I've had many friends and family and acquaintances exclaim, "I don't know how you do it!" when I mention the kids and work and school and all my various activities. I have a LOT on my plate, but in the throes of it, I just… do it. I manage. Somehow. Here's the thing, though. I think the term "single mom" is kind of misleading. Yes, I am single. "Single" in the strictly relationship-status-definition of the word. I do not have a boyfriend or significant other who helps me with housework and rubs my feet at night and shares the day-to-day responsibility of caring for my children.
This is Offbeat Families's archive of It takes a village posts.
This is our category dedicated to extended offbeat parenting — we know that not all offbeat caretakers are parents! Some of us are offbeat grandparents, offbeat offbeat aunties and uncles, and offbeat family friends. We're here to celebrate the village!
Yes, I am part of the group that parents my daughter, but I am not the only one. I cannot imagine denying her the incredible formative experiences that she is getting now, and that she will continue to get. I am comfortable saying that I am not my child's only parent. She has over a dozen! She has all these people who are equally invested in guiding her, loving her and seeing her grow into a responsible adult.
I was the parent who kept my kids as safe as possible. Barring the few seconds I couldn't watch my daughter as she scurried up to new heights, my kids kept their feet firmly on the ground. They never had a chance to explore and learn on their own. It could be argued that the kids might get hurt, but don't we all take that chance? If I could do it all over again, I would raise free-range kids.
I feed my daughter a mix of my breast milk, formula and donated breast milk from five different women. Not only has donated breast milk benefited my daughter's digestion and overall health, it has introduced me to other moms that I'm now proud to consider part of my community.
Once upon a time, the economy crashed. My husband was laid off, and I started working more than an hour away for very little money. My husband stayed home all day looking for work and taking care of our infant twins. We were stretched to the max, and then two wonderful women named Elisa and Andrea came into our lives.
As my baby grows into this new, beautiful, moody, long-legged creature, I know she will have questions I can't answer, problems I can't solve, fears I can't comfort. I know our friends won't be able to solve all these problems either, but I'm enormously grateful that I'm not alone in this new stage of our lives, and neither is Alice.
I would like to start off by saying that I have no idea what it's like to be a mom (yet). I have no idea what 24 hours a day, 7 days a week responsibility for an ornery, screaming, time-demanding tiny human is like. All I'm saying is that becoming an aunt has given 10x more insight into it. I also got lucky with the BEST niece and nephew ever, not every kid is as cool as them. Here are some things I've picked up.
The first time Maggie saw it when she was around two and a half, she asked me, "who's that?" "That's Medusa, Maggie. She has snakes for hair," I explained. She laughed, thinking it was hilarious. This became a constant back and forth nearly every time she saw me — asking about Medusa, laughing at the snake-hair. I quipped one day that it must be really hard for her to brush her hair. Maggie also thought this was hilarious and incorporated it into the routine — "So funny!" she'd say, hands over her mouth as she giggled.