The kids’ dad is of the stay-at-home variety but with him back in America (for sad reasons) I was thrown suddenly into the role of a single parent. I teach full-time and already did (ahem, more than) my fair share of housework/school preparation but I was unprepared for the madness that is taking care of four sub-teenagers (okay, the oldest is 13 but still) on my own. So during a brief pause in my schedule I had after doing some shopping during my lunch break, I thought I would write down some of the things I have learned. It is in a list-form because a.) I’m a teacher, b.) I am a compulsive list maker.
It is in no particular order though because I am, above all, disorderly.
-Always shower at night. There is less time in the morning than you think there is and you really do need to shower. Believe me.
-Exercise at night too. Because without exercise you will become fat and crazy and then on top of everything else you will have to worry about your fat ass and bananas brain.
-Most likely you will fall asleep with the kids. Know it, own it, don’t feel bad about it. Unless, of course, you didn’t shower or exercise yet. But even then….
-Stop feeling bad about shit. Seriously. Are the kids still alive? Then all is well. You have nothing to feel bad about.
-To-do lists. I make mine with little squares because I am a bit of a classicist. My lists are exhaustive. Always include minor things along with the major. You need to feel as accomplished as possible so if you can check off that you took a shit, do so.
-If you can’t go to your kid’s thing, it’s alright. They actually understand. Because they live with you.
-Try not to give the stay-at-home moms with the clean clothes and nice car a dirty look when you drop off your kid at school. Remember, everyone has their own pile of shit to sift through.
-Fuck cleaning the house. Reduce the clutter if possible. Ignore it if you cannot. Wash the dishes, take out the trash, clean the toilet, dump out the cat shit. You know, all the stinky junk. Everything else can wait for a miracle.
I’m sure I have more but this is what fuels my (temporarily/suddenly) single mother engine right now. Hats off to those of you out there doing it all every day forever. You guys are utter rockstars.