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The alarm goes off at six. I have about thirty minutes to get ready but the very first thing I do is start the coffee maker. I don't even bother putting on normal pants. I stay in my pajamas and just make sure my teeth are brushed and my face is clean as I go over the to-do list in my head and my thoughts wonder; start a load of laundry, need to wash the towels, need to wash sheets, wash... I need to wash the floors, but I should clean the counters first, the crumbs will get on the floor. Crumbs- dishes, I need to do the dishes. Am I spending too much time cleaning? I should take my daughter to the park. Why isn't she awake yet? Maybe we should have a screen-free day. If we have a screen-free day I will get nothing done. Maybe I can get something done during nap time. She doesn't nap often.
Why is she growing up so fast? I have to move her before she can remember and gets too attached. What if I'm making the wrong decision moving her? I don't even know if I want to leave. No, I want to leave. I've left before, I can leave again. I'm so worried about leaving my little sisters. I love them so much. My daughter's so attached to them. But she should be attached to her cousin and my older sister too. I miss my older sister. She basically raised me. I miss my parents. I hope they're doing okay. I hate that they moved so far away. They are the best for my daughter. They were such great babysitters. I rely too much on my babysitters now. They're the best and I hate that I ask them for so much. Why am I crying? I can do this. I can do this on my own. I have to stop crying. Oh my god, the baby's awake. I have to stop crying.
This is all while I'm brushing my teeth. This isn't mentioning school. This isn't thinking about work. This is my thought process on my day off. I feel like I am constantly losing my mind. Especially lately. I know that it's a single mom thing. Or maybe even just a mom thing or just a parent thing. Or hell, maybe it's a human thing. I don't remember how much I felt like I was losing my mind when I didn't have a child. Either way, I know I'm not the only one who is constantly losing their mind and trying not to cry in front of their kids. I know I'm not the only one who is going through mass amounts of craziness in their mind. Holding it together when everything around you is falling apart and your kid just wants to eat breakfast with you is the hardest thing I could've ever imagined. Forcing myself to smile while my daughter happily plays and I'm trying not to cry about what I'm going to do to support us; that's the hardest part of parenthood for me. I'm sure there will be harder parts as life goes on but right now, that is my hardest moment.
"Worrying means you suffer twice."
Newt Scamander said that and yes, I'm aware he's not a real person. However, I love that quote and I really wish I could live my life by that. It just seems so impossible to do when you're a single parent. Worrying is about half of my life. If I could cut worrying out of my life completely, I might have time to actually shave my legs every day. I know I'm not the only mom. There are hundreds of thousands of support pages for moms and ninety percent of the posts on those pages are moms asking if something their kid is doing is normal or openly worrying about allergies, school, maintaining relationships, daycare, screen-time, vaccines, multiple-children...everything really. The worrying, I think, stays the same as they get older too. As they get older you have to worry about them making teams, being accepted, dating, having sex, driving, drinking, then you start thinking about everything you did as a high schooler and you freak out. Thinking about the stupid shit that her dad and I did while we were in school makes me shudder and want to run and hide for all four of her high school years. Then there's also the thought of maybe, you're comparing yourself too much to your child. No child is an exact replica of their parent. Even as I'm writing this, I'm worrying. I wish that it was easy to be like Newt Scamander and just realize that worrying means you suffer twice and just say that whatever happens, happens.
I guess my point is; sometimes it's hard to remember to breathe. It's hard to remember to just take a second, throw out the to-do list and just be present. Your kid isn't going to remember the super clean floors and sometimes it's really hard to remind myself of that. Most of the time, it takes someone else reminding me that something on my list isn't as important as just laying on the dirty floor having a tickle fight with my daughter. So consider this your reminder: if you're reading this and you're worrying about your to-do list, stop. Take a minute to just stop. One minute. Breathe. Stop. You just took two minutes out of your time to read my thought process...so why not take a minute for yourself?