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Of Two Minds

The sad state of affairs is that many (not all, thank God) single parents have to be both Mom and Dad to their children. I’m no exception, and I think I need more practice.

At times, I want to be the softer, indulgent Mom who says, “Oh, they’re so sweet, it will be ok. Come give me a hug.” But then I remember that I’m trying to raise them to be good men, so I have to become a hardass with them again.

I watched my mom and my YY with them over Thanksgiving and was simultaneously jealous and a little frustrated at how indulgent they could both be. I forget though that for me the antics and craziness of the boys is common and therefore annoying…but for family who don’t get to see them, it’s cute and playful, and “Aren’t they adorable?” No, actually, they aren’t. I’ve told them 10 times NOT to say “butt” at every opportunity. It ceased being cute about six weeks ago.

I’m not out trying to get re-married anytime soon…and the way my personal life has gone in the past few days, the odds of it happening are even slimmer than a week ago…but, there are some things that I hope I don’t have to do and that by the time we get to these milestones, I’ll have found them a father…and in some cases, any ole father will do – even their own…

Puberty – please don’t make me explain why there’s hair down there…please. And God help us all if I have to explain what happened to a boy in the middle of the night and why the sheets have to be changed.

Sex – my idea of dealing with this is to make sure they have a supply of condoms, because I refuse to raise grandchildren while my own children are still in high school. But at some point, a conversation is going to have to occur with regards to Tab A and Slot B. I really don’t want to be in the room for that one.

Driving – I didn’t get my license until I was 19…because I was just that bad. And I’m a cautious driver who, when nervous, drives like an old woman.

The proper way to treat girls/women – Ideally, they would see this done the right way, but my life doesn’t seem to want to cooperate right now, so someone’s going to have to explain it to them. I could do this, but don’t these lessons sink in more from a guy who can tell you what happens when you don’t?

While I’m not on the prowl or anything, I hope that a miracle occurs, and I’m not doing the single mom thing until they’re in their 20s – at which time, I shouldn’t be doing anymore raising of anyone.

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A Year Later…

A year ago today (my birthday, by the way), I started a new phase of my divorced, single mom life…we moved – new town, new home, new school…I can’t help but look back on the past year and marvel at how I’ve changed…

I’m better at the mom thing…by no means perfect, but better…

I can’t imagine living with another adult anymore…I’m used to my own space…not that I want to be single for the rest of my life, but I’m so used to being alone and doing (for the most part) what I want to do that it will be a big adjustment if that ever changes…

I’m more comfortable in my own skin…and growing more comfortable every day…

I know that I can handle whatever life throws at me…I still stress (a little)…and I’m a natural worrier but I’ve become less anxious…I don’t fret about the what-ifs…if something bad or crazy is going to happen, I have little say over it (assuming I’ve made good choices all along)…but I know that I can ride the wave of craziness and come out fine on the other side – maybe a little bruised and sore, but I know what I’m capable of…I know I can handle shit…and I know it’s ok to cry my eyes out while I’m taking care of things…

A year later, I got this!

Growing Up…Sort Of

Earlier today, I had this written in my head…a moving tale of how Aidan is finally growing up and doing things independently of Sean and myself…and how time was flying and I couldn’t believe my baby is at this point…

And yeah, so that came to a screeching halt while he yelled and cried because I wouldn’t let him sell all of his stuff in the front yard to raise $299 – and no, I don’t know what he wants that costs $299…

Of course, Aidan is growing up…quicker than I would like sometimes…last weekend he spent both Saturday and Sunday at a friend’s house…heaven help that mother who offered to keep him an extra night…I’ll do one night, but not two with Aidan AND his rowdy friends…today, he had a birthday party to go to, and since I had no desire to be there, watch him, AND keep up with Sean (who would need a nap anyway), I arranged to drop him off and pick him up…

I learned, later, that he finagled $20 out of his friend’s stepfather…I’m not sure whether to be mortified or impressed…I’m both, actually…mortified that he thinks it’s ok to go around asking people for money…and impressed as hell that he convinced someone to give him any amount, let alone $20!

He’s growing up in other ways, too…in one day, he got caught peeking into the girl’s restroom at the Boys and Girls Club and he cracked a joke at lunch, encouraging all his friends to shove their hot dogs in their mouth as fast as possible…of course, he didn’t say “hot dogs,” he said “wienie” which frankly, is better than “wiener” to me…either way, he got in trouble for “playing with his lunch” which apparently is a big no-no – enough to get you sent to the timeout lunch table…who knew there was such a thing?

Two notes for me to sign in one day…and his biggest fear was that I would take away his opportunity to go to the birthday party today…he got in trouble for the notes coming home, but since I found both situations so ridiculous and completely age-appropriate, I didn’t take the birthday party away…

I learned that it’s harder to punish a kid when what you want to do is laugh hysterically at their antics…and then of course, I wondered what that says about me…

Just when I start marveling at how much he’s changing, he reminds that he still has a long way to go…whining and crying the moment he thinks he’s not getting his way…pushing and yelling at his brother because he’s tired of looking at him…

I know I’m not supposed to wish his childhood away, but if this stage could pass a little more quickly, I’d be ok with that…

Chatterbox

I know, I know, I suck…I’ve been silent for a couple of weeks (or longer)…I guess that’s what happens when life gets to a place that might be called “normal” – there’s nothing to bitch about…And while the boys are usually all I need for a little blogging fodder, they’ve been downright boring lately…well, until recently…

I don’t notice it until I’m alone with him, but Sean is a total chatterbox…yeah, ok, I hear the snickering from my family…it’s genetic…I know…his ramblings are cute and funny, but not so memorable that I can hold them in my brain long enough to blog about them later…

He chattered away today, but it made me sad…

“I miss my daddy…Mommy, did you know I miss my daddy?”

“I want to see my daddy…he’s in Georgia…can I stay with my daddy, Mommy?”

“My daddy tickled me and tickled me…and I laughed, Mommy…do you hear me laughing now, Mommy? Daddy tickled me, and I laughed.”

He hasn’t been around his father since August, so I can only imagine that was the last time The Ex tickled him…and my heart breaks, because Sean still has memories of his father, good ones…and they make him miss The Ex…

I received a text from The Ex today…”My phone is getting turned off tomorrow.”

I think that was his way of telling me that instead of talking to the boys once a week, they’ll get to hear from him once a NEVER…

In other news, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west…

Le sigh (that’s all the French I remember from high school, in case you were wondering)…

Regardless of the topic, I’ll let Sean chatter away…he’s always thinking (a little like his Mommy) and I never know what’s going to come out of him next…

There Are No Sick Days

As a parent, especially a single parent, there are no sick days.  Even if you have the luxury to take a day off of work (and this time, I did not), you don’t get a day off from parenting…ever

But, as I have finally admitted to myself, you can be “good enough” for a few days…

I’m a perfectionist by nature…when I have a way that I do things, and I know it works, and it’s the “right” way (for me), that’s how I like to do it…I don’t like to deviate…I’m OCD like that…however, motherhood (especially single motherhood) turned me into a realist very quickly.

I had (and still have) the stomach bug from hell – thanks to my darling children…it started Wednesday night, and I really thought it was what I ate for dinner…I don’t remember the last time I was that miserable…not even labor and childbirth felt that bad…I went to bed early, figuring I would sleep it off…Thursday morning, I woke up (sort of), drenched in sweat (oh yeah, the AC was out again) and feeling like I was going to die…I nearly passed out in the shower – and I’ve never passed out in my life (well, not while sober…)…I have a vague memory of throwing soap at myself and waving the razor under my arms…but if you think I did more than brush my hair and put on clothes that vaguely matched, you’re wrong…

The boys were sympathetic…I told Sean I didn’t feel good, so I couldn’t pick him up…he gave me his sweet stare and offered up his hand so I could walk him everywhere – to the bathroom to brush his teeth, down the stairs after I got him ready, to the car when we left, and into the daycare (which never happens)…I never realized just how much I carry him throughout the day…Aidan was relatively well-behaved…

I always make Sean’s lunch – it’s cheaper…not Thursday and Friday…I didn’t have the energy, but I had cash…you make do, right?  I tried to cook dinner Thursday night – well, as much as throwing a frozen pizza into the oven can be considered cooking – and still don’t know how I did it…Friday night, I gave up the dream and bought Happy Meals…in this whole time, I’ve barely eaten, which wasn’t helping the situation…but if you’ve ever had the stomach bug from hell, you know the last thing you want to do is eat…and if I thought of something, and it didn’t sound appetizing, I wasn’t going to force it…

I had a fever (or just a hot house from the AC being down, not sure)…I had chills (that was Thursday afternoon)…then I was clammy (that was most of Friday)…today, I’m just low energy but I’m gradually getting better…right now it’s just a constant nausea that is only alleviated by sweet tea (no lie!) and a cold room…every once in a while, I can eat something solid, but only if I think about it real hard first and the thought of it doesn’t make me nauseous…I pick Sean up occasionally – to put him on the changing table or in the bathtub – and it leaves me breathless for a moment…

We tried the errand thing this morning…and I used Sean’s nap as the reason we had to stop for the day…I’ll try again tomorrow…my house is a wreck, and I don’t really care – except the landlord’s been over twice this week because of the AC, and I don’t want her to think I’m some sort of slob…tomorrow, I’ll be happy if I get the laundry done, which isn’t really optional since I won’t have work clothes if I don’t…

I had a few moments where I felt sorry for myself because I really was miserable…but I pushed through – at work and at home…in my mind, there’s no other option…the job at work or home doesn’t stop for illness…someone has to do it, and that someone is me…it doesn’t really bother me to push through…you would have to have known my dad to know where I get it from…he lived every day of my life (22 years when he died) in constant pain, and he pushed through every day…I think about that sometimes, when I feel sorry for myself…if he can do it for that amount of time, surely, I can handle a few hours or days of it…

I refuse to stress the small stuff…I’m doing only what is necessary to get through the day…and frankly, most of that is making sure that the boys’ basic needs are met…if mine are met in the meantime, great, but it’s not a requirement…once I’m whole and healthy again, I’ll go back to my normal Type A, OCD self…I promise.

Oh, and while I don’t recommend it as a weight loss program, it’s been a great way to lose about 5 pounds or so… 🙂

Are You Sure?

As I was loading the boys into the car this afternoon, the strangest thought crossed my mind…”Who left me in charge?!”

For a brief moment, it was like I was on the outside looking in, and I just thought, “Are you sure this is my life? How did I get to this point? What the hell am I doing?”

Was it because Aidan had thrown his daily afternoon fit, and I still don’t have the right Mean Mom look yet to stop that in its tracks?  Was it just a moment when the full reality of being a single mom actually hit me?  I usually don’t think too hard about my life during the day while I’m trying to get through from moment to moment…that what this blog is for, thank you very much. But that was a moment when my introspective self collided with my just-gettin’-by self, and it was strange.

I wasn’t upset before or after the thought crossed my mind…I’m still not…this isn’t about me not being able to handle my life…actually, I think it stems from be finally starting to take a little bit of control back…

I’ve accepted a lot of help from my family over the past few weeks – for which I am extremely grateful…however…when someone else is spending the money, their opinion carries a lot of weight…and today, I got to thinking about the past few weeks and the next few weeks ahead – the move, the new school/daycare, eventually the new car…and I realized I was waiting for someone else to make the decisions (whatever those decisions might be)…I was waiting for someone to tell me when it was ok to do what…

And I realized that’s crazy! Yes, I am accepting a LOT of help…and after years of struggling with no help, yeah, I’m finally ok with taking help…but that doesn’t mean this isn’t still my life…and I’ve waited in some sort of holding pattern for the past few weeks, waiting on…hell, I don’t know…but back to waiting.  I’m done waiting…

I don’t know who the hell left me in charge, and I’m not sure they aren’t crazy…but if I’m the one in charge, then we’re doing it MY way.

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