Confessions of a Single Mom with Cancer Entry #3

I’m just going to get right to the point on this confession.

3. I don’t spend enough time with my kids.

I know a lot of people don’t like to talk about this one, cause often times there isn’t a good solution to the problem. But if you don’t face it you’re not even going to try to improve it.

I hadn’t faced it until it was thrown in my face. During this cancer journey, I’ve had the luxury of being home more and spending more time with my kids. And even though there were times I wasn’t feeling so great, I learned Me at less than 100%, 90%,70% vs. No Me – is better for them. For us.

With my busy, full time job, I spend very little time with my kids during the week. Let’s do the math.

Mornings!

They get up at 6 am and we’re out the door at 7:30, so 1.5 hours every morning. And that clearly can’t be considered ‘quality time’. Most of it is spent rushing them around, getting them ready, fixing lunches and breakfast and finding out about things that should have been done the night before. It may just be my house, but the mornings are more like a little hurricane than a trip to the park.

Evenings!

On regular days I get home between 6-6:30 pm. Bedtime’s at 8:30 if we’re lucky, so 9 at the latest. So I get 2-3 hours with them after school.

Daily Total!

Anywhere between 3.5-4.5 hours altogether. Unfortunately my job requires at least 2 evening events a week. On those nights I may be home by 8 pm or 11 pm. Either way, I hardly get any evening time with the girls those days and only a total of 1.5 hours of their 14 hour (minus sleeping) day.

Weekly Total!

At that rate, on an average week, I spend a total of 15 hours a week with them. Sometimes, I spend that much time with my employees in one day. Am I raising employees or my children? Yes, I know I get the weekends, but as a single mom, we don’t even get all of those!

There are a lot of issues with this situation.

~Who are my kids with during the other 10 hours of the day? At school, in the after school program, with the sitter, at activities. Do I believe the messages they’re being sent support the way I’m trying to raise them? Are they being poured into with love and positivity, appropriate discipline, learning and health. Not always. I know that.

~I find the more time I spend with my kids, the better people they are. They are nicer to each other. We share more love, smiles and hugs. It’s not because I’m perfect. It’s because I’m what they need. I’m who fills their spirit up. That’s important to acknowledge and therefore try to impact.

~Some people will argue it’s about ‘quality’ not ‘quantity’. You don’t get quality time when you have NO time. Quality time defines HOW the time is spent, so it has to start with TIME!

As my cancer treatments are coming to an end, I have some choices to make. I already see people trying to pile on the night events and travel. I have to set boundaries for myself and my family. Even something as simple as committing to only one night event a week and max 3 for the month. And sticking to it! I have to take a long hard look at how I can build more flexibility into my work schedule and ask for it if necessary. If it’s not possible, I may need to start thinking about if it’s time for a more drastic change.

We can’t make more time. That’s a fact  – One a cancer diagnosis will throw in your face, even with an outstanding and blessed prognosis. We can be better with our time. We can be more impactful with our time.

And we have to face it and try. Being present is critical. Again, will my kids turn out ‘ok’ with our existing schedule and chaoticness. Yes. But like I said before OK is not good enough for them or me. Anymore.

3 thoughts on “Confessions of a Single Mom with Cancer Entry #3

  1. Noelle,
    I really enjoy reading your post. They are well written and full of thoughtful reflection. I can feel your love for your kids pouring out from your words. I have a couple of thoughts to share:

    1) That hour and a half every morning is straight up quality time. It is you being mom, caring for them, keeping things orderly, making sure that they get up, get dressed, get their hair done up, get something in the tummy, have everything they need for school and after school, and get out of the house and to school all together and ready for the world. If that is not quality time I don’t know what is. Kids don’t just need cuddly feel good love, they need to be cared for, guided, nudged, sometimes even pushed out of the bed. Every time you do all those things, you are giving them what they need and, as you say filling their spirit with your love.

    2) The other thing is that if you are the only one filling up their spirit, then something essential is missing. I’m sure that you are doing the best you can to have your kids in a good school with good teachers and other kids who come from loving families. I’m sure you have the best sitter that you could find. I’m sure that you try to bring positive role models into their lives, both male and female. But the truth be told, only God and His love is what truly fills the human spirit. St. Augustine once said very eloquently regarding our relationship with the Creator, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” The more you can help them to know Him and his infinitely merciful, kind, compassionate and tender love, the more He will fill them to the brim and overflowing. Keep close to Him yourself and entrust them to his loving care each day. St. Peter reminds us to throw our cares upon Him, “because He cares for us.” (1 Peter 5:7) May He always care for you and for yours. God bless you!

    Curt

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Noelle your story have touched many lives, It has definitely touched mine. You were around me long enough to know how I love my children with everything I have, but as you see single parenting didn’t come with a guide to a perfect relationship between parent and child, we just have to be prepared to switch into our different hats in style or not. The survivor, the provider, the doctor, the lawyer, the taxi driver the maid, the babysitter and even the prayer warrior. But yes it absolutely feels right for the relationship when you are completely submissive and honest. In my close One thing that sets a single parent aside from others is she knows her strength has to come from within her and through christ.
    You are a survivor !
    I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

    Like

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