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A Day In The Life Of The “Single” Working Mother & Its Rewards

By Amy M. Voltero

I roll out of bed each morning around 6:30AM. I stare at the ceiling briefly, then proceed to my kitchen area. The coffee pot has been set the night previously, which makes it ever so simple to flick the orange switch. I sit at my desk, read my meditation for the day check my email, Facebook, and enjoy the remainder of seaside lullabies, courtesy of Parents magazine. If you are like me and find the mind racing, and meditation difficult, I strongly suggest giving it a whirl. I finish dressing, and complete my daily routine.  I then choose Mia’s clothes for the day, set out a single diaper and 4 wipes on the bed. I pack her lunch, also prepared the night previously, and prepare her breakfast.  She could wake anytime starting at 7AM, and could sleep as late as 8:30AM.

Today, she sleeps until 8AM….crap, LET THE RUSH BEGIN!!!! Thursday’s are my worst day of the week. I quickly change her diaper, serve her breakfast, can’t forget the Wiggles DVD. Style her hair while she is eating her breakfast in her highchair, laugh at her silly jokes, and encourage her new vocabulary.

It is now 8:23AM; you’ve got to be kidding!  I quickly wash her hands, she brushes her teeth with my help of course, and I dress her. She’s at an age where she HAS to do everything herself. Yes, yes, we are approaching the terrible two’s and finding your independence is definitely included in this stage.  Here comes the mental checklist: lunches, shoes, diapers, wipes, blanket, clothes, keys, cell phone, dinner, carriage, lights. Oh wait; it usually makes it easier if you remember to put the baby in the carriage.

Load the car, baby and all, seatbelts, rear view mirror, side mirrors, Michael Jackson cd; yes my child loves Michael Jackson. Michael was one of her first words, oddly. AAAAnd we’re off to daycare. I have the pleasure of traveling over he Tobin Bridge 4 times a day. Another kicker!!

Quick drop at daycare, off to Dunkin Donuts for yet, another cup of Joe, then rush back to Charlestown to get my head shrunk at 9AM.Thank God for therapy!!!  Session‘s done, then off to work.

Rush, Rush, Rush!!!

That’s just an example of my life day in and day out. I am a single working mother, which makes my job three times as hard. Yes, I made the choice to have a child, but not to raise her alone.  I never wanted to be a single parent. I thought I would have the white picket fence, house on the hill, caravan, dog…then I remembered who her father was. It took a lot of acceptance and personal growth to realize that just because I’ve changed, doesn’t mean the people around me have. Any man can make a child, but only a real man can raise one.  The only consistent male role model she has in her life is my brother, which I’m truly grateful for. He has been a godsend, loving my daughter, as if she were his, spoiling her, we’re currently working on that, lol and meeting her basic needs. Yes diaper changes too!!

I am her mother, and her father. I have to play good cop, bad cop, and I don’t enjoy it. Parenting is hard, without all the added stresses of life happening, just taking its natural course. Now add, mother recovering from substance abuse, learning how to live life’s on life’s terms, having to deal with feelings, confronting issues head on, conflict resolution, balance, work, meetings, social life and being accountable for anything and everything in my past, creeping up to haunt me, years later.  Whew!!

That may not appear to be a lot of work, but it holds its ground when you never knew how to take care of yourself. Now I’m taking care of my eighteen month old daughter as well.

Although being a single parent has its challenges, I would not have rewritten this chapter of my life. Everything I have been through up to this point of my story has made me into the woman I am today. It’s so funny, because I feel as though I can actually step outside my body, and look at how much my past and present has shaped my life.

I’m not saying that you have to be a single mother/ parent to have experienced any of the above. Heck, I know married couples, who are single parents. One parent goes off to play mother or father of the year at work, while the other minds their children.

Parenting is a controversial topic in any household.  Bottom line is, the phrase, single working mother/ parent, is redundant. We are always working, whether it is paid by an employer, or to be given the gift to watch the child you created, grow and develop into a carbon copy of yourself.  If we stop and think about it, getting paid, sometimes doesn’t ever really involve a paycheck, does it?

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