Bikes, deep breathing and a solo ride in parenting.

God grant me the patience to endure my blessings….

A few days ago I set out to teach my boys to ride their bikes.  Now, I knew before I even starting searching out the missing helmets that this was not a job at which I excelled.  There are many things about motherhood I do well, this is not one.  Just days earlier I started my first long stretch of solo parenting and this was a job I had usually relegated to Daddy. After a frustrating hour of barely kept patience and limited listening skills we came home dejected.  The Dudes wanted to stay out longer and I couldn’t face another minute of trying to keep my cool.

I set out to write about the experience but I got three sentences of complaining into my post and discovered I had nothing else to say.  I could find no lesson in the bike misadventure, only my own still simmering frustrations.

My post floundered under the weight of my own inadequacies until the next day.  Faced with the daunting task of spring cleaning the yard myself, I began to tackle the work.  Five minutes in Big Dude insisted on riding his bike again.  Feeling martyred, I put down the rake to take another go at it.  This time  he took to it and began to pedal on his own.  In fact, he did while I turned to talk to a neighbour.  Success came when I least expected it.

Big Dude still needs a lot more practice before he’ll be biking off to his buddy’s house by himself, and my patience still needs a good ironing, but we crossed a threshold without even meaning to do so.

I’m trying to take a lesson from this as my long husband-less stretch looms ahead.  The fact that I have to do the ‘Daddy jobs’ is not going to change.  Perhaps I just need to let them happen without trying to BE Daddy too.  A single parent may have to do the job of Mummy and Daddy but she (or he) doesn’t not actually have to try to be that parent to make it happen.

Mummy just need to be Mummy… flaws and all… and the Dude will still learn to ride his bike (or tie his shoes, or hit the baseball, or any of the other skills I’d rather leave to Daddy).

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