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Jewish Journal

A Teenager, A Single Mom, A Headache & A Goal

by Ilana Angel

June 6, 2010 | 11:45 pm

I love my son.  He is a remarkable young man, and I am over the moon for him.  Always have been.  He is smart, funny, charming, and caring.  It’s been him and I for a long time, and he has a sweet and protective heart.  I know that he loves me, and that is a great feeling.

Being a single parent is hard.  I never really think about it, because it’s the only way I have parented since having my son.  I have no regrets about getting divorced, and if I had a chance to go back and stay in my marriage, I would pass.  I am blessed as a mother. I’m just suddenly, really tired.

I would like someone to explain to me how a child, who is so completely fantastic, is not able to eat a meal without making a mess.  Or perhaps you can explain how he thinks if he leaves clean clothes crumpled on the floor of his room, they will not be wrinkled in the morning.

How can he think that the clothes will walk over to the hamper on their own?  How can he think money grows on trees?  How can he take 20 minutes to empty a dishwasher?  How is any of this possible?  Is is because he is a boy?  A teenager? 

I have had a headache for three days. This morning, for no apparent reason, I yelled at my son to clean his room.  I feel just horrible about it, but once it’s out there, there is nothing I can do to take it back.  He is a good kid, and I let my own crap, spill over to him.

Here’s the thing, I’m tired.  I’m tired of doing everything alone.  I’m tired of ending my day without an adult to talk to about things with.  I’m tired of wondering if the choices I make are right.  I’m tired of worrying about all the things that parents worry about, all by myself.  Being a single parent is hard. 

Stress is exhausting.  I worry about how I will pay for college, about my son going to high school, and facing high school things, like drugs and sex.  I’m tired of the only person I have to talk to about it, being someone who is paid to listen, rather than someone with a vested interest.

I try very hard to be strong.  I work hard to show my son that I have it all together.  I try to protect him from my stress and worry.  Today though, I faltered, and he saw that I am a little scared.  In the end, he comforted me, which was both lovely, and crushing.

My goal has always been to be a good mother.  From the time I was a little girl, I wanted to be a good mom.  There is nothing I would not do for my kid.  I protect him, nurture him, support him, and love him unconditionally.  Today, for the first time in a very long time, my life feels exhausting.

Will he ever know how much I love him?  Will he ever understand how hard it was to do it on my own, and the sacrifices I made?  Will he know I feel guilty that he did not grow up with his family intact?  If it’s just me, then who will explain all these things when I am gone?

I have a wonderful family, and fantastic friends. I love them all very much.  My life is blessed. I feel very lucky to be a mom, have a job, and be happy.  What I’m struggling with today, is being tired.  I am not lonely, I am however alone, and that is scary.

I am a fighter, and a survivor.  I am proud of all I have accomplished, and proud of the man I am raising.  My goal is that when my son is a parent, he looks back at his childhood, and thinks I was a good mother.  I want him to love me because he chooses to, not because he is obligated to.

I love my son, and I tell him everyday.  We share everything, more than other parents and children and I know, because it’s just him and I.  I hope he understands how much I love him.  When I screw up, it’s just me to clean the mess.  He has to trust that I’m sorry. I imagine it’s hard when he gets everything from one person. 

The teenage years will be a struggle, but I’m up for the challenge.  Telling my son that I love him, and having him know how much, is my goal.  Getting rid of my headache, is my hope.  It will all be fine.  I will share all my stories with him.  I will get it all done.  I will always have faith.  Today, I am working to keep the faith.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Ilana Angel writes two blogs for JewishJournal.com. KEEPING THE FAITH is about her worldview as a single Jewish mother, and KEEPING IT REAL is all about reality television....

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