It's Not Easy To Be A Single Mom and A Cancer Survivor

Let me start off by saying that I am grateful for my life-- very grateful. After battling breast cancer and a failed marriage, I vowed I would never again take the little things for granted. I would choose this life over no life every time. But it’s hard. Really hard, sometimes. I hate to complain or seem ungrateful and yes, it was my choice to have five children, but not for one second did I ever imagine I would be doing it alone.

Full disclosure: I am exhausted! Being diagnosed with depression and anxiety after battling cancer has fully drained me of all energy in every way: physically, mentally and emotionally. Personally, I found it very difficult to receive help when going through cancer, but being a single parent is just as hard when it comes to people helping.

There are simple things that I need but don’t have. I don’t have that person coming home at the end of the day to say “I’ll help with bath time.” I don’t have that person coming home for a few weeks to share in the responsibilities. I don’t have that person helping out with early or late hockey practices. I don’t ever have that person saying “Why don’t you relax and I’ll take care of things.” I don’t have that person to say “I’ll stay with the kids while you go grocery shopping" or "Have a night out.”

I am the mother, I am the father, I am the handyman, I am the chauffeur, I am the maid, I am the cook, I am the nanny, I am the referee. I am everything there could possibly need to have when running a home and raising a family. What I am not is my own person. I do not belong to myself. I live solely to take care of five other human beings while neglecting myself, not to mention the things that are neglected in my home, like my laundry room.

The washer and dryer are in there somewhere…I hope. I’ll protect your eyes from seeing the pile of laundry I have daily, it’s insane. I’m starting to think the kids put clean clothes in the hamper. I remember when going through treatment saying “I wish I could just do some housework, anything really, it would be better than laying in the bed sick.”

So I feel guilty. What do I do with all my time that I can’t clean such a small room or keep up on the laundry? Oh, I don’t know, a whole bunch of other things. Am I required to work 24 hours around the clock? Is it wrong that when I get an hour to myself that I sit down to gather my thoughts? Actually I watch tv (shhhhh, that’s my guilty pleasure).

I guess the point I am trying to make here is, be kind to your neighbour. Do not judge the parent that sends their child to school without a lunch, do not judge the parent who sends their child to school without their homework completed. Do not judge the parent who is always late. Do not judge the parent who has lost control of their children. Do not judge the parent who always has a big pile of laundry, not folded and put away. Do not judge the parent for being the best parent he/she can possibly be at any given time.

We all want to be the “best” parent, sometimes the best we can be is to be present, and that is ok.

What made parenting in life after cancer difficult for you? Share in the comments below or sign up here.

Photo courtesy of Priscilla.