Be nice to single parents. It's harder than it looks.
You married parents think it looks hard- really hard. Well, it's harder than that. Trust me.
Single parenting is like being handed a script for a play. "Okay," you think, scanning the roles, "This one must be mine. Looks challenging, but with enough rehearsals I think I can get it down. So," you say, turning to the director, "When does everyone else get here?"
"You know, the other actors, the ones who play the other roles. When do we start rehearsing?"
"Oh, this is your play. Those roles are yours."
"What? That's impossible! There are ten roles listed!"
"Now, now," the director reprimands, "Let's not whine."
"I am not whining. Seriously. These roles overlap. There are lines that are spoken at the same time- characters on opposite sides of the stage. I am only one person. This is impossible."
"You'll be fine. Oh, and one more thing," the director says as he fades away, "This isn't a rehearsal. It's live. You're on."
And on you are. The kids are hungry? You're on. Baby's sick? That's you! Car registration expired? You again. Bills? That's definitely you. Emotional meltdowns, broken appliances, lost homework, laundry? You, you, you, and you.
There is no way to survive this play without grace. And sometimes it's the little graces that make the biggest difference. This morning, I got an encouraging word from a friend. A timely word- a little grace. A few minutes later, I found myself interrupted halfway through my shower, wrapped in a towel, trying to direct kids to capture our escaped dog. (Single parents should not have pets.) Just as I was beginning to think that I had reached my limit (a scary thought at seven in the morning) the dog walked into the house, all of her own accord. She never does that. Another little grace.
So it goes. One little grace at a time. Never enough to make me feel confident in the ten roles, but always enough to keep me from jumping off the stage.