Despite everything that was happening in my marriage, one thought that constantly ran through my mind was; can I really do this on my own? Can I do it all without a partner? Of course, I assumed I could not; that the logistics alone of three kids under the age of four would make it near impossible, then add to that a child with special needs, and the list of reasons why I couldn’t do it seemed neverending.
Yet, here I am, solo parenting and surviving, for the most part. The four of us are figuring out what it means to be a family and how we can still have fun and not live in absolute utter chaos. Last weekend, we hit the mall together, and today enjoyed the beautiful sunny November day in the park.
Though simple to many families, solo outings like that where I’m with all three of the kids, outnumbered and sometimes outwitted, can be emotionally and physically exhausting. It’s taken a lot of honesty from me; explaining to Braeden especially why there’s certain things I can’t do on my own, like getting the firetruck cart at the mall or that I can’t help him climb the big playground structure when I’m by myself because I have to watch the girls at the same time.
Last weekend, we not only survived the mall but even sat down to lunch the four of us and it was so much fun. I love being with the kids, even running errands makes my heart swell; watching their bonds, conversations, and individuality shine through. I see similarities and differences in each one, and it’s so special. Not many get to experience the wonder of twins, and they may not necessarily have an older brother as hilarious and empathetic as Braeden.
But, of course, it’s hard. It’s a lot of work and it’s lonely and there’s no one to share the moments with. I spend all my time at home talking with toddlers and a preschooler and when they’re in bed, it’s eerily quiet, with only my PVR to keep me company. It’s up to me to notice all the good things to stay afloat, when so often it would be easier to just allow myself to drown.
There’s also those sad few who focus on the wrong thing; the man who berated me for Braeden laying on the bench instead of realizing that I was averting a near meltdown, the other parents at the park staring at me, mouths agape as if we are some sort of circus act, the man watching me struggle as I navigate my double stroller with all three kids aboard through an inaccessible door instead of offering a hand. But, for every seemingly jerky move that come our way, there’s also the nods of other parents; the we got this attitude of those potentially heading to war, or at the very least, the battle of wits that accompanies every child-related task.
This change is ongoing, we’re all learning and navigating together, and I’m doing the best I can. And I guess, it’s not as bad as I thought it would be because my three loves are all happy and healthy and learning and growing. So, to all my fellow solo parents; we got this.