Saturday, October 18, 2014

My Life as a (Temporary) Single Mom

My mom is a single parent. She raised us with the help of our grandparents but she was the breadwinner of the whole family, extended families included. She was the one who worked hard to support not only us but her siblings and their families as well.  I could not ask for a more hard-working mom. She did her best to fulfill our needs growing up and to provide for her extended family.

I have seen how hard it is to be a single mom. My mom is lucky that she had both parents to help her out. She also had her siblings help by taking care of my sister and I. Money was hard, quality time was scarce. Mom would leave for the office while we were sleeping and when she came home at night, we were already asleep.

I vowed to myself that I will never let this happen to my own future children,

Fast forward to today, I am happily married to a man who has no vices (well, except his gadgets maybe) and who is completely in love with me. He is very loyal and he is proud of that fact. He works hard to provide for me and our son. He is a good worker and so he was sent abroad on a business trip. He was gone for a month.

When he called me up to ask me if he could leave, I immediately said yes. This was a very good opportunity for him. I quickly thought about all the things that I would need to do on my own while he is gone and decided that I could do them all. Little did I know about the challenges that I will face.

I am very fortunate to be working from home. I can take care of my son 24/7. I am also grateful for my mom's help. She looks after the little one while I do the chores such as laundry, washing bottles, cooking and getting food. After that, she is off the clock and the long day (and night) starts wtih just me and my son.

It's easier to take care of him when we are just at home. I have a very high spirited toddler and I need to keep him occupied at all times when he is awake. We constantly have different activities daily. We play, read, sing, do crafts, etc. Sometimes we watch TV but we mostly turn it on for background noise or if he wants to see his favorite Captain Hook or the Tick Tock Croc.

The first few days were okay. When my husband was here, I was off the clock when he arrived. He would take over taking care of my son. He would also do the night chores.

I have a full day's schedule. Aside from mommy duties, I also have a few jobs to do. The stress of the day took a toll on my body eventually and I would find myself fighting to stay awake at 9 pm. When my husband was here, I would sleep at 11 pm or 12 am. There were days when I didn't want to get up anymore. Every day was a routine and I hate routines. I do not want to be stuck doing the same thing over and over again. I was also having a hard time coming up with activities for my son when I could easily do that when my husband was here. I had more strength to be awake at night and prepare activities. It was so hard for me to see my son getting frustrated and bored.

Going out was the real challenge. Of course I still had to do the grocery shopping. I needed to take my son out to get some fresh air and exercise. My mom would go with us to the mall but she would leave immediately for her tutoring job. So, I was left with a very curious and active toddler to take care of alone. I should also mention the fact that while doing this, I am lugging around a heavy mommy-baby bag.

I am really happy that we Filipinos are basically caring. In the supermarket, I can ask for help in getting heavy things such as my son's distilled water. The bagger would carry our items happily (even if it's just one bag) and accompany us to the car. People are also generally nice to us when they see me with my son. They would tell me to go ahead of the line or help me carry our things. There was this gentleman just last Friday at the bookstore who was very helpful. He told me to go ahead of the line. I was carrying my son who kept trying to wriggle out of my grasp. I was buying several things and so I told the cashier that I would put the biggest item on the closed counter. When it was already our turn, this gentleman got the item and put them in front of the cashier. The lady behind me was also nice and very patient. She also helped in entertaining my son for a while. While I was putting my cards back in my purse, the gentleman held our bag for us. Such a nice man. I wish more men would be like that. (To be continued)

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