As a parent, I often find myself wondering where my social life has gone. Managing both a career and a family, running back and forth between school and sports practices, and trying to keep the house from falling apart has me feeling like a maid and glorified chauffeur most days. My non-kid friends hit up happy hours, spend Friday nights out on the town, and have the luxury of sleeping in on Saturdays. All the things I used to have (insert crying face here).
When should kids be allowed to go on their first date? Should it be supervised? Should sex education be taught in schools? And if so, at what age? And how young is too young to expose children to these topics? Ugh, I don’t know! I’m with the vast majority of parents who hate to even think about their kids growing up and starting to date, let alone doing anything else!
I’ve heard it over and over again from my single mother friends, “...joint custody totally sucks. I hate not seeing my kids.” I absolutely sympathize with mothers who loathe missing out on 50% of their child’s life. That’s A LOT of time to be away from your trusty little sidekick(s). And I can’t say that I can empathize with you, because I actually have no idea what it feels like to split custody with another parent. However, I do understand what it feels like to be on the other side of the spectrum.
As women, we’re supposed to be this impenetrable force that can juggle a zillion tasks at once, run a household, organize the kids, and look good while doing it. But lately it seems that the harshest group of critics out there is exactly that “impenetrable force” made up on our fellow mommies. If you like to enjoy a glass of wine on the weekdays, or take your kids to PG-13 movies, or let them stay up until midnight on the weekends, you can bet there’s somebody out there who has something to say about it.
I was only one semester into graduate school when I found out I was pregnant with my first son. Was I scared? Was I worried about how I would afford daycare and diapers? Did I have doubts about how to juggle an education, a career and a family? Of course! I felt completely overwhelmed, but I never once considered giving up.
Love, Marriage, Baby. It’s a beautiful trio, but the order in which each item appears is not always so clear. Whenever there is a pregnancy and the couple isn’t married, there are a hundred burning questions that people want to ask, but feel like they shouldn’t. So most of the time, people either make up stories or assume things that may (or may not) be true. Here is what NOT to ask.
Finding essential product go-to’s for when you’re pregnant isn’t hard (in fact, do a Google image search on “pregnancy must haves” and prepare to be overwhelmed). But on the flip side, marketers have honed in their skills on how to effectively target new mommies with products ranging from the tried-and-true, to the ridiculously unnecessary. So while it shouldn't be so confusing... it is.
Finding out that my second baby was going to be a boy was a little bit of a shock. I’m not sure if it’s just because I had told myself it was going to be a girl (like I had previously done with my son), or the simple fact that my motherly instinct was, well, wrong again. Regardless, in that instant, I felt all of the pink-coated dreams quickly slip between my fingers.
I will never raise my daughter to be a homemaker. Now, before all the stay-at-home-moms freak out and start hurling insults my way, let me assert that I have no problem with those who choose to forgo a career in order to be at home with their kids. I think staying at home is a noble, and insanely tough job! But hear me out...
As a single mother, there is one question that is almost guaranteed to arise in conversations you have with coworkers, peers, friends, family, and sometimes, complete strangers: How do you do it? Becoming a single parent, whether by choice or by fate, is daunting, and dare I say, very scary. You’ve either had nine months to contemplate how in the heck you’re going to make it work, or you’ve been in a slowly unraveling relationship in which you’ve spent many sleepless nights trying to figure out how two hands could possibly handle the work of four.
It all started innocently enough with a casual conversation between a close friend and I. She lamented that since her husband rarely made it home before 8PM each night, she was pretty much “like a single mom.” Having been a single mother in the past, and intimately knowing their struggle, my mind wandered to all the single moms out there who managed to make it six months, a year, a decade! How dare she compare her situation to theirs.
All too often we judge others over issues we know little to nothing about. We point fingers and condemn rather than seeking to understand, and we criticize rather than assuming positive intent. Why is that? My guess (unfortunately) is that it’s just human nature. By some twisted form of logic, putting others down makes us feel superior. There is no one single way to parent “correctly”, and the amount of judging and grief we give to moms is ridiculous and has to stop.
When I was pregnant I had grand dreams of white fluffy coats, pink headbands and bows, adorable little leggings and a room full of baby dolls. I was actually so intensely sure that I was going to have a girl that when the Ultrasound Tech shared the news that it was a boy, I broke down and cried.
I don’t know about you, but I would like to challenge our elder generation when they tell us how great life “used to be” and how horrible things are today… especially in regards to how we raise our children. There is nothing horrible about our generation. It’s just different. And since when is different a bad thing? So please stop mumbling “kids these days” under your breath, while shaking your head in disapproval. Kids these days are just fine, as will be the kids of tomorrow, and the following generation.
It's funny because it's true. All mommies need a little inspiration from time to time. Someone to say, “…you’re doing a great job you beautiful mess, you.” And if you’re like me, some days you need to know that you are not the only mom who struggles just to keep the house from burning down. If you can't make fun of your parenting mistakes and laugh through the struggles, then you need an adult beverage and to chill out. Seriously.
“I’m not like regular moms, I’m a cool mom” said literally every mother… ever. But what really makes a mom cool? Isn’t cool a subjective word anyways? If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then cool definitely falls into the same category. And kids’ minds are also easily shaped, so essentially, you can make them believe whatever you want. But being a cool mom is more than that. It means appearing cool to other moms too, not just your kids. And if you so desire this type of coolness, be prepared to do the following.