When my kids were young, being a single mom was hard because I was tired from working, and I wanted to come home and give my children 100% of my energy to play and go to the park, but it just wasn't there most of the time. My mind felt heavy. I felt burdened to keep up with a house, pets, grading papers, and caring for two small kids by myself.
Looking back, I realize it wasn't necessary to be the Super Mom I thought I had to be because - even if I came home with a migraine and a pile of essays - I was there for them. No matter what. To listen. To laugh. To talk. To admire and praise their schoolwork. To sit on the couch and watch cartoons. They could count on me to be there. I may not have always been running at full-speed with them, but I was always walking as fast as I could go...at that moment. Sometimes I didn't feel well and sometimes work had to be done, but that didn't mean my kids couldn't be right beside me in the room, on the couch, pretending to help me grade, feeling like they were important.
Bedtimes were both trying and satisfying. The struggle to get two kids to bed at night who had a different routine at the other house was real. But, "Itsy Bitsy Spider" was my son's favorite song and a part of every single evening with me. I sang it to him as I wished him sweet dreams. I remember the oh-so-many times he would ask, "Mommy, one more time" and laugh with his one dimple and bright blue eyes. How could I resist? I knew he was stalling, and I didn't mind. Seriously, if listening to my squawking is all it took to make my son happy, that was something I could do.
As moms and dads, we are often harder on ourselves than we need to be. I know I was and can still be. So, whether they are toddlers or teens, our kids just want us to be present, to show them that they are noticed and loved. Sometimes, that simply means singing them a song, even when you're tired and your own insecurities swell within as you secretly wish that at some point in your life you had maybe taken a voice lesson or two.