I have no doubt that every single-parent has many days every year where they are left feeling beat down because they are reminded of just how much they are on their own. I had one of those days last week. My son, as most children his age do, had a huge meltdown one afternoon that lasted for hours and had no perceivable cause. It just came out of nowhere, at least as far as I could tell. My son so rarely has afternoon’s like this that when they do happen I usually feel a little lost and confused. I remained calm and in control throughout the ordeal and did not give in to the tantrum, but as I waited for my son to calm down I was left feeling completely alone, overwhelmed, isolated, beat down and defeated. I remember thinking how I had no support and no back up to help me in the situation and in situations like it. My son is now the only, actual family I have in the area, my friends and boyfriend were all at work (and even if they weren’t I wouldn’t want to subject them to the tirade) and with no end in sight I didn’t know what to do.
I know that my friends and my family love me and they will do anything they can to help me. I know that my boyfriend, BD, loves me and would have helped me in anyway possible if he had been there, but our relationship is still new enough that I would have felt horrible having him experience that. I did send him a text message telling him how I was feeling and what was going on and I felt so guilty doing that. On top of everything else that I was feeling by sending him the text message I managed to add the feeling of guilt to the list. I felt like I was burdening him with something that I had no business asking him to take on. I knew he would be sympathetic, empathetic and encouraging and I really needed to feel loved and supported in those moments, but felt horrible that I was contacting him for that support, especially since he has yet to meet my son. I had been right, BD sent sympathetic and encouraging messages and while they were greatly appreciated I felt even more guilty because I had interrupted his very busy day to tell him how horribly I was feeling.
My son wasn’t trying to give me a hard time. He was having a hard time with something and whatever it was it was too much for him to handle in that moment. He too was feeling overwhelmed by something. I just wish that I could have understood what was so upsetting for him so that I could have helped him better, but eventually we made it through the afternoon. We were even able to have some fun and smiles before the day ended, but for the rest of the day and until I went to sleep that night I could not shake the feeling of being isolated and alone. I wondered how I was going to be able to do this. Being a parent is hard enough just in general, but being forced to become a single-parent just adds to the stress and difficulties of parenthood.
I wish I had the words to express exactly what it felt like, but sadly I do not believe that there are adequate words in any language that are capable of accomplishing such a feat, but those of you out there who are single-parents, regardless of how/why you are a single-parent, will understand the experience and emotions that I am trying to convey. You will also understand that there are no words that can offer the comfort and support we so desperately need and desire in those moments like the comfort of a sincere hug from someone that loves us and that we love and trust. Sadly it is a comfort that we so rarely receive in the moment that we need it the most, if we receive it at all. Instead we are left to our own devices. Left to struggle through and to try and figure out how to make it through yet another one of those days. — sigh