overworked and underparenting
I was totally neglecting my child. On Friday, I had to return to the office after picking up my son from camp to finish a huge report. We didn’t leave the office that night until 11:30 pm.
Daniel was EXCEPTIONAL in there for EVERY SINGLE HOUR that he was there. I couldn’t have been more pleased with his behavior and I made sure to tell him so. He didn’t whine, he wasn’t in the way. He quietly played with his toys (a team of Army men given to him by one of my superiors another occasion when he was sick) and watched videos on the iPad. I didn’t have to raise my voice or give him “that look”, not even once.
I was so proud of the little guy.
The next morning, I was awakened by a phone call requesting me to log in and complete something else, related to the ordeal from the night before. I got up, got us together and drove in to work. When I got there, I decided that staying in the office with my son was punishment for both of us and utterly unfair, as he deserved to be rewarded for his efforts on the night before.
I grabbed my computer and returned home.
I neglected him the entire time. He ate and all, but above that, there was little no interaction between the two of us. Shameful. However, one very amazing thing to note here is this: Daniel made his own match game during his independent play time. He cut out pieces of paper and drew matching pictures on the papers and flipped them over to create his own game. I was so thrilled to play with him. I will discuss this more in another post.
I was still expected to go into the office, as there was a report that needed to be completed, but required “special accommodations”. I tried to skip it, but there was no getting around it. So from 10-6 I worked from home and from 6-10:30 I worked in the office.
Quick thinking, I reached out to one of my friends who lives nearby and asked her if it was ok for her to keep Daniel for a few hours while I ran to the office – she agreed. I also asked her if she could keep him the next (Sunday) as well because I had to go and turn in said report. She also agreed.
I broke down crying. Like full on sob. I was so hurt that I couldn’t spend my day enjoying my son and playing with him and exploring new things and laying in the summer sun. I wanted so badly to not show up. I wanted so badly to tell them no, find someone else. I wanted to just play in his curly curls and dig sand castles with him.
As I cried, he comforted me. (I have a very similar story to tell – I promise to tell it) He sat right up under me and held me close and told me not to cry and not to worry. I just apologized over and over again to him. Maybe he understood, maybe he didn’t. For what it’s worth, I think he did. As my crying got harder and stronger, he began to rub my hair and sing to me. I have no idea what he was singing – could’ve been a Christmas Carol for all I know – but the sound of his sweet little voice soothed me and twisted my stomach all on the same token. It was so hard to leave this sweet little individual and go to a place that has no mercy or care.
When I spoke with Daniel regarding these plans, he was happy to go and hang with her. She has a daughter who is one year Daniel’s senior and they have been friends for 3 years now. They play together a lot and they go to the same camp. He was happy to play with her. I rejoiced in his approval.
Sunday was 8:30-3 in the office and 4-9 work from home, again, neglected the kid.
Consequently, I neglected the dog as well because poor little buddy needed food. We ventured out on Sunday evening around 9:30 to grab dog food and there was a carnival across the street.
We hung out at the carnival until it closed and we had an exceptional time.
I’m saying all this to say that, sometimes, I have a hard time balancing life as a single mom and life as a full-time Soldier. The lines get blurred and you have to make knee-jerk decisions at times. A lot of the time, someone loses out in those decisions. This time, it was my son.
It hurts me to think about it, at least in that way. It’s difficult for me to see it any other way.
We make due with what we have, but we struggle more than I’d like to admit.