6 Ways You Know You're a Single Mom

1) You have become an expert favor-asker.  You used to be reluctant to ask for help.  You hate feeling vulnerable.  Being a single parent means throwing that to the wind or perishing.  Of course, being the parent of a sick kid also means throwing that stuff to the wind so if you've lived that already, maybe you're well-practiced at favor-asking and everyone in your address book is now well aware that if they hear from you, you are either offering up a play date or asking them to run over to the emergency room at 9:30pm on a school night because you have one child who has to be admitted and one child who is not allowed to stay and you are just the one person.  The list of favors you need to repay is now longer than your life-expectancy so you hope your undying gratitude will be enough.

2) You spend $30 on childcare so that you can attend “Curriculum Night” at the elementary school and spend the evening calculating how many meals that could’ve bought vs how many tidbits of info you are gaining by being present rather than just reading the handouts the next day.  You decide that while you are not getting your money’s worth from the teachers, it is worth the $30 to be able to go home and tell your daughter that you saw at least 8 of the 15.5 things in her classroom you were told that you ABSOLUTELY MUST see.
2.5) You also secretly want to trip all the parents who mention that their kids are home with the other parent watching a movie.  But you don’t.  Cause you’ll probably need to ask a favor of them at some point during the year.

3) You spend an entire day with a debilitating but fixable sinus headache because during the one hour of scheduled down-time, the thought of packing everyone into the car and heading to Walgreens for sinus meds makes your knees buckle. However, you also learn that you can do a remarkable number of things with a headache – like fetch countless snacks and hunt for a lost sock and search for Lab Rats games on the computer and spend 3 hours riding a bike down Ridge Avenue during Bike the Ridge (which, by the way, starts way too early on a Sunday morning and doesn’t go anywhere near a Walgreens but is otherwise really fun as long as you don’t turn your head too quickly or look down and you keep your sunglasses on the whole time.)

Ps – I HATE my sinuses.

4) You have to bite your tongue to keep from saying, “I think it’s at his dad’s house” while receiving a lecture about the importance of full-length sports socks during a soccer game because the shin guards have to be covered (it’s a regulation) but you simply were unable to find that other blue sock in time for the game and you know perfectly well it isn’t at his dad’s house and that lying is wrong but with the kind of headache you’re sporting, a little single-mom sympathy might be nice.  But you don’t lie.  Because you know perfectly well that sock is in your condo somewhere mocking you.

Ps – I HATE laundry.

5) At the end of a long day, you fall into bed after listening in two separate doorways to the buzz of child-snores and you feel really good.  Really really good.  Because you did make it to Walgreens, finally, after fulfilling all of the obligations of early-morning bike rides planned with friends and getting everyone fed and (almost completely) uniformed, and getting to the soccer game nearly on time and obliging the ice cream truck request and the park time afterward and the pre-dinner scootering because somehow Pip was STILL not worn out. And dinner was warm and nutritious and everyone actually liked it (Mama liked it a little too much.  Mama needs a diet) and everybody went to bed happy and really well-exercised and that’s all you ever really wanted anyway.

The rest – the headaches and money and an extra hour searching for that damn sock and the hot flush that runs up your neck and across your cheeks as you ask for your umpteenth favor – that’s all temporary.

6) You know you’re a single mom because you leap right over all that temporary stuff.  You skip right to full bellies and twinkling eyes and smiles and ice-cream mustaches and your son’s first soccer goal and spotting your daughter on the monkey bars as she bravely executes moves you never would have attempted and you lock the door and listen to the snores and pat the cat on the head (even though you just know she’s gonna puke in the hall at least twice during the night) and you are asleep before your head hits the pillow with a smile on your face.

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