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Working Overtime: The Life of a Single Mother

Photograph by Getty Images/Flickr RM

I used to make fun of that saying, "it takes a village to raise a child," but it's true. You may not need a whole entire neighborhood, but another set of hands would be nice.

Don't get me wrong: I love my children. I feel like I have to put that out there so no one calls the Department of Health and Human Services on me. I enjoy my time with them and every day they teach me, yes me, something new about life, love, and most importantly empathy. They are truly wonderful children.

That said...

I'm tired. I also think my own mother didn't know how good she had it. She raised my brother and I on her own, but we also lived with my grandparents. She had backup care if she had to go to work and we were off. Shoot, she had back up care if she wanted to watch General Hospital.

Me? Not so much. My children's grandparents are already gone, and I live far away from any familial help. That means it's all on me. And let me tell you, all on me sucks.

Today my saving grace is a snow day that will keep all of us at home and them in bed an extra hour later so I can do things like write this blog or watch a rerun of Gilmore Girls. The daily monotony of getting them all up, doing school drop offs, going to work, picking everyone up, making dinner, and giving baths has gotten old.

It got old, real quick.

No one tells you how awful it is when you're sick, the kids are sick, and you just have to pull on your big girl panties and make it work. It would have been wonderful to just pull the covers over my head and sleep off the flu, but I couldn't. I never knew my body could function on zero hours of sleep and 103 fever—but it can. It's amazing what just sheer will can do. We may have lived on Chinese food take out for three days but at least it had veggies in it. I am now a firm believer that Won Ton soup can cure anything.

Life was nice when there was another set of hands around. Someone to do things when you were tired or just plain old didn't feel like it. It was nice to have someone to cook dinner, when you were out of ideas and didn't want take out again.

With someone else helping out, it left me free time to plan fun things to do with the kids. Now I'd just be happy to not have to struggle for thirty minutes with a jar of spaghetti sauce. I would start an upper body workout to have more strength, but I seriously don't have the time.

I tell myself I do it all for them. I say this to myself at night when I'm alone, snuggled up next to my boyfriend pillow.

The kids are happy and that's all that matters. I focus on the fact that one day my circumstances could change. One day is a nice dream but today it would be nice not to have to take the damn trash out or clean the snow off my car.

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