Friday, August 22, 2014

Chocolate, wine and spa day ...

...needed for single moms!

I have a renewed and perhaps more accurate appreciation for women who spend all of their days with children as the parent.   

I have spent countless days with many children, sometimes numbering in over 30 at a time.  I know what it is to have your every move scrutinized and memorized by 60 very observant eyes.  I know what it is to have thoughts interrupted and having to redirect and answer questions and anticipate emotions.

I am working on a longer piece called the non-parent about my changed relationship with my nieces and nephews.   For now, I thought I should record some of my impressions on being with them for longer periods in a different context.  

Last week, I had my nephew full-time for five days while caring for my parents and hosting two dinner parties where I was the chief architect and cook.  This is nothing in comparison with a single mom who is also holding down a full time job ... for context and perspective.

I gave up teaching while I was going through the divorce, because this kind of life was too much for me.   I couldn't juggle all the emotions with being a good teacher.

I would like to say I was never the kind of teacher who sat at her desk and zoned out while students did busy work – but I remember with dread that first year of teaching before I had any training … and the mornings after nights out when I just didn't have it in me to stand on my head in front of the students.

I learned, though, over that year, that the more structured and patterned I was, the better control and the more learning I promoted.  I learned to be "on" constantly.  And then there were the last three years when I had no desk or classroom of my own, so sitting it out was not even a possibility. 

So, I had some context for having all those little eyes and minds churning in my midst, looking for me to provide direction, amusement, discipline, etc. etc. etc.

But being with kids in a daily routine, especially one that is not your own, is a different matter – not in that it is so different, but in that I had never truly experienced it.

Over the five days I had the Mijo full time, I finally realized that those routines and patterns I developed for my students were also necessary for children in daily family life… and though it is not my house or my kid or my life, apparently, I tried…

But, I sure did need that wine by the end of the fifth day … a whole bottle of it (or two).  And I realized what it would be to be a single mom … even of one child… 

Wow, single mom's you are the bomb… we all say that, I know, and even try to mean it. 

But WOW… single mom's I bow to you in deep admiration and compassion. 

And I would buy you all a bottle of wine if I had the cash … when I win the lottery, this is going to the top of my list.

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