Posted on Feb, 08. 2014 Category in my journal Tags
Motherhood is difficult enough regardless of your marital status, and the judgement single mothers are constantly fielding comes as often from each other as it does from men. I think it’s totally awesome to ask questions about single parenting because it helps demystify the unique struggles it presents, as well as normalize it a bit as one of the most common living situations for a parent and child to be in. But because single parents are so used to receiving negativity, a little sensitivity goes a long way. Here are some things I commonly hear that drive me crazy. (And these all apply to Alice’s single dad too!)
“It’s great that you let her spend time with her dad.”
My child’s father is amazing and we bear an equal responsibility for raising her. I don’t “let” him do anything. Not every single parent is the same–not all parents co-parent, and not all biological parents have relationships with their children. But I cringe when people say this to me because it implies that my child’s dad was a problem–an assumption that comes from sexist stereotypes. Some of the better things I’ve heard, that made me feel like I was doing okay (a feeling I really save up and treasure lately), include “I think it’s great how you guys work together as parents,” or “Alice is so lucky to have two parents who care about her.”
“Don’t worry, you’ll find someone new and you’ll be able to start over.”
Oh my god, nothing sounds more depressing than having to “start over” as opposed to continuing to strive to live my best life like I was doing all along. Saying things like this paints a parent’s “past life” as a failure, instead of a rich and powerful series of experiences that inform the wonderful life they continue to lead. I always say, “I never started over, I just kept going.” Like we all do throughout our whole lives. Furthermore, what’s with the implication that my long lost happiness will return when I find “someone new?” As a parent, there’s always this unspoken undercurrent of “so you’re finding a new dad for your kid” when topics of dating come up. All we wanna do is go out and not be “mom” for a while, to get to know someone without putting all our relational identity name tags on. Pressure from well-meaning friends to “find someone new” and “start over” isn’t helpful, and it isn’t a magical recipe for guaranteed happiness either.
“Your ex is a jerk.”
I don’t complain about my first husband, and there’s no reason for anyone else to. I think that when people speak to me like this, they want to give me an outlet to vent about the pain and sadness I feel about the relationship ending, which is valid and important to do sometimes. Your single parent friends will let you know when those times are, believe me. No need to remind anyone about what went wrong.
“Where is your daughter tonight?”
Gee, I don’t know. I left her the car keys and a $20 on the coffee table for pizza.
“My husband is out of town for five days. I might go insane!”
You just might.
“Are you sure this is best for your child?”
My husband and I only agonized about the decision forever, but now I definitely wish we had checked with you first so we could have thought to consider how it would affect our kid. Boy are we selfish.
“I could never do what you do.”
Yes you could, if you had to. You do it because you have to. I know this is meant to be a compliment, but it makes single parenthood sound unrewarding and unfortunate, when in reality raising my inspiring, smart, funny child is the best part of my life. It would feel better to hear a compliment on my parenting or child than to see someone so incredulous that I’ve been able to manage this ill-fated existence at all.
I’m so grateful to have a village here, a network of support for Alice to make her feel loved and never alone, and a group of friends that help me, too, who have kept me positive in the last year. It’s a privilege to co-parent with Dave, and I know that tons of parents–single and otherwise–have challenges I can’t even relate to. Figuring this all out, navigating new boundaries and expectations and routines, is a good thing. It’s hard and there are valleys after the peaks, but I’m in the habit of feeling my good feelings and holding on to them which makes my life so positive overall. Everyone else is on their own timeline of their own life stories, too, and they’re all doing their best. Speaking through a mindset of empathy instead of judgment is something we all owe each other, and getting in the habit of it will change your life for the better too.
Posted on Feb, 06. 2014 Category in my closet Tags
I was in a crappy mood when Sarah took these pictures because I had just read the last article I ever want to read about nonsense fashion e-commerce startups owned by men getting fully funded. Nothing like that to get my gears grindin’.
People who know better than me (Tara Hunt (author, speaker, founder, badass) who co-founded Buyosphere which has been down its own long, winding road) tell me it’s not smart to read articles about competitors but I am usually glad I did because I always learn something. And I can always use my annoyance or frustration to fuel a better day of productivity at my own office. In any case, I have a hard time keeping my feelings off my face.
Tomorrow I’m going to the Joslyn Museum annual gala. (Unsure what to wear yet! I wish I had something full-length.)
Posted on Jan, 31. 2014 Category in my closet Tags
Working today with Alice, who has been a bit under the weather. She was REAL sick on Wednesday, and then I had an Airbnb guest come on Thursday so we’ve been staying at my parents house since then. She’s probably well enough to go back to school, but the 45-minute drive into Omaha from their house makes sleeping in much too tempting.
Have any of you night owls ever tried making yourselves go to sleep at night instead of working late? Hello Holiday is full-time, bouquets for Princess Lasertron are still happening (I’ve got to make eight this month!) except I’m doing all of those without help now, I’m working with a new designer to re-design this website (yay!), I’m trying to promote a book, there’s a social justice passion project I’m working on in Omaha on my own time, I have Alice all day half the time, and I’m basically running a full-time hostel through Airbnb. None of that is really getting 100% of my effort.
In the past year, with so much more parenting and work responsibility on my plate, I’m finding that I can’t be as productive at night as I used to be. I miss the days SO MUCH when I could stay up until 4 or 5am and get tons of projects finished. I found I was most creative during those times and thought of my best ideas, but now I just feel totally tapped out and exhausted. But when I turn in early for bed, I feel like I’m wasting time sleeping.
If I want to feel productive, work as hard as I want to work, and be present enough for my daughter, something’s gonna have to change. Don’t quite know what that is yet. I’m fine saying “no” to things, but I don’t want to. I like all the things.