This shit ain’t easy (a bedtime story).

by mssinglemama on July 31, 2008

Today sucked. Everything caught up with me.

Working full-time, being a mom, trying to date – mix all of that with a good dose of self-doubt and you’ve got the ingredients for one grumpy mama. I’m also dead tired.

Last night Benjamin kissed me good night and prounced off to my bedroom, jumped into my bed and curled up on my pillow. I caved when I tried to move him and he said, “NO! I go nigh-nigh Mommy.” He’s so independent. So fiercly adorable. I had to respect it and besides, he was passing out. Seemed like a good idea.

But then he kicked and stirred all night. Bad idea.

Because of my hazy, foggy day of dead tired doom – Benjamin got ice cream for dinner. Yep. You heard me. Ice cream for dinner.

On the sidewalk in my little urbanized neighborhood, the happy couples are out in force.

Some are at the start of their relationships… flawless outfits, perfume and cologne dripping out of their pores and sheepish gazes. They’ve found each other – a different kind of haze.

Then there were the veterans. The happy married couples. They’ve been in their haze for a while. Their eyes are different. The spark isn’t new but it’s there – gleaned over time, so wise, so sure. Each holding one of their children’s hands. The kids say hello to Benjamin while their parents smile at the strange little boy pushing his stroller- swerving through people, avoiding curbs and silly potted plants. He can’t see over the top and has no idea where he’s going.

He’s shouting too, “I wok to muh house, see? I wok! To muuuu (crescendo)hhhh house!!! Bye!” And his mom is snapping pictures like a dork. Because I love this stuff, have to capture it. Can’t let it go.

Across the street is the bar patio where Benjamin’s father kissed me for the first time.

We were on our first date. They’ve replaced the old iron tables with shiny, metal tin things. The building is one of the oldest in the neighborhood but, like the tables, the people on the patio are young and fake looking.

Drunk laughter is seeping into the air just like the cigarettes they’re dragging. The single and childless. So free. I used to drink myself into tears at that bar or run upstairs to dance to live music. If I didn’t have Benjamin tonight, after a day like today, I’d be there. Commiserating with friends, chasing something or momentarily forgetting all of my worries. The place where Benjamin started.

And then he snaps me out of it. No longer the feeling after a kiss or a distant soul I have yet to meet. He’s here. And he’s about to push the damn stroller into the street.

While balancing my steaming hot mocha, I grab his little body with my free hand and use my leg to pull the stroller back onto the sidewalk. Not a drop spilt and my son is still alive. Single mom reflexes, either physical or emotional, are a force to be reckoned with.

But even bad ass single mom reflexes can’t save me from the occassional bad day. 

Today was one of them. I needed someone to care. Someone to try to lift my spirits because I couldn’t lift my own. Annoying thoughts. Pointless thoughts. Then – after the ice cream, after the stroller and after his bath – an amazing thing happened. I was crashing on the chair in Benjamin’s room when he pulled out an Elmo book, smiled at me and then played one of those musical buttons. He looked at me with a wry little smile and said, “C’mon mommy! Sing!” Annoying songs were sung. Tickles were freely flowing and all was right in the world.

Bad day is over now. Thanking the world for Benjamin. And don’t worry about me, this funk will be lost in my dreams and as soon as I hit publish. Writing it out, sharing it – seems crazy – but it really helps.

Cheers to tomorrow and to single parents – because this shit ain’t easy. May we each find our way, whichever way that may be and no matter how tired or grumpy we may be when we get there.

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Mr. Anonymous® July 31, 2008 at 3:13 am

Hmmm… I have GOT to stop taking Looonnggg showers !

Sorry I wasn’t here to make you laugh, but it sounds like BEN picked up on your MOOD. That’s a good thing. You’re fused at the brainpan…

ps: that B/W of you is HOTT!… SSSSmokin’

But then, some guy telling you how hot you are does NOT necessarily equate to FUNK REMOVAL…

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mama llama July 31, 2008 at 3:40 am

The children do, really, make it all worthwhile. Sometimes it scares me to realize all they do to pull me up when they intuit I am down.

What a story–and your baby boy is beautiful. What a blessing…

…and Life will never again be the same.

Be well.

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Jessee July 31, 2008 at 8:11 am

I think my little Kaden is the only one that can get me our of funks like that. Hats off to us single momma’s!

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cisforcow July 31, 2008 at 9:03 am

Hugs Momma – you perfectly described a typical day in my house. And, I being the wordless wonder just usually would describe it by typing one big F word. But, when you go back in to check on them after they are sleeping and you see that peachy skin and cherub lips and long eyelashes just sleeping peacefully away – it DOES make it all worth it!

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randomesq July 31, 2008 at 9:14 am

I love how honest you are. Those pictures are great.

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shannon July 31, 2008 at 9:16 am

“Single mom reflexes, either physical or emotional, are a force to be reckoned with.”-This may be my new favorite quote.
Single Mama, just know that he really IS out there. I was where you were and I didn’t even recognize it was him the first time he came around…but the second time I was ready. And you know what? Even on the days when he’s getting on my nerves and I miss alone time and I get in that funk too…I still love him and wouldn’t trade it for anything. And I look back and remember the five years alone with the girly and it makes me appreciate not being alone even more. And I appreciate every time I look at happily married or coupled people, because I remember too, when I used to stare longingly at those folks.
It’s coming girlfriend…and you’ll be ready.

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pisceshanna July 31, 2008 at 10:48 am

My best friend from high school is getting married next friday, and even though I am delirously happy for her, it still hurts a little. She and her man got together about the same time the Ex and I did. We were all roommates. Their relationship is culminating and ours crashed and burned. Its hard to live with those memories, but there’s the rest of your life to make new ones.

You’ll find someone to make memories with. :)

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OneManThreeKids July 31, 2008 at 11:04 am

“bad ass single mom reflexes” that statement rocks!! I think I need a t-shirt that says “I have superpowers…bad ass single dad powers”…LOL

*hugs* to you!! Even the best super single moms have bad days…thank God for hugs from our kids…they always know when to give them. My oldest will see me low and say “Dad, you need one of my amazing shoulder massages!”…Just the words lift me up.

Your son will love you like no other human can…I am still my mommy’s little boy and when she is down I can tell and I know just how to cheer her up. Ben will be that for you.

BTW: When I see those happy little couples I always say to myself…I hope they pay attention to each other and appreciate what they have or they may be right here with me one day…Even though the grass looks greener on that side of the fence — There are some brown spots when you look close enough.

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littlemansmom July 31, 2008 at 11:44 am

That weight hits us all every now and again, but I have to agree…our kids are worth it…..and one day, when it’s time, that special ‘other’ WILL enter your life…until then, you and your son have an amazing relationship, you and your son have an amazing bond, you and your son will will have these memories forever. Don’t let the age fool you…littleman brings things up from his very early memories all of the time and I think ‘ you remember that!’

PS…sometimes we have waffles and ice cream with chocolate syrup AND sprinkles for supper….. :)

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Alexis July 31, 2008 at 12:38 pm

You are amazing! All us single mamas and dadas are amazing! It’s magic how we do it…workin, playin, lovin, laughin, dancin…this is our world. We all go down for minutes, hours, or days….when we see those innocent smiles looking at us with such love- it’s impossible to be down for too long. You are human! We all feel it sometimes. I’m a teacher and have been off for about a month….I cried tears of pure bliss on my way home from work on the last day- just because I couldn’t believe I could actually take a break from the grind and just be a mama. This summer has been so good for my soul…breaks from the grind=good for the soul. Sounds like you will have that soon in Europa! Keep it goin you hot mama!

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syd July 31, 2008 at 12:53 pm

Isn’t that the truth, amen. Days aren’t easy with kids, period – but days when you’re a single parent can be damn hard. It’s the end of the day with those cute little faces looking up at you that makes it worthwhile, though – and THANK GOD! Thank goodness for this community of supportive folks, too, who can all *utterly* relate to those days!

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solo mama July 31, 2008 at 1:13 pm

I had one of those days on Monday. Just when you are about to throw yourself on the floor and have a temper tantrum, you take a look at yourself in the mirror and say out loud, “I can do this.”

I know the feeling all too well, and before I found this blog and others like it, I thought I was all alone. Now I know that I am not the only one having the same feeling of desperation at times.

Thank you for sharing your day–I agree it feels better to put it on paper.

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Mike July 31, 2008 at 3:17 pm

Isn’t great to have the blog to shout out all your highs and lows of the day.

Single with kids has the good and the bad. No one to question your decisions, no one to back you up when you’ve made one.

Stay focused, your son will appreciate it when he’s older. My teenage daughters remind me always that I was there for them.

BTW Great blog…

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cisforcow July 31, 2008 at 3:48 pm

“Single with kids has the good and the bad. No one to question your decisions, no one to back you up when you’ve made one. ”
Oh so totally well put….

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mssinglemama July 31, 2008 at 3:59 pm

So. Benjamin tossed and turned all night. Wondering if the tooth is bothering him. I’m in much, much better spirits! Thanks to all of your wonderful comments and the fact that it’s one day closer to the weekend.

Weekends are bliss.

Thanks again everyone!

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SeriouslyKaren July 31, 2008 at 4:09 pm

Thanks for the honesty. It’s so nice to know I’m not alone in the bad days, the self pity days. But you’re right evenually there is a moment when you remember why everything is right in the world. If only for just this moment.

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jenn3 July 31, 2008 at 10:23 pm

The bad days do suck. I’m having one myself. Hope tomorrow is better for both of us!

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single mommy August 1, 2008 at 9:45 am

Some of your posts make me feel as though you climbed into my head. I can be so down, so depressed, remembering when we were a family and I had someone else to love me and worry with me. Reality Bites!!!! But then out of the blue a little voice will say “mommy you’re beautiful, will you be my snuggaroo?”

Like a light switch these little people can turn us around!

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Single mom in New England August 1, 2008 at 2:51 pm

I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one that has ditched dinner for a drive to the ice cream store instead! It’s summer and my son will only be 3 years old once. Live it up and make it a double scoop!

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modernsinglemomma August 1, 2008 at 5:53 pm

Yes my love!
You are so….so… dang! there is no word for how great you are! …One thing you defintely are is inspiring. I’m so glad you said it: THIS SHIT AIN’T EASY!
Its not, but we are doing it…and when I read a post like this I am so proud to be a single mom…so proud to be in this amazing club of super-REAL and super-HERO (the realness is what makes us heros) moms.

I can’t wait to come out there and hang out in your neighborhood and feed Lucca ice-cream for dinner too (don’t feel bad at all about that, btw, last nightt Lucc and I had straight peanut-butter for dinner). =) He loved it, I loved it, we live another day!

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The Queen Chimes In August 1, 2008 at 9:57 pm

“While balancing my steaming hot mocha, I grab his little body with my free hand and use my leg to pull the stroller back onto the sidewalk.”
Only a Super Hero Mama could manage all this and still click pics at the same time. Kudos on your rescue. (Of the all important hot mocha I mean.) And who says Ice Cream Dinner is bad??? It’s packed with calcium right! That is the bonus of being on your own, no one to say…”ice cream for dinner?” I have a friend who loves when her husband goes out of town so she and the kids can do exactly that. Have a GREAT weekend, you have earned it Alaina.

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Jessica Ashley (Sassafrass) August 6, 2008 at 1:02 pm

Oh, I am so glad you found me and now I have found you. And thank the goddesses who smile on single mamas for ice cream and memories and the bad days that make the good ones feel even better. And also for finding other mama’s words that speak right to our souls. If we lived close, Ms Single Mama, I would so happily buy you and your boy a cone to toast with me and mine.

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Roxanne Hack January 18, 2009 at 11:29 pm

Looks like I’m about 6 months behind you, because these days are what I experience now. This post made me tear up — it rang so true to how I often feel. You’re such a wonderful writer. Thank you again and again and again for sharing your stories, and making me feel less alone in my single mama world.

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Katie Welch April 30, 2012 at 8:30 pm

Good Lord – I just read this…you are freaking hilarious :)

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Tania September 15, 2012 at 10:47 pm

wine helps lol ;-)

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