The struggle is real

Sometimes I really struggle with this on-again-off-again part-time parenting I do these days. I mean, I’m still parenting from afar, I’m just not living in the house full-time.

Sorry. I should explain a bit of background for those who are new to my blog. (Welcome! I see quite a few new followers!)

Back when COVID started here in Canada, my dad was very sick. He had been battling an illness for some years and it finally came to a point of no return last April when he fell down the stairs and cracked his head open. A couple of nights in the hospital during the beginning of COVID was not a great thing, but a necessary thing, and my sister, who is a nurse, managed to get him released back home to mom quickly.

Mom, relieved he was back home, took care of him for the remaining month as he continued to deteriorate, along with help from all three of us kids: me who lives in Toronto (a 30 minute drive away), and my brother and sister who both live on the Canadian west coast. The final couple of weeks my parents’ house was filled with family, including all four of their grandchildren (my two, plus my nephew and my niece, all of them teens). Yes, it was during COVID but everyone here was in a bubble, my sister is a trained nurse which was immensely helpful once my dad’s mobility became a major issue for mom to manage on her own. These were my father’s last few weeks on this earth so we did what we had to do to make it as easy and as pleasant for my father as we could.

Note: no one got sick, no one in my or my extended family got COVID and yes, some had been tested, and we are all still here and healthy. What this tells me is that with common sense and proper hygiene practices, it is possible to live a relatively regular life while a contagious respiratory disease rages on. Don’t at me, I’m not interested in debating the politics of COVID at this point thank you very much.

My father died on a summery day in late May last year. Life returned to semi-normal for us adult kids and families, but not so much for mom. She kept busy despite COVID restrictions, namely to deal with all the massive amounts of paperwork that flooded into the house after my father’s death. At one point we had so many different death certificates from various places who issue death certificates, it bordered on ridiculous. But we can rant about that another time.

Side note: If you’re anticipating a death of a loved one, be aware that access to cash will be restricted for months unless you’re in a joined account with the deceased person, and it is a huge struggle to get through all the complicated paperwork while mourning. And, some of the paperwork has to be filled out and submitted under a timeline…It’s a lot of work. Mom managed fine with each of her kids pitching in a bit here and there, but mostly managed on her own. She is tech savvy and that is a huge plus. Just sayin’… (good luck)

Anyway.

Mom decided to stay in the house where we kids grew up (highschool and beyond) and once my siblings returned home, I started to come live with her part-time. In the summer I took a kid with me at times, and later, I took the puppy as well (he arrived in August of last year), which proved to be a happy diversion for everyone.

But once school started back up again, the kids were less interested in coming with me, and frankly, we all needed some space from each other. It was a blessing in disguise for all of us when I escaped the crowded conditions in our small house.

So.

This is why I live away from my almost 16yo son and my 13yo daughter part-time. It’s been challenging at home over the past ten months or so, and there has been stress and argumentative behaviour and yes, I admit, I have meltdowns and crying fits at times.

Show me a parent who has navigated this pandemic without a few screw loose and I will sink to my knees and worship their existence. (No I won’t. Fuck off.)

Sorry.

Point is, I like this familial freedom maybe just a little bit too much. Perhaps this makes me privileged, and I fully accept this. But I still like it, having this option.

Lest you think I’m an awful mom, let me just say I never leave for my stint in the suburbs without ensuring that everyone has clean clothes that fit, food that is both easy and nutritious to heat up and consume, and, you know, supplies they need to manage, like soap and shampoo, kitchen garbage bags and dog treats and all that stuff. Plus, my partner is the king of ordering at Amazon… hah.

They’re fine. Everyone is fine. They are more than capable and perfectly willing to manage on their own for a few days (and eat take-out burgers or wings or fried chicken or fish and chips or pizza with icky pepperoni or bags of flavoured chips all of which I rarely purchase for them). πŸ™„

(He cooks, too. He’s pretty good!) πŸ˜‰

ANYWAY.

Last night I spent the night at mom’s and drove into the city for an appointment today, then went to pick up contact lenses, then went to two stores to look for a caramel crunch cake my son requested for his birthday and THEN I quit and came home. I was going to call and see if anyone was around for a coffee date; the weather has been spring-like and sunny which helps since no indoor dining can happen here yet (no coffee shops, boo) but…I didn’t know who to call so I just came home (to mom’s).

I’ll probably be here a few more days before returning back to life in Toronto.

So there you go. Thanks for reading. Back to regular programming now. πŸ™‚

27 thoughts on “The struggle is real

  1. Your so incredibly strong. Prayers to you! Being a stay at home mom makes me feel guilt at times for wanting a break. Going from full time working to full time at home with a 10 year old has been … ahhhh. Prayers for everyone πŸ’œ

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I wish I could be home part-time! My teens are no picnic, and now there’s a 6 mo. old kitten here that cries every time my daughter shuts him out of her room or a washroom…he’s definitely spoiled. I can’t wait until they can return to school safely!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What’s really a nightmare is when you find out the person who died had all their bills paid via automatic suck out from their checking account that no one has access to because they didn’t leave a will or power of attorney or anything. Checking account empties out really fast when there’s no new money coming in.

    I think part time parenting of teenagers is perfectly fine. And it’s not like they can’t go to you or you to them if they suddenly start missing you.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thought of my own children as I read this. My husband has been in out of hospital over the past two months and they take turns helping out here on weekends. Our Covid precautions have had to stretch.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I managed to keep parenting my only son pretty consistently even while I lived interstate from him and his Dad’s new family; we women are amazing & can do anything; ignore any judgements from others, and enjoy how creatively you are managing your life! Cheers G

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for saying that. I often wonder what it’s like for the divorced peeps, how they manage the week on week off from kids. It might be a lot more heartbreaking when the children are much younger, but as teens who are emerging into their own life, and desiring more freedom, this “system” seems to be working out for us this way. I’m glad (and only a text or call away, not to mention a 30 min drive which is nothing in North America).

      Thanks for your comment!! Nice to see you popping by here. ❀

      Liked by 2 people

  5. It sounds like a win, in all directions. Kids get some Dad time, you get a break, Mom gets company, husband gets to connect with a refreshed, less stressed partner.

    When my father died, it was the beginning of my return from California. It wasn’t the only reason, but coming back to help with my mom was pretty compelling. Also, from my perspective, I’d done my father’s last illness on the visitation plan–I wanted to be more present and available if Mum needed me. I’m not next door (it’s still a healthy 8 hour drive) but it isn’t cross-country air fare anymore. Before Covid, we visiting 5 or 6 times a year. Since…only twice. I look forward to that part of normal. So it’s great that you can be there for your mother, and she for you.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. It really is a good option and opportunity. I’m probably the most introverted person in the family (although now after a year of COVID I’m craving social interaction like a demented monkey) so if I don’t get periodic breaks, I find it very, very hard to stay in a good mood.

      Liked by 4 people

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