Single parenting multiple children

by Jill Bender on December 19, 2013

shadowsOh, how the past few years have worn me down. The schedules. The sports. The oldest graduating. The middle graduating in 2014. The oldest moving out. The middle requiring 25 hours a day of baseball each day. (Yes, 25. Per day.) The littlest with his soccer.

Now we have college searching and scholarship finding. And I do have a full time job!

But I have THREE boys.

The little (10) has had me the least amount of time, and at this point, also requires the least. He will also have all of me as my middle takes on college this summer.

We had a situation last summer over him moving into a competitive soccer league. He scored 1/2 of the goals and was one of the better players on his team. His nickname in the rec league isn’t Speedy for nothing.

I said no, nevertheless. Everyone else disagreed with my decision and it got ugly.

You see, selfishly, it is SUPER hard to single parent more than one child, and to reiterate, I have three. His dad didn’t understand that because he is his only child .

On top of the $1,500 to play – at age TEN – competitive soccer was going to require a ridiculous amount of time and travel, and I think that is awful. I think it’s wrong and I think that our kids still need time to have fun.

I stood by my decision, however unpopular it was, because I knew it was the right one. The more difficult one, but it was the right one.

The soccer thing is actually GREAT and my guy got the better end of the deal in the end. He was put onto a “secret” team who took the entire season undefeated. And that competitive team? Never won a game and is falling apart. You’re welcome.

Parenting multiple children is absolutely heart wrenching sometimes because I am always choosing one child over another.  No matter that I kill myself to make every single game every one of my children have played, I am always making a choice and someone is always getting the short end of *my* stick.

This has forced me into making the most of the time that I do have and has made me a great mom.

Lately, I have been able to devote, nearly 100%, to the little. The oldest has moved out. The middle is never home because he has school, baseball and work. So it’s us.

I cherish having the time to help him with homework without being irritated because I am worn out from being pulled in a million directions.

We have begun an evening ritual of snuggling in on the little couch and reading together.

And I curse the day when our schedules take this away again.

When the weather was nice I walked down to his school, rather than driving, to pick him up and while I started doing it for the exercise (3 miles round trip), I got SO much more out of it.

He takes his soccer ball to school and he’d kick it as we walked and I would steal it and he’d steal it back. We posed shadow people on the sidewalk. We never, ever stepped on cracks in the sidewalk and I always wore his backpack so he could run.

I’m still tired. Honestly? I think I’m just old. I’ve been at this parenting thing for 19.5 years (more than 1/2 of my own life) now and man… it is the hardest thing EVER.

A few nights ago I bought a gingerbread village with the promise that he and the 17 year old would build it together, but the schedules never jived so he was left to face it alone.

Tonight he said to me “mom, will you help me with this?” Admittedly, I didn’t want to. I wanted to lay on the couch and do nothing.

But I didn’t. We built the gingerbread village together, and I am so glad we did because my presence was graced by the amazing self-professed “Gingabread Kang.”

gingabread kang

For the record, this photo I took of him with our village inspired this whole post because look. Look at what I would have missed.

So, I urge you, single moms, to do things even when you’re too tired do them (except drive. Of course.). You never want to look back on and say you wish you had done because there is no room in life for regret.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jaime December 20, 2013 at

I am a disabled single mom of 4. I agree with you completely. My dr says youre in more pain than you need to be. I say my kids need me I can rest when theyre grown. Yea to us single moms!

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2 Jacqueline erbe December 20, 2013 at

I don’t like when people say I shouldn’t do so much with and for my kids. I truly enjoy spending quality time with them for the above reason that is brightens their faces with smiles- which in turn warms my heart. I might not have time for me as an adult really, but soon they are moved out and I can live it up then- at bingo lol;)

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3 Jill Bender December 20, 2013 at

I know that comments like those that people make are only well-meaning, but for us singles we don’t have anyone else to be there when we can’t!

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4 Candace December 20, 2013 at

You have got it said mama! I am a single mom of 4. I’m just about to be 26 and my kids are 8, (almost 7), 3.5, and 20 months! They {and life} ware me out! But I try every day to do something with them each so that the moment doesn’t pass me by. It seems as your doing great and thank you for post like this to help us single moms’ remember whats important! I just came across your blog/facebook page and I’m glad I did.

Super Cute G house by the way :) well done

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5 Kimberly December 21, 2013 at

Oh, I SO get this…even though I only have two — I find myself always feeling torn between what they need and the time I have. Fortunately for me, and I know it’s true for you too, the kids get it. And what’s more, they know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we love them. Even when the time feels unbalanced.

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6 Stephanie December 30, 2013 at

I just happened across this blog, racking my brain as to how to not be broke in the new year, and this piece so resonated with me!! I, too, have 3 boys…..one in high school, one in middle, and a 7 year old. My 7 year old is also an only child to his dad, plays soccer, (very well), and my #2 son is a gifted baseball player. Sigh, you are so right it is hard to say no, and I so understand the travel league’s that my son’s will never play in due to the ridiculous cost and time commitments that are entailed. You are made to feel like a sub par parent for not allowing them to join those teams. But I don’t feel guilty anymore…I do the best that I can with what I have. I understand the feeling of being torn, and the secret elation that you feel when you can spend one on one time with just one at a time! Thanks for making me smile :)

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7 Jill Bender December 31, 2013 at

Thanks Stephanie! It is really unfortunate the way sports work these days, but if your son has real talent, the scouts will find him whether he is on a travel league or not. So let go of the guilt and enjoy all that time you gain back.

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