Let’s face it. Your kids are not going to behave quite as well without a dad. Number 1 – they’ve experienced the loss of a parent (more about discipline with your kids in another post). Number 2 – they just don’t respond as well to mom as they did to dad. Case in point: I chased my two-year-old around at the pool while my two middle kids did swim lessons. He for sure wasn’t listening well about staying seated. A dad (who my son didn’t even know) told his kid to sit down, and instantly, my son sat. Kids just respond better to correction from a man.
One thing I’ve learned is you have got to lower your previous standards. You are now doing the jobs of two people – what you used to do and what your husband used to do. Additionally, you’ve taken on new roles like trying to help grieving children and trying to settle legal and financial matters, all while grieving yourself. It’s exhausting to say the least. It’s ok to not cook as fancy of meals anymore. It’s ok to let them watch a little more TV. Pick what’s truly important to you and prioritize that. Enforce that. Stick with that. And sister, let the other stuff go.
My house isn’t as clean as it used to be. My meals are not always made from scratch (ok, they seldom are). I’m not quite sure when my 9-year-old last took a bath. I lost the book I was reading to the kids at read-aloud time, so I had to start another one. I let my toddler have cereal for dinner instead of making him eat it. But you know what? I did Bible study with my kids this morning and worked on their memory verse with them. I still do their catechism questions with them (more on this in a future post.) I still homeschool. I still cook something for them. I still pray with them individually each night before bed. I picked a few things that were important to me, and I still do them. Go to bed each night commending yourself for what you got done that day – even if it’s just keeping your kids alive for another day. Don’t beat yourself up about the other stuff. Life is hard. Parenting is hard. Single parenting is harder. I don’t know if you have people that cheer you on, but I will. You go, girl! With the help of coffee, Jesus, and occasionally, wine, you can do this – not because you are amazing (but you are!), but because God is amazing and he is always enough for whatever we face.