Thursday, February 22, 2007

Not that easy.

Yesterday I was talking with a co-worker about our other co-worker. The one who recently adopted a baby from China. The co-worker I was speaking with asked how the adoptive mother was doing, when she was coming back to work, and how the baby (well, she's a toddler, but we call her a baby) was adjusting. Then she said, several times, in several different ways, "I just don't know HOW she does it! I can't imagine being a single mother! That is just AMAZING!"

I nodded and smiled.

My co-worker has no idea that I was a single mom for five years. She has no idea that my first husband walked out on me when I was pregnant and then I had a set of twins. It's not something I feel the need to advertise to my co-workers and I think almost no one, except the people I feel close to, really know this about me.

I thought about my friend, the adoptive mother, later. She knew that it would be difficult for her, raising a daughter all on her own, a first-time mother at the age of forty-five. But she was up for the challenge. Last time I saw her, she had lost weight and a whole lot of sleep, but she was the happiest I had ever seen her, ever.

Because that's what mom's do, right? We make do. We do our best. We love our kids and we keep things moving along, because that's just what we do.

I have a hard time remembering what it was like to have two children under the age of one and have no one to help me out. Most of the first years of their lives are a complete blur. I really don't recommend attempting to raise two children on your own while going through a really bitter, painful divorce. It's just not good times.

I think I will start being honest about it, though.

It sucked. I mean, really. It sucked.

There is something completely soul crushing about smelling like dried milk and baby powder. Going on a job interview and realizing AFTER YOU LEAVE that there was a snot stain on your shoulder or a fruit loop stuck in your hair. Dating? Yeah right. There are just thousands of quality men beating down the door of a twenty-two year old chick with three jobs and two kids, as you can imagine! (Note: I'm not saying no one wanted to date me. No one of any QUALITY wanted to date me) And let's not overlook the joys of laying in your bed at night, crying because you are exhausted, hoping you can afford to buy food tomorrow, and wondering just where exactly everything went all wrong.

For several years whenever people asked me, "Was it hard?" I'd always say something like, "It wasn't that bad."

But, okay? It was bad. Sometimes it was worse than bad. Sometimes it was okay. But it was mostly bad.

But would I do it all again?

Of course. In a minute, in a heartbeat. For the opportunity to have the two most amazing people on the planet as part of my life? Are you kidding? I don't know any single mom (or dad) who would say anything otherwise.

I am who I am because of these people. These two little people make me want to be a better mother, a better wife, a better person. I would not be who I am at all, without the two of them.

What doesn't kill us makes us stronger. Or some crap like that.


Amy W said...

Those two adorable kids? They will be able to endure anything, they have it in their genes and an amazing Mom to look up to. Because you say it was hard, I can only begin to imagine. Utterly amazing you had two kids, three jobs, and lord knows what else.

Debbie said...

Gorgeous post - gorgeous photo.

Rachel (Crazy-Is) said...

Love this post. Love your honesty. Because it is hard being a single mom and after I separated from my 1st husband, I was a single mom until I met Chris 2 years ago. And it was hard. I don't think I realized just how hard until Chris and I were separated and I was a single mom to two kids. I relied on Chris's help.

But, when people asked me how I was, I always said, I'm ok or it's fine.

But I wasn't and it wasn't. But, it all worked out and I wouldn't change it.

CPA Mom said...

Honesty ROCKS. I'm trying it more too. "How are you?" "Embracing the suck, thanks for asking"

You rock! Your kids are so lucky to have a mom like you. I wish you were my mom. Well, no, not really, but you understand.

Anonymous said...

When I was married the first time I may as well have been single. He was never around and when he was he did nothing at all to make anything easier on anyone. Sometimes I think it might have been easier to be single raising my girls because he made everything so hard just with his presence.

You are a very strong woman. It shows clearly. Like me, you are also very stubborn. Good qualities to have. LOL :-)

my4kids said...

You are obviously a pretty strong person but I bet you don't always like being told that. I have people tell me that sometimes and I feel like telling them no really I'm not I just make it look that way on the outside.

Anyway you have been through alot though and like the others said it makes us stronger and the kids will benefit from it.

I would be honest with your work and let them know what you have been through, maybe they would have more respect for you.

PinkCat said...

I think the stuff that we go through in life does make us come out the other side much stronger people although at the time it really does suck.

I have been through the worst possible thing in my life and at first I would have changed it but not now. It is who I am and who I have become through my own personal experience and like you I wouldn't have the two exceptionally wonderful children that I have.

You look so happy and proud in your photo with your two wonderful children.

Take care

Shanilie said...

Thank you for sharing that. It is like your co-worked x 2 plus a divorce. I don't know how you got through it. I had family and Ryan to help me when Jacob was born. I thought I had been run over by a train after Jacob was born. I had ppdepression for at least the first 2 months. I look back now and don't know what I was complaining about! I don't know why they call it ppdepression because I have established that it should be called post traumatic shock because of all the changes.

My mom was married 2x. Her first she had my brother and I quite close together (11 months apart) abusive and never let her out of the house…I could go on but anyway, she had 2 kids 1 and under and he left her. I haven’t ever met him. But I still think of all she went through during that time. It is amazing what the body can go through. Now you are blessed with 2 beautiful children and have a supportive man by your side! You can raise your children to be survivors too.

Ashley said...

How do we do it - I swear I'll never know. I am glad you wrote this post, when I had a newborn, 1, 2, & 3 year old I made it but barely. I look back on it now and it exhaust me to even begin to unravel how we made it

Patiently waiting said...

Beautiful post! I've never been a single parent, but my husband has told me of his strugles when his wife left him with a two and four year old. Sounds like your children were blessed with a great mom.

julie said...

Thank you for this post. Definitely struck a chord here -- it is so true. I couldn't have said it any better.

dennis said...

Not only did it make you stronger but your kids, if the photo is any judge, came through swimmingly!!

Good going!!

Emma in Canada said...

I look back at when my 2 oldest were little and know that as much as I hated those days (separated but sharing a house due to finances), and how unhappy I was in the situation I am so very grateful for the two of them.

Alpha Dude said...

Nice job, Chick.

You have done, and continue to do the right thing.

Integrity is measured by how you conduct yourself when no one is watching or when it doesn't matter (nothing to gain from doing "the right thing" anyway).

You have LOTS of Integrity! The results are clearly visible on both sides of you in that photo.

Apparently your cow-erker doesn't read your blog. If she did, she just may develop an inferiority complex.

She'll learn all she needs over time. And with your knack for tact, and exemplary diplomacy skills, I'm sure you'll figure a way to let her know.

For the record - I don't know how you did it all either - that's how I know you are awesome!

Denise said...

Great post thanx for your honesty.

JUST A MOM said...

Great lookin kids, what I seem to allways here is,"OH YOU MADE IT THROUGH TAHT ONE NOW TRY THIS ONE"

Unknown said...

You must sleep standing up, with your eyes open (while making lunches, doing laundry and paying bills). Kids are the best-

Anonymous said...

I love you even more, if that's possible.

Your kids, especially your daughter in that picture, look just like you!

M said...

Thank you for finally being honest. Honesty is good. You give yourself far too little credit. You deserve to be honest and real.

Those childfolk are amazing and wonderful beings. The fact that they are all that in spite of all the muck you went through? Shows me that YOU are an amazing person.

I already knew that but you know what I mean.


Anonymous said...

I knew you were rock-tastic, but are even more of a superhero in my eyes. You truly are an amazing person and I have such huge respect for you for what you've been through. Your children are gorgeous....they clearly take after their beautiful mother!!

Anonymous said...

Your kids are some of the best people I know.

YOU are one of the best people I know.


Unknown said...

I just LOVE how The Chick just keeps it all real! And I LOVE that picture, too.

frannie said...

my husband is going out of town for 4 days next month and I'm already having panic attacks about it. I can not imagine that being a way of life. and I only have one baby.

I can't express how much I admire you! You are such an inspiration in my life.

Unknown said...

A lot of times I think I am going to leave that S.O.B. and raise these little people on my own. Then reality sets in. I don't know how single mothers do it. I give you all a ton of credit.

Brown Eyed Girl said...

You and I have had many conversations about this....many and we both know it sucked. It sucked bad but the kids are the reason we did it.

Being a survivor is a hard job...

Ute said...

I really know who hard the first year with twins is. I really know. I never could imagine to handle this all on my own without my husband. You did a great job beeing all alone with to babies and managing to go to work as well. This is really somethin I admire.

SJINCO said...

Your kids are lucky to have a Mom like you! Love the picture, your kids are adorable (and so are you!)

Anonymous said...

Really interesting post & blog, we have a lot in common. My son's father died two days after our son's first birthday. I was pregnant when he was diagnosed with AIDS. It was one of the defining issues of my life and still is 20 years later, but I tell no one. My two best friends in the world don't know the truth.

When I was giving birth in the hospital, he was in a different hospital with an infection. I had a choice between champagne or chocolate cake for a celebration meal and I chose the cake. I ate it all by myself.

I had a big sign on my door that said "INFECTIOUS DISEASE." My son and I both tested negative but it didn't matter at the time.

Thank God my son survived. Today he's a 21-year old college student. But I still wish it wasn't necessary to keep secrets. And I always remind myself that I would rather be me, and have my own hardships in life, than anyone else's. My mother-in-law has lost two sons to AIDS and all I ever pray for is that my children stay safe.

Miguelita said...

Really great back story. You rock.

Anonymous said...

Gah, I don't know how I missed this post, Chick!! I'm so glad I clicked on the link to check it out!!

Okay, nuff with the exclamation marks, but seriously.....I can't figure out how I missed these when I read what I thought was every single one of your archives.

Anyway, very well written - and from the heart as always;). That's what I love about you!

Unknown said...

I remember how demanding having twin babies was...and I had their dad around and my mom (when she could visit) to help me (and their older brothers)...I couldn't imagine how difficult it would be on your own!