When you have no one to ask...
Tonight my son asked me to tell him a story. And I obliged.
"Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess. She fell in love with a prince and had a baby. Sadly, the prince decided to leave so the princess was left to care for the little prince. She went to work (she was a modern princess!) so her parents could care for the little prince while she went to work to provide for the family. Sadly, her dad fell ill and passed away. So the princess was left to care for the little prince on her own. She was so scared - how could she do it?! She was a princess, and she needed a prince to rely on, a prince who was supposed to love her and their children forever! So she cried, and cried, and through her tears she saw her little prince and decided to be the mum and dad for him.
So she went to work and the little prince went to the nursery and school, and became more and more handsome, extremely intelligent, funny and overall awesome (he was his mum's son after all, so good genes!) Was it an easy journey, her motherhood? Well...this princess, before having her little prince, studied a lot. She loved reading, and studying, she simply devoured books. Since having the little prince, she started to read books about raising boys, maybe she could find some answers in there, Maybe a manual about raising children?
But did she learn anything from those books? Yeah right. Life is nothing like the books. The more books she read, the more confused she was. 10 books, 10 different ideas. 100 books, 300 ideas."
At this point the storyteller aka the princess started to laugh, then quietly cry.
"Why are you crying?" asked little prince.
"Because sometimes it's very hard for the princess to know if she is doing a good job. All she wants is to raise a good man who is happy, respectful and makes other people happy. The princess realised how hard it is to be a single parent. Not because she can't do it all - of course she can! She even changed a bath panel one day, and she was so proud of it. The hard part is not having someone to speak with, to take decisions with, someone to tell her if she is doing a good job? Not for validation. Because she doesn't know!"
The tears started to fall, and I fell my son's hand on my hair. "This is a sad story, but you know where you find the answer?" I looked at him. He smiled and pointed towards my heart.
Which, I guess, is the right answer. Although I beat myself up most of the time, I guess I am doing a good job. As long as I do it with all my heart, Alex (and Santa, who sends us both Christmas letters!) can confirm.
For all the single parents out there who are wondering if they are doing a great job, who beat themselves up every day my answer is: you are doing the best you can, and this should be enough. Because you do it with all your heart.
The picture shows the little prince's first Christmas with Queen Mother (sorry, forgot to say she was recently promoted to Queen Mother's role, because she was stuck in the princess role for quite a while). Below is the movie that inspired her to write their very first book together.