Single Mom on the Run

14Jan2013

Single Mom on the Run

Lately I have become very interested in one mother’s quest to change the world one set of hands at a time. She has started a blog, and perhaps a social movement, called “Hands Free Mama .” The basic idea is that we as a culture spend too much time distracted by electronic devices, by tasks that can wait until later, and that we often spend too much time organizing, planning and thinking about the future rather than living in the present with our children.

Distracted parenting, so to speak, takes away from our experiences in the here and now. Experiences with our friends, family and children that may never be regained.

Hands Free Mothering also teaches our children an extremely valuable lesson—that cell phones and computers are less important than human relationships. In my opinion, the electronic age is slowly taking its toll on the human-to-human experience. How many adults stare at their phones rather than their partners while sitting at the table in a restaurant? How many college students are closed off to random conversations with friends or family because of the headphones permanently implanted in their ears? As parents, we are in a unique position of influencing and teaching our children about how to relate to others both now and in the future. Our teachings and modeling will shape and mold how our children relate to their peers as toddlers, school age children, adolescents, and adults.

This past Monday a twenty-two month old vibrant toddler died very unexpectedly. Rowan was a healthy little boy who suddenly developed a cough and a fever. The flu? Pneumonia? Not important. Less than twenty-four hours after becoming ill he unexpectedly stopped breathing and despite 40 minutes of resuscitation his heartbeat was restored but the life that was previously his had been taken from him.

He never came out of the coma that followed. He never took another breath on his own. A day later he was gone.

This dramatic event highlights things we already now but that we forget on a daily basis. Life is precious, life can be taken from us suddenly, without warning, without the chance to give those final kisses, to put together one more puzzle, to “sit mama” when there is laundry to do or food to prepare.

Every day I spend with my two year old, I try to think about what I might be missing by checking my email or sending a text. Have I taken the time to lie on the floor and enter her world? Have I preserved enough time in the day to snuggle up with her and read a book? Have I been a “good enough” mom to her today?

As a single mom, I’m a good mom EVERY day. I care for her, I provide for her, I keep the house clean, I wash the clothes, I make the food. But that is not the “good enough” that I’m speaking of. The “good enough” is the mom that lets the wet clothes stay in the dryer while I sit and watch her eat her cheerios. The good enough mom joins in on her 1,000th performance of The Wheels on the Bus. The good enough mom is the mom that lies on the floor and talks to her about her babies that she is putting to bed.

Every day I ask myself: Have I been a good enough mom today? If she were to be taken from me tomorrow, unexpectedly, without warning, could I honestly say that I had done the best I could? That I had turned off the cell phone, that I had responded to her need for attention, that I had loved her with all my heart, my attention, by being there with her, entering into her world?

I hope every day that the answer is yes.