Browse Category by Single Parenting
2017, Single Parenting

Do You Ever Wish You Were Married?

It was never my intention to be a single mom. Christian was in diapers when that happened, he had just turned two.  He was sleeping in a pack-n-play because he was still really little and because I couldn’t afford a toddler bed.  Hannah was four.  She hadn’t started Pre-School yet and I can still remember her asking when we were going home.  I was 27.  Talk about being in over my head.  I had no job, no money saved, no idea what in the world we were going to do.  The anxiety was overwhelming.

When I think about it now, I think we managed those tougher times because I never believed I couldn’t take care of my kids.  There’s not a day that has ever gone by that I thought I wasn’t the best person for the job.  Even on the worst of the worst days, I knew I would figure out a way.  And even though I always had larger than life dreams, I understood that if I could make it through today then I can make it through tomorrow.  And if I can make it through tomorrow, they day after that will be okay too.   But talk about how many changes we’ve seen. How many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches we ate because peanut butter and jelly are cheap.  How many times rent was a week late.  Or how many hand-me-downs I was secretly relieved to accept because new clothes just weren’t in the budget.

So many uncertainties, anxieties, and fears have seen the light of day, but have yet to define us.  Oh, but they have their moments.  Just this past weekend the kids and I went to Kalahari for the day with three other families.  We had a ton of fun swimming in the hot tub, going down a few water slides, and floating along the lazy river.  It’s been a couple of years since we went to an indoor water park and I forgot how exciting the atmosphere is.  For nearly eight hours we escaped reality.  To say we were tired by the time we started driving home would be an understatement.

Thankfully the kids quickly fell asleep but before they did Hannah asked in an I-already-know-the-answer tone, “Do you ever wish you were married?”  

It was as if she could tell how challenging outings can be.  Like she could see how disappointed I felt when I had to make them choose between playing a few games in the arcade or getting ice cream because doing both is too much money.  Or trying to carry everyone’s jackets and bags and then finding my keys and finding the car and making sure nobody gets run over in the parking lot.  Maybe it’s the sigh of relief I let out once we all get settled into the car and she can tell that it might be easier if someone else was with us.  I’m not sure why she asked, but I can tell you it made the car ride home a bit somber for me.

I never wanted any of that for my kids. I still wish that wasn’t part of their story.  I wish it was easier.  I wish I wasn’t stressed as much as I am.  I wish they could see I really am trying.  Maybe they can.  Maybe these are those insecurities trying to define me again.  Maybe they know the truth.  Because every morning I wake up to a little boy who tells me how much he loves me.  And I go to bed with two kids who have requested to be tickled again and again and again.  I wake up to hugs and smiles and Legos and a little voice excited to start our day.  I go to bed knowing that Hannah read us a story out loud while I laid in Christian’s bed with him.  I wake up reminded that I am enough.  I go to bed reminded that I am enough. In those moments, my fears of inadequacy and failure are nonexistent and it really feels like Love is enough. That I am enough. That the road we are on is enough.

Happy Valentine’s Days, my friends!  Hope you have a wonderful day and I hope you know that you are enough!

-Ashley, XOXO

Single Parenting

Confessions of a Stay At Home Mom on Summer Break

summer break

summer break

We are 6 weeks into summer break.  

That means for the last 1,000 hours or so of my life I’ve been bombarded with questions, he said/she said arguments, pinching, fighting, more questions, a lot of “MOM!!!!!”‘s, bed times that last 45 minutes longer than normal and…. soccer balls to the face.  

Yep.  Who knew “Think fast!” was still a thing kids did?  I do, now.  Because my one little monster of a child “plays” it with me every two minutes.  It’s a lot of “fun.”

You know what else is “a lot of fun?”  When my other little monster of a child gets up at 7:30 a.m.

Every.single.morning.  Some mornings earlier.

No lie, he peaks his little round face into my room, crawls into my bed, and whispers, “Good morning Mommy.”  To which I respond with, “No no no no no no no.”  And he laughs.  And I roll over, hoping he will get the point and go back to his bed, but he never does.  Instead, he does one of three things:  talks very loudly to the dogs, attempts to tickle me, or starts with the *#$%@$@$ questions.  Actually, it’s usually all three at once.

Once I’m somewhat functioning, I make everyone breakfast and figure out the plan for the day, which never goes as planned.  

Walks with the dogs include a minimum of 5 5-minute breaks, usually on random people’s lawns with my son sprawled out in the shade.  Shopping trips at Wal-Mart actually become one big tickle fest, where it becomes clear that my daughter’s only mission in life is tickle her brother as much as possible.  And visits to the pool would be fun, except my daughter thinks anything that isn’t a hot tub is ice water.  

So, she stands there, dipping one toe in at a time… asking me more questions.

Occasionally, I’ll have vague, half-present conversations with friends on the phone.  And by friends I mean, friend.  Yes, I have one lousy little friend who gets to hear me huff and puff, and sound like a crazy person every time we talk on the phone.  The huffing and puffing is cued by the miraculous amount of things my kids need to tell me as soon as I get on the phone, usually starting about 30 seconds into each conversation.  

Whenever we hang up, though, I feel an insane amount of guilt come over me, as I think:  She probably thinks I hate being a mom.  I don’t hate being a mom.  I hate all the questions, and all the things they want to show me, and all the peanut butter sandwiches I make every day, and all the bed times.  I definitely hate all the bed times.  Every night I have to put them to bed and I hate it.  But I don’t hate…wait, do I hate being a mom?  Oh my God, I hate being a mom…  Oh my God, I hate myself.

Then I usually lock myself in the bathroom to sulk or cry or try my hardest to disappear for a minute.  But unfortunately that doesn’t even work well because our bathroom door knob came off like two nine months ago, and I still haven’t fixed it yet.  Because really, I don’t even care.  Until that moment.  That is the moment I wish I could deadbolt that stupid bathroom door so I can hide from these little people I’m supposed to be raising, but I can’t.

And I really, really hate myself for never fixing it.

But have no fear, any attempt to lock myself in the bathroom is only ruined when one of our dogs’ big heads pushes that door open, and I look up to see four faces — two kids and two dogs — waiting for me.  Impatiently waiting for me.  It reminds of when I’m done showering.  I swear my kids have super sonic ears and from any corner of our apartment building they can hear when I turn it off.  

How do I know this, you ask.  Because AS SOON as that water stops coming out of that shower head, one of them is running down the hall, super excited to tell me the same thing they told me RIGHT before I got into the shower.  Their persistence is impressive.  Their energy is 10 times what mine was at their age.  Their ability to laugh, despite how serious I try to be is annoying, yet something I am thankful for.

It helps me stay grounded.  It helps me relax, and not be that mom who has a big ol’ stick up her butt all the time.  It helps me see how uptight I can be, and how that’s not fun for anyone…. mostly me, actually.

summer break

Most importantly, though, it has helps me remember why being a mom was something I, so ambitiously, wanted to be many years ago.  It’s for the little moments.  And the big ones, and the ones in between.  To connect and teach and learn and love.  And laugh… laughing is good.  We have 5 more weeks until school starts — when both my babies will be in full day school for the first time — and I have two goals:  

To loosen up so we can have more fun with each other.

And to fix that stupid door knob.

 

Single Parenting

Best Mother’s Day Yet :)

Hannah, my 8 year old, is getting ready to shower before bed Sunday night and says, “Uh, did we have dinner?”

No, no we did not.  It was SUCH a good Mother’s Day that I forgot about dinner.  Mac and Cheese at 8:30 it was :)  I can’t believe I’m celebrating my 8th Mother’s Day.  It feels like it was only yesterday that I was carrying around a baby on my hip, changing diapers and singing lullabies all day long.

Life is slightly different now!  Here I am with both my babies.

Christian James lights up my whole world.  When darkness seems to be approaching, he is there to gently remind me that life isn’t as serious as I, some times a lot of the times, make it.  He smiles and everything changes.  I am beyond blessed to be loved by this sensitive soul.

ChristianHannah Grace, she challenges me more than anyone I know but loves me like nobody else in this world does.  She’s sensitive but spunky.  An over-thinker who still trusts her intuition.  She is witty and creative and funny and wise beyond her years.  Deciding to have her was the first time in my adult life that I truly trusted myself and I am so grateful I did.

HannahMy mom, the kids and I went to a place called Huntington Beach in Bay Village, OH.  One of my favorite beaches in Cleveland to go to!  We got Subway and ate at a picnic table before playing in the water.  Hannah and I also did a string of cartwheels in row together, before and after lunch.  It’s her new favorite thing to do and she’s pretty amazed that I can do like 10 in a row!

huntington beach

Water

Me, my mom and the kiddos.  My mom HATES pictures but some nice guy came up to us and asked if we wanted a pic of the gang, clearly Christian was thrilled about it too. ;)

Family

There is something about being close to water.  So peaceful and calming!  I could stay there all day.  And so could my son!  Hannah was very careful about not getting too wet… Christian, just forget it!  He was soaked.  We had to make a pit stop at Wal-Mart before we got ice cream because he drove home in his undies… hehehe, oh little boys <3

playingplaying

And then we got rained on…

letthembelittleAs much as being out at the beach was super fun, it was nice to see our doggies when we came home.  Looks like Romie Tomie totally missed us too!

RomieI took him for a walk while Hannah roller bladed and saw this beautiful, beautiful, beautiful tree!  Spring is blooming, finally!  You would have never known it was raining earlier either.  This was the Best Mother’s Day yet and I hope you all had a great one too! <3 <3 <3

tree