Parenting · Single Mom

Making Friends with Batman

I was so excited about Christmas this year for my darling two year old.  I hoped that Santa would bring him trains and other nice toddler toys.  I knew he would enjoy seeing Ho Ho –he always does.  But there was something about this year that was even more exciting than the last two.

You see, he is nearing three –and with all the changes that entails.  His excitement is contagious.  He YIKES Ho Ho.

The thing that I did not expect–was how much he began to yike Batman. . . . and Spiderman. . . . and “All That.”  Sure, I knew that I was probably never going to get around the superhero faze.  (Looking back, I’m not sure why I ever even  wanted to).  The truth is, I’d hoped that I could keep my toddler into Elmo (who he yiked a month before he met Batman) and Dot Dog (otherwise known as Mickey Mouse) for a little bit longer.  I even bought him an early Christmas gift for good measure–Tickle Me Elmo.  I was certain he would LOVE it because we had just visited Elmo’s Castle and he told me how much he yiked Elmo.

But sometime between Elmo’s Castle and Christmas, my Massimo met Batman.  And when we visited Ho Ho for the first time, he asked for Batman, Spiderman, Batman’s House and “all that.”   We visited several Santa’s during the course of the Christmas season (Santa is Massimo’s homeboy), and each and every time he told Ho Ho the same thing.  There was no fighting it–no matter how much I tried.

Family members asked what he wanted:  my response was always–“well he wants Batman, but I’m not sure that Mommy is ready for Batman.”

Sometime after the second or third Santa, I realized that I was no match for Batman.  Batman was just too strong.  He is a superhero after all.

Trying to make the best of what I had lost–my toddler–who Yiked Elmo.  I began to embrace the Batman.  I began to realize that it was not necessarily a fighting super hero he wanted.   What he really wanted was action figures that he could play with in their “house,” much like a preschool girl wants a doll house–and there’s no cooler way to do that than with Batman.  I don’t understand Batman.  But I do understand dolls and doll houses.

On Christmas day, I could barely contain myself for him to see his Batman and Spiderman and “all that.”  He was so excited. Oh. My Doodness.  I think I was more excited though.

Christmas afternoon we ended up in the ER.  Luckily, we had Batman, Spiderman, and all that with us to keep us entertained while we waited.  Since Massimo is in a cast now, he’s had a lot of downtime.  Thank god for Batman.  He’s been playing with his superheroes and their houses for days.  And Mommy is really enjoying watching him.

Now, I don’t know what I’d do without Batman.

Love,

 

J

 

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Fertility · Single Mom

Elderly Primigravida: Not for Virgin Marathon Runners

Massimo doesn’t know this but, when he was in his Mommy’s belly–I called him Baby Sue.  Two procedures, almost daily doctor visits, daily shots, blood tests every other day, and finally my little nugget was conceived.

Eight weeks later–I was back in the doctor’s office.  This time it was the normal OB/GYN.  I was pretty excited–but I had enough of doctors.  At that point, I would have been just fine if I’d never seen another doctor in my life.  Don’t get me wrong–I was incredibly grateful for the skills that they had used to create the life that was growing inside of me but I would have preferred to be grateful from afar.

I had a vision of a beautiful natural child-birth.  With candles and a bathtub.  There would have been music–maybe even chanting.  It would be painful but worth it.

I even picked the doctor’s office that was affiliated with the one and only midwifery center in my area.  The office had the highest natural childbirth rate in my state and the doctor I picked ran the midwifery center.

After my eight week exam, the doctor invited me into his office–where he discussed his vision of my child-birth.  We were not on the same page.  I’m not even sure we were reading the same book.

I explained to him that I was interested in learning more about the midwifery center and wanted to “register” to have my birth there.  The doctor, who appeared to be 78, scoffed!

“You wouldn’t run a marathon for the first time at 37, you can’t have natural childbirth for the first time at 37.  You will RUIN OUR NUMBERS!!!!!!!”

I envisioned the following response: “I burst out in tears, lunged across the desk, grabbed his lab coat and shouted at him.  Don’t you understand!  I’ve had enough of your type!  I just want to have this baby and be left alone!  And you, you crotchety old man!  Its 2014.  Not 1914.  Put me on the list for the midwifery center and I’ll show you a marathon!”

Unfortunately (or fortunately), I didn’t do any of that.  I did nearly burst out in tears but I got up and left.

I was scared.  Pregnancy is scary.  Exciting but scary.  I think the medical field does a good job of making it even more scary.

Three years later and I’m STILL scared. Does that ever go away?  I have my doubts.

After the doctor’s appointment, I went home dejected but did NOT give up the hope of having a natural childbirth.

I soon received an email from my doctor with the notes from that day’s appointment.

It contained the following diagnosis: Elderly Primigravida.

Love,

 

J

 

 

 

Single Mom · Working Mom

Giving Back to Society

Every now and then, I get a wild hair up my tail and decide that I need to join a group to give back to society.  Ultimately, I know that I’m very bad about joining and participating in groups.  I don’t know why that is but sometimes I feel like I need an additional social outlet that also makes me feel like I’m contributing something other than legal opinions and raising a child to this world.

I felt one such wild tail last year around this same time when I almost joined a philanthropical group of women.  Almost for a number of reasons.  Mostly, because I was too tired.  When I say too tired, I mean literally too tired.

I went to one meeting at the leader’s house.  She lived in a swanky neighborhood and had her house decorated for Halloween.  She had painted glasses for all of us (I wish I had time to paint glasses).  We had wine and nice conversation.

During the “happy hour,” before the actual meeting, several of the women asked me the same question:  “Do you work?”  To which, I responded –yes, I’m a lawyer.  But I thought, do I work?  Doesn’t everyone work?  What is this not working that you are alluding to?  Who doesn’t work?  And how can I get that job?

After the happy hour, we had the meeting where all of the fundraising activities were discussed.  It was very clear to me that they were all very into raising money for a really good cause–which was what appealed to me in the first place.  When the meeting was over, our host told us to take our painted glasses with us and bring them back at the next meeting.

I drove home but I was so tired.  Massimo wasn’t really sleeping all night long.  I woke up at O dark thirty in the morning and my commute was really bad.  I nearly nodded off on the way home from the meeting.

I still have my glass.  Every now and then I see it in the cabinet.  It stares at me, reminding me how bad I am at joining groups and how I really should give that nice lady her glass back.

Love,

J

 

Parenting · Single Mom

The Child is Just Fine, Thank You Very Much.

Before you judge me, make sure your life is perfect.–Clint Eastwood

Older women can utter the most judgmental words ever spoken to younger women.  Especially, when it comes to parenting, lifestyle choices, and appearances.

It is possible that other demographics (older men, younger women, and younger men) harbor the same thoughts but they do not dare speak them aloud.

Older women do not care.  They seem to think that they can–indeed that it is their God given obligation to –tell younger women exactly what they think.  No holds barred.  I have considered that maybe I’m not being fair here.  I could be too quick to stereotype.  We all make judgments based on our own personal experiences–and that’s what I’m doing here.  I’ll explain.

Two years ago, I traveled to a conference for work and took 3 month old Massimo.  During the conference, I attended–with Massimo in tow–a BBQ held at the home of one of the “leaders” of our organization.  Massimo wasn’t the only baby there–in fact–another attorney and her husband attended with their baby who was several months older than Massimo.

Oh, how they swooned.  Massimo was a very handsome baby.  We compared the two babies–their size.  Massimo was larger even though younger–which (by the way) meant exactly nothing.  Everything was going pretty well.  Massimo was well-behaved and there were no major accidents. . . . . at least until one of the older female “leaders” of our organization accidentally opened her mouth.

She asked me about my husband.  I told her I wasn’t married.  Although I’m sure it was quite obvious to her that the fact that I had no husband was not all that important to me–it was to her– and she continued to pry.

“Well, what about his father? Where is he?”

“He isn’t around,”  I responded and then quickly tried to change the subject.  Having none of it, she persisted.

“Well, that’s not good for the baby!” Awkward silent moment.  I walked away.

To be fair, I am not sure she would characterize her interaction with me as an accident.

I was at a work function, with a “leader” of my organization–who by the way–I had never met until that  moment.  Of course, her opinion of my life did not matter to me but no mother –particularly a new mother–wants ANYONE to tell her that the choices that she makes aren’t “good for the baby.”

Here’s the thing, this lady literally had no business telling me what her opinion of my life choices were.  They were quite simply none of her business.  But she hit a nerve.

The story line that single parenting (particularly single motherhood) is bad for children is a time-honored tale.  “Single mothers” have their own demographic–beside which appears higher rates of poverty, school failure, and other “problems” with the children as they grow up.  Indeed, the children of single mothers are destined to fail.  At least that’s what we’ve been told.

In fact, that story is not exactly true–and it does not have to be.

Mathilde Brewaeys from VU University Medical Centre, Amsterdam conducted a study comparing the well-being of children growing up in single-mother-by-choice and heterosexual two-parent families and found no differences in terms of parent-child relationship or child development.

According to her, “the assumption that growing up in a family without a father is not good for the child is based mainly on research into children whose parents are divorced and who thus have experienced parental conflict.”  Ms. Brewaeys explained “however, it seems likely that any negative influence on child development depends more on a troubled parent-child relationship and not on the absence of a father. Single-mothers-by-choice knowingly make the decision to raise their child alone, in contrast to unintended single mothers. Little research has been done on the specific features of these single-mothers-by-choice families and whether there are differences between them and heterosexual two-parent families in terms of parent-child relationship, parental social support and well-being of the children.”

The study was a comparison of the well-being of children between 18 months and 6 years old.  69 of the children were raised by women who had knowingly chosen to raise their child alone and 59 were raised by mothers from heterosexual two-parent families.

Based on the results of the study, Ms. Brewaeys reported that children growing up with single-mothers-by-choice appeared to enjoy a similar parent-child relationship as those in heterosexual two-parent families.  She also said “a strong social network is of crucial importance.”

I am certain that she’s right about this last point.  It is hard enough being a parent.  Its super stressful to know that you are entirely responsible for the well-being of another human.  That’s why a support network is important.  It is allows a single mom (or dad) to have someone to reach to for help.  It also allows the single parent an opportunity to have conversations and participate in activities apart from their children.

Of course, it is always possible that some of the choices that I make not be “good for the baby.”  But, I think it’s that way with any parent–married or single.  We all try to make the best choices we can make and make those decisions based on enough information.  Inevitably, we will, on occasion, make bad ones but that’s all a part of life–and they are our choices.  Not anyone else’s.

At the end of the day, I know that the child is going to be just fine and I have to hope that whatever bad choices that I make will be just enough to make him an interesting adult.  If you found this post helpful or inspiring, please be sure to like, comment and share.

Love,

 

J

 

#singlemombychoice #singleparenting #singlemom