The Daily Dance of the Working, Single Mom

Today is International Women’s Day. A celebration whose origin lies over a century ago, to initially honor women who went on strike to protest their working conditions. It’s also commonly known as “Working” Women’s Day. And, as a single working mother, today’s post reflects on the choreography it takes to master such a title.

Warm Up & Background Music

I split parenting with my ex 50-50. Sounds like a great deal, right? Time to mom HARD, time to have some freedoms?

Perhaps for some. For me, notsomuch….

You see, this worker bee TRAVELS. Almost weekly. And not just during the weekdays, but sometimes weekends.  Y’all- the truth is I love it. My job AND the travel AND being a MOM. I love the challenges, the bustle, the break from being a parent, the ever changing environments, and my customers across the country.

But its hell on co-parenting.

Trying to parent well AND excel in a demanding career? It’s quite the dance. Below I detail some of my challenges.

Timely Two-Step

The scheduling. Good God. The scheduling (cue a Halloween scream and dramatic crash on stage please). 

Those pretty schedules most people keep to divide custody? Off the table. Which means I’m a slave to my calendar and always trying to make sure that there is consistency and equality in our parenting time. Simple in theory, a nightmare to execute.

And when you’re the parent overwhelmingly dictating things- there is resentment from the other side. At lease in my case.

Also, when you travel and parent- that “time to yourself?”Off the table. If I’m not in a hotel, than I’m usually with my little (without help). Which is great. Except when it comes to doing things like cleaning the house and laundry. I do a mad housekeeping jig on those few days I’m home alone.

Walking the Line Dance

You remember that remark about tension? With the ex? No surprise, ours is high at times.

To put it politely, navigating such tensions make for an interesting, challenging, and emotional performances…

My sophisticated moves include balancing speaking my mind, holding my tongue, keeping the peace and ultimately making sure that my child’s best interest is always at the forefront of my actions and those of my ex. Even when frustrations are on overload.

I’ve made mistakes, he’s made mistakes. I think our co-parenting is improving. But let’s face it- relationships do not end overnight. They end for real reasons.

Looking past resentment can be difficult. But I feel it is absolutely the most critical move to master. And if you fail (I’ve stumbled many, many times….)- you pick yourself up and do it better the next time around.

Waltz of Guilt

What mom doesn’t feel guilty about something? Like, daily? Let me tell you- we working moms feel that gutt-buster that is guilt more than most. Personally, guilt is the creepy bastard that stalks my every move.

Even in our super progressive society- there is something taboo about not being readily accessible to your child if needed. 

As a woman working in a man’s world?  Sometimes there’s judgement too (cue tomatoes).

And it’s not that I’m am not damn proud of my career and what I can provide because of my hard work (those garment workers would be cheering!). It’s the times that I can’t PHYSICALLY be there for her every moment that I mourn. 

That guilt though? It doesn’t get to lead my dance. I see it, I own it, I respect it. And I step on it’s toes dammit. Because, as a mom, I do what I have to do. And I thank those ladies who made the inroads for me to get to this spotlight.

Trying to Tango

And as a single parent, I may- at times- want to be a woman too. HA! But seriously, between the chaos that is being a traveling, working MOM- there’s all too little time for this. 

But I recognize that I need to make space in the dance card. For someone who recognizes that there is value in that limited space, in my hot mess and my world. Someone who understands that I give a heck of a lot, but my tiny ballerina still gets the most of me now. 

Granted, I’m going to have to see one hell of a class act to actually introduce my girl into the number. We BOTH deserve the worthiest of partners. It’s my job to ensure she never meets someone through me who isn’t there to catch her if she falls.

Curtain Call

Part of International Women’s Day is to celebrate the progress that we women have made- in the workforce and in society overall.

As a mom, I’m thankful for everything the women before me have done to grant me the privilege to play the role of both parent and head of a household. I may have a more complex routine than most- but is was chosen without regret. So I will pray that when it is all said and done, my dance is a showstopper for all the right reasons. And that my tiny dancer always feels like the star she is to me.

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