“How do you do it all?” I’m often asked this […]
“How do you do it all?” I’m often asked this question by friends, neighbors and acquaintances when they see me pushing Rowan’s stroller and holding Finn’s leash simultaneously. Or when I’m loading groceries and holding the baby. Or doing any task when I’m with my son.
Lately, this question has been asked in reference to Arthur being away for work half the time. It usually precedes a comment along the lines of, “You’re a single mom 50 percent of the time!”
Um. Except for the “single” part.
As someone who was raised by a single mom for the early part of my childhood, I get upset when I hear this seemingly innocent comment. Having a traveling husband does not make me a single mom. It may be hard for Arthur to be away every other week, but he’s still my husband and an active parent.
Single moms don’t have a partner who picks up the phone and listens to them vent about frustrating moments or tells them what a great job they’re doing. They don’t have a spouse who will be home on the weekends. They don’t always get to rely on another person’s income to support themselves or their children.
I’ll admit, I internally wonder the same thing when I see other mothers. I wonder how the mother of triplets does it, how the military wife and mother of four with a husband deployed does it, how the mother of a sick baby does it.
Is it difficult with Arthur being away every other week? Yes. But I can “do it all” the same way the other mothers do it—because what else can you do? It certainly helps that I have the emotional, physical and financial support of a spouse, even if he’s not always present. This isn’t to say I couldn’t manage if Arthur weren’t in the picture—sorry, cutie!—but it would significantly complicate things.
Next time you see a frazzled mother juggling a baby and another task (or even just the baby!), offer her a hand instead of asking how she does it all. Or better yet, tell her what a great job she’s doing!