Happy Single Parent’s Day!

I completely missed that this was a holiday! (Probably too busy being a single parent) ūüėČ So in honor of today I am reposting my top 18 list of awesome things about being a single mom.

A heavy burden, and that much more impressive when you hold it...

A heavy burden, and that much more impressive when you hold it…

For the full article click here.

  1. I decide what we have for supper. No one (who gets a vote) tells me “that’s not healthy enough” or, “what do you mean you’re too tired? What did you do today?” or my favorite “no, I’m just not in the mood for that”.¬† Side note, I also get to decide when! ūüôā
  2. I choose haircuts & if I want my little boy to have longish hair, no one tells me no. Or if I want bangs, I’m not disappointing anyone.
  3. I do not have to shave in the winter, unless I want to.
  4. No one has more authority than I do in my house.
  5. I don’t have to share the remote after 9pm‚Ķ EVER
  6. My parenting philosophy is LAW, no one to compromise with.
  7. My house is as clean/dirty as I damn well want it to be.
  8. If I want to blow money on something, I don’t have to discuss it with anyone.
  9. I can leave clean laundry in a basket unfolded for weeks!
  10. Merchants have to talk to me, not “don’t you want me to just explain it to your husband, dear?”
  11. My bank account is the exact balance I left it at, always.
  12. If I decide we should not get dressed all weekend and watch movies and eat pizza in the living room cause it’s raining, no one judges me.
  13. There is no “I’m telling Dad”.
  14. If I get the opportunity to move for a promotion there is no one else’s career to consider.
  15. I don’t have to be nice to/pretend to like anyone’s lame, annoying friends. (Only my lame, annoying friends show up at my door. Love you guys, lol!)
  16. My stuff is always where I left it and organised the way I want it to be.
  17. I can decorate however the hell I want to. (there is a pink wall coming, I’ll tell you about that later lol)
  18. I get to be proud of what I am doing with no qualifiers, it’s just me, and I AM doing it, thank you.

I also found these cool little bits as well:

20 Reasons to Appreciate Single Parents

10 Single Mom Secrets

30 Reasons All Moms Deserve a Paycheck

So, if you are a single parent, congrats! It’s your day! If you know someone who is doing it alone, take a minute today to tell them what a great job they are doing. I can promise you, having an adult say, “You are doing great, I am proud of you.” means sooo much to those of us who don’t have a partner to say it to us ever.

Oh, and maybe offer to babysit? ūüėČ

However you celebrate, make sure you do. Have a great day all!

Thanksgiving Planning in 7 Easy Steps

As many of you know I love I love a good party, any holiday I can get my hands on and run with. Well Thanksgiving is one of my favorites, mostly because it’s all about the food. Food, family, and just enjoying each other, can’t beat that with a stick. As much as I am excited about next week, I know that some are nervous, stressed, overwhelmed, which is totally taking away from your ability to enjoy the holiday. In an effort to help prevent any of you from “Gettin’ all Holiday”(defined below for those of you who were unaware)¬†on anyone I made a list (yay, lists!) of things that help me stay sane/cheerful/fairly relaxed during the next week. Keep in mind, I firmly belive if you aren’t having fun, stop, do it differently, don’t do it at all, whatever, but holidays should be fun, for EVERYONE, not just the kids, not just the in-laws, not just your own family. Kay, back off of soap box & onto list of helpfulness…

  1. Make a Master list. I know, first item on the list is make a list, but this helps, I promise. Make a list of whose (probably) going to be there. (this gives you a head count & keeps fresh in your mind any dietary restrictions, which you should write next to people’s name on this list) On your Master list you have eaters and eaten. So you should list all the food you want to serve. (like you are brainstorming, you can cut items later).
  2. Edit that list! Go through the Master list and evaluate it. Are you serving 8 sweet potato dishes? Is someone going to be rushed to the hospital due to the fact that every dish has their allergen in it? Is the vegetarian in your group about to waste away? What about the no veggie/meat and PLAIN potatoes only eater? Do you have more deserts that side dishes? Balance your menu as best you can and rewrite it. This list goes on the fridge so you can find it all week long.
  3. Calender. Draw a 1 to 2 week calendar on a sheet of notebook paper. (I recommend 2 week for maximum holiday chill time, but as long as you have a week you should be fine) Plot 2 days to go grocery shopping (the second should be no earlier than the Monday before Thanksgiving and no later than the Wednesday before, DO NOT plan to go on Thanksgiving! Yes, you can go for an emergency, but don’t do that to you intentionally!) Using you edited menu, decide what you are going to cook and when. Keep in mind fridge space when you do this. Your goal is to cook as few things as humanly possible on Thanksgiving day. (think Turkey on the day, Sweet Potato Pie can be cooked 2 weeks early, boil eggs on¬†Saturday to Devil on Thanksgiving Day, etc)
  4. Grocery Lists (yes 2 lists) and Shopping your Pantry.¬†Sit down with your Edited list,¬†Calendar,¬†and all your recipes along with 2 sheets of paper. One list will be for that first trip to the store, you get the idea. It helps to have a child (or relative/friend/etc) look for items as you call them out from recipe cards. If you have the item on stock, pull it out (try putting all non perishables in a box), if you don’t it goes on one of your two lists. Place items on your list with an eye on when you plan to make what. However, I would buy the Turkey at least one week early, so you still get to pick. 2 lists have¬†3 main benefits, #1 it spreads out your grocery budget across (hopefully) more than one paycheck, #2 if you forgot/underestimated how much you needed/etc you have PLANNED to go back (this is emotionally important, I promise) making 1 “extra” trip is waaay more relaxing than 4 or 5 for other little things, #3 you can start cooking 1 1/2 to 2 weeks in advance and still have fresh veggies on the actual day.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† *At this point I point out that if you aren’t already the owner of one of those magnetic clips? Invest. They look like the clip part of an old clipboard, but stick to the fridge. they are perfect for holding school flyers, and will keep all of your lists in order (ie not lost).*
  5. Follow your Plan. Except when your life happens, then adjust your plan. You will have more freedom to do this the earlier you start. See how much more relaxing that is?
  6. Enjoy Thanksgiving! You did all of this! You are the conductor of your very own gastronomical symphony! (Many pats on the back)
  7. Do not leave house on Black Friday. An important final stress reducing step. Out of milk? It’s all good, no one will die between now and Saturday, I promise. Make sure some Holiday Booze was secreted away for today, enjoy it, prop your feet and laugh at the people assaulting each other on the news while wearing your fuzzy pjs.

Hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving! recipes/etc to follow this week!

*Gettin’ all Holiday: Usually used as in¬†“I was so mad¬†about how that woman was acting, I was this close to Gettin’ all Holiday on her ass.” Comes from years in restaurants that were open on the holidays and located near malls, refers to the way people act (like complete shit heads)/treat each other (as though they are actually insane and self-species-loathing) from November 1st through January 10th or so every year. Is most famous¬†for occurring on Black Friday, but can be seen in disrespectful, self-absorbed,and hatefully people any day during this time period. We have been using it for years (pre YouTube) along with “Y’all have a Rainbow F-ing Day” (which is a story for later) but last year it was demonstrated even better than I can explain by folks all over the good ole US of A. Try to avoid Gettin’ all Holiday on folks, you could end up on the internet…*

An Angry Mouth

I need to start off with making sure everyone understands who this rant is directed at. This rant is NOT directed at mothers who neglect their health and well-being for their children. This rant is also NOT directed at mothers who don’t neglect their health and well-being for their children. This rant is also NOT for people who are not mothers and can’t fathom how/why a mom might feel like she should/has to/guilt because she did/didn’t neglect her health and or¬†well-being for her children. To me all of the above positions are perfectly reasonable, acceptable, and a position I have held at some point in my life or another. (Sometimes wildly ping ponging between the first two during a single week) So who IS it I am mad at? The subgroup of category 3, those who want to be all judgey and lecturing and add to my maternal guilt (thanks, but I manufacture plenty on my own, but if you’d like to babysit while I go to therapy, well, hell , that would actually be helpful). See? Here I am, just full of steam and wanting to yell at someone, but my mouth hurts. (Oh & I vowed to yell less about 4 or 5 years ago, so there’s that too; I feel like getting a white chip every time I go a solid week, so it’s a work in progress‚Ķ Argh! So much mouth pain I am having trouble thinking in any cohesive way‚Ķ Sorry)

¬†Here’s the thing, I am not a wealthy woman (Like you hadn’t noticed or something) I live below the official poverty line for a family of 4. (I checked recently, just to see) But I pay (along with my nice grown-up lady job employers) for my health insurance, and dental and vision, for the four of us. Those co pays will add up quick (as I am certain you all know) so I often am making a call along the lines of say $100 + $25 for BoyChild II to get an eye exam and new glasses or pay the electric bill that is not overdue at all. (I can tell you in this rock-paper-scissors budgeting glasses beat electricity, as long as electricity is not overdue, but moving on‚Ķ)Yeah It’s that tight around here, and 90% of the time (fairly good odds to my mind) I end up getting the necessities paid for ( we never go out to eat/buy brand new jeans/ video games, but that electric bill gets paid). But I don’t feel like I should have to draw a map of my monthly (or yearly) budget to anyone (see awesome things about being a single mom) I mean anyone, it’s my choice to share or not share my finances with you or with any service provider. So when I say (hypothetically speaking) “Well, I’d love to pay you $88 to pull the skin back from my teeth and clean (remove cracked tooth filling bits that are now “too old”)¬† inside the gum line on the left side of my face and then come back in 2 weeks to pay you $88 to do the same to the right side of my face, but unfortunately that ain’t happening this week, or any time soon. I will call to schedule the appointment as soon as I have saved up the money to do so.” This should be an accepted statement. No one should then go on and on (hypothetically speaking again) for say 10 to 15 minutes on how important my dental health is to my overall health. (Note: stressing over paying for¬† $176 and a total of 1 1/2 days off work is ALSO not good for my overall health) See, I have never had a cavity. My parents didn’t have any dental insurance until I was out of school so my first dental appointment wasn’t until I was 12 and I went about 3 times after that the last time being at the age of 16. I didn’t go to the dentist again until my wisdom teeth came in and my face swelled shut (not pretty), I was 21. My teeth are so crowded in my mid twenties they started cracking each other. Guess who had actual cracks in her teeth with no nastiness/etc¬† for the 4 years it took to save the money to pull/fill those cracking teeth? Yeah, so when they start getting on me about “this is a dental health emergency” I just smile politely and roll my eyes when they aren’t looking. (In case anyone is wondering? No I can’t fit floss between all my teeth, but I religiously am a CREST kid & I promise to update this post should I ever get a cavity)

So the day has arrived. Thursday I have an appointment with the dentist to rip open my left side gums and  really bleed a lot get them clean, I finally saved up the money to do it. The problem is when I called to schedule said appointment I was already hurting and swollen (I did not tell the receptionist this, however super sonic hearing is apparently her superpower) I was scolded again for not having made this appointment sooner. So in a pain/frustration induced haze I broke my own rule. I rattled off a list of the things I did this year that also cost between $100 and $200 instead of getting this cleaning done back in March.

My List:

  • Aforementioned glasses
  • Electric bill (every month thank you very much)
  • Extra $200 in gas every month we lived in the hotel (4) after our house flooded (to do completely frivolous things like get kids to school, me to work, etc)
  • Tires for Suzie (my 2001 Isuzu Trooper)
  • Carpet Cleaner (to get indescribable things out of flooded carpet)
  • $300+ per month co pays for meds and therapy for BoyChild I
  • Breaks for Suzie
  • School clothes¬†(underwear/pants/socks/shoes) at about $60-120 per child x3 since someone grew 4 inches, 26 lbs, and 4 shoe sizes this summer. (& well, they can’t go to school shoeless and nekked, no matter how clean their teeth are)
  • School supplies
  • Inspection ready repairs to Suzie & then inspection/title renewal (old girl has had a rough year, but we still love her — & she requires no car payments)
  • Infected toe (I have a feeling the growing 4 sizes was bad for it too) decontamination and whatever else the pediatrician did along with antibiotics
  • 2 children’s birthday parties (ok, I know this is not necessity, but you gonna say “sorry hun, no birthday this year, Mommy is going to the dentist instead” ? Riiight)

¬†Now it’s not a crazy list, I’ve had worse summers, and I don’t own a credit card so there’s no debt, but it was enough that I just couldn’t fix it until now. I was telling a friend about this, the receptionist and her reaction and what I had to say to shut her up (again, not for sympathy, just shut up) when a stranger nearby says “sounds like you just shouldn’t of had kids if you can’t even take care of yourself.”

What?! Like in the cartoons when they turn red and steam comes out their ears? Yeah, like that.

¬†So that’s what this was, my rant to get off my chest exactly how asinine both those people were being. I hope if you have ever judged like that you are feeling a bit shame faced and will never do it again. I hope if you have been judged like that (after several Lamaze type breaths) you will know it isn’t you, it’s them. Do you have a story like this? Do you think I’m just needing a nap and a stiff drink calm down because I am overreacting? Let me know. Looking forward to it!

Texting and the Single Mom

You all know that I am having a love affair with my phone. What you don’t realize is that it’s only the second cellphone I’ve ever had. I was totally one of those people, the people who are all “I don’t want everyone to be able to get up with me all the time” or even more so for me “I’m never anywhere but work, home, grocery store, or driving between the three. Why do I need another way to be contacted?” Obviously, I changed my mind (although I still don’t answer the phone if I’m driving, you will have to be patient), I think a lot of that change had to do with the kids getting older and therefor actually going places without me (other than school). I have also discovered I would rather text than make a phone call, I would rather get a text than a call as well. I was about 16 or 17 the last time I was excited to talk on the phone, but I can text while I’m doing the nine thousand things per day that I do and still actually get them done. (If you are a Mom you know that the moment you put a phone to your ear children you didn’t even know you have will suddenly be dying of malnurisment or some other such emergency and you cannot actually have a conversation with any children present and conscious)

I have also previously shared that I have been on a relationship hideous since 2009. I have spent the last couple of years recovering from a relationship, getting to know me, raising my kids, accomplishing personal goals, blah, blah self-affirming psychobabble here. (I really have been doing those things, but I am as always, aware of what it sounds like when I say it out loud)In the last month or so I have begun to consider (not the gun-shy indecision) pursuing or being pursued by members of the opposite sex. I have obviously not fully committed to that idea yet, but I have started noticing male people and how attractive/unattractive they are, so that’s a start, right? Right.

Now, you are wondering what the f-ing h those two paragraphs above have in common, aren’t you? Well, I stumbled across an article today that immediately struck me as something that I wasn’t even aware of text flirting etiquette. Who knew? Apparently there are rules. As I have never flirted with anyone via text, I assumed the post was referring to a younger crowd until I read this:

“…You hated on our generation at first (no hard feelings) because you thought texting was taking away from human interaction and ruining our lives as we know it. Even as everyone around you started getting qwerty keyboards for easier texting, you stood your ground, preferred phone calls, and ignored SMS like the swine flu.

But look at you now. Today you stand white flag in hand, cell in the other, singing a different tune. You send over ten texts a day, pass on leaving voice mails, and have even accepted a date invite over text. If you’re single, you’ve definitely sent a LNBT (Late Night Booty Text) a time or dozen — not realizing there was a term for it. We’re so glad you finally came around, and hope you’re enjoying the endless benefits of easy, accessible and fast, communication 24/7…”

*For the record I have never sent a “LNBT”, but if I did I will certainly now know the name for it.*

That’s when I realized, oh this is intended for me. Hmm, sure I’m game, what are these text flirting rules? Apparently there’s a whole Facebook page dedicated to this. Here are some of the ones it listed:

For the record I knew about tweeting, but does that mean people are flirt tweeting too? See, now I was starting to feel overwhelmed. Part of me thinks, sure I could have figured all that out, had it occurred to me to flirt via text, but it just hadn’t (yet). I read the rest of the post where it came off as a bit snotty, but for the most part made me think, maybe I’m still not ready for all this. *reconsidering nun habit* But I did think it was interesting enough to share with all of you.

If you were going to add to this list, what would you add? Are you as overwhelmed with the simple idea of possibly dating again too? As always, let me know…

Mom of Teen Daughter Seeks Advice

This week I am preparing to go to 3 Open Houses next week. 1 at the elementary school where BC II is entering the 3rd grade, or as any of you who are in the know would say, Big Kid Elementary School (Caps denote the somberness¬†that must be applied to this statement-just ask him). No more recess 3 days a week, it’ll be 2 days but I promise that makes a difference, and honestly I wish they had recess 5 days a week all through elementary school, but no one asked me for a vote. We will go to Open House all bright eyed¬†with the thrill of being a “big kid” firmly implanted in our brains. 1 Open House will be at the middle school as BC I is starting the 6th grade. (Have I mentioned how terrified I am of this?) I have the packets of information regarding what SPD is, reference book lists (with the mention that I own several of them and would loan them to any teacher would wanted to borrow them), his IEP, his medication list with side effects to watch for, and contact info for therapists, psychiatrists, and last year’s school councilor ready to print out. This year I am making 8 copies, since he will have 6 instead of 2 or 3 teachers. We will go to that one with me still faking enthusiasm and confidence, still building up how cool it will be to have lots of teachers, make lots of friends, and have your very own locker (he is most excited about having a place to put his stuff that no one else can even look at, much less touch), and BC I with sparkles in his eyes over finally not being in elementary school where everyone is “so immature”. See why I’m scared? On the same night I go to the Open House for the elementary school I will somehow also go to the one at the high school. (You see, the public school system, having absolute faith in my abilities as a superhero who can time travel, has double booked me that night) I hate it when this happens, and it happens all the time. Just another thing about this time of year, right? I mean, if I were planning an open house at any school in a public school system, I would make sure that the night I picked wasn’t already picked by any feeder schools nor any school that my school was a feeder school to. I mean, there are 3 high schools, for our part of the district, 4 middle schools, and about 7 elementary schools. Wouldn’t it make since¬†to have say¬†Monday and Tuesday nights are all elementary school open houses, Wednesday night be middle school open houses and Thursday night for the high schools? In my area, at least, you can’t have 2 kids at 2 different elem/middle/high schools in the same family, so wouldn’t this solve the issue? But I digress, that wasn’t even what I wanted to write about (sorry I did warn everyone I hate this time of year, I promise to return to sunny optimism and the like soon).

My question is, when I go to the high school Open House (time machine or no) my daughter, who is 14 will cling to my side, insisting that I stay within her sights (while she talks with her friends) and continue to call me Mommy. Right in front of anyone who happens to be around. Now, it’s not that I can’t be called Mommy ( I’m pretty well acquainted with the title at this point), my concern is that when I was going into high school as a freshman I would have actually died before I called my mom Mommy. Anywhere, in private or in public. Now, I’m from the south, we call our dads Daddy for way longer than is normal anywhere else in the country it seems (guys too, it’s not a girl thing). But Mommy? No most of us have been calling her Mom, Mama, or Mother since about the 2nd grade. In fact GC is the only one of my kids still calling me Mommy. This probably sounds like the most insane thing to be worried about, but well, I’m a Mom, I’m supposed to be worried about insane things right? And I am concerned about a pattern I am seeing.

In addition to calling me Mommy, my child (whose first phrase at the age of 1 1/2 was “get offa¬†me” when I tried to hug her goodbye at daycare drop off, I was interfering with her getting to her friends to play with them) constantly wants to sit right next to me (you know in that share your skin way that they usually do at about age 2 to say 5ish?) something she wasn’t interested in prior to this year. She constantly wants to “hang out” with me, if I have a friend around she wants to hang out with us, getting upset when I nudge her off to do her own thing. This all seems so strange to me. When I was 14 I would have counted the ridges in the popcorn ceiling in my bedroom before I voluntarily “hung out” with my mother. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind that we spend time together, I encourage it. But it’s as though she has decided we should be friends. I am not sure where she got this idea. We do have fun together, but I have never (at least intentionally) given the impression that I was her friend. Mom, nurse, chaperone, chauffeur, costume/wardrobe designer, chef, groundskeeper, disciplinarian, teacher, yes to all of those; but friend? No. I actually went so far as to tell her a few weeks ago, that while I look forward to being friends with her when she is in her twenties, I am not desirous to be friends with any 14-year-old, no matter how much I love said 14-year-old. She acted as though I had kicked her puppy (or maybe her). I know that it’s a thing now, parents who befriend their children, but I don’t think it’s right. She should have friends her age, I should be her mom, that’s how I have always believed. I have been raising this once independent girl for 14 years, I don’t consider myself done, and suddenly she has changed (in addition to the crazy hormonal changes that I had at least steeled myself for), she still seems very sure of herself and confident, but at the same time constantly wants Mommy around, like physically right there. I wonder is this a normal part of adolescence, that I myself skipped?

¬†I¬†do want her to talk to me, to continue to tell be about her friends, her day, boys she likes, things she is considering doing with those boys. Maybe I would feel more normal if she didn’t volunteer all of those things, if I had to ask in that pulling teeth way I have to get information from BC I. I just don’t want to be her friend; I want to listen, help her learn to make good choices, guide her when she needs it(you know, be the Mom of the teenager). What should I do to encourage the continued sharing without encouraging this my mom is my friend thing? I would welcome any advice any of you have. Thanks & I hope you are all enjoying the last few weeks of summer.