Thursday, November 09, 2006


When people ask me about single parenting, I usually tell them my 90% theory. 90% of the time, I love parenting by myself. 90% of the days, I look into Zac's face, see him reach out for me, and melt into a pile of single parent mush on the floor. 90% of the time, I'll sneak into his room at night - just to make sure that he hasn't kicked off the thin blanket that I use to cover his feet in his crib and that he's not laying on one of the books I let him "read" before he falls asleep. I love my son and the connection I have with him as his primary caregiver.

Then there are the 10% days.

Last night, Zac cried non-stop from 5pm - 7pm. I couldn't figure out what was wrong with him or why he was crying. So many times lately, that's the case. I hold him - he cries. I put him down- he cries. I hide on the stairs where he can't see me - he cries. Then I cry.

I used to never cry (and I blame my therapist for my renewed connection to something called 'human emotions'. Bastard. It's hard to really buy into the whole 90% theory while trying to clean the catbox, do the dishes, make dinner, and pacify a screaming child.)

I'm starting to feel like I can't do it anymore. People tell me, "It will get so much better as he gets older," or, "This too shall pass," and I can rationally understand that, it's just that my heart tells me that I've been alone, as a parent, for the past 27 months. I'm tired. I keep searching to find what I need, but I'm not sure how to keep putting one foot in front of each other. On nights like last night, I feel like Zac and I are in the exact same place: we know that we need something, we just can't figure out what it is.

The contract employer is really pushing me hard to reach these tight deadlines, but I can't even think about opening my laptop until Zac is in bed asleep around 8pm. Last night he didn't go to sleep until 8:45pm and I passed out around 9:30pm. I'm just so tired all the time and even though I know that it isn't true, it feels like everything that I do for Zac is wrong. If I could get inside his head and decode those screams, to figure out why he's not eating dinner anymore or doesn't want to play with any of his toys, I would.

When he woke up this morning at 6am, he screamed all the way through my shower, getting dressed, and walking out the door. He was still screaming when I dropped him off at daycare.

This is life at 10%.


Dee said...

If it makes you feel any better (and I know it won't), even those married parents have the 10% days. My Zach spent an hour lastnight screaming and flopping around on the floor. He wouldn't even let me touch him or try to comfort him. After I finally figured out that the new medicine I gave him was hurting his stomach, I held him down, forced some gas relief drops down him and he finally settled down. By the end of it all I was sitting in the floor in the hallway with tears in my eyes.

I think the age they are at is so much fun, but also so very frustrating (for them and us). They want to be able to tell us what is wrong but they just don't know how which leads to these kinds of battles.

Jen said...


Not Just a Mom said...

I have been there 3 times.. (((HUG))). Maybe grandparents or aunts can help watch him overnight to give you a break during the week.

wildflower said...

You're amazing, NSP! xoxox

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's his two year molars coming in. My son (i'm a single parent as well) only screamed like that when his teeth bothered him. Just a suggestion. You've heard it before, it does get easier, my son is 3 1/2 and last night he tells me "Mommy you are the best, you take me everywhere, and when I'm around nothing is going to hurt you" He is 3. Last night I made a comment to my mother, I wish I could've just skipped right to this moment, because those first three years were HARD work.

Pregnant In Texas said...

Thanks Kim. I really appreciate that sentiment. I try to stay positive and I can appreciate what you are talking about when you said the first three years were hard work!

karrie said...


Those 10% days are so hard. Mad props to you, Mama.

Susan said...

You just took me back in time. When my boys were babies, I also felt the 90/10 split, and the 10% was what took it out of me.

Hang in there. The 90% days are what make it all worthwhile.

Also--Kim's comment made me a little weepy. What a nice boy she has!