January 28, 2016

Weary to the Bone: Confessions of a Single Mom.

mom and daughter

Being a single parent is hard work.

Now, this missive is not a complaint but rather a fist raised in solidarity to all the other single parents out there, doing it all alone and weary to the bone.

We are on from sun up to sun down and on call 24 hours a day. Some of us don’t even have a supportive co-parent and the duties of parenting fall solely on our shoulders. There is no time to be sick, or tired and no matter how sick and tired we may get, there is still work to be done, food to be made, homework to complete and a household to manage.

As a child, I loved watching professional wrestling with my dad. I particularly liked the scenarios where teams would face off and when one would get beat up or just tired, he could reach over and slap hands with his partner who would then jump in the ring and often finish the fight.

Single parents don’t have that.

There is no tapping out or tag teaming. Whatever fight or battle is raging in our home is ours alone. There is no easily available listening ear, someone to have your back or another who can offer to take it from here.

Most of us don’t ever complain about it because in one way or another, this is the path we chose. Whether we became single after divorce or chose to walk this path alone from the beginning, and we take ownership for the choices we made that led us here.

We are the parents who are running into parent-teacher conferences slightly out of breath because we had to sprint into the building to be on time. When we leave your class, we will rush to the next meeting and afterward, we will take our little ones out to celebrate.

Even though there is still a mountain of laundry to do, a house to be cleaned, too much month and not enough money, we will sit with our children and enjoy their delight. We are the parents whose bellies get full when our children eat.

Painting by Lisa Vallejos

We are the parents who juggle math books and cooking utensils, healthy eating and a budget, work and play—and we often fall into bed at night so tired we can’t fall asleep. Yet, with the help of good coffee, an iron will and the commitment to being fully present in today, we make it through.

We are not merely survivors. We are thrivers.

We are fueled by fierce love, bedtime kisses and morning giggles. This one is for you, deep-loving single parents. Although you often feel alone, there are many of us just like you, keeping the faith and letting our light shine. We are weary to the bone and often feel the weight of the world might crush us, but it doesn’t.

Here’s to you, courageous parent who manages to juggle it all and keep your smile. Here’s to you, single dad who has learned to braid and single mom who coaches your son’s flag football team. Here’s to each of you who have never (and will never) give up. You are an all day, every day superhero and some of the strongest people alive.

One day, when our kids are grown and gone, we will look back and wonder how we managed it all. For now, we can rest solidly in the knowledge that we not only did our best but we did what was necessary. When others stepped out, we stepped up and have continued to do so since.

So, here’s to you, weary, wonderful warrior. May the love you have sustain you.



5 Ways that Single Moms Raise Stellar Humans.

Relephant bonus:



Author: Lisa Vallejos, PhD

Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: simpleinsomnia/Flickr & Artwork: Author’s Own

You must be logged in to post a comment. Create an account.

Giselle Naidu May 7, 2019 4:28am

Thank you for this you summed it all up ?

Ted Feb 3, 2016 10:14am

Thank you for this article. I have much respect for working single parents. My sister on the other hand is a single mom and I do not have the same respect for her. She wanted to get pregnant and found an unsuspecting donor. She was 28 at the time with a college education and living at my parents house. My parents took care of everything for her during her pregnancy and after until he was 14. Right after he was born she distanced herself from him and did a lot of drinking often leaving him at home alone. He has mental issues as a result of this behavior. She has not worked in 15 years and often complains about just everything especially about how bad of parents we have. My parents have recently decided to stop supporting her monthly and sold her condo and gave her the proceeds which amounted to 200k. She complained about being “kicked out” of her home and raked my family across the coals on facebook. She then posted this article.
End rant…..

Mindy Jan 31, 2016 5:42am

thank you for this article! Resonated strongly with me. Single moms are not acknowledged enough, or barely at all, for all that they do. We literally are superhuman. I I wake up every day wondering how Im still standing and in awe of the awesome job that Im doing on my own. Single moms rock! Sending you much light and love on your continued journey.


Read Elephant’s Best Articles of the Week here.
Readers voted with your hearts, comments, views, and shares:
Click here to see which Writers & Issues Won.