Even when I was married, I sometimes worried that I wasn’t doing "enough" for my kids: Should they be involved in more activities or less? Am I too strict or not strict enough? Am I doing, saying, showing my kids enough of whatever they need to feel loved and special? We only get one shot at raising our kids, after all.
Now that I’m a single mom, these old worries have doubled. Logistics, time, and energy are my regular enemies. How can I be at three different soccer fields at the same time? How do I carve the precious one-on-one time each child needs and deserves? And on top of that, I hear time and time again that no matter how hard I try to do the jobs of two parents, I’ll never properly do the dad job simply cause I’m not male.
I worry that sometimes my kids cry when I’m not watching. I worry that some days they feel unloved or not special enough. I worry they’re more confused about my divorce than they let on — that damage done will reappear in therapy twenty years from now as they sit across from a psychologist.
There are moments when I think I suck as a parent; when I feel sorry for myself and whine about the unnaturalness of raising three kids solo. There are times I feel so tired I don’t know how I’m going to muster the energy to go three more weeks without help or support. And yes, there are moments when I feel so unappreciated, I don’t have it in me to be my own cheerleader.
But tonight as I tucked my eldest son, aged 8, into bed, he grabbed me in a bear hug and said: "I love you SOOOOOOOO much, mom. And do you know why?”
“Why?” I asked softly, my face already aglow.
“Because you’re ALWAYS there for me. ALWAYS. You NEVER let me down. You ALWAYS always keep your promises.”
And I realized that every little thing I’ve done for my kids — every laugh we’ve shared, tear we’ve cried, meal I’ve prepared for them, and sport I’ve attended — added up into A LOT, to both my kids and me. I may not have as much time or money or energy or knowledge as un-divorced parents. But my son’s words showed me that little eyes have been watching mom’s great efforts. And their little souls feel safe and secure and much-loved. So even though I may not do things "perfectly" with my kids, I know that so far, I’m doing "enough."