Happy National Single Parents Day!
A few weeks ago, my client who is a mom of 17 month old boy twins, spent the weekend alone without her husband.
"I don't know how you do it on the regular," she said to me during a session. "Single parenting is no joke."
I have never considered myself a single parent. Sophia's father is just as involved as I am, and we have two sets of grandparents- all living on the Upper West Side- as well as an amazing nanny.
What does this mean? As a part-time single mom, I do get breaks. I have never valued "me time" as much as I have now, and I know that is something my married friends, clients and colleagues who have kids, don't get.
What this also means is that when I am with Sophia there is no one else to share both the triumphs and the challenges. How her voice gets really loud with excitement and determination when her almost-five-year-old self is able to read a word. When she asks the meaning of a word like the word "test." When she says "big" words like "extracting" when she is trying to say "distracting." How endearing she is when, before she is asleep, she is in bed talking to herself and singing the songs she sang at school earlier in the day. And yes; it is not all a picnic; there is no one else to help discipline when she disobeys, and no other set of hands when she can't sleep, gets sick, and wants water, breakfast, and help with her clothes, all at once. After she is asleep at night, there is no one else there to sit with. This is at times peaceful, lovely and incredibly rewarding, and at other times very lonely.
I can only imagine the challenges yet ultimate fulfillment full-time single parents face; whether it be a widow/widower or a man or woman who decided to either biologically or adopt. And of course, those who thought they would have a partner, but then suddenly did not.
" I always knew I wanted to have a child," a client of mine, Niki told me. "I decided to BE a parent the moment I became pregnant. I decided to be a single parent the moment my boyfriend decided he did not want the responsibility of being a parent."
When Niki was on maternity leave, with her adorable son Teo, she attended some of my MamaFit classes. Despite the solo-sleep deprevation she was facing, as no one else was there to bear the burdeon, she still managed to get to class.
"The biggest challenge has been not having help, having to do everything alone. Not really getting that time out where a partner would take over," Niki, who doesn't have family nearby, continued.
But the biggest reward? "My son. The love I am capable of and receive. He is the most amazing loving sweet strong willed little boy. His smile makes everything ok. Even when he is testing me (often) the love I have for him is overwhelming. He has given my life a whole new meaning. Coming home from work is like coming home to the winning lottery ticket every single day."
The biggest surprises. "How important coffee would become to me," Niki says with a laugh. "I'm not joking. I never realized it until I had my son. But I also never knew that I would need and have so much patience and that how my son would consume every part of me. I also didn't know my apartment would look like a preschool. ;) How hard it would be to take a shower or how stressful the prospect of figuring out what school he would go to and the processes involved. How lost I would feel at times and in a moment feel like I had figured it out only to be reminded that I don't. How sometimes the most routine things become the most challenging to do i.e. meal time, changing a diaper would be like wrestling an oiled piglet at the state fair."
Advice? "The best piece of advice for anyone who is faced by choice or unexpectedly with becoming a single parent is that you can do it. It seems overwhelming and impossible and it can be overwhelming at times but it is totally possible. Surround yourself with a strong support network especially other new moms and moms who have done it already. Don't stress the small stuff and enjoy every moment. It sounds cliche but it's so true it goes by so fast. Cherish it, because having a child is one of the ultimate blessings."
For those of you who are, or anyone who knows any single parents, please forward this on. We are extending them a discount off of our 4 pack (normally $120, discounted at $80 which is valued as one free class) if purchased by 3/31. Knowing the challenges they face they are welcome to bring their kid with them to ANY Fit Co class.
Click here and enter promo code: SP2017