Send Saint Bernards. Kegs of coffee. Or another pair of hands and eyes.

Reality: I have been writing through continuing sludge these past days – and very quickly. I’m not sure how I”m managing to do it (the “quickly” part helps); I’ve been struggling through an on-again off-again migraine, blurred vision, physical exhaustion. But no matter how I feel, there are tasks that need addressing. And there is no slack.

Since pulling an all-nighter with my son, there have been more late nights, his preparation for more standardized exams, my own strained hours working on a deliverable and the need to produce another.

Yesterday, I rose early to wake my son, and I worried, as he insisted on cycling to his exams rather than being driven.

Apparently, my parental radar wasn’t off; he began vomiting on the side of the road partway to his destination. A woman stopped and helped him. They put his bike in her car, she drove him to the testing site, and then she called me.

Tough call

Hardly a proponent of getting in a car with a stranger, I was nonetheless relieved that my son assessed the situation and made a reasonable judgment call. He had few choices if he was to make it on time. I picked him up following the exams – fed him, and there was still no down time – he needed more art supplies for a project, which he began as soon as we returned home. He worked into the night.

As for the results of the exams? Who knows.

And I have been sleeping on and off since. Popping Excedrin Migraine. Chatting a little with a friend by phone. But I cannot seem to stay focused. Or awake.

Pushing ourselves for our children

There will be more “support” today. And tomorrow. And the next day. Because there are more deadlines this week, research I must do for my son who is already stretched to capacity, as am I. There are deadlines of my own that I must meet – through this haze, through the blurry eyes, through the body’s insistence on sleep.

So here’s the formula: Send Saint Bernards. Big, droopy-eyed, slobbering dogs carting kegs around their necks and not filled with brandy! More coffee. More resolve. More stamina. And in a world where wishes would come true, more than anything – another pair of hands, another pair of eyes, another functioning adult brain to be my son’s sounding board, to run the necessary errands that aren’t optional and that he cannot do on his own, on a bicycle. Another adult to allow me to take a breath, to put pieces of analytical brain back together – to do my own work as well as fulfilling the role of support system.

Solo parenting – what no one talks about

This is and has been my life as a solo parent, which was never a choice. I know – none of us intends life alone, or raising children alone. But let me be a cautionary tale to anyone who imagines taking on solo parenting. Babies are the easy part. As for the rest?

You must have family to help. You must have a support system. You had damn well be young enough and in good health – or I promise you, for all the joy of parenting – you will find yourself winding down from exhaustion, conflicting priorities, and debilitating loneliness.

No mask today. I’m too damn tired and there’s still so much to do. I wear the smile when I can, and it’s been easier lately – the chit chat, the response that “everything is fine” when asked “how are you.” And everything is fine, or at least – better. But I am breaking under the weight of the “everything.” I feel as though I am down for the count, and I cannot be down for the count. I must go another few rounds. I must.

Listening to your body, and not

So I will say “no” to my body today – though yesterday I allowed myself fog and sleep and even conversation though already the content has blurred and the curtain that lifted has dropped heavily again.

My body is saying “stop” and that isn’t in the cards. My anger is brewing, and it is old anger and present anger, justified and too familiar. The anger over “doing it all” and my sense that I’m doing it all badly. Bitterness that one parent all but abandoned his responsibilities years ago – except for those that are convenient. And no attempt to rectify that situation has worked. Ever.

So we keep going. Giving it our all. And I mean – our all. But my children deserve better.

All our children deserve better.

Image courtesy

© D A Wolf



  1. batticus says

    I simply do not understand how fathers can do this to their kids and their mother. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t thrill me to have to pay alimony on top of full child support but grinding her and my children into the ground is not an option.

    If I can be bold enough to offer a minor suggestion, you could back off on your Daily Plate postings, the standard you set doesn’t give yourself a break; other blogs do perfectly fine with weekday-only postings and this would give you a break over the weekends.

  2. says

    Please, please find time to rest and take care for yourself. You can’t do what he needs you to do and be who he needs you to be without it. Just an hour or two! And encourage him do the same. I’m worried about you!

  3. says

    College may seem like a vacation after this year! I agree with batticus. I believe it would help you physically and mentally to take a break or cut down to 3 days a week here. Focus on your boy, your work and yourself (for a change!).

    Hugs to you.

    • BigLittleWolf says

      You are all so kind. Believe, I am spending very little time on my writing here these days. With very few exceptions, it’s an hour, max. It is like a morning vitamin to anyone else – the way I lubricate my brain to ready for the day. I barely have time to visit other writers any longer (haven’t you noticed?) – and I hope those of you I visit regularly will understand and know that when I can again, I certainly will. This writing grounds me. There’s little else that does that. And surely my lack of time and editing is apparent, no? Yet it still grounds me to do it. To tell myself “if I can do this each day, I can keep going and do these other things.”

  4. says

    Oh, BLW, this sounds more than grueling. I’m glad help found your son while he was on the road. But my bones ache for both of yours in this ongoing grind. I fear for your body pushed beyond the limit. As you’ve said to me before: reposez-vous. I know all too well how easy it is to say, “But …” I just worry about more serious health issues developing from already weakened defenses.


    • BigLittleWolf says

      Merci, CT. Mais tu sais très bien que parfois il faut aller plus loin, toujours plus loin. Quant à la santé, je sais. J’essaie de m’en occuper, malgré tout. La preuve – samedi quand je ne pouvais pas me passer du sommeil. Malheureusement, hier, il fallait que je travaille assez tard, et ce matin je reprends tout. Mon fils aussi, mais un ado rebondit beaucoup plus facilemen. Pas la fin du monde tout ça, mais je suis crevée, c’est bien vrai. Lui aussi – un peu moins.

      Que les femmes qui pensent pouvoir tout faire toutes seules fassent attention – et qu’elles sachent qu’il y a une raison pour deux parents, ou “un village” pour élever les enfants. Presqu’impossible autrement.

  5. says

    I know you know this already, but you are no good to yourself or your son if you get sick or or doing things in anger. Take time for yourself. Rest. Do something you enjoy, even if its just watching a funny movie. Laughter is so good for the soul. Take care.

  6. says

    BLW, I hope you are getting the rest you need. I am playing catchup with your posts and I am struck by how much you have been doing for yourself and for your sons. I hope the load lightens soon. Sending you hugs. xoxo

  7. says

    Hey Wolf, Just saying thanks for your radical authenticity and honesty, particularly in dark times (when most retreat and mask and leave the rest of us to buy into the B.S. that we’re supposed to live in “happy land”).

    I know, from reading ahead, that the next was a better day—but then “Tuesday’s on the phone to me” — a darker, yet measured, day breaking rocks at your metier as parent. Across the spectrum of feeling I still send All Good Wishes to this day, wherever it finds you now. Namaste


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