, another success.
Speaking of meals, I'm a lousy cook so we ate out often, including a trip to Chuck E. Cheese for lunch. With more than one child, you have to have eyes in the back of your head in that place to keep track of everyone.
None of the events alone is any big deal, but all together day after day, they are exhausting. I've always had my husband to share the load. I honestly don't know how single parents manage.
I have no regrets about this week, except the wish to do more for my father-in-law. However, I did tell my husband that he's not allowed to leave me or to die because I'm just not cut out to be a single parent. :-)