This blog is for Jim Marventano's family and friends to review his status and updates while he goes through treatment for Stage IV Colon Cancer. We can beat it together!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Being an only parent means...

Being an only parent means...

- I have no break unless I hire someone, my mom and dad take the kids or my in-laws do.
- I deal with the sickness in the house, even if I'm sick.
- I am the disciplinarian all the time. I can't really afford to get lazy and look at someone and say "You handle that" or "your turn" because there isn't anyone else.
- If I want to get a gallon of milk, I need to load everyone in the car, or suffer the consequence of being the next Sheboygan mom on the news for leaving her kids at home or in the car while she goes and drinks or goes to a tanning bed. (Oh yes. Thank you Sheboygan for making us the home of really weird news!)
- Homework with Rachel has become a monumental battle. I have a rotten study ethic myself, so I'm really trying to work on it. And be positive. But goodness gracious, my patience is thin.
- I hate making them clean up. So it's either I stand over them and make them clean up (which I consider a waste of my time because I just end up yelling and everything is sloppily done), or do it myself, or let the playroom dissolve into a horrific mess. And PS, I'm a complete slob myself. Why should I make my bed when I know I'm just going to get in it that night?
- I seem to drown in the paperwork. I can't keep up with everything. And by the time nightfall hits it's all I can do to veg on the couch or do my studying for my class.
- If I need a break, I have to leave my house to have it. I don't often get an opportunity to be in my own home without having anyone else here. No one to say "honey, I'll take the kids to the movies while you take a nap".

The bonuses of being an only parent-
- No one is going to fight me on my parenting choices.
- It's high stress but there are also big rewards. I guess that's true for any parent - regardless of whether or not they are single.

I'm tired and whiny. I'm not feeling well, which is why I'm tired and whiny. You know, I love to say "I just need a day to get caught up". *SNORT*. Right. Like that would take care of it. If I had a day to get caught up, you know what I'd do? I'd take a NAP and enjoy the peace and quiet! And then the next day I'd whine and say I needed a day to get caught up.

I sometimes need to look around and realize that I'm not placing a priority on the things I'm whining about. It's not going to get easier unless I wash the dishes right away. And put them away right away. Or do the laundry before it stacks up to the second floor of the house in the chute. And then fold the laundry and put it away right away. Those things weren't really important to me even when Jim was here. I'm a piles person. I make stacks of things that I mean to look at. "I'll look at that later" - and two weeks later, there it sits in a pristine pile, still waiting for me.

So then, if I'm not placing a priority on those things, what am I prioritizing? Well. I'm trying to get structure in our days. Which means Rachel is starting homework shortly after she gets home from school. (It typically takes two hours with all the whining, fussing and stalling, although she probably only has about 45 minutes worth of work MAX daily.) I'm trying to cook healthy meals a couple of nights a week and eat leftovers. I'm trying to spend time reading with them and playing with them. I've pledged to get them outside more often and do things with them outside. Right now that mostly means taking them sledding! I've prioritized helping out at the school. I've prioritized exercise and school for me. My anatomy and physiology class is going to be demanding. And I've tried to prioritize fun time for me, too - fun time as an adult. Which means spending time with my friends, seeing Eric, and getting OUT of the house.

I'll keep trying. It's never going to be perfect because unfortunately I am among the most flawed humans on earth. I'll pat myself on the back for perseverance and remind myself of what my priorities are. If I think I can't get it all done now, I should think about when I was trying to juggle being a caregiver for Jim and manage all this other stuff. I was a wreckage zone then and I had to lean so heavily on friends and family. Or the year after Jim died when my mom came down here literally every other week to help me. It's better today than it was yesterday. Tomorrow will be better than today. Next week I'll get my act together. And by the time school lets out I'll have the routine down pat - just in time for summer break! ;-)