Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Friday, January 13, 2006

In praise of the Single Mother

Darwin flies in this afternoon at 4:30, and the girls and I will be heartily glad to see him. Having no one here but us chickens has had some charms, but everyone prefers to have Daddy about, especially me. After having done stints as a single mother for three weeks out of the last five, I have to say that I have a heightened appreciation for the trials of mothers raising children on their own.

Let me say, of course, that in my opinion anyone who chooses outright to be a single mother a la Murphy Brown is simply off her rocker. To make a conscious choice to pursue motherhood without the support or someone who's legally bound to you and your baby seems foolish at the very basic, instinctual level of self-preservation. However that may be, there are many reasons women find themselves alone with children -- boyfriend backed out, husband left, or even, as in my case, husbands who must travel for various good reasons.

I've had it relatively easy. I don't live near my family, alas, but I have many friends locally who have been more than generous in offering to help while Darwin is away. I don't have to worry about picking up the kids from daycare after a long day at work. The girls and I have gone to church, to the park, done grocery shopping together, read many books, and have snuggled in bed at nights. But it's still not easy to be the parent on call 24/7, even for a short period of time. It must be very difficult for mothers (or come to that, fathers) who are raising children on their own, and I have a heightened respect for those who manage to keep it all together in those circumstances.

And while we're at it, let's have some words in praise of military wives, who deal not only with the stresses of caring for chilren on their own and maintaining a marital relationship long-distance, but who must also carry with them the terrible knowledge that their husbands could be killed at any time. As Americans we owe a debt of gratitude to the families and wives of the soldiers who protect us. Theirs is an incredible burden.

And now I must shake the two pounds of pasta out of my sheets and re-make the bed before we leave to get Darwin... I'm so glad he's coming home.


Kate said...

Amen! I'm staying with family while Liam is away, but even is exhausting not having a back-up parent. I never realised how often Liam took Gui in the evenings (when he's crankiest) or woke up for him at night.

bearing said...

Hoo boy, I am so with you. DH travels a couple of times a month for 1-3 day stretches, and while it has gotten easier with experience, I am soooooo glad when he gets back.

I honestly don't know how my mom did it, day after day. She must have really looked forward to the weekends when we were off with our dad. Maybe she missed us... but if it were me, I think I'd really need some time alone to make up for being ON all the time.

CincyDarwin said...

As a single father, my motto is, in all truth, "I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13).

Dorian Speed said...

Amen! I have these same thoughts every time I am on my own for a few days...which is very infrequent. I know I am *so* spoiled, because my husband and I both teach PT at the same school, and then he works from home for the remainder of the day, so I get to see him all day long. I try to remember what a blessing that is.

Glad darwin is home safely.

Nârwen said...

You forgot one category- young widows or widowers. I grew up in such a family, and I know how rough my mom had it after my dad died.