2020… what a year! If it all wasn’t laced with so much seriousness, I would say something funny at this point. But there was nothing funny about it.
It was just too chalked full of drama, trauma and craziness!
On a health level, men seemed to be suffering at greater numbers than women due to COVID based on a study done by the National Academy of Science.
This study showed that men have not taken the virus as seriously as women have, and they’re not wearing masks and social distancing as much as women.
This initial observation of the study made me see in the fullness of light how women are just wired differently than men. Add divorced moms to that and you really have a clear scope on how we have had to operate in this pandemic.
Care for the family during this pandemic has slanted heavily to the side of the single working moms. It just isn’t in our realm of thinking to not wear a mask and social distance during this time.
How COVID-19 Revealed The Gender Gap For Single Moms
Because we are the primary caregiver, the main breadwinner, the nurturer in chief. We have been Schoolteachers, Easter Bunny, Birthday Hero, Graduation Cheerleader, Thanksgiving Chef and now Santa Claus for Christmas all inside 2020!
We can’t get sick!
We have availed all of our being to the year to reflect as close as possible, some semblance of order to make for a new normal.
I don’t know about you all, but I’m tired!
“Stress is caused by being here but, wanting to be there.
by being in the present but wanting to be in the future.”
When I read this quote from Eckhart Tolle, I wanted to shout, “You got that right Brother!” I have never wanted to see the future more than I do now!
Within 2020, jobs have been furloughed and lost. The hospitality and tourism industry in which I work has been almost eliminated as travel came to a screeching halt.
Hotels closed, and airlines reduced or even stopped routes. Those of us who have retained our jobs have accepted pay cuts. And yet as a single mom, I just keep moving forward.
Like I have every day since “Single Momdom” was bestowed upon me.
What gets me through this feeling of wanting the future, is my memories of the past, the memories of the good ole days! You know…2019?
I had the best year financially in my career that year. I had some challenges with our little dog Buddy getting very sick which resulted in pricey vet bills and then came a huge plumbing crisis, but I had the means to take care of it all. This year, I have done everything short of saging my house and praying that nothing breaks or floods. If it happens, I simply won’t have the means to fix it.
I’m not a handyman like the man I divorced, so anything related to cars or home repairs freaks me out. The other morning, I had a momentary meltdown because I heard water dripping. I literally froze in my steps.
Within a few seconds, my lack of finances raced before me only to be met with my racing heartbeats as I tried to figure out in a flash, how I was going to pay for another burst pipe! Then I glanced out the window and realized that it was raining, and I was hearing the sound of the rain from the rain gutters.
I threw myself down onto the nearest chair and breathed a sigh of relief. But that is the PTSD I have developed over the years as a single parent. And most assuredly during this pandemic.
The world has just stopped revolving in a normal rotation and alternate routes have had to be explored. And it has taken a toll on me.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” Charles Darwin
So, here we are again ladies… adapting, adapting, adapting to change!
But 2020 has taken us to a place that makes performing in Cirque Du Soilel look easy! A pandemic, a crazy Presidential election, an economic crisis for the second time in 12 years and untold anxiety within our society. It has made us all a bit on edge and living on our nerves.
But single moms again are not really allowed to indulge in experiencing your true emotions, we just have to forge on and push through it all. Too many people rely on us to exhibit calm in the face of crisis. But I must say, I have slowed down the hamster wheel a bit.
I suppose as I write this article it is my way of slowing my wheel too. I have found that I watch less television. I listen to my daily Amazon Alexa injection of soft music. I read poetry. I listen to the birds outside my window. I walk at the ocean and read in my quiet nook by the fire.
I guess I have curated a space for myself that allows me to retreat a bit when the demands of the day let me. While most people have put on the pandemic 20, I have lost 27 pounds due to the fact that I decided to take advantage of the reality that I am not business traveling, attending business luncheons, dinners, and receptions.
The freeways of Los Angeles have seen one less car on the road and I am better for it. I have taken stock in my health and decided that if I have to social distance I might as well make the most of it. I might as well be slimmer during it!
“Think like a Queen. A Queen is not afraid to fail.” Oprah Winfrey
So how have we, as Single Moms coped through the year that is called 2020? How has this pandemic affected the Single Moms versus the Dads that are not living inside the family dynamic on an average day? What exactly does this gender gap look like?
For me, my ex-husband has seen his kids twice since June 2020. He is exhibiting social distancing. When he has seen them, it has been at the end of the driveway with masks on. A chit chat for about 45 minutes or so and then the car door shuts, and he is on his way back home to his other family.
It may indeed be another 6 months before he physically sees them again.
I have stopped being mad at the inequity and accepted what is.
After all, I have been a single parent for 20 years since my second child was just weeks old. I usually say to myself, “You got this Karen!”. A verse I have said more than a million times in the past two decades. A mantra that serves me well no matter what the climate of the world is!
As 2020 comes to a much needed close, I will take away with me the lessons I have chosen to learn…
I have the ability to continue to raise a family. Even inside a pandemic while operating under a reduced salary.
I also have the ability to slow my roll and take an accounting of the goodness of the family I have created and maintained all by myself.
The rewards of my single parenting have never shown more brightly than within this time. My kids have stepped up to the plate and been present with me all along.
I now no longer seek the rewards of my sacrifices. They are there every day right in front of me. I am a lucky woman. I guess I am my own Queen and I am no longer afraid of failure.
I leave you all with a poem my mother wrote before she passed away. She found her solace at the ocean near her home. I now find solace in her words on the days that I require her counsel and much needed resilience to keep on believing in a tomorrow during this year called 2020.
A passage from
“A Walk on the Beach”
I stand for a moment listening, feeling…
the ocean breezes.
Watching the small waves
chasing each other to the shore
Knowing I can never understand the ocean,
Or how to write about the subtle appeal
or changes to the ocean.
Tomorrow I will try again.
Meriam Helen Czuleger