Safety and the Single Mom

Safety FirstI’m a bit of an anxious person by nature. After my mom left, and I was alone with a newborn, my anxiety shot my imagination with a hefty dose of steroids. I was just fine with the baby. I was more worried about things like becoming violently ill, fainting, and drowning in the toilet or tripping on my way to stir the spaghetti and falling face-first into the pot of boiling water. I even refused to go to the mailbox for so long that the post office began holding my mail because I was afraid that I would slip on the ice and crack my head open, and then the dogs would become so hungry that they would eat the baby. Yes, I’m serious.

You may be thinking that I’m a wackadoo, and you may be right, but all of us single moms at some time or another worry about being the only adult in the house and responsible for the safety of our children. I’ve learned to accept the fact that I can’t control everything, and the steroids have worn off somewhat as Story has gotten older and more capable of helping herself. However, I can’t trust her to come to my aid. I’ve fainted in front of her and woke up to her bending over me curiously asking if I was still dead. So the scenarios still sometimes swim in my head. What would I do if an intruder made his way up the stairs to our bedrooms? How would we get out if a fire broke out in the kitchen, the stairwell, the bathtub? What would I do if I couldn’t get to my cell phone and needed to call for help? Where would I go if a T. rex burst out of the trees and came right for my car? Here are a few tips I’ve picked up in recent years.

  • Keep your key fob close. The alarm on your car is a great way to get attention. If you hear someone breaking into the house, hit the panic button on your key fob as you call the police. If you fall on the ice and crack your head open, hit the panic button before you lose consciousness.
  • Have a check-in buddy. My sister knows that if I take too long to return a call or message, something’s wrong. You might set up a check-in system with another single mom.
  • Get a dog. Dogs are just amazing creatures. They can sniff out cancer for crying out loud. They’re loyal and will go to any length to protect you. P.S. They are great for tiring out your active child. Bonus!
  • Have a fire extinguisher in every other room. First, for the obvious reason: to put out fires. Second, they can be used as a weapon.
  • Always have an escape plan. This holds true whether there is a fire or a hungry rex. (In preparation for my escape plan, I’m training to be a sprinter. Predators always go for the slow ones.)

We’d love to hear from you. What are some of your safety tips?

Lessons learned: Fire extinguishers make great presents (thanks, Mom); gather your mail on a regular basis (the post office is not sympathetic); and don’t forget to return messages or you may end up with a cop at your door.