Too many thoughts, too little time.

Posts tagged ‘single parenting’

Not Everyone Fits Into Your Mold

Looks about right to me.

I was at the library today doing my usual walk through.

Step 1. Return the books I could have sworn I returned last week.

Step 2. Browse the mystery “fluff”. You know, the cheap soft cover books you buy at garage sales for $0.50.

Step 3. Stumble upon the true crime section. Decide which serial killer you want to read about this week, because no week is complete without at least one night where you get up 7 times to make sure you locked the doors.

Step 4. Remember that the library is actually a good place to learn things, and might help with this whole homeschooling thing. Find the education section.

Step 5. Remember why you avoid this section.

I wanted a book, something like “What Your 1st Grader Needs to Know”. I am trying to get a plan in place for this school year, something that will tell me “if your kid doesn’t know how to read Dr Seuss by the end of the year, you’re doing something wrong.”

I do not need “Why Public School Damages Your Child.” I don’t need “The Biblical School Year”. I don’t want “Teaching Your Kids God’s Way.” I don’t care about “Good Answered to Common Arguments!” I also don’t need any of the 75 variations of “School Your Child For FREE!”

I don’t care to read the first 3 chapters about how you met your husband and married him the day you turned 18 so you could become a baby factory, as is “God’s plan” for your life. I don’t care about the next 2 chapters where the author makes sure to remind us, over and over, to utilize our husband’s brilliance and have him help, or even send the kids to work with him for the day, for “real world experience” I don’t care to be warned about the dangers lurking on the internet for both our immature child and our easily led into temptation husbands.  I am not concerned with a book written in  comic sans being my reminder I should go to church whenever the doors are unlocked, and I also am not worried about the fact my sons have “girl” chores, like unloading the dishwasher.

I am bothered by the assumption that EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON who chooses to home school their children is obviously a married, broke, stay at home mother, whose husband has a 9-5 job and is a conservative Christian.

We’re starting our 4th year of this. I have been a single mom for all of it so far, though, that does change this year. I’ve been a working mom for a lot of it as well. I’ve been a full time student through at least half of it. I didn’t have all day everyday to devote to making sure they recited prayers correctly. Now, I’m married. My husband is brilliant. And, he doesn’t really get a chance to help me, because he’s never home. I suppose I could send the kids to work with him, but, that involves 3 plan tickets, a week away, and not even getting to see most of it, due to privacy laws.

I don’t wish to argue with people about how they should/should not teach their kids. I don’t care to hear about the “evil” public school system, because, I already made my decision, I don’t need further convincing. I hate the condescending tone of most “answers to arguments” books. No, I don’t think I am going to help make people understand when my response to “What about socialization?” is “I know, why don’t you let your kids be around more people of varying ages? Obviously, your kids are anti-social.” I want to know what the state requires of me, and what they expect of the kids. I want to know what skills will help advance them in life, I honestly do not care about doing this “God’s way”, mainly because I think most people who make that claim know as much, if not less than I do. Unless they have a divine telephone and God’s direct extension number, they don’t know!

As far as doing it for free, don’t get me wrong, I like a good deal as much as the next person. But, if all I was concerned about was the cost of my kid’s education, I would send them to public school, that my tax dollars have already paid for. And guess what? “Wait for back to school sales!” is not exactly ground breaking new information.

And for all the “my husband is head of the house” writing, there is a lot of things that imply your husband is just another kid, but this one brings home a paycheck. No, I have more respect for my husband than that. I don’t need to ban everyone in the house from the internet because the call of the XXX is too strong for his man brain to resist. He knows how I feel about this sort of thing, I trust him to respect my feelings, and so far, he has.  I go to church because I enjoy it, I take the kids. I don’t think it is necessary to have reading practice for my 3rd grader be Proverbs, when I am trying to instill a love of reading in him, and his attention is held much better by the “All About Ferrari” book. We have managed to have some lovely child led philosophical and theological discussions, that I don’t think could have been planned into our day.

Maybe I should write a book. A book for non-super religious, slightly off traditional families who home school. One that is for tips, info and resources, but doesn’t assume that I am a conservative Christian, that doesn’t assume I hate public schools, that doesn’t assume I want to change anyone’s mind. Maybe one that doesn’t assume everyone is married with a minimum of 3.5 kids and a husband who is only slightly more intelligent than the average idiot, but, who you obey because God says so.  But, days like today, I feel there is a market of one for that book, and why would I need to buy it if I wrote it?

Speaking of parenting…

I know I’ve mentioned the Monsters. Their father and I are no longer together. I’m not yet remarried, though we’re working on it. The man I plan to marry travels a lot for work. He’s gone far more time than he is home. The 4 of us have found a comfortable routine, and it works for us.

Today though, I want to write about the term “single parent”. I suppose, technically, I am one. I know I was for a few years, where I wasn’t seeing anyone seriously.

But, I really dislike this term applied to me now. I also really dislike women married to men who travel or who are in the military saying things like “Oh, now I know how you single moms feel!”

No, you really don’t. You don’t know what it is like to have the parent of your children just leave.

Those women, and myself, aren’t crying at night wondering why they weren’t good enough for the dad to stick around. You may have to spend a lot of time raising the kids alone, but, you can be pretty certain that there will be money in the bank to buy groceries at the end of the week. You aren’t the only adult in the kids lives and don’t have to be everything all the time. You aren’t trying to explain to the 4 yr old that daddy isn’t coming home tonight, actually, he isn’t coming home ever. Your meager income, if you have to work, doesn’t have to cover the babysitter, and school for you, and groceries and gas in the car, and the dr appointment, and the rent, and the car insurance, and…and…and. I wish all these faux single moms would think about it, when their husbands are gone, they aren’t “single moms”. For them to be single moms, all the expenses need to stay the same, while the income drops by 3/4ths. You have to fit all the same things in your day, except also add in a couple court dates because the dad wants to claim he can’t pay child support. You don’t have someone to complain to at the end of the day, and every other Sunday the kids are absolute terrors while they readjust to being home. Very rarely does anyone jump in and say “wow, you have a lot on your hands, why don’t I watch the kids while you go out for lunch?”, but I see this happen ALL the time with the military wives. I have a divorced friend right now, with a chronic condition that makes it almost a necessity to go to the ER when she has a flare up, but, with kids at home and nobody willing to help, she can’t. It’s making the situation worse. (Yes, I know, “Why aren’t you helping?” Because, in an emergency, me 4-5 hrs away doesn’t do anyone much good.) Also, generally, the parents who spend a lot of time parenting alone are almost regarded as heroes, as long as they are in a relationship. Once that relationship doesn’t work out, and you are alone, well…you should have made better choices. Yes, because I’m sure all single parents threw caution to the wind and had a baby with the first person around who had working parts. The “I know how you single moms feel now” crowd isn’t getting judged. It’s “unpatriotic” to say “You knew he was in the military when you met him, now suck it up.”

I’m not saying anyone SHOULD say that (though, I have thought it a time or two); especially when the people complaining are doing so when their spouse has never left the US, never been in any danger, and they complain nonstop for those 6 weeks he’s gone for training. Again though, I’m not saying “suck it up” is the right attitude to have, but it isn’t the right attitude to have towards almost anyone. Not just people you feel are noble enough.

In my opinion, every time someone says to me “Oh, he’s gone that much? So, you’re a single mom then?” It’s discounting how hard it really is. Things are probably 150 times easier now, with this version of single motherhood than they were when I actually was one. There was a point for awhile I was working 3 jobs. And, going to school. Plus, trying to take care of my kids and the house and do my homework. Nights where I’d sit at my desk in the dark, reading the homework assignment, with a sleeping 4 yr old on my lap because that was the only time I go to spend with him. There were lots of days where I was trying to read a textbook at work and praying nobody noticed, because I promised the kids we’d play uno that night when I got home. There was the time my youngest almost cut off part of his ear, and while I cleaned up his blood, and headed out to go to the emergency room, his brother puked. Or the time all three of us had a complete break down in the Dollar Store because I couldn’t afford to buy them a toy. Now? Yes, I may still end up with the ear/puke issue, and I still keep myself pretty busy. But, there is some balance. Maybe I do skip homework to play Uno for the 13th time today, but this weekend, I’ll tell Aussie, and he’ll run a couple errands with the kids, and give me some time to catch up on Civil Litigation. And, yes, sometimes I still have to tell them I can’t buy a toy, it costs to much. But, I never have to say it about $1 toy anymore. Working 20 hrs a week at the school bookstore isn’t near as hard when I don’t have to think about the fact my pay barely covers gas and the babysitter. Homeschooling the kids is so much easier when I can hand Aussie the multiplication flash cards to have him practice with the 8 yr old Monster who refuses to sit still for 1/8th of a second. Parenting isn’t as discouraging after hearing nonstop reports about how children without a positive male influence are going to be sociopath, when there IS a positive male role model.

Yes, I have my bad days. I have Wednesdays where I have to call Aussie crying and say “I need you home! And please, just tell them to do their homework! Just for 20 minutes, that’s all!” But, I have that option, that option wasn’t there 3 years ago.

Please also, I don’t need people jumping all over this saying “Well, I am a military wife and it is hard, you never have to worry about your boyfriend going to war.” No, I don’t. And, I never said it isn’t hard. But, that doesn’t make you a single mom. And, yes, your husband is going away to defend our country, my boyfriend is going away to put in the equipment that will save your husband’s life if he gets hurt. But that doesn’t make you or me a “single parent”. It has put us in possibly a more challenging position, by CHOICE, but, it is not the same as going about it on your own.

I won’t pretend I know how hard it is when your spouse leaves for work, but please don’t pretend you finally understand how hard it is to not have that spouse.

Tag Cloud