by Lori Dwyer on October 7, 2012 · 14 comments

There are so many facets of this single parenting gig that suck some serious arse.

I hate that my children wear the brunt of my frustration with the way hours pass by and whole days fade into midnight. Minutes feel like melted butter drip, drip, dripping from a spoon, piling up at the days end in an oily mess that is nothing constructive, nothing solid at all.

I hate that my kids don’t have what they used to have once upon a Before. It tugs and pulls at my soul when I think of days spent at the playground and with friends, a routing of swimming lessons and daycare days and Sundays spent out as a family. I compare it with the haphazard existence we now live– me always tripping over myself, always running late, always tired and cranky and scrambling to get the very basics done.

I hate not having a spare pair of hands, someone to pour cups of milk while I put on socks. Someone to hold my daughter‘s flailing arms so I don’t have to near sit on her to administer much–needed antibiotics. Someone to break the tension when all three of us are fed up with each other and have spent most of the day in screaming, whining conflict.

There’s a constant pensive wish for someone to take the pressure off me when I feel I’m about to lose my temper, to give me that five minutes of solace I need to see the funny side of my melodramatic, passionate offspring. Someone to pull my son aside and tell him not to speak to his mother that way, then wrestle with him for hours until he’s exhausted.

Someone to remind me that I am doing a good job, really, and not to be so hard on myself. To put it into perspective; that everybody yells at their kids on occasions, everyone gets cranky.

Someone to help me corrode this constant guilt that sits like a stainless metal cylinder in my core, filling up most of who I am. To stop the voice that’s constantly repeating to me “These poor kids… What on earth did they do, to deserve a mother like you?”


Are our children any more than the very best and very worst of who we are ourselves?

I take a macabre comfort in knowing I’m not the only parent who is positively horrified of their children growing up to be ‘just like them’. I don’t think I’d wish being me on anyone– not only for want of circumstance; more due to rampant, unyielding insecurity and an underlying disbelief in my own worth that’s been there long since Before.

Pic courtesy of Sarie– I hit auto-colour-correct on the original photo and it changed nothing. That’s how awesome she is.

I see myself in my son, our blue eyes perfect reflections of each others. I see my little boy, my best mate. I see a warrior child, far too old for his years, and my breath hitches somewhere deep in my lungs at his sterling solid resilience; his ability to roll with punches that send his own mother flying, ducking for cover, shell shocked and shaken.

And then I see myself. I look in my son’s eyes and see my own truth staring defiantly back at me. I see that unjustified, unfair belief deep in my own little boy; where he is never quite as good as the sum of his parts, where he is essentially alone and believes he will remain that way.

Children of four, just months off turning five… they should never be that stoic. It speaks to a world of unfairness, a planet of wanton destruction and heartbreak.

I see the truth of being alive, the perfect smarting pain of it… I see that in my little boy’s eyes.

If I could wash the sobbing pain away, I would. If I could take his confusion, his fuzzy misunderstandings of a perfect world left cracked and shattered, and hold them deep within my soul so I was the one who wrestled every day with them, I would.

If I could breath for him, stay his existence psychically while he travelled back and forth through time, through the fabric of two years of pain to return to when things where happy again….

I’d do that, too. In a breath, in a heartbeat. Just to see my little boy smile again without that desolate flicker of bewilderment behind it.

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous October 14, 2012 at 6:02 pm

Hi Lori – having been a child of a single mother from an abusive family, I have come out of the other side stronger and smarter for it. Yes, we take our best and worst from our parents but we are much more than that; we are a series of conscious decisions about what we choose to take from what we have learnt. The best thing you can do for your children, having followed many of your posts, is to talk about your limitations with them as they get older. Explain there is another way to do things or to be, and that you encourage them to explore as they get older. Wishing you all the best, and hang in there. I strongly believe we all do the best we know at any given time, as you are doing.


Goerge October 13, 2012 at 4:19 am

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Camielle October 10, 2012 at 5:15 pm

Very honest post I felt every word. You're doing a great job mum!!


Melissa October 8, 2012 at 10:44 pm

It's so hard, Lori. I don't know how you manage it, day in and day out. But I do know that you are a wonderful mother, raising beautiful children. We've just got to keep on, despite how hard and miserable it is.
Lots of love.


Anonymous October 8, 2012 at 9:39 pm

Just saw you on Can of Worms. I think you are so brave. I have chronic insecurity as well and I struggle with BiPolar disorder and my temper. I think as long as your children know that you love them you just do the best you can. Keep soldiering on Lori! You are doing very well – you just don't know it! :)


Jandy xx October 8, 2012 at 9:35 pm

I'm sorry to be totally off the subject, but I just saw can of worms. Lori, there's so much to say, but ill sum it up by saying that you are just so damn amazing


Jandy xx October 8, 2012 at 9:34 pm

I'm sorry to be totally off the subject, but I just saw can of worms. Lori, there's so much to say, but ill sum it up by saying that you are just so damn amazing


mother rucker October 8, 2012 at 9:24 pm

Hmmm. What to write to you? Definately a tough task as I think this is one of those posts where all you can do is read, listen and say okay to everything you have had the heart to say. I can provide no guidance but just let you know that i am one of many here thinking that you are doing your best and that is the most beautiful, constant mummy thing you can do. xxx


Rachel October 8, 2012 at 2:33 pm

Being a single parent sucks. I totally hear that! I think though, that moms are our own worst critic, and the kids will look back and remember the good times. I'm sure that Chop & Bump will have some wonderful memories when they get older. I do try to make sure there are good times, and I let the kids have extra fun when I've actually got patience, and let them use technology when I don't have any patience left.
It does get easier when they get older. Well, there are different problems, but they can feed themselves.


Renee Greenleaf October 8, 2012 at 12:44 am

I hear you so clearly that I ache.


Sharon @ Funken Wagnel October 7, 2012 at 10:22 pm

I think they'll look back and see how tough it was, and what a great job you did.


Rachel October 7, 2012 at 8:13 pm

You are doing a great job, really. It's not easy, and you don't have anyone to take the edge off, create a buffer, step into the breach or just do the tiny little things that makes all the difference. You don't even have someone grown up to be cranky at for not doing more. It's all on you. And you are doing a great job.
Sometimes all you can do is laugh. Sometimes all you can do is cry. Sometimes all you can do is shut the door and wait. Sometimes you just have to go and stand in the backyard and not listen for a bit.
We all do it. You're just the same as the rest of us, only trying to be (at least) two people at once.
It's hard, but you're doing fine. Love you.
xxxx Pix


Josefa @always Josefa October 7, 2012 at 7:58 pm

You are doing far more than a good job, you are doing an AMAZING job
we are all hard on ourselves, for reasons that differ, but try not to be so hard on yourself
Your son is incredible and his strength, comes from you
We all get cranky as parents, it does not define who we are as parents or people, its just life
Your words keep me coming back for more, so powerful, so honest
Making you all the more incredible


Spagsy October 7, 2012 at 5:25 pm

It does suck. But you aren't sucking, which I'm sure Chop and Bump will see in the future. And that's what matters most- and everyone yells, it's a way of communicating. You are showing your kids that using your words is a good thing- it would be heartbreaking to show your children any other example than to not leave it nottled up and that by using their words, they too will be able to try and help others understand the pain, anger and confusion they feel.

You are doing your best, and even Martha Stewert gets things wrong when it comes to living in the real world.

It's when you stop trying and stop caring that is the problem. It's better being late than giving up and not going.
Xxx rah rah from Lara


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