Nothing is as it used to be, that’s the realization I’ve had to truly wrap my mind around the past few weeks.
Initially as I sat to pen this piece, I had this epiphany in relation to my duo and the act of parenting them responsibly. Being completely transparent and risking feedback from those who feel they are “all knowing” a few weeks back … I quit.
Not to be confused, I did not quit my day job, penning for this space and sharing stories with our communities is my respite. This space is my true escape in all true sense of the word from what I deem my “real” job, aka parenting.
Before proceeding on my moment of pulling the plug I’d like to give a shout out and hang in there to all the single parents. This parenting gig is honestly no joke and for every rewarding moment, truth be told there were at least five “are you kidding me?” moments which preceded it. Hence the tears, big smiles and dumbfounded looks on parents’ faces in those prideful moments.
Single parents however, we don’t get to cut a break, tag out, vent to a partner, any of it. We grit and grind no different than the two parent homes and yes, when silence finally sets in at the home, we hope we’re getting it right.
Single or not, I’m grateful for a diverse and transparent tribe of friends equally navigating the trenches. It is through honest communication with this select group, as well as a look at the news which recently brought me to the place of nothing is as it used to be.
As hard as it is, one week post-election, I’m going to stay away from politics. Oh man ... what is happening to this world? Senseless crimes in yoga studios, synagogues, night clubs and cows being given a pill to make manure smell better? What is going on?
No longer can a mom drive into her garage caring for a sick child, without worrying that someone might be watching and not only drive off with their car, but their child as well. Through the beauty of social media a fun night of trick or treat, can quickly take a turn as someone sends out a tainted candy alert. Investigations on both these local acts are still taking place.
Then there’s the job of parenting and how much as I would really like to have quit the job a few weeks back, I was talked off the fence and returned to the reality of what is … Life.
Now before anyone feels compelled to report me to Child Protective Services, it should be known while I am a loving mom, I’m also firm. My expectations for my children are high and not beyond their reach, but the hurdles are not stacked the same as they were 40 years ago.
Parents now must guide children through a curriculum which is not just advanced versus what we once faced, but accelerated. Children are now exposed to anything and everything instantly. And … as if there isn’t already enough to preoccupy their day, they also live in a world of safety drills which have nothing to do with Mother Nature and everything to do with mankind.
In short, for this single mom of two kids, it’s quite honestly a tough revelation. As much as I lean on what I learned through how I was parented, I must also recognize “old school” just may not appropriately fit 100 percent of the time.
So what to do? Who holds the answer?
The reality I’ve come to not just acknowledge but surrender to the past few weeks is quite simple, continue to learn as you go. It is after all what I expect of my children and now must learn to do myself. We don’t live in a one size fits all world, when it comes to parenting, family life or life in general.
I’ve thought a lot recently on how patient I was when my children were toddlers, like little does learning to navigate the vast land. Now navigating a different land, they are not quite different than the does they once were (just significantly taller). In learning to exercise and return to patience, I must do the same for myself. I’m a far from perfect human, let alone mother.
So as I return to my job as uber driver, personal chef, nurse, accountant and peace keeper, I encourage you all to do the same.
One fact remains true, we (the parents) are indeed the lucky ones. We’ve journeyed the path before them and while the scenery is vastly different, the destination is not only much the same, but incredibly rewarding. For those of you prepared to quit, you are not alone. But as my wise mother used to tell me as a confused kid, we learn more through the challenges, than we do through the victories. Stay strong and … pray.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.