Modern Mom Blog Series: Angela Powell - "Parent(s) Night"

I am so blessed to know so many amazing moms. Angela Powell is not only a fantastic mom, but a gifted writer. I asked Angela to guest blog for Mod Mom and I'm thrilled she said yes! Check out the first post in a series about real life, modern mom experiences. Many thanks to Angela!

Parent(s) Night

At approximately 7:30pm, I woke up from a three hour nap. You read that right. THREE HOUR NAP. I’m not bragging, or throwing this in anyone’s face, but it was amazing. As a single mom working two jobs, I don’t see my bed very much. I know it exists because I keep my work clothes on it. It’s like a horizontal closet or an open-faced dresser. But I shoved everything over, crawled into the wonderful folds of my blankets, windows open to let the fall air in, and I slept my face off.

Okay…now I might be bragging, but give me a pass on this one. Here’s why:

Over the last week I have really been stewing over a phrase that was presented to me twice in two different scenarios: “Being a single mom is so hard.” The first time it was said to me was at my oldest son’s parent’s night for football. This is where the senior players get to walk across the field with their parents and get announced over the loud speaker. Mom’s get to wear a corsage, so I was pretty pumped. I haven’t worn a corsage in a million years and my shirt needed it in its life. Now, I was the only single parent in attendance. I’m not saying the other boys had a few moms and stepmoms and dads and stepdads hanging off their arm in a long row, but I was the only single parent. I didn’t notice or think about it until the volunteers hosting this night were all up in a tizzy on how they would announce us. “But where is the Mister? You’re here, but we can’t just say ‘…and mother.’ Where’s the Mister??” After explaining that there would be no Mister without appropriating my life story, just that I would be doing this parent’s night solo, I got the frowny face, pat on shoulder, “Being a single mom is so hard.” I think she was drunk, too. At a school function!! Okay, I added that part but whatever. Anyway…

Here’s an aside…the person saying this to me is not, nor was ever, a single parent, so to me that shouldn’t have been a statement (with a period on the end) but a question. “Being a single mom is hard?” to which I could have answered her, maybe engaged in a little social discourse. Yet, on the scale of things, if this (possibly drunk)individual thought that walking down a football field for three minutes husbandless was “hard” then holy jeebus, trade me an afternoon in her shoes! Which maybe I did, I mean, I took that three hour nap, right? But I digress…

The second time this statement came up was at one of my jobs this week. A friend and coworker is in a tumultuous relationship and wants out. He’s a drunk. He’s an ass. He’s been placed on this earth to make her and her children uncomfortable and on edge. He’s the 43 year old narcissist that you see portrayed on every Lifetime movie (I don’t watch Lifetime movies…maybe). He’s the type of man I left 7 years ago hence the no “Mister” on parent’s night. While discussing her options and what she wants to do, with tears in her eyes she stated, “Being a single mom is so hard.”

She’s experienced it before. This isn’t her first rodeo. Like a lot of us, Prince Charming grew into a nightmare a few years into the relationship. But still, this isn’t the time for victimhood. There’s something about those words that really jabs at my guts. Being a single mom isn’t always easy, but I don’t like “outsiders” turning it into an absolute and I don’t want my dear friend thinking it is a statement to wear on a t-shirt.

What’s hard and what is a temporary inconvenience are two separate things.

It’s hard to live in a house where your significant other might wake you up at 3am screaming at you in a drunken rage. It’s hard to explain to family why he took the air out of your tires so you can’t go to their gathering because he didn’t feel like it. It’s hard dropping out of college because he’s jealous you’ll get smarter, or berate you for reading too much on ‘his time”. It’s hard to watch your kids cower. It’s hard to watch your kids start to hate him. It’s hard to wonder when your kids will start losing respect for you for living like that, or feeling like you deserve to have your respect lost.

It’s temporarily inconvenient to get called out of work for a sick kid. But it’s worth it. It’s temporarily inconvenient to have to work two jobs to pay those bills and buy new cleats. But it’s worth it. And sometimes, it’s temporarily inconvenient to not have a “plus one” for weddings and football banquets…but that’s worth it, too. Going two days without electricity, although VERY temporarily inconvenient, is still better than going two years without leaving the house. I’d rather do it all alone and prove to be a positive role model, than half-ass it with someone in public who hours before hid my car keys and check book so I wouldn’t waste his money on milk.

And that’s what I told her. Reminded her of, anyway. I shared every temporary inconvenience I could think of, but reminded her how proud she would feel and how her kids would feel as she tackled each one. She remembered. It took a second, but she remembered. She remembered what it was like to sit on the couch after the end of a long day and just watch cartoons with the kids uninterrupted. What it’s like going to the grocery store, taking your time because no one is going to be pissed at you for it, or blow up your phone. The exhilaration of coming off of a car problem scare because you Googled it and fixed it your damn self. Followed by the upstairs bathroom shower. Then the closet door. AND installed the air conditioner like a boss. Since the gas bill is due, you picked up that extra Saturday morning shift and you paid it. You didn’t need to rely on, or ask timidly, or beg for it from the Mister. You got dressed, and you worked it, and work paid you, and you paid the bill.

Then took a three hour nap. Obviously.


Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone could say it any better! Well done, Angela!

Liberty said...

Very well written, Angela! I am sure your article will hit home with a lot more women than just me! Much easier to be single and a single parent than to live that way. Thanks for writing!

Jerri said...

Superb blog! As a child who wished for her parents to part so that she wouldn't have to listen to the eternal screaming, the threats, the stolen car keys, the awful, anxiety ridden life, I salute your strength and the choices you have made. You have given voice to the experiences of so many women!

Anonymous said...

Hilarious and well done!

Anonymous said...

Loved it, just like anything else you write! :-)

Krista said...

This is great.

Anonymous said...

I <3 you, Angela. :) Keep writing!