I Don’t Know How She Does It

Having it AllA friend posted on Facebook the other day, "Hubby's been gone for four days and I'm ready to tear out my hair. I showed up a day early for my doctor's appointment. I don't know how single moms do it!"

I read her the status update, clucked, and smiled a little. "Because we have no choice." I typed in the comment section. Then I added an offer for dinner at my place to help ease the stress a bit.

"Because we have no choice."

It's a simple answer, but true. Last weekend, my ex had to work and asked me to take the kids on his Saturday. He and I have an amicable arrangement and decided early on we wouldn't depend on a network of babysitters for the days when one of us doesn't have to work. After all, we reasoned, if we were still married, we wouldn't have a sitter if I had to work late on his day off or if he had to pull and extra shift on my day off.

Instead of having a solid eight hours on Saturday to do laundry, grocery shop, prepare meals for the upcoming week, set the calendar, pay bills, write a few articles with deadlines approaching, and maybe, just maybe, having five minutes to savor a cup of tea and breathe, I had the kids.

I love my kids. I miss them when they're not here. But being their one and only for four or five days a week can be exhausting. There's no, "go ask your father" or "ask daddy to do it" or "wait until daddy gets home" options available to me.

I've not only been a day early for a doctor's appointment, I've been six months late. I'm sure friends and family think I'm a space case, but the truth is, my life is a house of cards and I'm frantically trying to keep them from toppling at the slightest breeze while maintaining a semblance of structure. Sometimes I succeed. Sometimes I fail. I keep plugging along, savoring the good days and trying to forget the bad.

I don't really have a choice.

Are you a single mom? A military mom? How do you keep your house of cards intact?