If two people were exactly alike, one of them would be unnecessary.
No two people are alike. Just as all snowflakes are different and the sunset each night will vary. No two people will speak the same, think the same, deal with the same situations or reaction the same in similar circumstances.
Why then, if this is true, do I continue to hold myself up to the standards of the average parent?
I had a revelation today as I signed and filled out the multiple forms and pages of my son’s new school paperwork. As I signed my signature for what felt like the 100th time, I began to feel overwhelmed. Along with the work of getting everything ready for his first big day at his new school, I also had a kitchen in disarray, a broken dishwasher, laundry that desperately needed folding, groceries to be purchased, food to be prepared and uniforms to be tried on and purchased.
I wondered quietly to myself how parents before me did it. How did they manage their time and their home and their family during so much change? How did parents get their to-do list done and get everyone to where they needed to be in the best shape possible?
That’s when it hit me. When I thought of such parents, I envision two of them. A partnership of adults that, whether together in a relationship or co-parenting apart, were working together. Sharing the weight and the burden of raising a small person.
Digesting this thought, I realized that, in all my time as single mother, I had been judging myself against the standards of a pair of parents. Instead of seeing myself at a slight disadvantage and giving myself the handicap for this game, I was ranking myself right up their with a team of people.
I was playing a single player game against a complete team with substitutes on the side lines. I was playing by the rules of a much different game when I never was expected to in the first place. No one told me to do it the same as all paired parents.
And yet here I was trying to live up to the standards of a mother who has a partner. A mother who can delegate some of the chores and some of the work load to another adult. To a mother that doesn’t have to do it all.
I’m not her. I am the mother who has to do it all.
And I do it all on my own.
Knowing this now, I see where the stresses in my life could be less if I allowed myself to play by a different set of rules. If I gave myself a little more time and a little more room. If I gave myself the right to say no and to makes plans according to my own needs.
To allow myself to be different because no two people are alike.
The same goes for parents.