The other day I was sitting and chatting with some of my girlfriends about parenting, life with kids and how hard it is running around town, shuffling activities, trying to be a Pinterest mom (I’m not BTW) and all the things that require so much of our time and energy as parents. I mentioned how lucky we were to have such supportive spouses and the amazing village we have to help raise our children and it got me thinking back to my own childhood and upbringing.
I was your typical 90’s latchkey kid.
I was babysitting my little sister just as soon as my mom thought I was old enough which I’m pretty sure was around the age of 10 or 11. My younger sister was 7 or 8 respectively. My mom was a single parent and worked as a bartender, which meant that most nights my mom wasn’t home after dinner and didn’t get home until well into the early morning hours right before we were heading off to school. She then would sleep while we were at school and then do it all again each night.
Most of my school events, talent shows, recitals, events and community events my mom wasn’t able to attend. I didn’t really fully understand it at the time, I just remember being really upset when I would look out into the audience and not see my mom or I would have to tell my friends I couldn’t do something because I had to watch my sister while mom worked. There was no off days, no vacation days, no sick days.
Mom was the backbone of our family and she was doing the best she could to give us a roof over our heads and clothes on our back.
Growing up, this is just the way things were and we didn’t know any different. My sister and I didn’t have your typical upbringing. It wasn’t bad; it was our normal. My mom busted her ass to provide for us and that meant a lot of the times we were home alone or we were with family. At the time, neither of our dads were in the picture (they are now and that’s a whole different blog post), but I was often at my grandparents or my aunts and my sister was with her extended family.
The village my mom had isn’t the same as the village I have today and I’m not a single parent like my mom was.
I honestly have no idea how single parents do it and I’m constantly in awe and amazed by my friends that do it all alone the way my mom did back in the day. I’m so incredibly blessed to have such an amazing support system that includes my husband, our parents and our extended families. We literally live in the same neighborhood as my in-laws, my brother and sister in law, my mom lives down the street, my dad’s side of the family is 15 minutes down the road and my sister and I work together. I also have an amazing group of friends that I know would help me out in a pinch if I needed it.
I wish that everyone could have a huge village, but I know it’s not possible, but I’m here to tell you that you’re doing a great job no matter how large or small your village is. We’re all out here trying to do the best we can and in today’s world, that’s all we can do.
Love each other, your babies, and yourself.