Friday, March 13, 2009

Being a Single Mother.

Jean with her four children (Dill in center)

Dill went away on a river rafting trip this weekend. He left yesterday morning and is expected to be back Saturday night or Sunday. This is the first time he has ever gone on a trip without me in our marriage (I have left him behind a few times, though). I am sure he's having fun, but I really miss him already.

This little outing of his is providing me with a little perspective. Yesterday, I got a taste of what it would be like to be a single, working mom. And I am starting to realize how grateful I am for Dill.

I worked my usual 10-hour shift, followed by the hour-long drive to my mom's house to pick up Bubby (sans scary photo radar flashes). By the time Bubby and I got home, we were both exhausted. Normally, on Thursday nights, Dill bathes the baby and gives me time to catch up on my blogs and stuff. But since he wasn't here, I bathed Bubby, brushed her teeth, read her a book and then tucked her in for the night. She went to bed without a peep. Lucky me!

Dill is a fantastic husband for many reasons, and the #1 reason is for waking up with Bubs every morning since she started formula-feeding at 6 weeks. Yep, he lets me sleep in and wakes up whenever she gets up, which is usually between 6:30 and 7:30 a.m. He feeds her breakfast -- a bowl of oatmeal -- changes her diaper and puts Sesame Street on while he eats and gets ready. I wake up at 8:15, just has he's leaving for work. I have no idea how I got so lucky. But it's pretty much wonderful.

So, this morning was killer. I started hearing Bubby making noises at 6:30. Nooooooo. I was really enjoying having the whole bed to myself. I figured I'd let her make noises until 7:00 or until she started bawling hysterically, whichever came first.

6:45 rolled around, and I decided Bubby's incessant shouting was reason enough to abandon my fluffy, warm bed. I made her a bowl of oatmeal, changed her diaper, and now she's watching Elmo while I blog.

I cannot imagine being a single mom. The last 12 hours have NOT been hard, by any means. Really, if every day was like today, I would be fine. I'd be lonely, but I'd survive. But Dill and I share the workload pretty evenly around here. I don't think I could handle it all by myself. And that's just with one kid and a peuny apartment.

Dill's parents had four children together. Just weeks before the last one was to be born, Dillon's father died unexpectedly from a sinus infection (the infection spread throughout his body and killed him). That last baby was Dill.

Dill's mother, Jean, raised those four kids by herself for quite some time before she remarried (she died in a car accident when Dillon was 6 years old*). I can't imagine it, finding yourself husbandless with four children under the age of 7, including a newborn! If my husband died, I would barely be able to take care of myself, let alone four completely dependant children. I don't know how she did it, but she laments how difficult it was in her journals. It breaks my heart to read her experiences of surviving motherhood without her husband. She had a lot of help from family and friends. But ultimately, the burden of raising those kids fell on her shoulders.

I always think about how it would be if I were suddenly the sole provider of my family. Initially, this was the primary reason I went to college. Now I see how a college degree is much more than a trampoline to fall back on. But certainly, if my husband became incapacitated and couldn't work, I'd have to assume the responsibility. A scary thought, indeed, but one I feel like I am prepared for.

Would you feel prepared to take care of your family alone?

*In case you were wondering, Dill is not still an orphan. He and his siblings were adopted and raised by his uncle (father's brother) and aunt.


  1. Oh, Jenna, how right you are. My husband started having strokes 3 weeks before our daughter was born and now lives in a nursing home due to early onset dementia.

    You should always be prepared for the worst. My daughter is 19 now, and I was just thinking this weekend that I should redo our wills etc in case something happened to me because I want my daughter protected (she is a college student). Your post is a good example of that.

    Give your hubby an extra squeeze. You've got a great guy there. I'm so sorry that he lost his parents at such a young age and it's wonderful that he had family to step in. Obviously they were fantastic people because your Dillon seems like an awesome young man.


  2. Dillon is a great guy. What a lucky girl you are to sleep in every morning! :D We women are stronger than we give ourselves credit for. I never thought I could handle three kids, a job and a house on my own but I made it. I hope you never have to, I wouldn't wish that on anyone, but it does feel good to know that I can handle what trials may come. Think of it as insurance. You hope you don't need it but it's comforting to have.

  3. I've had nightmares about this... there's no way I could survive without my husband... and I don't even have any kids! Cory helps me so much as it is, and I can't imagine how Dillon's mom did it. Yikes!

  4. Great insights for sure! I can't imagine what my life would be like without my hubby, I don't even WANT to imagine that! I'm glad things havent been too hard on you since Dillon has been gone. What a great hubby you have! I sure miss you!! :)

  5. your husband is amazing. Most all the time i feel like a single mom of two. Billy can't even watch Dax for an hour by him self. I have to beg him to change a diaper. The only way i get to sleep in is if dax is spending the night some where. You are so lucky!

  6. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



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