This cute little book I posted about last year has really had a long shelf-life around here. And it has been kicking around in my head a little extra lately. It paints such a lovely picture. And, obviously, leaves the hard parts out. It got me thinking, maybe I don’t leave the hard parts out…enough of the time. In my friendships, in my doula practice and in my nonprofit practice – one of my highest values is consistently being a tell-it-like-it-is, radically honest kind of person. Life is short, no need to waste any of it, right? It has worked well for me in general. It has pulled the right people into my life and it has helped the not-so-right people know they don’t belong with me.
But then I see a sweet book like that and I wonder if I’m taking long enough looks at the positive. I definitely use this blog space as a place to collect a positive outlook. But that doesn’t mean I’m always sitting on a lily pad in a sunshine rainbow beam over here. I’m often wondering if I’ve created the right life for my child, I’m often feeling bitter about how single moms are portrayed and reacted to, I’m often stressed out beyond belief at the end of the month when all the bills come due. I’m as fascinated by couples with children as these couples have at times been with me. How do they make it work? Do they fight or are do they feel incredibly supported in all things? Do they understand the silent privilege of not standing all alone in this job? Do they take turns sleeping in? Do they each get to “tap out” when they are at their wits end? What on earth is it like to have two incomes to work with? Or to have one parent staying at home? Or that person to vent to and kiss every night?
I can go on and on. These are things that cross my mind less and less as my child and my motherhood get older. It’s more curiosity than jealousy – except for the idea of sleeping in ;). It’s foreign to me. And sometimes I can’t look away. It’s fascinating.
I wish the gap between single and coupled parents could be bridged more often. It feels like an impossible thing sometimes. We are on opposite sides of an untouchable space and we are both slightly scared of each other. There, I said it. I’m also fascinated by the single parents who either sail through with ease – or hide how hard it is with ease. Still looking for that secret manual!
I will leave you with an essay I recently read, written by a single mom focusing on her special little relationship of two.