Being a single mom isn’t hard because of the finances or their ages or being alone; It’s hard because you come home from work to a hollow silence. Anticipating their excitement, your 18 month old daughter screaming “Hi!” Then only hearing the echo of your own voice.
Being a single mom is moving home with your parents and starting over; trying to build a foundation, rebuild your family minus one. It’s trying to find a sense of normality, projecting resilience and creating stability.
It’s letting go of their hands sooner than you thought you’d have to. It’s missing half of their time, missing some of the “firsts” because you’re at work or they’re with their father.
They grow up so much faster when they are gone half the time. You’re not leaving them just for the night or the weekend, but multiple nights, every week. Tears pouring as soon as they’re out of view. Ache in your chest when they’re so caught up with their father they don’t notice you slip away. Living behind a revolving door; waiting for it to be your turn, for them to step through again.
Your kids are your whole life and now you’re only half of theirs. You have never known a love the way you love your children; you have never felt an ache, a pain, an emptiness the way you feel when they’re gone.
Living off memories until they come back home. Watching their favorite movies and listening to their favorite songs; finding excuses to wander through their room. Planning all the things you’re going to do with them; crying when you know you won’t get to do half of those things you planned.
It’s biting back that bitterness and resentment because he has the kids. It’s communicating, standing your ground, and holding it together when you just want to scream, give in, and fall apart. It’s putting on a happy face and accommodating their father. It’s showing them courage and strength when you feel scared and weakened. It’s buying a Father’s Day gift they picked out for their dad, a man that hurt you, because you don’t want them to be disappointed or empty handed.
You feel like you’re losing time. Just yesterday he was 4, she was a newborn; now he’s going to kindergarten and she’s talking. The gaps growing more frequent, the burden on your heart growing heavier.
You walk by their empty room with eyes full of unspilled tears. This is being a single mom; staring in an empty room until they come back home.
© Chelsie Cummings 2017