I know, I know - I've been MIA for a bit. I could give you all kinds of excuses about being busy and such, but that's not why. Let me explain....
People have asked me, "How do you do it?". Married couples cannot fathom ever doing it alone. I simply answer: "You do what ya gotta do". Just like every parent.
It can, at times, be easier being a single parent. As Stallone so aptly put it, "I am da law". What I say goes. There is no playing one parent against the other, no disagreements on discipline. No power struggles. The drawback to that is - you don't get a break. You are it, 24/7. There is no power in the words "Wait till your father gets home", cause Papa don't live here. I'm lucky that I get a break once a week. My wonderful parents take my son overnight most Thursdays for me. That's my alone time. That's the time I have to recharge my batteries, be calm and quiet. That's the time I have to regroup and get a firmer grip on my sanity. A grip I am fighting to hang on to.
Children can tire you out with their endless energy, questions and exploration, but they are easily manageable. Mom & Dad are in charge. That fact is not in question. We can protect them from danger, teach them and make them laugh.
Yes, children can tire you out, but just wait. Teenagers are exhausting.
Common sense, reason & logic are out the window. At least your common sense, reason & logic are. Everything you do as a parent becomes questionable. Every boundary, every responsibility, everything you say becomes a barrier to the life they feel entitled to. The humor and silliness that once made them laugh results in sullen looks and slamming doors. Protecting them from danger becomes a slippery slope of giving them the freedom to make their own decisions and wanting to keep them from the consequences of the wrong ones. They have, after all, forgotten everything you have taught them to this point. That, or they dismiss it as nothing more than you being overprotective or trying to baby them. They have become all knowing, invincible, immortal. They think they are masters of their own destiny. They know what's best for them. The fact that you have more than twice the life experience of them just makes you, old. You want to give them freedom to become their own person. You want them to become responsible adults. You want to kick them in the ass for being so opposed to accepting the wisdom of experience. You want scream at the top of your lungs, "Since you're so friggin smart, get out and support yourself!"
But, you don't. At least, not with meaning. There is still a thread of the umbilical that whispers the truth. The thought of leaving the safety of home is too daunting to risk. It's a thread you both hang on to. Teenagers tug at it, parents let out some slack. There comes a point where there is no slack left and the connection breaks. Then, all you can do is hope and pray they take enough of what you have given them to flourish in adulthood.
We are not there yet. But I am having one hell of a tug-o-war!
I have been too exhausted to form coherent thoughts. The creative juices have receded into the recesses of my brain like a pair of testicles in a cold pool. The mental and emotional energy necessary to get through a 24 hour period with a teenager could solve the worlds natural energy depletion, if we could harness it.
This is the dark side of being a single parent.
I am being eaten alive, one molecule at a time. I can feel it happening, but there is nothing I can do about it. I catch glimpses of myself in the mirror. There is a haunting, empty look in my eyes, much like what I saw in my Grandfather near the end.
I can picture myself in a mental ward. Drool on my chin, unable to focus on anything tangible. People will look sadly upon me and ask "What happened to her?" The Doctors will reply, "TEENAGER", and all will nod sadly, knowingly, sympathetically.