The perils and pleasures of being a single mom
Life is full of lemons, especially as a single mom. But I have a great recipe for margaritas...
I've been a single mom for over two years now, and fortunately, it's getting better. For anyone else who is now putting their feet in my moccasins, or can relate in any way will know that life has it's ups and downs when you are on your own as a parent. But God bless those kids of mine-- they saved my life! Whenever the thought of "how could I let 15 years be wasted on a man who never appreciated me" invade my head, I just have to think of them, and know that God's plan was wise and gracious for giving me the most valuable treasures, ever.
Well, life sure is a journey, and I'm starting to feel like Indiana Jones at this point. Give me that cool hat and a whip, and I'll be swinging on vines in no time. I've learned on my own skin what the whole "dating" thing is... even though I read countless books on relationships after having my heart broken, repeatedly. I like a confirmation afterward that says, "OK, I'm not crazy, men like to use women, and I've been buffed up for male purposes." Shoot.
What have I learned, you ask? Well, let me take a look back into my post-crystal ball here: the first guy I fell for after separation was on the rebound with his ex. He seemed sincere and sent many caring messages during my breakup. But once I threw myself at him, and candidly, don't regret a minute (was the best encounter of my life), he decided he wants to give love another chance (to the woman who has repeatedly cheated on him). Learned: no matter how much you have good intentions for someone, and show them the light, love is blind and they will seek darkness in their blinded state. Meanwhile, you will get burned pointing at the bright light on your end.
Then there was the one time "dating site" guy I agreed to meet. The only thing attractive about him was his height, but his girth made it disappear pretty good. Being the Pollyanna that I am, I focused on all his good qualities. He had many. We had side by side massages, he brought steaks and wine to enjoy at my house, and helped me when my house was under water (not figuratively, but for real: it was raining buckets and my slab floor was a puddle of water). But he didn't "do it" for me, emotionally or physically. And that doesn't cut it in a relationship. Funniest of all: he texted me randomly one morning that we "should take a break." What I thought was a heartbreaking moment was actually a 300 pound weight off my shoulders.
Followed by the Valedictorian, with an emphasis on "dic".... He was smart, funny, (short), but charismatic. And he touched me. A lot. Man that felt good, even if it came from a short, mediocre, but smart guy. He pulled the "flake off" break up when his text messages slowly disappeared. Kind of like snowflakes during a Spring dusting. Again, snapped back to my senses about how I should at least be "physically attracted" to some guy who I'm falling for. Can I kick Pollyanna's ass for being so nice all the time? Why can't I focus on the bad qualities, to save myself from heartbreak at least?
Oh, and I had to hit rock bottom to know how bad I can get. The former drug addict, ex-con showed up at my door late one night when I had a few glasses of Chardonnay trickling through my veins. Well, like the coyotes around us, we did the wild thing when nature called. It was fun at least, until he left my house taking my life savings from my secret hiding spot. Lesson learned. "I'm following Jesus" is a nice come-on line, but it doesn't guarantee that you won't be taken advantage of.
Then there was Michael. I won't hide his name. He was the real deal. So "uh." Like his name: regal and majestic. I had it all. He saw my inner beauty before he even saw my face. How's that for winning the lottery of love? Everything I ever hoped for was encased in one man named "Michael." Sigh. The highs of elation he took me on with his romantic words, the joy I felt for knowing someone out there "got me," and I couldn't wait to meet my "soul mate." Until he let me know he could no longer communicate with me. I guess his wife and kids got the best of "us," and he retracted like a dog with its tail between its legs. If he only knew how much he inspired me to write the story of the century. I got the push I needed, and that was his goal all along. He is a good man, regardless of being a cheating "hillbilly."
But this Hub isn't about relationships; it's about hardships.
Oh, before I get off track, the message from Michael sure played a number on me. I went to a local bar the weekend he was supposed to meet me in person, and what can I say? I had to "let off steam." Yes, I'm only human, full of hormones, and pent up frustration over a man who vowed to love me unconditionally, only to have the dagger stuck in my heart, once again. There was a cute Navy guy at the bar that night, December 3rd, 2011, to be exact. He bought me a drink, and with cute smile laced with dimples, it melted my ice-cold exterior, and I let him into my heart (well close to that area) that night. Did I mention he's 24-- hotcha! It was a release of steam that had brewed in my soul since the time I realized that Michael was my soul twin. I needed him. But he let me go-- like so many other men. I needed this hot Navy guy to show me that love is alive and well, and I'm a woman with feelings, wants and needs. That night will never be forgotten, and I joked that he will be in my "book" for sure. Hey, I'm writing about him now, aren't I? His name is Jack, like in "Titanic." Cue the Celine Dion music...
So, cheesy romance novels aside, I'm here with my three kids, trying to make sense of everything that happened. I've had to pay the mortgage on my own, bills, utilities, you name it, while getting a fraction of support, unemployment, and only three job interviews in two years time. I'd like to say, "thank God for my freelance writing gigs," but a few hundred bucks a month is not going to cut it-- at least in California. I realized early on that the mortgage is eating me alive, so that has to go. Bills? I pay them first, even if I can't buy clothes and school supplies afterward.
Like the narrator said in The Great Gatsby, "I've learned to trust myself the most." Or maybe Scarlett O'Hara said it better, "as God as my witness..." I will do what I have to to make a living for my kids, if I'm all they have to depend on. I will chew on raw potatoes, wear curtains as clothing, or kiss up to men with mustaches..... well, no, not the last one. After Michael, heck no, not that.....
- My house will no longer eat us alive. As God as my witness.
- Relationships can wait. And wait. And wait.
- I can now look at my ex with love, thanks to the book by John Gray, Ph.D. But I still won't take him back, no matter how many crocodile tears he sheds.
- I will find my happy place, with, or without "Mr. Right." Or "Mr. Right Now."
- Being single has its benefits. Like: no drama, no cleaning up after more "babies." No heartbreak. No lies or disappointment.
- Singledom is lonely.
- I miss hugs, kisses, cuddles, sharing joy and grief, pushing each other to be the best we can be. I'd like to say, "damn you, Michael," but I never even got to hug and hold him, let alone do all the lascivious things I planned beyond that.
- I can do it on my own. I pushed the water fountain over on my front lawn without the aide of a man, or anyone else for that matter. I'm quite proud of myself. But my arms are sore nonetheless.... hey, I pretend to be Wonder Woman, but no one gave me the magic bracelets or belt. Anyone have an invisible plane they want to donate?
- I'm only human. I know that I don't need anyone, but it would be really nice to have someone there for me. I can pay men to do tough jobs around the house that my muscles just won't deliver.... but there is a sensitive spot only a "special" man can fill in when it comes to completing the "ying" in my "yang," emotionally. Plus, it would be nice to have a cuddle partner on a daily (rather than semi-annual) basis.
So with that said, you have the down low on what the highs and lows of being a single mom are. And another thing, Mr. John Gray Ph.D., in his infinite wisdom, let me know that women over the age of 37 will want sex all the time, just like young men. Well, thank you for that, Mr. Gray. At least now I know I'm not going crazy.
Back to reality. If you are a single mom, trying to make sense of everything, you are not alone. I've been grasping at air here trying to feel a new sense of "normalcy" and you know what? It takes time. You will get there, too. All I need now, is to dig myself out of financial black holes and I'll be fine. Plus there's always a good bottle of red wine to keep me company. Cheers!