As a single mom, I want to be a superhero for my kids.
I want to be able to carve out special time like we used to have before I started working full time. I want to have the patience when I walk through the door to listen to stories about their day and worries that they have and details about their plans for the weekend.
I want to be able to make them nutritious homemade snacks and meals like I used to, and pack well-rounded school lunches and come up with fun dinner ideas when they have friends over.
I want to be able to support them financially so that we can live in a nice house and have health insurance and maybe even pay for a vacation one day.
I want to protect them from the bad things that happen in this world, the mean words other kids use, and the conflicting emotions of having a divorced mom and dad who live in different states.
I want them to grow up with a commitment to helping others and being valuable, moral, respectful citizens. I want them to know what it feels like to have a healthy balance between family and friends and work. I want them to have a place they call home, where they feel grounded and comfortable and compelled to visit after they’re grown and move away.
Bottom line is I want to be a superhero to my kids. Some days I may come sort of close. But more often than not, I miss the mark by a mile. I’m grateful that my three children are who they are — three of the coolest souls to walk the planet. And I know all three of them have great things to do in this world.
But I’m also learning that I probably won’t ever be that superhero to my kids. I simply can’t be there when they get home from school, and I know I won’t have patience like I used to or time to make all those healthy snacks.
What I can commit to is talking about ways to deal with those cruel things other kids say to them, working to support them financially and teaching them the value of being part of their community. I can commit to making lunches most days of the week and sitting at the dinner table the majority of the time and creating a space where they feel safe and secure and nurtured.
I may not turn into a superhero any time soon. But I will join the rest of the single parents in this world to do my best with what I’ve got every single day.
Julie Stafford is publisher of The Daily News. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (616) 548-8260.