Single Momhood

A Single Mom’s Nightmare Before Christmas

I was a single mom from before Baby Girl was 2 until she was in college. We had slumber parties nearly every weekend and took wild and crazy road trips whenever I had a few extra bucks. But as Baby Girl became a teen, she began to spend more time with friends than with mom. The following poem was written when she was first testing her independence, and I was often left home with the three cats: the twins, Luvey and Mad Max, and Scout. It was published in my first humor book, “Fairly Odd Mother: Musings of a Slightly Off Southern Mom.” I hope all you frazzled moms enjoy it!

’Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the halls,
Nothing was ready for old Santa Claus;
Decorations lay scattered across the sofa and chairs
The cat sat on one, then flew through the air;

My kid wouldn’t help; she had plans, you see;
For outings and parties, but what about me?
When I did get invited, I have to confess,
I could not find a listing for the man named “Plus Guest”

So I maneuvered alone through the holiday mire
Unclogging the toilet with hooks and some wire;
Washing the clothes that were piled on the floor
In a stack so high it was blocking the door;

I dusted the shelves; I cleared away clutter
But one glance at the baseboards made me shudder;
Cat fur was nestled down in the cracks,
A table was marked with a telltale scratch;

I knew the trio who held the blame,
So I whistled and shouted and called them by name;
“Bad Luvey, bad Scout and you too, Mad Max,
Don’t think I don’t recognize your dirty paw tracks.”

They looked one-by-one, then slowly blinked,
Then laid down to get another 500 winks;
When finally the room was suitably clean,
I got ready to completely destroy it again;

I pulled out the lights from an old attic box
Mangled and tangled into masses of knots;
For six hours I worked to solve the riddle,
And found the problem was bubblegum stuck in the middle;

Then I borrowed a truck, and returned with a tree,
Hollered: “It’s time to decorate” enthusiastically;
“Can’t. Got a game,” the answer came back,
So I did it myself, with some help from Mad Max.

I flopped on the sofa, too tired to move,
And wondered why moms have so much to prove;
“I can’t do it all,” I yelled, sounding bitter;
“I wish, for one day, I had just me to consider.”

I was drifting to sleep, though my muscles were aching,
When I heard a soft tinkling like the sound of glass breaking;
I jumped up, prepared with a colorful shout
My squirt gun loaded and ready for Scout;

Then what to my tired, swollen eyes did appear,
But a man all in black who filled me with fear;
“Wait!” the man said, as I aimed to shoot,
He wiped off the soot and I saw a red suit;

“Is that you, Santa?” I asked, amazed
“But it’s not Christmas for another six days.”
Shaking his head, he pulled out a list,
“I came to grant your holiday wish,”

“The one where you asked to be by yourself
When you didn’t wash dishes or dust off the shelf,
Which day do you want? I’ll make the cats disappear
And put your daughter to work washing reindeer.”

For a moment or two, we considered each other,
But I couldn’t give up one day as a mother;
Though I thought I would like having no one to boss
I knew without family, I would be lost;

“I couldn’t accept; I’d feel like a heel,
But Santa,” I said. “Could we make a deal?
Could I have just one hour with no chores to do,
No errands to run, no bills past due,

Sixty small minutes with no cats meowing,
No one to impress, no boss who needs wow-ing,
Just one single hour with no one to keep,
An hour, perhaps, when I could just sleep?”

Santa ho-hoed; I saw a deep dimple;
“That’s all?” he asked. “Why, sure, that’s simple.”
He lay his finger aside of his nose,
Quick as a wink, I was deep in a doze;

I dreamed of a time when I wasn’t in charge,
When I could go on wild trips in a snazzy sports car;
It would happen sometime, some way or another,
When I could finally say I was a grandmother!

Then from far, far away, Santa called from his sleigh,
“You’ve earned a long nap, you work hard each day,
And to all single moms whose days are quite harried,
May your nights be silent and your Christmas be merry!”


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