It’s that time of year again! The end of the school year has arrived, along with the one million events that go along with it. Music concerts, dance recitals, soccer practice, baseball games, and the beloved field day are all marked on the calendar. There are teacher gifts to buy, field trips to chaperone, and end of the year parties and banquets to plan. It’s a lot and we are all in this final dash toward summer together.
These stresses are there no matter what type of family you have, yet single moms often feel the push to go from single mom to Super Mom. Maybe it’s the attempt show that we don’t need help and we can do it on our own. Maybe it’s “divorce guilt” kicking in and we want to show our kids that won’t miss a thing. It may even be that we are trying to prove to our exes that we can do it all without them. I found myself thinking about this for myself the other day. How can I possibly do it all? The answer I came up with is simple. I can’t and that’s ok.
If you are struggling with being enough as one parent running the show, give yourself the same grace that you would give anyone else- including dual parent families. It’s ok to NOT volunteer for the class party. Not every parent can and it doesn’t mean you are letting down your child. It’s ok to have to prioritize events, therefore missing something on the schedule. The world will continue to turn if one child has to miss a practice to attend another child’s band show. Trust me, I thrive on making it all happen for everyone and this is something I continue to struggle with all year long.
I have definitely noticed my drive to do it all increased post divorce. I felt guilty that my children only had one active parent participating in their day to day lives and I made it my mission to not let them down. I finally realized that nobody, married or single, can being in all the places doing all of the things. It takes a village to raise children and everyone can lean on their tribe when they need help.
If you are feeling the pressure to prove yourself, especially to your ex, I suggest you sit down and examine your motives. Who is benefitting from you putting this added pressure on yourself. If they answer is not yourself and not your children, then JUST SAY NO to something. My guess is that you are working yourself to the bone to prove something to someone who may not even be watching. There is also the unfortunate possibility that no matter what you do or how many activities you volunteer for, it will never be enough for your ex. If this sounds like you, it is very likely that they will always find a way to point out what they feel you could have done better. This puts you in a no-win situation that will eventually burn you out as a parent. That is not beneficial for you or your children.
At this moment, I’m going to give you a goal and I promise to do it along side of you. Take a look at your overbooked calendar and find something to let go. Maybe you find someone to take your child to practice to free up your evening. Maybe you decide to ignore the class sign up that asks you to make two dozen homemade cupcakes. Maybe you forgive yourself for not being able to be in two places at one time. Whatever it is, give yourself the grace of being just one person. Do not set yourself up with the unrealistic expectation that you have to do more to make up for the missing parent. That is an impossible task that will only lead to feelings of guilt and frustration. You are a fantastic mom without needing to be Super Mom!