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April 21, 2008 - Erin O'Neill
Being a single parent has made me realize how much I took for granted in my younger, childless days (no, not child-ISH, although I suppose if the shoe fits).
There are no more casual trips to the store, leisurely baths, or rejuvenating naps. Instead, it's tactical warfare in the grocery isles, hopping in and out of the shower between screams for attention, and you're lucky to get 5 or 6 hours of sleep a night. Think you have time for a quick haircut after picking up the kid from the sitter? Think again.
The troubles that two parent families face are multiplied. At least one parent can call on the other parent to shoulder some of the duties. A single parent takes on all of the responsibilities all the time. 24/7/365. It’s a role that can really leave one feeling pushed to the limit and less than adequate.
I suppose I am lucky in that my child is pretty wonderful. We have only had a few knock-down-drag-out fights at the store and I can trust that if I'm in the shower for five minutes, she won't burn the house down. But five minutes is about all I can ask for before she comes barging in.
What I wouldn’t give for a half-hour soak or to sleep in on a Saturday!
I do have help sometimes. I'm not going to deny that I have some special people in my life. But they can't always be around to help when I feel like I'm at my wit's end. And the fact of the matter is, it isn't their responsibility.
So where can single parents turn for help? I know I can't be the only one in this situation but since I've moved home, I haven't really found any local resources. I think it's important for single parents to be able to talk to one another, to socialize, and to take time for themselves.
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