Bill E. Branscum ©2000
How many times have you heard it? "I just cannot
imagine how you do it - raising those kids by yourself."
I know they mean well; nevertheless, I find myself wanting to
"What part of a broom do you think I find confusing?"
"I've got the washer and dryer figured out
but the instructions don't say which to do first."
"Pinning the diapers to my baby seems cruel
to me - her too, judging by the way that poor little thing screams!"
Mops and toilet brushes don't offend me, dishwashers
and lawnmowers don't confound me and I can follow a recipe as
easily as I can crack a Chiltons Manual and tune up my truck.
My bathrooms are as clean as most kitchens, my children have never
even seen a TV Dinner, my Hollandaise sauce does not come from
a package, I enjoy making homemade ice cream in the tree house
with my little ones, we are all healthy, happy and well adjusted
and I manage to get my bills paid on time.
Whether the Mr. Mom role is tough for you or not,
bear in mind that the world is full of single parents and you
have a distinct advantage over most of them, since most of them
are women. Think that's a chauvinistic remark? Nothing could be
further from the truth.
Women are expected to manage as single parents.
It doesn't matter how hard they have it, society expects them
to succeed, and most of them do. Tragically, no amount of self
sacrifice or superhuman effort by a single mom is met with any
recognition whatsoever. "They're women, they're supposed
to do that."
We have it a bit differently, you and I. If you
actually change a diaper before the child is utterly consumed
by diaper rash, people will stand and cheer. If you manage to
serve a dinner that didn't come packaged in aluminum foil, someone
will write a song about you. Do all that and keep your home just
clean enough that mold and vermin don't take the place over and
you'll be a candidate for sainthood.
Then there are the financial issues. Our female
counterparts rarely have the dependable income that they are supposed
to since, all too often, their significant other washed his hands
of his responsibilities to support their children when he found
something (or someone) he'd rather do. Unfortunately, child support
enforcement is not always as effective as it should be and it
won't be until the Legislature decrees that dead beat parents
shall be shot.
While it may be that you are out there bussing tables
trying to support five children while your stock broker ex-wife
spends a fortune on some "cute young thang" and pleads
poverty, most of us don't deal with that to the extremes that
single mothers do. Let's us dispense with the pity party mentality
and count our blessings.
It is not my intention to suggest that we have an
easy time of it; the single parent household is a tough boat to
float under the best of circumstances. No matter what the nouveau,
knot-head, liberal, social experts say, it isn't natural and it
damn sure isn't in the children's best interests.
That being said, my point is, "No matter how
tough things are for you, there are single parents out there who
have things worse and get no recognition whatsoever for their
efforts and sacrifices." Unless you're truly dumber than
a box of rocks, you can operate a mop, there is no excuse for
anyone to allow a child to suffer due to inattention and you can
be the best cook you know if you'll visit Barnes and Noble (or
your public library) and work at it.
Gentlemen, there is no way to fail when nobody expects
you to succeed. You'll find sympathy everywhere in the world but
here - you've got it to do and your children are depending upon
you, so lace up those Nike's and "Just Do It."