How do single parents do it? I’ve been home alone with my daughter before – aside from the entire first three months of her life – and yes, it’s been challenging at times, but today has been just plain IMPOSSIBLE!
Little Miss has contracted a virus. The exanthum virus to be exact, which is in the same family as chicken pox. It started Saturday morning when we noticed a red rash beginning to formon her back and shoulders. Over the course of the weekend her appetite waned to the point where she was eating nothing but yogurt and milk; everything else she just chewed up and spat out. Thinking this was another frustrating phase, we chastised her and tried everything we could think of to get her to eat. Nothing worked, and we never associated it with the rash, which, by the way, worsened overnight.
On Monday we took her to the doctor. One look at her rash and then at her throat and he nodded knowingly. “Mmm-hmm…” he said in that irritating “I know more than you” way that doctors have. The reason she wasn’t eating wasn’t because she was being beligerant, but because she had ulcers (similar to canker sores) all over her throat and it really hurt to swallow. After explaining her virus to me he told me emphatically that she was extremely contagious to children and should not, under any cirucmstances, return to daycare before Thursday.
That makes me a single, work-from-home mom for two days.
Most of the day went well; Little Miss was in a good mood, she took a 2 1/2 hour nap during which I got a huge amount of work done, and she ended up eating a huge lunch, meaning her throat feels a lot better. And then 4 o’clock rolled around.
I had decided to have dinner ready when Husband got home, since I know he enjoys coming home to a…well…homey home. Tonight was curry night, so I headed to the kitchen to prepare the potatoes, squash, carrots, cilantro, etc., etc. To keep her out of the way and easy to keep an eye on, I plopped her in the high chair and handed her a snack and a sippy cup of milk. After about five minutes she was done with the restriction and wanted to get out and play.
This is where it gets hairy. How on earth do single parents peel and cut carrots one-handed, kiss a little finger that got pinched in the cupboard door, make sure dinner doesn’t burn, rescue a 13-month-old who has discovered how to close the bedroom door behind her but is too short to use the doorknob to let herself back out, set the table, clean up a spilled sippy cup…and still find time to pee?!?
I’ve always known it was hard to raise a child but now that I have one…and fortunately have a spouse to help me…I’m realizing exactly what it means to those who, for some reason or another, must do it on their own. Ever since becoming a parent I’ve freely stated that I admire single parents, because it takes a dedication I will never experience to raise a child – let alone an entire family – by yourself. And the older Little Miss gets, the more admiration I have for single parents. As she becomes more mobile and independent, multi-tasking becomes more and more difficult – which makes me especially admire single fathers, whose brains are not physiologically wired to multi-task easily like mothers’ are.
So here’s to you, single parents…if I can do anything to help you, even if it’s simply to cut your carrots for you, please let me know.