Being a single parent has its moments.
Then again, everything has its moments.
This is how life works as we travel through a continuum of space and time. It’s pretty much all about the endless string of moments.
But yeah, single parenting truly has more of them.
Some of these are glorious. Some are simply gory. The gory parts become obvious by the horror that others might see on the single parent’s face, those unfortunate moments when something goes awry and the parent’s expression is not displayed in the privacy of their own home.
The general public tends to be a bit judgemental, perhaps a result of the single parent feeling a bit self-conscious and not really having much to do with what is truly taking place. Self-consciousness can be heightened by feelings of stress and strain. When one is weary, their perceptions wander into the negative.
There is a quote from a song (“Alone in This Darkness”) by The Levellers that goes, “Tired eyes let demons in, make you see things that have never been.”
Examples of things that might go awry include: temper tantrums, freak outs, shrill screams of protest, and grunting and groaning like a rabid animal (it’s no wonder the public is perceived as being judgemental).
So the single parent has to contend with the question of how to best deal with the situation. They need to be effective and in control, to appease whatever is fueling this crisis in a fashion that will repair it for evermore, so it never happens aga
And time is of the essence.
In my experience, there are a combination of maneuvers that range from passive to assertive. It doesn’t matter what the moment is dictating—the approach to it can be infinitely varied.
For example, and on a slightly lighter note, I have twins.
Twins are unique. They tend to egg each other on in a way that other siblings might not. They are deeply and constantly connected. The world of each is 90 percent comprised of the other twin and as such, very little else even enters their realm of perception. At age five, they can be an explosive bundle of chaotic energy. Take this out into public and it might seem that your kids are not very well behaved. Simple passive prompts to act appropriately go unheard; the words just doesn’t filter in.
Remaining passive and allowing them to run wild and scream evokes glares from people around you—they probably believe that you are a neglectful parent with poorly disciplined kids.
Moving to the other end of the spectrum, if you crack down on their behavior, the opposite becomes apparent. Suddenly, others see you as the “abusive” parent, raising your voice and speaking in harsh tones.
In the end, it just doesn’t matter what others think of you. What matters is your kids and only you know how to best address their needs. Do not second guess yourself.
This is what I tell myself as people are calling the police.
It’s so important to continuously stop and reassess such situations, but sometimes we get so immersed in our moments that we lose sight of the greater perspective. By greater, I really mean better, because things are rarely as bad as they seem. When we back up from the moment and see how the pieces connect, everything becomes seamless. The big picture of any situation demonstrates that there is greater good always taking place. The moments of strain or stress are just momentary, and they are necessary to evoke changes that result in ongoing growth and goodness.
Most of the time being a single parent (of twins) is a joy and a delight. The hard work and sacrifice has paid off in ways that constantly emerge and surprise me. These little epiphanies must not be diminished. They are the badges and medals of love and nurturing that are defining (if not rewarding) your role.
Wear them with pride.
It’s moments like these that you and I as single parents should know the true meaning of being one… with everything.
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Assistant Ed: Renee Picard/Ed: B. Bemel