I have found that low expectations are the key to being a happy single mom. Not low expectations for my kids behavior, or for the people around me, but low expectations on how I think our lives should function day to day.
As a mom in general, there are always things you could be doing, fixing, cleaning, teaching. As a single mom it is double. My life is a series of unfinished tasks, unbathed kids, and unfolded laundry. It is rare for me to have the time to do something to its completion.
I have too many good things is what I like to say about my life, but sometimes I just have too many things. I have to let things go, which is hard. I can't quit my job, or stop parenting, but I can leave dishes in the sink overnight and let the laundry go a little. I can let go of being a soccer mom. I can ease up on myself.
This Queenpin used to be really hard on herself. This Queenpin used to make her own baby food and want to be the best at being a mama. In that competitive creepy kind of way, not in that nurturing mother earth kind of way.
It's not that I don't want to be a good mama now, but I am realizing how little it takes to be a good mom. My kids do not care how clean the kitchen is, if the dinner was made by me or someone else. They just want to sit and have dinner with me. My kids don't care if their lunches are packed and set out the night before, or if their sheets are clean they just want me to snuggle up at night and read them a book. My kids don't care if they play soccer or do ballet, they just want to dance with their Queenpin in the kitchen. My kids just need good lovin', good laughin', and some mama time. That's what's gonna pull us through.
Not that those things are little. Being a mama exhausts me and sometimes I would much rather clean the kitchen than mother, but I find when I ease up on my expectations and just BE, there is magic in that moment.
Last night while I was putting my daughter to bed I had to kick my way through the mess of paper and toys on her floor. When I got to the bed all I could think of was how she needed to clean her room, and which toys would be going into the Goodwill bin. When I lay down I was a little agitated, but then she grabbed my hand and pulled it around her and said, "Snuggle." I let go of the toys, melted into that golden moment, and curled up with my girl until she fell asleep.