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Beach May 09 035I am a mother.  As fate would have it I have a 1 year old son from a man who is not a part of my sons life. I could be sad, and I have been. I could be angry but I’ve made peace with it. I could be judgmental and frustrated and overwhelmed…but instead I choose to feel blessed.

Before I was a mother there was so much I didn’t know about the world.  There were so many beautiful things that went unseen by my blinded eyes.  The moment that my son was born my life changed.  There are those who will say it’s not possible, those who will criticize me for having an occasional glass of wine because  ‘Mother’s shouldn’t drink’.  There are those who will chastise me for dating

4th of july 045because they don’t think I should have the time.  Surely there will be those who will say that my dreams of having a family in my future are absurd and I should be happy with where I am in life now.

None of that matters to me, because I am smart enough to have a sip of wine not a bottle of liquor. I have the intelligence to separate a one time thing from a genuine partner.  I feel confidant knowing that I dreamt of a family long before my son was born and will continue to seek that dream with caution for his sake.  Yes, there are always those who will criticize; but none can judge me, not truly judge me because that is only God’s place.

Here are some things I’ve learned as a mother:

*Friends will come and go like a summer storm, but your family is forever.pnut bday

*The sunrise is much more beautiful when you see it sober as you nurse your newborn.

*Having a child is not a right, it is a gift from God and should be treated accordingly.

*God never gives you more than you can handle, but be careful what you ask for.

*Rocking a sleepy baby till 2 in the morning beats dancing the night away at the best night club any day.

*Nothing lasts forever, including teething so patience is a must 🙂

*Bath time also doubles as a trip to the water park so bring your own towel.

*You can in fact survive on 3 hours of sleep and still function with a smile.

peanutbday*Spaghetti is a MUST when a toddler is learning how to eat because it’s just funny to watch them get MESSY

*TODDLERS WILL EAT CATERPILLARS if they find the opportunity no matter how fuzzy and yucky they look.

*A simple smile can warm your heart and take all pain away.

*Mommy’s arms always feel the safest and must be available at all times.

*It’s impossible not to laugh when you’re running late and about to walk out the door, only to find your toddler half naked and tangled in his Tshirt in his room.

Easter 2009 044*Brushing your teeth, sweeping the floor and doing laundry are always done better with help from your toddler.

*Being a single parent doesn’t mean you have to be alone.

*A mother always thinks about everything twice – once for herself and again for her child.

*Reading a story or dancing in the living room trumps housework.

*God never said being a mother would be easy, but he did say it would be worth it.

*Every stretch mark is like a war wound, they will forever tell the story of your greatest accomplishment so you should be proud.

*A ponytail and a track suit are a mother’s best friend on rainy days – high heels in the rain with a baby are not a good idea.

*When you go to bed realizing you didn’t turn the TV on all day – that is a good day.

I think what I’ve learned most of all is that nothing matters except my family.  My Son, my mother, my sisters, my father, my grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and Cousins are my life.  Welcoming my J and little B into that mix is just another momentous memory that I feel blessed and eager to add, but until that day – for right now I live for my son and for God.  To me, there is no greater purpose.

End Thought:  It’s not only children who grow.  Parents do too.  As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours.  I can’t tell my children to reach for the sun.  All I can do is reach for it, myself. ” ~Joyce Maynard

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I felt surprised but all around blessed to be included in this event.  Recently my friend @singlemomma_cc graced me with the Honest Scrap Award (as described below) so it’s my turn to lay it all out there.  Since I did this already in my Who I Am page I’m challenging myself to write different things. So here goes….

“The Honest Scrap award is given by other bloggers who consider a blog’s content or design to be brilliant.  The awardee must then post ten honest things about themselves and pass the award on to other bloggers who fit the bill – in other words, whose blog is brilliant”

honest_award

Honestly:

1. I have this weird anxiety filled fear of dying during the winter. I have no idea why.

2. I have 7 tattoos and want more – my family hates tattoos lol

3. My favorite past-time is Saturday mornings watching cartoons in the bed with Peanut. *love*

4. I have an obsession with cheese puffs.

5. I blame my Mom for not teaching me how to be a parent, and I’m scared I’ll be like her.

6. Sometimes I struggle with the whole self-esteem thing.

7. I worry that I won’t be a good enough parent for my Peanut.

8. In high school I was in band and debate – I was a total nerd.

9. I write songs and sing them in the shower when no one is home. hehe

10. I secretly wish I could quit my job and do missions for my church.

Ok so that was it, I feel a little better now 🙂 In following suit I am passing on my Honest Scrap award to the lovely  bloggers I know that haven’t already completed it:

@Shoobop

@MomsToWork

@WorkingMoms

@mommy2jl

@Mshepard07

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There have been so many moments where I’ve flip flopped from one side of this to the other.  Those who read my blog see where I’ve been torn into pieces over what to do about The Jerk.  One minute I’d give my every breath to have a father for my son, not just any father, but his real father; to give him that father-son bond that cannot be duplicated because he deserves that – all children deserve to have a their mother and father.  Only it wouldn’t be his real father I would want, I would want the person that he pretended to be, in my son’s life. I would want the pretend him, the one who loved his children more than the moon and the sky, the man who doted on them and couldn’t wait to see their smiling faces, the fabrication The Jerk so easy created until one day it disappeared into a disgusting and worthless pile of anger and abuse.  It is because of that day that there are times that I actually pray that God will make him leave for good; no more of this back and forth.  Just go away and let my Peanut live in peace.  I don’t know which is worse him being around or him leaving for good?

Ms. Cookie (Peanut’s teacher) handed me a little piece of construction paper today…on it a sail boat with Peanut’s hand print as the sail.  It read “I’d sail the seven seas for you Daddy. I love you! Happy Fathers Day” all I could was smile and utter a choked Thank you with tears in my eyes.  I thought to myself:

if only he would do the same for you son…..

She looked at me as if she knew, with eyes that said I’m sorry.  I kissed my Peanut and said goodbye, I waited till I reached my car to cry.  It was a quiet cry not the violent kind.  The kind of cry where you’ve given this moment all the energy that you can muster long before now and this is just a repeat of times past. The kind of cry where there are no sobs, no tightened muscles – no it was the kind of cry where every ounce of energy left me as I sat defeated in my car tears streaming down my face and off my chin saturating my shirt.   I’ve been here before, crying all alone not knowing what to wish now just hoping God will lead me in what is right for my son. God please, I prayed I don’t know what to do…just please help me be the best for him. I feel like my hands are tied….

Suddenly my phone rings….it’s The Jerk. I stared at my phone blankly…what could I do? If I ignore it he’ll just call back over and over again till I answer.  So I answer…he’s coming to visitation he says.  I’m emotionless. I wanted to scream in the phone I hate you for what you’ve done to my life, to my son’s life! instead I just said “Ok” and hung up the phone.  I wanted to be angry, to say he doesn’t deserve it, he doesn’t deserve my Peanut’s love.  Then at the same time – I thought maybe I should be happy that he actually wants to see my son – his son technically.  I don’t know how to feel right now.

It’s bittersweet….

One one hand my son deserves to have his father – but on the other his father is worthless and can’t be the father he deserves.  He’ll come to visitation and play for a while, he’ll leave and probably not see him for another 6 months.  Will my Peanut know the difference?  In the back of mind I’ll be wishing he would leave, that he would say he’s moving to California or Australia and never coming back.  But that’s my selfishness speaking, or is it?  Could it just be that I feel the pain for my son, that I sympathize with the hurt and confusion that will come when he realizes his father is only around out of convenience? 

There is no right answer for this moment.  I know there won’t be some divine intervention where God gives me the answer that will solve everything, no only time can fix this.  I’ll just have to smile through the bittersweet moment and wish that I had given my son a better father, a father who would love and care for him, a father who would never hurt or abandon him.  I’ll own that moment, because it is mine.  I’ll take responsibility for the tears because it’s my fault that they fall; because I chose to be with him,  I chose to stay in the chaos,  I chose to live with the abuse.

It’s oh so bittersweet, because although I want to hate him and wish we’d never met, I thank God that I endured the things I did, because it brought me my son.  No matter what happens I will always be grateful to God for that.

End thought: “When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts.  A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.”  ~Sophia Loren, 

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No, not really…it’s more like I wish I fell off the face of the Earth.  My Peanut is sick, my face is peeling, we’ve been experiencing Amazon rain forest weather for over a week and the Jerk is yet again back on the daddy wagon. So yes, I can only wish I had fallen off the face of the Earth.

Face peel: Although it sounds like I had some nice gentle pampering micro-derm face peel, the reality of my peeling face is much less glamorous. My office took a trip to the beach – which they commonly like to refer to as the annual Booze Cruise. To date it’s been home to many moments that are better suited for the NBC hit show “The Office”. For example two years back my supervisor drank an entire bottle of jager alone and attempted to help out a single dad that worked in the programming department by trying to ‘hook him up’. So he starts drunk dialing all of the “sluts” that he knows and accidentally dials his wife….. Keep in mind he is EXTREMELY wasted and therefore is not exactly speaking in an inside voice – and we’re on a bus. That trip was lovingly deemed the “Slut Tirade” and he is no longer allowed to drink jager…ever.

So you can imagine I wasn’t exactly excited to be a part of this for yet another year, but hey…it’s free booze, free food and a day at the beach when I should be working – what’s the harm right? Well I’ll tell you what the harm is a UV danger rating of 10 for the East Coast and me without a drop of sun block. I got F – R – I – E – D….so fried that I made a crunch sound when I walked like I was stepping on a bag of potato chips. Now I look like a lizard during shedding season…yuck.    Moving on…

The Peanut: So upon return from the office beach bake-a-thon I was just happy to see my Peanut again. It was a typical evening: dinner, bath, playtime and then a quiet lullaby in the rocking chair before a kiss goodnight in the crib….my bed felt so nice because I was SSOOOO tired and ready for a good long nights rest. THEN 4am wake up call, I thought, hm he must have dropped his paci.  So I stumble through the darkness to his room and feel around for a paci, pop it back into his mouth and lean down to deliver a soothing kiss on the forehead and OMG MY LIPS WERE ON FIRE! I was thinking WTF?! I place my hand on his forehead and realize it wasn’t my lips… Instantly I rush into Mommy mode – I scoop him up – strip the pjs – lay him on the changing table and insert that hated rectal thermometer….immediately it jumps to 101.2….101.9….102.4….OMFG….102.9…and beeps at a scalding 103.1. Jesus freaking crimeny my child is on fire!!! He’s lethargic, barely able to cry….but I was doing plenty of that for both of us. I’m a first time mom, my kid has NEVER had a fever that I didn’t catch at 101.5 or below;  I wanted to kick myself and feel like a total failure but I didn’t have time. I strapped on a diaper and quickly began administering a cool washcloth to his head, turned on the ceiling fan, gave him a dose of Tylenol and prayed…thinking how do I get him to the ER by myself? I mean someone has to drive while I monitor him in the back seat!? So I called my grandmother (who lives literally less than 5 minutes from house if that) and tell her what is going on. Well on her arrival we didn’t go to the hospital, his fever let off slightly and I vowed that in 3 hours when that doctor’s office opened I’d be standing on the front step.  I laid next to him in my queen size bed, too afraid to shut my eyes, till dawn.  Boy what a weekend that followed, after a trip to the doctor the next morning, the ER Sunday morning for an uncontrollable fever (even with Tylenol AND Motrin) they up his dosage and by Tuesday we’re back to work and daycare sans the fever (THANK YOU LORD JESUS). Going about my day praising the Lord for healing my son Tuesday evening I pick up my Peanut – only to see him COVERED in a rash…are you kidding me? I mean what is this??? So we call the doc (again) and come to the final diagnosis of Roseola.

For those of you who do not know what Roseola is  it’s 2-3 days of a high fever typically 103 degrees F, decreased appetite and fussiness followed by a rash appearing on the fever decline.  Fun fun….

So to recap – I’m looking like the new spokesperson for leprosy in 2009, my poor little Peanut has an ear infection AND Roseola, the Jerk is trying to play Super Dad again (God help me) and I find out my account is overdrawn this morning. Yes, I can only wish I had the luxury of falling off the face of the Earth.

End thought: *insert clever well thought out quote here* Yeah, you get the point.

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Headaches…no I’m sorry migraines have been plaguing me for 2 weeks now..every single day; and not just your typical ‘Man that sucks’ migraine no I’m talking bloodshot eyes, skull cracking pain, and nausea I’d trade for morning sickness any day.  So after toughing it out for 2 weeks I decide it’s time to see the doc.  Sitting there with my Peanut in tow (because  my doc is an hour away from where I work and with a migraine I was not driving all the way back to pick up the Peanut from daycare after seeing the doc) I wonder what matter of intellectual medical science he was going to throw at me to diagnose my pain.  He checks my temp, my blood pressure, my reflexes (what?) and gives me a quick breast cancer check – because it runs RAMPED in my family or he just wants to feel my breasts either way it’s incredibly awkward- all the while my Peanut screams at the top of his lungs at this stranger touching his Mommy from his stroller.  Ahh my little bodyguard.

So in the midst of the questions, the screaming, the way too bright light (I mean wtf? Are those like 10,000 watt bulbs or something?!) and the disgusting smell of antiseptic he says “Well, either it’s stress or your pregnant.” HOLY FREAKIN COW ARE YOU SERIOUS?!? I think to myself well if it is stress I’m definitely going to die right here and now after that comment.  Not that I’m not on the pill but after having one…there is no manner of protection that will give you that SAFE feeling (don’t look at me like that you know what I’m talking about).  So of course I’m like  TEST ME and TEST ME NOW!  Well I’m not pregnant (Thank you God Thank you God Thank you GOD!) Not that I don’t love my Peanut with all my heart and my J is and would be a wonderful father, I’m just SOOOO not ready for even THINKING about that step in our lives…Anyway..

Alright, so it’s stress.  He says “Maybe you should get out more, do some things without the baby.” Riiggghhttt…because it’s just that easy. So I huff and puff and beg for any kind of pill he could give me that could work magic and make it all better.  Of course there wasn’t one and he was looking at me all sideways like I was a drug seeker or something..whatever. *insert eye rolling* His prescription?  Pawn my kid of on a babysitter and ‘get out of the house’ or ‘find a hobby’.  You know..with doctors out there prescribing this kind of treatment it’s no wonder to me that we have Casey Anthonys in the world (UGH) don’t get me started….why is it that everyone is encouraging me to NOT be a Mom??

There I was, told by my medical professional that the stress of being a single parent (the greatest accomplishment in my life by the way) was making  me physically ill. How do you combat that?  Was I that big of failure as a parent that i needed to vacation from my son?  The idea made me even sicker…so I just sat down on the floor and cried.  Then out of nowhere in the middle of playing with his trucks…the Peanut stood up walked over to me and hugged me.  It was long hug, the kind where he just wrapped his little arms around me, rested his head on my shoulder and patted me with his tiny little fingers… and for a minute nothing else in the word mattered.  It didn’t matter that I was overwhelmed at work, that my boss could be an arrogant jerk, it didn’t matter that my family was in turmoil or that my Mom was never there when I needed her….all that mattered was that moment when my son in his only 1 year of life was able to educate me more than my 80 year old doctor.  All I needed was my Peanut.  It was then that I decided I didn’t need a vacation, we needed a vacation.  So I loaded up the car and headed to the beach.

Beach May 09 049The Peanut (being the little light of my life that he is) slept the entire way, which gave Mommy some much needed reflection time.  I call it interstate therapy…the music going the sun shining down, nothing but road ahead of me.  I had time to get my mind straight, to distinguish between what I wanted to do in life and what I needed to do in life.  I realized that sometimes you just have to let the little things go.  Like I may not get the living room cleaned up before bed like I want, sometimes work is going to have to wait, and when it comes to family troubles you just have to pray and give those troubles to God – ultimately you have to learn to just let go…so that I can spend some much needed quality time with my Peanut.  I learned a lot during ‘therapy’ this weekend but what I learned most of all is while my house may not be spotless, my work may fall behind and I may not always have my Mom to turn to – I will always have my Peanut and that is what matters most of all.

End thought:  “The moment that a child is born, the mother is also born.  She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.” -Rajneesh

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So just in time for me to write him off completely and post my Deadbeat Dad blog, The Jerk is back on the Daddy wagon.  You know the saying “He fell off the wagon again..”, well in my case The Jerk stays off the wagon or should I say has stayed off the wagon for at least the last 9 months.  But just in time for Mother’s Day weekend he’s back on in full force ready to be #1 Daddy again.  Keep in mind my son – that’s right MY son – hasn’t seen his “father” in 9 months. The last time he did see him all of those winter months ago it was in August 2008, at a truck stop, for 4 minutes, when he was 3 months old.  The time before that it was the day before he walked out and abandoned my child. Do you think Peanut remembers him? I’m thinking-  not so much.

UGH! Technically his supervised visitation is Saturdays from 10am to 1pm..yep you heard right every Saturday because the judge is a jackass totally fair to all parties involved 🙂 Anyway, so to date I haven’t heard a word from him about visitation, no call, no show, no problem.  Like I said before I got this…Peanut’s first birthday came and went without a hitch…kind of..but just in time for Mother’s Day he pops up with a phone call from a number I don’t even recognize ready to see “his boy”.  Excuse me? Would this be the same boy that you walked out on and never looked back to!?! *deep breath* So he gets visitation and acts like Super Dad the whole time..whatever.

Look I’m not saying that father’s shouldn’t be praised for attempting to have a place in their child’s life, but if you knew him like I know him you would realize that it’s just a ploy.  His truck stop hooker and her two kids are no longer appealing to him (hm, sounds familiar..I’m sensing a pattern love ’em – beat ’em and leave ’em) so he’s trying to make her mad by visiting my son.  Is there a lower form of human being on this earth?? I think not.  Imagine..using my child as a pawn in his stupid game…I’m flippin LIVID.  Now he thinks he can violate the court protection order any time he feels like it to call and check on Peanut.  Thank you court system for screwing me over putting me in this position.

I guess the reason I’m really upset about this, is my Peanut.  How do I explain it when his father up and decides to walk again.  When he finds something ‘better and more interesting’ than being a Daddy, just like he did last time.  He left my son for life on the road driving trucks and a dime store lock lizard (Def: truck stop prostitute), and now that that has lost it’s luster – as if there were really any there to begin with – he wants to be a Daddy again.  How do I explain that to a my little boy?  How do I give a decent reason that his “father” thinks he has better things to do than be his Dad?  What will I do when that day comes?  Here I was thinking Deadbeat Dads were the lowest of the low..only to be corrected by The Jerk who jumped back on the daddy wagon.  Today I’m like I’d rather him be a Deadbeat Dad that’s gone rather than a halfway Dad who shows up whenever it’s convenient…

Well that’s it, it’s not inspirational or interesting in any way.  But I’ve got a megaphone and I needed to vent so that’s what I did.

End thought: “Those who fall off the Daddy wagon should fall under the wheel of it”…ok that was mean..but I’m really mad so I’m leaving it.

Should Deadbeat Dads be given a second chance after an extended period of time with no contact?(blog polls)

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I probably shouldn’t, in fact I know I shouldn’t…it’s too controversial and it’s a tough subject all around….but like that has ever stopped me before..yep I’m going to anyway. I have to get this off my heart….

What is a Deadbeat Dad?

According to Wikipedia a Deadbeat Dad (or parent I should say) is defined as ‘an unrestricted parent treated equally who voluntarily chooses not to be a regular or supportive parent in his or her child or children’s life or lives.’ That definition in itself makes it easy enough to want to point a finger…I’m sure right now you’re thinking of the deadbeat parents that you know. I know because I do it every single time I hear the term. My mind shoots straight to every man I’ve ever known that has left their children/child emotionally, financially and physically; particularly Peanut’s “father”. A lot of these Deadbeat Dads have adopted nicknames like “sperm doner” and “walkaway Joe”, not to mention many colorful curse words that I’d rather not mention here. In my particular case he is simply known as “The Jerk”. The term “Deadbeat Dad” itself, however, is believed to have originated from the Child Support Agencies (not kidding look it up) . This term was used to label those who neglected to pay their child support for whatever reason and as a result became in arrears. But to me, a deadbeat dad goes way beyond missing child support payments.

Right when Peanut’s father left I said to myself, he doesn’t need him. All he needs is me – I can be both parents for him – he is better off without him – all the things that I needed to hear to justify the tragedy that had just taken place, that my son’s father had abandoned him and one day it would be up to me to explain why. All the while in the back of my mind I thought…what in the world do I do now? As a parent you want to shower your child with love, patience, knowledge, happiness and encouragement. I want to laugh with him when he’s laughing, hold him when he cries, stand beside him clapping when he accomplishes something spectacular but also be there to encourage him when he makes mistakes.. I want to do all of the things that make a parent – a parent. So here I sat wondering…what do I possess that The Jerk is missing? What component in his brain or heart does he lack to where he could just leave his child? Is it really possible that he just doesn’t care? The idea is shocking, appalling, disgusting..but so very true for a growing population of “fathers” in the US. In fact according to the U.S. Consensus Bureau in 2007 22.6% of US children were living in a Single Mother household. (KEEP IN MIND I did not say that all of them had a Deadbeat Dad – honestly I couldn’t find statistics for that with the U.S. Consensus Bureau, but I’m still looking). Almost a quarter of all children in the US are missing a father in the home – now that’s just sad.

So what is it?
What are these men lacking that makes it OK for them to just create children and walk away? Is it just pure selfishness? Just an unrelenting desire to put themselves first even before their own flesh and blood? And why is that the feeling or missing component is generalized in the only the male parent in most cases? In my case this question was easily answered, yes, it was selfishness. He didn’t want to ‘waste‘ the time or money it took to care for a child. As for me, it was never a choice. I gave birth to my child, I gave him life; from that moment it was never a question of if I was going to care for him, it was only how? Yet for so many women, so many children that answer isn’t as easily answered. Perhaps it’s fear, the responsibility of caring for a child in all aspects is at times overwhelming. Not only is it a dominating factor in terms of time and energy but a major sacrifice when it comes to sleep, finances, and all around social life. The first thing you realize when becoming a parent is that this tiny little person has to come first, no matter what. Parenthood is a tremendous sacrifice. Whatever the reason for these Deadbeat Dads and Walk Away Joes is…what it comes down to is not the child support going unpaid, it’s not the boasting rights of who won the custody battle or whose fault it was that the marriage or relationship ended. It all comes down to the fact that the children left in the wake of this stress and turmoil are being damaged, in some cases beyond repair.

I’d like to say my son is better off without his father, but to say that is a contradiction in itself. In all reality, his father – his real biological father – really is a selfish, manipulative, spiteful abusive man that would only corrupt my sons life with his meanness and hatred. But that connection, that father son moment is something I can never replaced. Perhaps someday I’ll get married and that man will love Peanut and provide for him emotionally, financially and physically in all the ways that my son needs from a male role model. But..because of The Jerk and the things that he has done, my son will never be able to stand up at the front of his class and say “This is my Daddy, when I grow up I want to be just like him.” and I can never forgive him for that.

End thought: Thoughts from a Single Mother, “I know that while Daddy is a word he will inevitably learn someday..I know that it’s now up to me to define it.” -Anonymous

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