Grief. . . emptiness. . . depression. . . anxiety. . . those are a few of the words I would have used to describe losing your spouse before it happened to me. What I didn’t expect was the tired . . . the fatigue . . . the exhaustion. I feel like I was put through the wringer, and I came out worn. The absolutely mind-numbing weariness—scratch that—my mind is apparently the only thing that is never worn out. It goes and goes and goes.
Suddenly becoming a single mom means I can’t turn off my mind because now every decision, every chore, every bill, every fun moment, every sad moment, every argument, every sickness, every restless night is all mine alone.
Don’t get me wrong, I have always been what seemed like a 90%(ish) mom. My husband and I had our strengths, and mine was being the primary caregiver in our home. It was how we worked. However, 10% of a million is a lot, and when it’s gone, you miss it. He was also a 70%(ish) home guy. He thought I was nearly useless in the house. He was my nitty-gritty guy. He thought of the little details that never entered my mind. The toothpaste, the bottled water, the detergent . . . I only miss them when we are out. He made sure we weren’t out.
So now as I sit here in the dark wondering where he kept the lightbulbs, I realize I am now 100% caregiver, 100% homemaker, 100% breadwinner, 100% spiritual leader, 100% comforter . . . 100% responsible for the good, the bad, and the ugly. And that adds up to a whole lot of pressure. It’s exhausting and scary and daunting.
How people pick up the pieces every day and go on alone after death or divorce is just amazing.
How people aren’t walking “mombies” is inspiring. I took my lunch break on the floor of my office to catch a 30-minute nap after my child was up with his tooth until 4 a.m. and I had to get up for work at 5. How people manage to be good moms, good Christians, good daughters, good employees, good friends, etc., etc., etc. is beyond me.
Seriously, it’s a lot of et ceteras. An exhausting number of et ceteras. Somewhere in the midst of those et ceteras is there room for me? I am finding more and more that there is no “I” in mom, especially when there is no dad to do even 10%.
So for anyone tonight who has a 10% partner, thank him for the 100,000 things he does. I promise you’d miss even 1% if they were gone, not to mention the other 100,000 little things they do that may go unnoticed.
And for those going at it alone, I pray for you.
I pray you get a little rest. I pray you are rejuvenated by the child who takes so much of your energy (as I type, mine is yelling out to “Wipe my tail!” so not quite rejuvenating). I pray you get to take a bath alone without bath toy torpedoes being thrown at you. I pray you have friends who make you laugh or listen to you cry. I pray you have a tribe that has your back and advises you with love on the 100% of decisions you make.
I pray you know however hard your days and nights may be, God has you and sees you and loves you. I pray you know YOU matter and you know that to some little person out there, you matter an awful lot. I pray you know each sacrifice of self is an example of unconditional love for your child. I pray for comfort and peace and rest and, when all else fails, I pray your makeup covers your undereye bags and your office floor is comfortable.
Previously published on the author’s blog