My family does not look like a typical family. I am a single mom and I am not raising my son alone. I work a lot, and now I am traveling for work. My son does not live with me. My family takes care of all the day-to-day child raising stuff. My son’s Nana and Mamaw have been so gracious and kind to enable him to attend the school he wants to go to, and they make sure he has everything he needs every single day. They do all the hard stuff.
I suppose you could say I am the lucky one. I get to do all the fun stuff. I get to take him on trips and when we are together there is usually lots of movies and going out happening.
Actually, if we are being completely honest, my mother has assumed the role of primary caretaker for my son for almost all of his life. We could blame it on my age when he was born, or we could blame it on my limitations when it comes to organization, or we could just avoid placing blame at all. Yes, we all know I was entirely too young to have a child. Here is the thing, I love my son more than anything on this earth. I would give anything for him to be safe and happy. I am doing just that every single day.
I consider him in every decision I make. I consider how it will affect him. I may not see him every day, but he is the center of my universe. I work hard because I want him to see you can achieve anything if you do the work. I wish I could spend every day with him, and it is just not feasible. I need to support him financially.
I am not your usual mother. I don’t cook. I am messy. I can’t keep my schedule straight, much less his. I am your typical ADHD adult, who is just trying to muddle through as best I can. There is no magic answer. I see those moms who manage to juggle their career, marriage, children, and social lives, and I get overwhelmed. How on earth do they do that? Oh. I know, they don’t spend 30 minutes each morning pondering how their hair dryer works and wondering if there is a better way to make one. They dry their hair and get on with it. They don’t get distracted on the way to the shower by the pen and paper sitting on the table and stop to doodle.
Real moms can go to the grocery store with a list, and actually buy everything on the list. I usually lose the list on the way to the store, and end up buying pens. You should see the number of pens I own.
You know, I am a nurse practitioner, guess who I call when I am sick? Yep. My mom. Guess who I call if my son is sick? Yep. My mom. I lose every bit of common sense when it comes to real world application of my training. I can treat you in the hospital or the clinic, but if you have a stomach virus in my house, I am completely inept. You will likely just get a cold, wet wash cloth. (Those cure every thing, by the way.)
The problem for me, is that I feel guilty. I feel like I am less of a mom, because I don’t do all the stereotypical mom things. I work and provide. That is my role. I strive to provide a good life for my only child. I love him desperately, and I will do whatever it takes to provide a good life for him.
Why do we judge each other when we don’t know the whole story? Why do we hold ourselves up to a standard we don’t even understand? Families work and do what needs to be done. If we are lucky, we have all the familial support we need. So, what exactly is a mom? I don’t know. The only thing I do know, is that I would work every hour of every day if it made a difference for my son.