Parents

Hey, Single Mama: It's OK To Not Be OK

We know that tomorrow is a new day.

Several years ago, I wasn’t quite so sympathetic to the plight of the single parent. In fact, I was Judgy Mcjudgerson. I remember my sister finding out she was pregnant and then lamenting, “But I didn’t plan on being a single parent,” and I distinctly remember telling my mom, “Umm, well, she doesn’t really have a choice.”

Man, do words have a way of coming back and biting you right in the butt.

Here I am, eight years later, single momming it with a kindergartener, a preschooler, and a very high maintenance dog. I have a job that I love, a family who supports me, and a warm bed that welcomes me each night (warm because I cannot get a certain toddler, or high maintenance dog, out of it to save my life). And we are legitimately happy.

Except on the rare occasion that we’re not. Or I’m not, I should say.

Last week, I took a trip to a conference for work. I was so looking forward to the professional development, networking, and conversations that didn’t revolve around bowel movements or Trolls. I got to Albuquerque, and it was beautiful from what I could tell from my hotel room window. I met some lovely people, was able to sleep in, and yet all I wanted was to be back home with my babies.

Encountering no travel issues my whole trip, I incurred delay after delay trying to make it home from Dallas airport. Three hours later than planned, I made it back to Ohio and had to rush to the event where I was supposed to be and where my kids were, thanks to their lovely aunts. The next two days were filled with parties (plural), haircuts, trips to the store, church, and very little downtime. Plus, Monday was Presidents Day, which meant that my kids didn’t have school, but I still had to work, so off to work with me they went.

All of this left me feeling deflated. And then the email from my attorney came that my HOA was asking me to reimburse them money for a problem that they should’ve fixed in the first place. That was the proverbial straw. I dissolved into tears. Then I ate some brownie batter. Then I zoned out to Netflix.

And then I felt like a total hypocrite.

Here I was, a cheerleader for the single parent, one step away from buying some fancy invitations to my pity party. Wasn’t I always telling my readers how amazing and brave and strong they were? And here I am blubbering away on the couch with only my junk food and Walter White to comfort me? Get it together, Linz, I thought to myself.

But I couldn’t. Not right in that moment. And that’s when I realized that it’s absolutely okay to not be okay. Because we might be some of the fiercest humans to walk the planet, but we’re still just that ― humans. We are not perfect, and we cannot be strong 100 percent of the time.

It’s okay to cry in front of the kids or after they’ve gone to sleep, or maybe both.

It’s okay to not love every minute of your life or the particular season that you’re in.

It’s okay to be tired from having to hold it together for the sake of the tiny people.

It’s okay to let others know that you’re not okay and to ask for their support.

It’s okay to take time to sit in the quiet or zone out to the television.

It’s okay to let your guard down for just a moment.

It’s okay to want to be taken care of for once.

It’s okay to not be okay.

Because we know that tomorrow is a new day. And everything may not be magically fixed then, but we will still wake up and get to be parents to these amazing little people. And, somehow, we will end up smiling at a look they give or a phrase they mispronounce (my daughter calls kisses “pisses”). Then, on the way to the sitter, we’ll start jamming out to the radio at a red light and talking about how many days until baseball’s opening day. And before you know it, we’re okay again. Because our hearts are too crazy full not to be.