Thursday, August 20, 2009

How is one supposed to do this?

How is one supposed to do this being a single mother thing?

Some days I want to take a time machine back in time, find myself, shake that younger me and yell: "Never sleep with ANYone EVER! Well, actually, I know you will, so, how about, NEVER with anyone who is "just a friend", NEVER with anyone without at least two forms of birthcontrol, and NEVER with anyone who doesn't love you because if you get pregnant and keep the baby, having a guy in your life who hates you and isn't interested in children, is a terrible thing to do to yourself and your child."

I love my son so much. I loved him from the first moment I saw him as a tiny flickering bean on the ultrasound screen. I know it's at least partially because I loved his father that it was so easy for me to love him, but I've loved him for himself too... even when he punched my bladder, kicked the hell out of me, stretched my rib cage until the ligaments ripped, and eventually well, caused me to be in the most concentrated form of physical pain I've ever experienced... for over THIRTEEN HOURS. I've been reading the books and web sites, and all kinds of things trying to learn everything I can and do everything I can to be a great mother for him. I send all kinds of things to his father about being a good father, too... but I don't think he actually reads most of what I send him. I honestly think the guy knows more about the Obama's eating habits than about his son's. It's really frustrating. I feel horrible because I know the guy didn't want to be a father, and because my son deserves a good father, and I don't know how to give either one of them what they want or need in that way. Maybe James' father really does love him, and maybe somewhere in him, his heart is telling him the right things to do and ways to be, but what comes out of him as action sometimes belies that.

It's like Star Wars: Darth Vader loved his son, too. (No, my child's father isn't a super villain or anything... but if he was, his name'd be something like The Party SlOB and he'd live in The Lair of Perpetual Layers... of... Stuff.) Unfortunately, Darth Vader showed his love by hurting the people Luke cared about, trying to turn him evil, and cutting off his hand before he finally did anything that resembled what the rest of us think of as love... and it killed him to do it. Yeehaw. Darth Vader didn't have to worry about trying to rebuild trust or a relationship with Luke. He also didn't have to say he was sorry for anything he did. He just did a big dramatic thing and was done. They had a party for him.

I think that's a problem these days. Almost no one says they're sorry for anything anymore. And maybe they're just not. Maybe as a group we're kind of a bunch of unapologetic buttholes these days... but as for me, I apologize. I do honestly and profoundly feel bad when I hurt other people. I do hope for forgiveness and reconciliation and I am proactive about it. I don't wait for "time to heal all wounds"... and maybe that means I rush into trying to get reconciled before people are ready and that makes things worse between us. I don't know.

I've talked to several people lately who were raised by single mothers (and totally came out great!) and I want to ask them: HOW did your mother do it?! But without being too intrusive or whatever. I mean, I really, honestly just want to know. Not all the logistics so much because lots of things have changed (thank god for cheap disposable diapers!) but the emotional stuff, like, "How did you get through the days? Or, the nights? What did you say when your kid asked where Daddy was or why he didn't live with them? How did you find the strength? Where? How did you stop loving that man enough so that it didn't hurt to look at and love his child? How did you stop feeling things for him enough to be pleasant with him or to at least not react to him or to provocations (actual or perceived) on his part? How did you protect yourself from your child's father while trusting him with your child? How do you protect your child from your dating mistakes if you ever date again? How do you fulfill your dreams and support your child so that he or she can dream and chase their dreams, too? How do you balance work and life?"

I don't know how many steps it'll take to get from here to zen, but I think the following is a good first step.

Step One: Cut Out Distractions

I talked with a counselor recently who told me that I'm doing really well all things considered. She says that I have to fully commit to being James' advocate and warrior, and that anything coming between me and my obligation toward him, should be avoided. In that vein, she told me I should commit to not dating or even trying to meet any guys until after James is a year old. Since I was crying and told her I never wanted to date again EVER, her advice was slightly more reasonable. In all the years I've been dating... I guess since I was 17 or so, I haven't been single for as long as I have now committed to being. So, from now until sometime after 4/1/2010, my baby is my copilot, he's my dance partner, and he's my focus.

Over the years, I have been given, and have purchased, a few battery operated acquaintances. Pretty soon, I'll probably get them out and stare at them for a long time. Probably a while after that I'll get around to putting batteries in one or two of them. Or maybe I'll just become a nun or something. I'm not a prude or whatever, but a toy is no man like a fast food burger is no gourmet dinner, etc.

Man (is Greater than) Toy
Ride in a Ferrari (is Greater than) Ride on the Bus
Gourmet Meal (is Greater than) Fast Food*

Are my preferences clear? Goodness, now I'm all distracted. Ferrari. Yum.

Another thing I'm going to do is trim down the focus of this blog. It's going to be less about the stuff going on in Austin and more about what it's like for me to be a single mother. If you want to know about events/ coupons/ etc. though, I post things like that on my twitter account and sometimes on Fb.


* For some reason >'s turn into weird formatting or DISAPPEAR ALONG WITH HALF THE TEXT THEREBY RUINING MY ALLUSIONS when I use them sometimes. UGH.

1 comment:

  1. I have a very good friend that I met right before I got pregnant with our oldest. She was already a few months along and she wished for a prego buddy and WHAM! I was expecting, too. We went through it all together, but not at all like the same because I was married and she was single and leaving with a roommate she could barely tolerate. Over the years her life has been quite complicated at times. The father isn't a part of their lives. He doesn't know. He has never known because he, apparently, is not a very nice man. I can't tell you how many times I have heard her wish she'd done things differently - though of course she's just as quick to say that if she had she wouldn't have her daughter. She would not lie and say that it wasn't hard when she was the only one to get up in the middle of the night and have to go to work in the morning, or figure out how to handle after school hours or summer vacation when her daughter isn't in school at all. But through it all, she's managed, and thrived even. They have an extremely close relationship. Her daughter has asked a few times. I believe she tells her the truth. Her daughter is a happy child in spite of it. My friend has gone back and forth about whether or not she even WANTS a husband - yes, she'd have a second income and a second set of hands, but she'd also have to consult with decisions and quite frankly, she's a very headstrong and independent woman. ;) I know that for whatever does or does not happen, whether God has a husband in her future or not, she has reached a place of peace. It didn't happen overnight. I think it was hardest during the first year. But she'd tell you that she made it through to the other side by doing what you have to do and carrying on and then realizing that you're doing okay and getting by just fine. She didn't do it ALL alone though. She has good friends and her parents who have helped her with the logistics of baby sitting and getting to and from after school activites, weekends at grandmas house for mommy time, and that sort of thing. I don't know how much harder it would have been for her without good friends and family. And even though I have not been in the single mother shoes, I do know this much is true with all of motherhood - we're the moms. We do what we gotta do. Nobody else is going to do it. So we just keep putting one foot in front of the other because our love outweighs our exhaustion and frustration and in the end everything gets taken care of our and kids come out just fine.