This is Spring Break week for my kids. In the past that would have meant along with the kids I also was excited about sleeping in late and fun day trips. As a suddenly divorced single mom with a new full time job, this year it means "oh shit what do I do with the kids while I'm at work all day?" It's actually just a small taste of the worries I've already thought ahead to for summer vacation.
Years ago I remember talking with my mom about what to do with the kids if/when I ever went back to work full time. I always said I don't know how women with real jobs do it. I never ever thought I'd one day be one of those single moms trying to juggle full time work and full time motherhood. But I remember my mom saying sometimes you just have to take the financial hit, lose the pay and be with your kids. My mom was always there for us. No matter what.
Today I promised the kids I would only work a half day and we'd go do something fun. It was a promise I was afraid to make, knowing I have two cars sitting in my driveway that both need costly repairs. But, my kids come first no matter what.
So for the first time since everything changed, I called a Forced Family Fun Day. The teens weren't thrilled at first, but eventually they came around when I agreed to a day of laser tag.
Kid 1 couldn't join us. He was working a double shift but being the awesome kid he has become he texted us a couple times to be sure we were having fun.
We all had a great time running around playing laser tag. Even kid 2, the 16 year old grumpy boy cracked a smile!
We got home in time for me to take kid 6 to dance tonight, something the older boys handle for me since I'm normally working Tuesday nights. It was a nice treat to watch her dance and even sneak away for a bit to Starbucks to spend some one-on-one time with kid 5.
As I was driving home tonight I got a little sad thinking how unfair it all is that because of the choices of somebody else, I no longer get to be the kind of mom I want to be to my kids. I'm always rushed, always a step behind, and feel like they aren't getting the best of me anymore.
I realize how blessed I am to have a full time job that allows me the flexibility to take time off (without pay) as needed. How lucky I am that I have teen boys that drive to help with the younger kids. And a circle of support to help with the kids.
But damn, how do all the other single moms with real jobs out there do it?