Duty Calls: An AP Single Parent’s Slice of Life

By Hazel Larkin

**Originally published in the Fall 2006 Divorce & Single Parenting issue of The Journal of API

Slice of LifeAs the lone parent of two little girls four years old and two years old, one of the hardest things I find about doing it on my own is the fact that I am constantly “on duty.”

I knew an AP couple when I lived in Singapore, and I remember watching, with more than a tinge of jealousy, as they ping-ponged responsibility for their child between them. It was their daughter’s first birthday, and they were hosting a poolside party at their apartment complex. AS one parent moved away to tend to a guest, bring food, or tend to something else, he would call out the other parent that she was now “on.” For example, the mother would simply call out to her husband, “Peter, you’re on!” and he knew that he needed to keep an eye on their daughter. It was a system that worked beautifully for them, and one that I wished I could emulate.

Being attentive and attached to your children is draining, and when you never have a day off, it can be very tempting to just dump them in front of the television and make phone calls for an hour. As an attached parent, however, this course of action simply isn’t an option. I get through my bad days by reminding myself that I am in the privileged position of raising the next generation, and this is my golden opportunity to make a real difference.

One thought on “Duty Calls: An AP Single Parent’s Slice of Life”

  1. I applaud your dedication, and each of us must find her/his own path. May you walk yours in beauty.

    However, I have found that burnout is real, and it can’t always be staved off with sheer willpower.

    I have made compromises over the years — including letting the children watch television when I am sick or against-the-wall exhausted — because I have weighed the alternatives. If you have relatives you can trust, by all means call on them. If not, IMO, occasional use of Mr. Rogers as a babysitter is a compromise that will in the long run be beneficial. I tried sitters, and Mr. Rogers is kinder and gentler than the ones I encountered. And he costs less — no small consideration for a single mom.

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