If you are a parent then you know how rewarding and amazing an experience it is. You will also know how difficult it can be purely based on logistics and the admin of having someone depending on you for everything. By everything I mean meals, clothing, butt-wiping, transport, water, snacks, did I mention butt-wiping?, entertainment, mental and physical stimulation, doctor visits, vaccinations, dentist visits, etc etc. As a two parent family I know how much I rely on my husband to take over with the kids in the evening just so that I can have a break (break = shower and loo visit #momlife). I can only imagine how difficult it must be as a single parent on those nights when your kid has a fever reaching 40 and you’re freaking out. Or when you really need a midday nap because your toddler was up with teething pains all night. This is when you really need your support structure be it parents/grandparents/friends/whoever.
I have been following Lisa on Instagram for a while now and she very kindly agreed to give us a glimpse into her life as a single mum to beautiful Cassidy (I love that name!). She works full time and also has her blog which I think is amazing. Here’s an average day in Lisa’s life:
4:35am – Because of the insane heat as of late, Cassidy moans that she is thirsty. For the third time. Eyes barely open, I robotically drag myself out of bed to the kitchen to get her something to drink. Again. While I’m there I gulp down a bit of water myself.
4:39am – She’s fast asleep and doesn’t want anything to drink anymore. I get back into bed and have a look at the time. 21 more minutes until my alarm goes off. I silently battle for 10 minutes about whether or not I should just get up, or take those extra minutes of sleep.
4:49am – Now I need to pee. Why did I have water?!
4:52am – I notice that I have 8 more minutes to sleep. And I’m taking it.
6:10am – I overslept. I have about 60 seconds after I wake up to decide if I am going to accept that I’m late and roll with it, or jump out of bed and rush like my life depends on it. And I’ve chosen jumping out of bed. Straight to the bathroom to brush my teeth and wash my face. Where did that zit come from? Seriously?! Make a mental note to make time for a mask later the evening.
6:20am – What on earth am I going to wear? Did I check the weather? Wait, what time is it?!
6:45am – Time to wake Cassy up. Take one: No movement. Take two: A growl. Take three: Lift her up and spin around the room to wake her but to make sure she wakes up laughing. Waking kids up and expecting them not to be moody takes a bit of work.
6:55am – After an explanation about why she can’t wear her gumboots when it is 25 degree weather, I hand her a toothbrush, finish packing her school bag and head to the kitchen to finish packing her snack bag.
7:10am – Time to head to the car with about 2 bags of my own and 3 of her bags. She takes forever to get down stairs walking like the Queen of Sheba and I am hustling to the car. She asks if I can take a photo of her outfit for the day. How can I say no lol?
7:15am – Finally in the car and I take a look in the mirror. Thanks to the recent heat and sweating like there is no tomorrow, it was pretty pointless to put on make-up. Oh well! The show goes on. Cassy catches my eye in the rear view mirror and tells me she thinks I look pretty. That was all I needed to hear. And we are off. She’s excited to get to crèche this morning, thank goodness. No whining about going to Ma and Pa for the day because you know, the first great grandchild gets spoilt for days! That Maroon 5 song she loves comes on and we sing our hearts out, no matter who is watching.
7:40am – Traffic was surprisingly easy this morning. We jump out of the car with the bags, I un-clip the car seat (my grandparents pick her up after creche so we take it inside every day) and as usual she races ahead of me to get to the breakfast table. Hugs, kisses, goodbyes for the day.
7:44am – Time to get my butt to the office. Praying I get there by 8:30.
8:35am – At work and settled in at my desk. Getting through the overnight mails and starting my to-do-list for the day. I make a mental note to eat breakfast soon.
11:30am – Almost through with the morning section of my to-do-list. And I realise I’ve missed the breakfast window at our office canteen. Again. Lol.
11:35am – My grandmother calls me to tell me about something Cassy did the day before. I complain about being hungry and she instructs me to get some food. As soon as I put down the phone I get caught up in some more work for about another hour.
12:35pm – My colleague Rehaanah (aka lifesaver) invites me to join her for a walk and to get a bite to eat. I work with an amazing bunch of people, some of them have become very close and trusted friends. Pretty grateful for this.
13:15pm – Back at my desk, wondering what I should make for supper and realizing I forgot to take the chicken out and put in a copy of Cassy’s birth certificate as requested by her teacher. Mom of the year lol. Call the school to promise to put it in tomorrow.
17:00pm – Finally time to head on out of here and pick the little one up. I do not feel for the traffic that awaits me.
17:57pm – Decide on a quick last minute stop at the shop to pick up a few things for supper.
18:15pm – Get to my grandparents place to pick Cass up. She races to me with a hug and tells me about her day. I love listening to the stories. As I gather her bags, I notice they have a container of food for us on the table and she’s bathed. LEGENDS! Seriously. Usually I hang out and chat for a bit but today I want to get out of the heat ASAP.
18:55pm – Back home. After Cass and I finish supper, I realise we have some spare time before I put her to bed. Instead of cleaning or watching a little bit of TV, I decide to take advantage of the weather and head down to the garden. She’s asks to put on a dress and not her PJs and off we go to take a stroll and find her bird friends. Her sister Stella joins us in her cot. Stella is a doll but Cass has been asking about getting a sister or brother A LOT lately. Um.
19:20pm – It takes a bit of convincing, but we have left the garden and we are back upstairs. Time to get her settled down and in to bed. The lights are dimmed and I put on her choice of movie for the evening. As of late we rotate between “Boss Baby”, “Despicable Me 3” and “Sing”. And yes, we can recite these movies word for word. While she is watching, I get her bags unpacked and repacked for the next day, choose her clothes and spare clothes and prepare her snacks for her snack bag. She loves cut up mango. LOVES it.
19:45pm – I settle next to her on the couch and I notice the yawns she is desperately trying to hide. “Cassy are you tired my baby?” I giggle at the slow lazy shaking of her head. Liar. Lol. Time to move her to the bed.
20:15pm – She’s tucked in and fast asleep. I always find myself taking a few minutes after she’s fallen into a deep sleep to look at her. After 3 years I still stare at her in disbelief wondering how I could have created such a little being. Yeah, yesterday she screamed her lungs out because her broccoli touched the chicken and instead of in her mouth, it was thrown ALL over the floor. And I may or may not have wondered if I can get a refund on the mini human because let’s face it, kids can be jerks. And toddlers? Oh bloody hell! But damn, the amount of love my heart has for her still takes my breath away sometimes.
20:30pm – I realise that if I don’t get off the bed, here I shall stay. I scramble to get my things ready for work the next day. And I’m actually still a little peckish. Off to the fridge for a snack. I really need to stop doing that.
21:45pm – Bathed and on the couch to catch up with the world on social media and reply to Whatsapp messages. It’s about 20 minutes into this that the silence I craved earlier in the evening becomes a bit too quiet. Time for some series.
23:00 Depending on the day I’ve had, I usually get through about 2 episodes before it’s lights out. Wait, wasn’t I supposed to mask this evening? Nah. Scrap that idea! Tomorrow is another day!
If I am very honest, I never thought I’d be a single mom. It actually took a very long time before I referred to myself as one. I was convinced that I let Cassy down because I couldn’t provide her with the conventional idea of a family. But I’ve grown quite proud of the term “Single Mom” because there are many women in my life that I look up to who are single parents themselves. I now attach to it strength, dignity, grace and an example of the kind of woman I’d like my daughter to be.
But each day is different and some days I wish I could up the energy levels to get through everything I need to. And I won’t lie, sometimes having the buck stop with me to a large degree discipline wise, is a lot of pressure because I wonder if I’m making sure she knows right from wrong. There are days I put so much pressure on myself to be perfect knowing full well that perfect does not exist.
Being a mom changed me in ways I never thought possible. But being a single mom has reinforced the kind of strength in me that I never knew I had.
Completely unrelated but I had to include this clip from Instagram because Lisa’s voice is absolutely beautiful!