Solo parent is a term I had never heard of until I became one. It’s much different than a single parent. I’ve never been a single parent so I don’t truly know the struggles of a single parent. I can imagine what I think it would be like, but that’s as good as it can get. I imagine co parenting also comes with its own set of struggles that I will never truly know.
What I do know about is solo parenting. When I became a mother I thought that would be the hardest job I would ever have. I also thought I would always have a partner and someone else in the trenches with me. It never occurred to me that I would ever be a parent alone. Carrying the weight of both parents. I never realized how heavy that weight would be. I never in a million years thought this would be my story, but it is.
The day Jason died the three of us moved into my parents house. Tripp had recently turned four, and Ellie was getting close to nine. It was about a week before Ellie was set to start third grade. What a third grade year she had. Starting the year with the death of her Dad, and finishing it in March due to a world wide pandemic. In her first decade of life she has experienced more than some experience in a lifetime.
Living at my parents house was hard on all of us, but I am so grateful we had that as an option. Jason died in our bed, and I was not ready to go home for quite some time. In fact I didn’t think I would ever go back. I also could barely take care of myself so how could I also take care of these two children that would now depend on just me for everything. My parents were amazing. My mom helped me, I think more than she will ever know. You see she allowed me to grieve, she allowed me to do whatever I needed to do in order to survive those first few months. She also made me take care of my kids. She helped a ton, but she made sure I was the one to put them to bed every night, and I was the one to get them up every morning, pack their lunches, and get them to school. Knowing I had to complete these tasks every day I think helped keep me alive and moving forward. As the days passed she would give me a little more responsibilities really without me even noticing, or maybe I started to take on more without her asking. Who knows, but I very slowly came back to parenting. In fact I’m still trying to be the parent I want to be, but I’m light years from where I was this time last year.
Solo parenting is hard, doing this all by myself with no one in the trenches with me is hard, having no one equally invested in my children is hard, but I’m doing it. One day at a time each day slightly better than the day before. Of course there are difficult days, but I’m doing it. I’m surviving. I spend time working on myself every single day so I can be the mother my kids need and deserve.
There are so many things I took for granted when my husband was alive. Things as simple as running to the store to grab something without having to bring both kids, or being able to go out on a girls night without having to find a sitter, or even just having someone else to squish the bugs.
I also feel so much more pressure raising my kids, because their future depends on how I raise them. Just me. It’s a lot to hold on to. I am lucky. I do have family and friends who are extremely supportive, but as you know it’s just not the same. I do recognize I am luckier than some with the support and love the 3 of us do get.
I think through all the struggles that come with becoming a widow, solo parenting is one of the most difficult. One of the things I find difficult is answering the questions they have, and the conversations we have to have that I never would have imagined I would had to have with them. I have taken the approach that honesty is the best policy when it comes to the difficult conversations, and it seems to work. because Jason died of an overdose there have been many mature conversations. I believe I am doing the best I can by being open and honest with them.
So I’m curious what have your struggles been? What things do you do you feel you are doing right to over come them? I know it’s so easy for us to focus on what we think we are doing wrong we often times forget to think about all of the amazing things we are doing right.