This is a guest post from single mom Danyel Clarke, who lives in Claremore, Oka., with her two-year-old and a puppy.
If you were to walk into my house, you’ll almost think I have my crap together. My son's room and bathroom are always perfect. Living room, kitchen and dining room are almost always perfect: things put away, clean, where they belong.
Then you open my bedroom door and realize that I have been putting all of my energy into the rest of the house and I actually haven’t done my laundry since September. You read that right. SEPTEMBER. I have enough clothes to make this is perfectly feasible. My son's laundry gets done, towels are always clean, sheets are washed, then I lose energy and say “screw it” by the time it’s my turn for my clothes.
I’ve been so exhausted with work, family, the “to-do” list, putting absolutely everyone and everything before myself. Nothing and everything gets done all at the same time.
I haven’t made it to church in two months, but it was my New Year's resolution to quit using exhaustion and chores as an excuse and just GO!
But ladies, today, the first Sunday of the year, I ran out of clean underwear. Completely out. Not a thong, faded or period-granny-panty one left in the drawer. Completely out.
So I freeballed it to church. Yep, I sure did!
On my way to church and during worship I was making a mental list of all the things I needed to get done today: top of the list was wash a load of underwear. Take boxes to recycling, go to the grocery store, remember that I'm supposed to bake a pecan cheesecake for that lady at work (add ingredients to that grocery list), take those glasses to my mom, I really need to steam clean that carpet, oh! Get a light bulb for the fridge, don’t forget to close the vents outside the house, trim the dog's nails as he’s really starting to leave marks on the kid, clean up the playroom…you get the picture.
Most people wouldn’t show up to church without underwear. But I’m sure glad I did, because today I was reminded of imperfection and grace.
After church I had planned to head home, make lunch for me and my little, and get started on my list.
After all, I should save the money. But instead I headed to one of my favorite places in town to eat. Just the two of us. Ordered (two) MANmosas, an appetizer, a tasty grilled chicken club, a meal for my little that I knew he wouldn’t eat, but hey! Now, he has dinner and I don’t have to cook at all today!
I had every intention of getting home right at the time he goes down for a nap so that I could nap, too.
And I don’t feel bad about it.
Like many single moms, I do it on my own. No breaks, no every-other-weekend, or any day at all that the kid goes to the other parent. I’m exhausted. And between a strong-headed 2-year-old and a puppy (hellooooo, just another toddler. What was I thinking?!?) I'm usually at my wit's end. That is definitely not to say I, or any other mom, or that I have it tougher than any other mom, I don’t mean that at all. It’s all hard. Momming is hard. Period.
For all of us, it’s important to remember that perfection isn’t required. It’s okay to splurge. Not cook. Don’t do the laundry (but yes, I did put a load in when we got home), to nap, and go to church commando!
That’s my long winded way of saying that I was “selfish” today. Blissfully, happily and wonderfully selfish. Little one finally fell asleep and now I’m going to nap as well.
Happy Sunday, mommas. Much love!
Related posts on single mom life:
The Kickass Single Mom Money Manifesto:
This is my mission statement for this platform, myself, and for single moms everywhere:
I will set big, giant scary goals for myself and family, regardless of what my family looks like, or what other people think I am capable of.
I appreciate every single day that I live in a time of unprecedented wealth and opportunity for women, and it is my duty to achieve both to honor the people who fought for me to have these opportunities, as well as for those who come after me.
I accept responsibility for my own financial well being.
I might not have it all figured out right now, but I am taking steps to be debt free, financially independent, and with a financial plan for the future.
I will never chose to under-earn in order to maximize receipt of child support, alimony or public benefits.
I will never under-earn to minimize paying child support or alimony.
I will take steps to minimize working mom guilt, instead deferring to extensive research that finds that after age 3, the number of hours moms spend with their kids does not impact their development, and actively thwart peer pressure that assumes that the stay-at-home mom is the better mom, because all science finds to the contrary.
I will take big and calculated (and some not-so-calculated) risk. Because that is the only way to grow and change — financially, professionally and personally.
I will seek without guilt or shame work that is exciting, creative and fulfilling.
I will never minimize my professional success — in actuality or perception — in order to appear attractive to men.
I relish that I am role model of earning and professional success for my children. Also, for other women and moms.
I give back. Even — especially — when I feel like I don't have any more to give, I remember that I can give to others, and that gives me strength.
I accept help. I'm just one woman, I am vulnerable, and I can't do everything on my own (that would be insane).
I will stumble, fail, eff stuff up in the worst way. Then get back up and go for it again.
I'm never, ever, ever, ever, ever entitled. Ever!
I am capable of so, so much more than I limit myself to. I open myself up to the amazing and impossible.
Emma Johnson is a veteran money journalist, noted blogger, bestselling author and an host of the award-winning podcast, Like a Mother with Emma Johnson. A former Associated Press Financial Wire reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Glamour, Oprah.com, U.S. News, Parenting, USA Today and others. Her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was named to the New York Post's ‘Must Read” list.
Emma regularly comments on issues of modern families, gender equality, divorce, sex and motherhood for outlets like CNN, Headline News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, CNBC, NPR, TIME, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine and The Doctors. She was named Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web,” “Top 15 Personal Finance Podcasts” by U.S. News, and a “Most Eligible New Yorker” by New York Observer.
A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Read more about Emma here.