Parenting, the hardest job I’ve ever had!

Being a parent is hard work. Yes, there are lots and lots of rewarding times thrown in but when you get right down to it, it’s tough. Being a single parent is doubly tough. In a 2 parent household, in theory, you have a partner to help you out with those rough patches. You have back-up. When you’re a single parent you have no back-up. It’s all you, baby! I have all the respect in the world for military families who have one parent deployed while the other is manning the home front. Those are a different kind of single parents. Having to parent without your partner and having the extra worry for their safety would be unimaginably hard. I can’t imagine the stress that would add to a family and I’m grateful from the bottom of my heart for each and every one of those who are defending our country and making the world a safer place. Please don’t think I’m discounting those parents in that situation. I’m not! It’s just different.

You see, when you’re a single parent, whether by choice or by circumstance, you don’t have back-up. Ever. You have one income that has to work for everything. Food, clothes, housing cost, medical bills, utilities, transportation, repair bills, hair cuts, toothpaste. All of it costs money. Lots of it! When you’re a single parent you don’t have the luxury of an extra income coming in to help with that. Some are lucky enough to get child support from the absent parent. Not everybody is. Sometimes the amount of money you get in child support is such a small amount that if I told you what it was I’d be laughed right off the internet.

In the last 20 years I’ve done it all. The 2 a.m. feedings? Yep, that was me. The 4 a.m. run to the E.R because your child won’t stop throwing up and you can’t get the fever down? Done that, too. Sleeping in a chair for 3 nights with your 2-year-old who has the chicken pox and won’t lay down? Been there. The preschool assessment lady asking your 3 1/2-year-old her name and being told “My name is Shark Bait Hoo Ha Ha!”? Not my finest parenting moment. Really funny and a great story now but at the time? Not so much. The call from the school that your child was in a “situation” on the playground and they are considering suspension, IN KINDERGARTEN? Yeah, that really happened.

When you’re a single parent with a single income trying to raise a family sometimes you have to make a choice between eating lunch (even one you brought from home) or putting gas in your car. Wearing the same coat for 3 years just so you can get a new one for your child at the thrift store is sometimes just the way it works. Losing your job can mean losing your home. I’ve been very lucky that I have family around that has, more than once, taken in my girls and I so we could get back on our feet. I’m lucky. Not everybody has that kind of safety net.

Being a single parent has also been the most rewarding job I’ve ever had. Now that Beauty is almost 20 (How the heck did that happen???) I look at the beautiful young woman she is becoming and I am proud. I did that! I look at MiniMe who just turned 14 and I know that even though some days she still makes me crazy, she’s a good girl who loves her family and cares about those around her. I did that too!

Yep, being a parent is the hardest, most rewarding job I’ve ever had.

 

Happy Birthday MiniMe!

Less than an hour old

Less than an hour old

On this day, 14 years ago, I gave birth to my Mini Me. The above picture is the first time Beauty held her. She was so very proud of her baby! It started a few days earlier. I went to the doctor for my last check-up on that Wednesday and he told me things looked great and she could come any time. He also told me he was leaving town for the weekend. I told him not to go because if he did I would for sure have her over the weekend. I don’t think he believed me. I went back to work and called my mom and told her they might want to start thinking about making the trip from Idaho since it could happen any time. My parents left the next morning so Grandma could be there when the baby decided to make her appearance. That Friday my sisters-in-law, my mom and I went shopping. I think they were trying to walk that baby out of me! We did more shopping (Christmas was coming soon!) on Saturday and I started having contractions so off to the hospital we went. They decided she wasn’t quite ready so they sent me home. ::sigh:: As we were getting ready for bed, my step-dad told me that if I went to church with them the next day I would have the baby. If I didn’t go, I wouldn’t have her until  Monday (my birthday). Anyone who’s ever been pregnant or known a pregnant woman knows that by that point, she’ll agree to just about anything to be done being pregnant. I was no different! I slept great that night. Well, as great as you can at the end of your pregnancy. We went to church and of course sat IN the middle OF the middle in a big huge church sanctuary. The singing started…and so did my contractions. They were 3 minutes apart right from the beginning. Grandma went to let Beauty’s teacher know we were headed to the hospital so she could tell the rest of the family and off we went. Once we got to the hospital, they wanted me to lay down so they could check me. I refused because that hurt way to much. So I paced around the room. They called my doctor. He was on his way back from his weekend trip with his family. I TRIED TO WARN HIM! Anyway, once I finally had enough and the nurse pretty much forced me to lay on the bed so she could check me, I was dilated to 8 cm and ready to push. I begged for an epidural (I’ve heard they are wonderful things!) but she told me it was too late. I was devastated! I tried to reason with her and tell her I would just stop everything so she could do it but she didn’t fall for it. My doctor called about that time to say that he was back in town but had to drop off his wife and son at home before he came to the hospital. The nurse told him he didn’t have time for that and to just bring them along. At that point, I really didn’t care who was there, I just wanted to get this show on the road!

He finally showed up and came in my room to announce that he had arrived and was going to change. I told him to hurry up and come break my water because I was done with this business and I was going home. He laughed at me. JERK!

He made it back and as he was opening the packaging of the device they use to break your water, I looked at the nurse and told her I thought I needed to push. She told me “Go ahead. Let’s see what happens!”

I pushed.

My water broke.

I pushed 2 more times.

MiniMe was born at 12:27 pm on Sunday, December 5th. She weighed 7 lbs. 15.5 oz. and was 19 inches long. She was perfect.

Grandma gives the best hugs!

Grandma gives the best hugs!

Sounds simple enough, right? Well, that part was pretty simple. My family was waiting in the hallway to meet the newest little person in our family. They all came in as soon as the doctor cleared me for visitors. Beauty got to be there when they checked out her baby and got to help give her very first bath. They brought me a lunch tray. I remember it was turkey, mashed potatoes, peas and cherry pie for dessert. I really wanted the pie but my mom told me I had to eat lunch first. Unfortunately for me, I listened to her.

Remember the part up there where I said I refused to lay down? Well, it’s pretty difficult to put an IV in when your patient is pacing the floor. So they didn’t. That probably wouldn’t have been a problem if the patient in question wasn’t me. You see, with my whole family there to welcome the new baby and me pushing the peas and potatoes around on my plate, that nurse came in to push on my tummy (I know there’s a medical reason for this but it’s not fun at all!) and found that I had been hemorrhaging for the last hour. They made everyone leave except my mom and they took my lunch tray.  I remember them frantically trying to start an IV. I don’t remember much but I do remember there was figure at the end of my bed telling me I would be ok. I asked my mom later. There was nobody at the end of my bed. I had an angel watching over me that day.

MiniMe and I spent the next 3 days(including my birthday) getting to know one another in a hospital room. I never did get my cherry pie. We were released on Wednesday evening. That Friday we all left for Grandma and Grandpa’s house in Idaho where we stayed for the first month of her life.

14 years later

14 years later

The last 14 years have been an amazing journey. I love you MiniMe and look forward to many more birthdays with you.

Love,

Mom

 

My Thankfulness Post

I’m a little late, I know. But life has been a little busy. Ya know?

I’m thankful for my boss. This year has been a difficult one in a lot of ways but my boss has been understanding in ways I didn’t expect. She is also currently laying on a beach in Hawaii while we freeze our butts off here at home.

I’m thankful for MiniMe. Yes she’s a teenager now and that brings all kinds of angst but she is still my sweet girl and I love her.

I’m thankful for my girl Beauty. This has probably been the most difficult year of her life so far but she still continues to amaze me with her caring attitude and the love she shows her family.

I’m thankful for my brothers and sisters. Without them I would be lost.

I’m thankful for my nieces and nephews and cousins and aunts and uncles and all the rest of the extended family. They were so supportive when my mom passed away. Without them I’m not sure I would be here today.

I am thankful for all of my friends. You know how to make a girl feel loved.

I’m thankful that even though my mom is gone from our everyday life we know we will see her again.

I’m thankful this year is almost over. My birthday is in a couple of days so I can officially be done with this year. Turning 40 was painful a year ago but I’m happy to turn 41. Maybe it will be a lot less stressful!