Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Domestic Enemies of the Single Mom

Jamie at Single Mom Survives has very kindly provided us with this post.  Kate was a single mom and Lydia was raised by one so we had been feeling remiss that we weren't doing enough to speak to these lovelies and let them know how much we adore and admire them. 

A little about Jamie...  She can write her ass off.  Her posts (and tweets - oh Maude, her tweets) are funny, honest and often so real  that they're not always easy to read.  But they're worth reading.  Because she is expressive and personal and a little bit FU in way that we're not. Because we're not that brave.  If you check out her blog you'll see what we mean.  She's awesome and hilarious and we're glad she's here. 


The single mom's life is not exactly one musical number shy of being an off-off-Broadway production of Les Miserable but it does certainly have its fair share of domestic enemies. This one is for all of the single moms...With sugar on top, but not a cherry because let’s face it, if you’re a mom that ship sailed a long time ago.  

The Marrieds – The number one Married offense to a single mom is a Married moaning about their epic journey into single motherhood when their spouse is out of town. Sorry ladies, you don’t earn a badge for your sash until you’ve done it for a year, and not just a regular year but a leap year. Oh, and you’re actually single. Really, it’s in the rule book, I don't make this stuff up. You mean well but we are going to need you to stop that. Listening to you complain while your husband is gone for a few days makes us want to sneak into your house at night and put Nair in your conditioner bottle. Military Marrieds are of course an exception to this. The rest of you have been warned.

Well intentioned Married offense number two is telling us how jealous you are of our alternating kid free weekends. Sure those are awesome from time to time but it’s kind of like telling a homeless person you are jealous of them because you hate having to clean house all the time. We know you mean well but we kind of want to slap the freedom fantasy out of you when you say this because you fail to realize that with alternating weekends come alternating holidays alone. And that stinks.

Next on deck, the evil Married who is threatened by our very presence and is a judgment filled B from the time you first meet her. She’s usually found at school functions and neighborhood block parties. She may smile and say hello but she secretly believes that the big S you wear on your chest is not for Super Woman, which it is, but instead for her much more sinister twin sister, Super Slut. The Scarlet Letter Marrieds will go out of their way to avoid you for fear that your singlemomness is contagious or that you may eat men, or more specifically, their men. I believe in making nice though so to win these particular Marrieds over just smile and sweetly mention how handsome their husband is. Just kidding. No I’m not. OK so it’s not nice but you totally catch more stuck up self righteous flies with honey. I was raised in the south so of this I am certain, we have manners.

Dating  – You know that amnesia you get after you give birth that magically erases the memory of the pain? Something similar happens after divorce as well. Combine that with the pressure you get from family, friends, and yes even the most shrewd and persuasive of the bunch, your own kid. Now get in your car and go buy the biggest bottle of Pepto you can find. Eventually you’ll return to the land you swore you’d never visit again, not sober at least. Dating.

Meet someone at the grocery store? This only happens in movies. Meet at work? No single mom should jeopardize the funding source of her mortgage and wine. Enter online dating, or as I now like to call it, Dysfunction Junction.  Here you get to spend time and money, neither of which you have enough of, looking through men online. This is not completely unlike buying shoes online. Sure, they look cute online but they never quite fit right once they arrive and you try them on.

I have found online there are far too many men looking for their lost youth in women too young, or women who don’t have children, or women who will take over the job of raising their children for them (so they can continue on with their own midlife crisis), or a sugar mama or men who repeatedly use the words “fun” and “friend” in their profile. I don’t need a magic decoder ring to crack the “fun” and “friend” code. Dating profiles should come with FBI background checks and psych evaluations. As a single mom finding someone is not the difficult part. The difficulty is finding someone who is not only good enough to be in my life but that is good enough to be in my child’s life. Cue Mission Impossible music.    

I’m sure there are nice single dads in the same boat on dating sites. Men who do want to date age appropriate women and don’t use bare-chested photos of their self standing next to their mid-life-crisis-mobile as their profile picture are a rare find though. I think I’d rather pray to God/Buddha/Dr. Phil that my family and friends just start buying me lotto tickets instead because honestly my odds are better with the lottery. 

Exhaustion – Exhaustion has either made me lazy or it’s made me a genius. I’m all about short cuts to sanity. I have no problem slapping dinner on a paper plate simply because I’m too exhausted to do dishes. I’ve bought and stashed packs of socks and underwear for my daughter just to avoid having to do that last load of whites. Lazy? Maybe. Green? Pfft. Economical? Doubtful. Genius? Abso-friggin-lutely!  
Exhaustion isn’t just physical but it’s mental and emotional as well. Do you know how many calories I must burn from worrying that because I’m a single mother I’ll have to pull my daughter off of a stripper pole someday because I won’t be able to afford college tuition? Exhaustion is never ending, even on a great day. 
This is her ACTUAL dog. Could you die?
My days are spent worrying about money, bills, my dead end job, losing my dead end job, parenting, keeping up with the Marrieds, mowing the lawn, shoveling snow, cleaning, oil changes, hair cuts, doctor appointments, dentist appointments, homework, dishes, laundry, more cleaning, shaving my legs for an occasional date, feeding the cat, feeding the dog, walking the dog, keeping the dog from eating the cat poop, keeping the cat from eating the dog, keeping the dog from eating my daughters ponytail, dealing with the ex, dealing with the ex’s wife, negotiating schedule swaps, packing and unpacking my kid from visitation, remembering to set the DVR to tape shows I’ll never have time to watch, taking out the garbage, beating my head against the wall because I fell asleep before getting the garbage out and missing the garbage truck, grocery shopping, cooking something healthy that will not be eaten, making a bowl of cereal twenty minutes later, finding theme clothing for a last minute never previously announced theme day at school, beating my head on the wall again because I'm out of Motrin, booze and ice cream. You get the idea. 
A lot of single mom’s get a bad rap for being bitter, especially the divorced ones like me. Here’s a little secret… We’re not bitter, we’re just exhausted.

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

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