Every night after our baby goes to bed (he sleeps between 10.00 and 10.30pm) I come to the living room (usually to find husband dear snoozing away with a book in hand!) and we try to get some quiet time when we either watch a movie or “Law and order” or just read/chat. But whatever it is we end up doing, invariably we will talk very fondly about something that our baby did that day. He could have done that very thing just the day before yet we like to discuss it like it is some major achievement.
Me - “You know today in the park Bubbly (oft used pet name) touched a dog for the first time”
Hub - “Wow, really?”
Me - “Yeah, he saw the dog by the soft ball field and he kept saying “Baa Baa” and the lady said “He can pet him”…so I took him near the dog and he scratched it’s nose…it was so cute you know! It was a Golden retriever. Dog looked so kind or I wouldn’t have gone near it”
Hub - “He is so cute!”
Me - “Yeah, you should have seen him, it was so cute how he scratched the dog!”
Hub - “Can I go and bring him here now?!”
Me - “NO!!!!”
As I think about how much joy both me and my husband get from talking to each other about our baby and all the little things he does, I wonder how it is for single moms. I really wonder. I cannot imagine not being able to tell someone every single day about all the little things that my child did. Something about sharing makes the experience so wonderful. Being a mother is an incredible joy but it also brings with it incredible amount of work, trials and frustrations. Depending on the choice you make, be it a working mom or a stay at home, it still is a lot of work – just the kind of work is different. Stay at home moms have to bear with the monotony of life while knowing that they could have been working or studying during that time had they chosen to do so. They enjoy all that time they have with the child and they also grudge all that they had to miss out on because of that even if it was their own decision. The monotony is given some respite when the father comes home – gives the mom a person to vent to freely, a person to share concerns and joys with the one person who is sure to enjoy it and have the same level of care and concern as the mom. For a working mom, the father of the child can share in the duties of dropping off the baby in day care, in having a choice as to who will take off from work if the child falls sick and all the rest of the same issues with regards to raising a child.
Do single moms ever get a break? How do they find the energy to do it? Some of them do have the fathers visiting but I cannot imagine that it would be the same as the father being an integral part of the household. I have renewed respect for single moms ever since I had a child because now I know what it entails. It is not just about providing for a child. It is about all the little moments as well as the big ones. To have the other person right there to look up to and see their face also light up in joy when the baby does something new…to have the other person also stay up at night and worry when the child falls ill. To have the other person say "OK, you go rest, or you go talk to your friend, I will take the baby out for a walk". If I had to do it alone, I would probably be shouting hysterically at my child if he gave me a hard time and I did not have any one right there giving me a break. I cannot rave about all the little things my child does to any one else so freely without worrying about boring them. With the father, I can. Any number of times! Knowing he too will feel the same joy. Single moms with a lot of money probably have nannies helping them with the physical work. But that is just one side of it anyway. There are plenty of single moms with not just one but two or three children who have to do it all on their own. What ever it is the life circumstance that made them a single mom, my heart does go out to them. I admire them for their patience and courage in facing it and moving on with their lives. Now that I am a mother, I think of the scores of women all over the world who have lost their husbands and hence the father of their child/children to war, to fateful accidents, to terrorist activities, to disease…I wish that whatever power it is that took something so important away from them also gives them strength and makes up for it in the bigger picture of life by giving them and their children good health, luck, success and happiness.
And I can't help but add "Thank you god for big mercies, knock on wood" thinking about my own life now.