Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Single Mom

McLovin is leaving for the next five days. It's not very long, but by the time he gets back, I will be gone with the IHPs for six days of Spring Break.

I've also been asked to come in to work for these same five days. Which is *awesome* because it's money and talking with adults and doing all that cool job stuff that I used to do. And, lest anyone ever forget, I get to wear real shoes. And it's spring and I have a pedicure, which means cute shoes with toe cut outs...really, this is pathetic, and I know my boss on occasion reads this, so....hi, yeah, please disregard this whole paragraph. However, I also figure if he read Lydia's Five Guys post, he'll never be back here again...

I mentioned this all to Lydia -- well, not the boss and the Five Guys part -- and said something like, "it'll be like being a Single Mom again." And then, after today's List of all the crazy stuff I have to get done just to go to work for five days, I'm exhausted and I haven't even worked yet.

And then I got to thinking about when I was the Single Mom. Most of you know that, at one time, there was Season One...and now there's McLovin. And what I've always sort of glossed over was that time in between.

In between was The Hibernation.

I think for about eighteen months I basically just crawled into the Single Mother Cave and hibernated for a while. Oh, no, not like I got to rest and rejuvenate for spring or anything. But more that I didn't see anyone, didn't do anything, didn't go anywhere...nothing...just pushed through that long dark cave of wake up / shower / kids up / breakfast / teeth / school / work / home / dinner / homework / kid shower / stories / clean up / bed routine that lasted forever.

And I had help. We had a nanny that was -- and still is -- wonderful and amazing and she teaches my kids Spanish so when they're irritated and in public the can mutter things in another language and people think they're precocious little bilingual savants and not mouthy little ingrates. Plus, I get to scold them in Spanish so no one knows that I'm actually threatening to lock them in a cabinet with a snake. In Spanish it's all sing-songy and rhyme-y. Gabinetes and serpientes...

And Season One was great too. As I may have mentioned, we live ridiculously close to each other. By choice. And I dig his company. And Lefty and McGee think he freakin' walks on water, which sometimes makes me jealous, but kids should think their parents are awesome. Even Happy digs him, and would rather sit with him in church than with McLovin' and me. [Yes, they all go to the same church, too. And we sit two rows behind them and watch the kids wander back and forth between all the parents. It's like watching a two-headed dog juggle or something. - Lydia]

Anyway, the Hibernation. Even with all the help, and the complete lack of animosity and a total willingness by both Season One and myself to help each other and make our schedules jive, the hibernation is hard. You're alone. It's a really long time and more work than you ever thought possible. Plus you're not sure you're doing the right thing. I mean, sometimes you're sure, like when the future ex is a douche or John Edwards or Jesse James or Tiger Woods.

And it's like it's dark or something. I tried not to think. Because thinking made me...think more. And, I'm no idiot, but that much thinking isn't good for me. It's those "I'm gonna be alone forever" and "Oh, right, I can totally compete with the still-single thirty-something career professional with the just-purchased BMW and condo in the city, perfect figure and the hoohah that wasn't used as a slip-n-slide..."

Oh, and my personal favorite, "Yes, me with my ex-husband and kids and the Louis Vuitton 9-piece Deluxe Edition set of emotional baggage, which would be awesome were it not for the fact that every suitcase, carryall, satchel, makeup bag and purse-size tote were all full of metaphorical used hankies of drama."

So when I hit these times when I'm by myself for a week or so and everything rests on me, it reminds me of when I was by myself all the time. And it's hard. And I think about you moms who still do it all the time, whether by choice or by fiat, and you step up and you do it. And you do it really, really well. Even on the days when you don't do it well. You know why, because while today they're being IHPs and LTSs and -- let's just say it -- little shits -- they still got dinner and a story and a roof and a kiss and a mom who would jump in front of a bus for them. And that means you did a great job.

I read this newspaper article a long time ago about a baby whose mom died in childbirth. And the mom's mom -- the grandmother -- somehow was at peace with the whole thing, even though she lost her daughter. And I had to tear it out of the paper because sometimes I think we forget how terrific we are at being moms because we're so busy being moms...anyway, just read it...

"The last full measure of devotion is that of a mother who gives her last breath for her child."

Shut up. You're totally crying too. Lydia is gonna square up on me for this one.

Point is: You're Mom. MOM. Which means that today, you did an awesome job. And anyone who says different can suck it.

I remember one day when spring had finally arrived, and I went outside and was like, "when did the leaves come out?" and McGee looked at me like I was an utter moron and said, "ummm, mom, you said that last week...it's May."

But then one day something comes along that snaps you out of that Mrs.-to.-Ms. Funk and for me it was seeing a friend I hadn't seen since way before my hibernation. And she was jogging by my house, and stopped. She looked amazing, all rested and in shape and -- sorry, Becks, I'm gonna out you here -- she looked better than I had ever seen her. I can totally say this now because she was always awesome and now her looks matched her fierce personality. And I know I must have looked stunned, and she, being her amazing self, hand-hipped me and said, "yep, lost 185 pounds..."

Physics said that was impossible. You can't weigh a negative. I know. I've tried.

"Got rid of that @$$hole. Lost 185 pounds overnight...sorry I dropped off the planet, by the way."

So I told her about how I had been in hibernation. And she told me she had been blasted into outer space without, well, anything. Just floaty and dark. And no direction and no idea what happens next.

So, to my Single Moms. You are amazing women. You took a crappy thing and make it, every day, a great thing. And you deserve a freaking medal. But you're happy with a T-Box. And you need to know that someone has your back. And that person is me. And I'm kinda bad ass...

And now I'm going to go get a tissue because I have stupid mascara running down my face. But the best part? The IHPs still think I'm awesome.

And anyone who says different can go suck it.

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  1. We all know them...and ya gotta love them! It's great that you're giving single moms some emotional boosting here. It's gotta suck! I don't know if I could do it, if I ever got into that position! You all are awesome!

  2. I raise a glass to all of you single Moms (and Dads) out there!

  3. I did the hiberation thing as well...I too, also like to glaze right over that timeframe...however I truly believe that's what made us the "bad ass mama jammas" that we have become...and anyone that can't give props to single Mommy's can suck it!!

  4. I agree times a thousand. Well said, well said and well said. Also I love you. And hate you for making me cry. But whatever... we're moms. We can do what we want, right!

  5. I'm a single adoptive mother who wants to say THANKS FOR RECOGNIZING US!!!! Usually we only get snide comments from happily married women with shitloads of backup babysitters (grandmothers, siblings, etc.) such as "I COULD NEVER DO WHAT YOU DO!" Or "Are you EVER going to get remarried?" as if husbands can be purchased at a Macy's One Day Sale.

    As for the agonizing comment about not being able be a single mom......Wanna bet? You could do it if you had to and one day you may have to. Life is unpredictable!

  6. Single moms ave my admiration and I wish I had their strength.

  7. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I never have time to stop and think...I'm afraid if I did I'd get so scared my head would explode.

  8. Thank you for this post. First and foremost, we are moms!! Everything happens for a reason and the blessings always outweigh the negatives...even if it's very hard. All of the hard work that moms, especially us single moms do, will someday come back in plenty!
    Thanks again for the kind words and thoughts (oh, and for having my back!)

  9. Honestly, I'm still there, and you hit the nail on the head with that "dark" observation. But if the options are "single mom" or "not a mom," well, there's no contest. :) Thank you!

  10. Thank you for this post. I am a newly single mom and in that 'I will be alone forever' phase and constantly worried that I am not cutting it, especially now that the ex has a gf that the kids LOVE. It made me cry to remember that there are so many of us out there and that we all rock. And it gives me hope that someday I will have my own McLovin (but with his own ubercool nickname).

  11. Amazing how one little sentence can send you for the kleenex. Way better than Oprah. I'm gonna get off FB and go play with my son.

  12. Wow! What a wonderful positive message to wake up to. Single Moms (and dads, even though there are less or them), you are amazing!!

  13. *Slow hand clap*

    Love today's entry.

  14. I am psuedo single now while my husband is deployed in Afghanistan, and I have to give you the biggest thank you for this. When you are a military family, you are transplanted into a new town w/out family support or your best girlfriends who would see you through it all. You might forge some new friendships, but military life means those friends might have to move a few months after you meet them.

    So I have spent the past five months all alone w/ my 1 & 3 yo. I'm currently not working so it is all kids, all the time (though I do not believe it would be any easier if I was working, just a different kind of hard). We don't have a lot of extra money to do drop-in daycare too often. So I get fed up and I screw up--a whole lot.

    So I have to thank you w/ all my heart for the line "And you do it really, really well. Even on the days when you don't do it well. You know why, because while today they're being IHPs and LTSs and -- let's just say it -- little shits -- they still got dinner and a story and a roof and a kiss and a mom who would jump in front of a bus for them. And that means you did a great job." It brought tears to my eyes. I am disappointed w/ myself at least a dozen times an hour. I know women who actually seem to keep a shred of sanity during their husbands' deployements. I'm the crazy lady w/ mismatched shoes, stains on my shirt, a snotty-nosed kid on my hip, a tantrum throwing preschooler running in circles, and a vacant stare. And my house looks like an episode of hoarders.

    During my husband's last deployment, I was pregnant w/ our first child. I still fanatasized about the hot (though very pregnant) time we'd have when he got home. My homecoming fantasies now include having at least one or two private bathroom visits a day and showering every single day, w/ at least 1 or 2 a week uninterrupted by a child who's supposed to be sleeping/napping jumping off her bed and knocking a tooth loose or waking up her brother or painting the hardwood floor and walls of our rented place w/ fingernail polish, or emptying every soap and shampoo bottle in the sink and having it overflowing w/ bubbles...

    Can't wait to no longer be a single mom! :)

  15. I think I've been waiting to read something like this. You said exactly what its like...I'm trying every day to get out of my hibernation, and thank God I have terrific friends, but dating? ugh, don't get me started.
    There is nothing I want more than to be 1/2 of a whole again.

  16. Great post and so needed. Single moms and dads have so much going on they deserve props! When my hubs travels for weeks I am almost dead when he gets back - I constantly thank my lucky stars every time he is home because even if he is on the couch a lot - another grown up is another grownup and he can dress himself and won't poop on me or throw up now that he has grown out of his frat boy days ;)

    Big Hugs to you single mammas!

  17. I just started reading and cannot thank you enough.

    I am a military wife and go through periods of having to be MR.Mom.

    This part made me cry. - Even on the days when you don't do it well. You know why, because while today they're being IHPs and LTSs and -- let's just say it -- little shits -- they still got dinner and a story and a roof and a kiss and a mom who would jump in front of a bus for them. And that means you did a great job.

    As i say to my own kids, it made my heart happy.
    Thank you!

  18. I was browsing the old blogs and came across this. I can't tell you how much I needed this in my single mom life right now. Thank you.

  19. I forgot about this post until Rebekah reminded me. And oh how I needed it today as I strap myself to a freaking space ship and hurtle out into the unknown.

    It's nice to know there's life after orbit.

  20. I have been a single mom since a few months before my son was born. Most days I feel like a miserable failure of a human being, and an even worse mother, so thanks for reminding me that in his eyes, I'm a freaking rock star! That's all that really matters.

  21. I am aware that this was written a year ago, but I wanted to say thanks.

    I am a single mom to a wonderful little girl who is now one. I often refer to myself as an ONLY parent, because the father is not involved. When I was 8 months pregnant he was arrested for crimes against children. I left him and now fight to keep him out of our lives.

    Days go by and I feel like I may lose the battle to keep my head above water. Bills get paid at the last possible minute, the gas tank is never full (literally and figuratively), my apartment looks more like a college frat house and my energy level is that of a senior citizen... yet in the end I am happy. When my daughter smiles, laughs and dances around the living room I remember why I work so hard.

    Coming out of hibernation recently has been the most amazing catharsis. There is no greater test of strength then living a year or more as a single parent.

  22. Wow... I come here for the laughs and I stumble upon a good cry. I needed to read this so badly today. I'm embarking on single mom-dom as we speak. I have so many of the feelings you described above especially the I will be alone forever how will I compete with singletons (though I'm not sure that I'm not just done with relationships altogether). Thank you thank you thank you for this. I see there is light even though I'm at the very beginning of my launch into orbit.




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