Father’s Day. For any widow with children, this is not an easy day. Especially for a young widow, with young kids who don’t get the chance to grow up with their dad by their side. It’s a day for grilling out, playing baseball, going to the pool, going fishing. Doing ‘dad stuff’ with your own personal hero.
Yet here you are. A solo mom, doing what you can to not only be the best mom you can for your kids, but the best dad as well. It’s not easy. It’s exhausting. And emotional. So hard. Not just for you as a mom, but for your kids as well.
You experience the life of a widow, not only grieving for the loss of the love of your life, but for the loss of your kid’s dad. Your partner in parenthood. The person that you are supposed to have by your side for all the milestones. For all the decisions, both big and small. For all of the day to day activities. And you find yourself feeling so alone. A void that just can’t be filled by anyone else. Navigating both motherhood and fatherhood on your own.
A solo mom must make all the meals. Do all the grocery shopping. Every bath night is on you. You’re the one to put the kids to bed. To get them up in the morning. Beg them to sleep in their own bed for a change. Remind them one million times to clean up their toys. Brush their teeth. To get dressed. To put their dishes in the sink. Take out the trash. Clean up the house. Try to fix something that’s broken.
It’s on you to remember the schedule. What is due at school that day. Remember when dress up days are and ensure you have something for them to wear. Plan the birthday parties. Go to all of their friend’s birthday parties. Figure out how to get out of work on time to take them to their activity that night. You have to do the laundry. Fold the laundry. Put it away (or leave it where you folded it, like I do).
You have to go to the orientations and parent/teacher conferences alone. Review and fill out paperwork while trying to listen to the teacher. No one to help back you up. Ask the question you forgot to ask. Take the notes while you ask questions. You are the one to talk to the teacher about learning or behavior issues that your kids may be experiencing. No one else to help with the tough conversations or dry your tears when you’re worried. You have to make all of the decisions, both big and small. And not have anyone to talk through things with.
You are also the one to discipline them. Send them to their room. Lose your ever-loving mind when they don’t listen. Put them in time out. Take away their tablet. You have to be mean mom without anyone there for the kids to complain about you to. You don’t get to be the nice one when dad is the mean one making them do chores.
You also are the one to give them hugs. Talk to them about their day. Tell them how much you love them. Take them to the park. To the pool. The amusement park or zoo. Throw the football with them, or ride bikes with. You are the one to decide you’ve all had a tough day and take them to get ice cream for dinner. You are the one to laugh at their fart jokes (since you know their dad would have joined right in with a few). You’re the one to bring out the belly laughs and tell them it’s ok to have a jammie day and watch movies all day.
And you, solo mom, are the one to wipe their tears. Protect them when they are scared. Remind them how loved they are. How proud you are of them. Tell them stories about their amazing dad. Assure them that he misses them as much as they miss him.
So, while this is a hard day, and always will be. Remember this, solo moms. You are brave. And strong. And amazing. You are doing the best you can to be everything you can be for those kids. And they are lucky to have had their dad for the years they did, and to have you holding them close and reminding them just how loved they are. And how lucky they were to have had their dad with them for the time they did.
Try and do something for yourself and remind yourself you’ve got this. Happy Father’s Day, Solo Mom…