parenting, learning, and code

A parent, is apparent is a parent.

First let me say that I know every situation is unique, and we are human.  Situations can be so massively diverse, that what I say in this post may only apply a tiny bit, if at all.  We all have singular experiences and nothing can be truly universal, especially when it comes to parenting.

Now it's not just one human experience.
It's another, one (or more) that a parent is exclusively responsible for.  Especially a single/only parent.

I don't want to say that having a co-parent makes things easier, but.... IT DOES. 
I don't want to say that being an only/single parent is harder, but .... IT IS.

Me and my siblings were raised by a single parent.  Me and my sister are single/only parents currently.

Maybe jealousy has a hand in this.  I see two parent's handling problems, and everyday challenges with their child(ren) and I want so badly to have a person to shoulder that with me.  But again, there are so so many variances.  I know a couple that has a special needs child, and there is never enough help, never enough shoulders they can trust to carry the weight that is the child's safety and health concerns.  So every situation, every, is unique and challenging in it's own way.

It is extremely hard to write this without going to: "Someone else has it worse."  That is true, in 99.99% of every case of human life, ever.  An individual has a right to be sad, mad, joyful, depressed, jealous, envious, and all the things in-between. So this post is to focus on the many things I see in work-fields (Not just code), that make the saying "You don't know until you actually have children"  so true. 

First topic:  "Why are there so few woman in tech?"

There are tons of reasons.  In my opinion one that is under explored, or discussed, for I don't know what reason,  is that woman are more often than not, caretakers of other people.  And yes, there are plenty of other genders that have that on their plate.  Without looking up the data,  I'm quite sure that there are more single parents out there than ever before.  Whether they have co-parents, or are have help from family, who I'm talking about is the one's who have to be financially, emotionally, physically available to another human being.   This may be a grandchild, an elder, a foster, a neice/nephew, any other human being.  And statistically speaking the majority of caretakers are woman.
This is just single parent data:

Let me give an example.

A friend pointed me to an article about a younger man that just went totally immersive into a tech internship.  He worked all-day every-day.  Barely ate, slept little, and all around lived a completely unhealthy 8 weeks to get a project built (with only enough pay to barely survive).  Now the article was to showcase how hard work and determination can land you that dream tech job.

Then I had to explain to my childless friend.

  If I did something like that, it would be child abandonment.  Not only would it be heartbreaking to be away from my child like that, but I have a financial and emotional responsibility to my child.   I can't pack up, leave him with grandma and grandpa, and just disappear for eight weeks.  For many many reasons I will not explain, this is just not possible in my situation.

Another example:

childless person giving advice about how to give a video full attention:
"Just put headphones on and tell them to leave you alone."

It's a child, do you have any idea what kind of things can happen if I don't keep one ear open?
That's how the last computer's DVD drive got ruined, but not the whole computer.  That's how my old dog got a bag of dark chocolate and survived, that's how I found out my child thinks slapping the tv will make Blue from blue's clues pay attention to him, and kept the tv from falling on him....  The potential energy from a child's unsupervised curiosity could melt the sun.

Second topic: "Are single parent's less likely to be able to succeed over the non-committed person?"

It depends on how big your picture is.
Does your image of a successful person make you imagine the well-fitted suit, vacationing in the Bahamas every year?
Is it the nurse, or doctor spending their lives dedicated to helping others?
Is it the homemaker parent who raises brilliant helpful humans to enter the world as a doctor or nurse?
Is it an all-knowing force of nature that can de-compile the most obtuse of code and present solutions in a hand basket upon request?
Is it a person building their own company from scratch and making themselves a financially stable guru of self-improvement?

I bet every one of these has been accomplished by a single parent.
And by a non-caregiver.
And by a disabled person, and in societies and cultures beyond the picture that may be fitted tightly into your view.

Maybe success is being able to live a sustainable, humble life.
Maybe success is being able to make other's fear the mere presence of your amplitude.

Maybe success is nothing more than a label society created as a measurement to compare the usefulness of a person in said society.

We all end up food for the microscopic in the end.  To me success is surviving against the odds.  Breaking barriers, climbing those walls, rolling over the speed-bumps life may put in the way, and just keep going.  Just breathe, and continue on until there is something to show for each breath.

And if someone never has to do any of those things to get a step further,  an inch further along, the first barrier may knock them down.  May knock them back.  May keep their picture from getting any bigger.

I can figure out how to drive any piece of heavy machinery, because I've been thrown into situations where,  HEY NELLIE, drive that will ya?
I can battle a really wicked week of depression because, I've had to battle years of it in my past.
If i'm asked to clean up a terrible mess that someone else made for barely enough to buy a meal, well, yup been their.  Shoveled maggots of the baler line at a recycling plant because they'd ruin a 69$ bale of cardboard. Been there, done that.
I can even figure out how to make the dog stop stealing my socks --- (Nope haven't figured that out yet.)

To the point:

Challenges in life build a person.  They build you through failure, through trial and error, through experimentation, even through emotional chaos, distress, and breakdown.  Every thing is a learning experience.   From dealing with a customer at a drive-thru that is irate their sandwich still has pickles on it, to cleaning up your first diaper, or overcoming that week long stretch of physical pain, that week long stretch of depression, that years long battle with mental disorder.

One of the biggest challenges as a human, is taking care of another human, that may be completely and utterly in need of you.  There is so much to learn.

*did my child just shove a marble in their nose?
*Is my child's fever too high?
*Is my sick fiance' going to need a special diet?
*Should I make a meal ahead of time?
*Should I leave five-minutes early for (the person I care for's) appointment?
*What if they are seriously injured?
*What if they can't walk anymore?
*What if everything I'm doing is wrong?
*What if everything I'm doing is not going to matter?
*I can't lose this job.
*I can't take that vacation.
*I can't go out this weekend.
*I need more overtime to pay the bills.
*I think this is broken, but I can't afford the doctors.
*What should I google for my 3 month old's projectile vomit?
*How do I talk about internet safety with my teen?
*How the hell did he get that cheese in there?

In conclusion:

The list of things you learn as a parent, a single parent, a caretaker ... is infinite.  It will never end as long as human's exist, the list will grow always.
So the question is....  Why wouldn't you see someone with that many challenges faced, obstacles overcome, and learning accomplished under stressful circumstances as a success?
Why wouldn't you give yourself that credit?
And if you're childless, why would you want to discredit that accomplishment in any way?

Single parent's are strong, intuitive, creative, problem solving machines.  And they got that way through single parenting. 
--A huge and grateful thank you to everyone that has ever had a hand in helping me through life, through parenting, through struggle and strife, through learning, through failing, through it all.--

Give them credit.
Give yourself credit.
Let's not act like this isn't a huge accomplishment.  Celebrate it, carry it, own it...

To my fellow single parents:
Breathe.  and survive.  You got this. You are capable of so much.


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