When my son was an infant, I thought that was as hard as parenting was going to get.
The sleepless nights. The sheer anxiety of being responsible for keeping a little person from gouging their eyes out with their baby fingernails. The being milked like a cow and cleaning up of seemingly endless spit-up and shit.
Then came the toddler years, and I thought they were the toughest part. The temper tantrums. The potty training. The walking, the sharp edges and the him getting into every little fucking thing you could think of (and not think of).
By the time my son had reached the ripe old age of five, I’d felt like I’d been through a nuclear war. I was physically and mentally exhausted and wanted my fucking medal of honor for keeping him alive.
It came in the form of a two year reprieve. Parenting years five to seven seemed like cake.
I didn’t have to worry as much about him physically harming himself anymore since he’d developed a decent amount of common sense and fine motor skills. He could entertain himself and be trusted to play in his room with his friends without me having to hover over him, making sure he didn’t stick a Lego up his nose or a finger in an electric socket.
For two years I’ve watched him become his own little person, with opinions, rational thoughts and jokes that have had me keeled over laughing more times than I can count.
These last two years of single motherhood have been a pleasure.
Thank goodness for the break because I recently realized from now until forever is the hardest part.
Why? Because now my son is his own person. He will remember everything I say and do. He has feelings and a fully functional brain that remembers and gets things.
Before I could drop him, say something stupid or make a mistake and I didn’t have to worry about it fucking up is psyche. His brain wasn’t developed enough to remember.
Now, it’s a whole different ball game that can end with a hefty therapy bill.
I know I’m a great parent, but even the best parents can F up their kids.
In a perfect world there are two parents that work as a team. In the areas that one is weak the other is strong, and it all evens out reducing the risk of mental injury.
But in my single mom world that’s just not the case.
What scares me the most is that he’s being raised one way three days a week with his father and a different way the other four when he’s with me.
It’s not completely different but there is a significant difference in how we parent. Enough to raise the F’ing up factor.
I’ve tried to have rational discussions with my ex, but attempting to co-parent with a narcissist is next to impossible.
Shit, it’s probably why I need therapy.
I don’t have all the answers and I’m definitely not perfect, but I do love my son more than words.
But is that enough?
I’ve got 99 problems, and trying not to fuck my kid up is every one.