Am I no longer a single parent?

Bunny_Family_by_kyupi
By kyupi at deviantArt

My partner is moving in Tuesday.

Coming from a blended family I have an idea on what not to do when having people move in to a child’s home. When I was younger my biological dad and my step-mom joined forces in housing 5 kids, so my “blending” is much more simple. I think what applies to both is letting the child know what is going on – as a child I was pissed that I was not talked to or prepped for the merger.

I’ve talked to my daughter about it, a lot. She is very bored with the conversation. She is totally cool with the boyfriend moving in, a little too excited as she has a crush on him. And after a lot of serious conversations, he is prepared to share a home with a little six-year-old menace as she grows into a scary teenage menace. A lot of time has been spent prepping for those two.

And then there is me. I am crazy about my super cool, super tall, drummer other half. Plus, he is handsome as hell (I am assuming hell is ridiculously handsome I guess) I’m pumped to wake up to him every morning and for the burden of cooking to be lifted off my shoulders (See: The kitchen fire I started last year) He is able to reach all the shit on the top shelves!

So that is that. Everyone is looking forward to it, there’s an extra person to feed the cats. Now, notice how in the first paragraph I wrote “my” blending. It is similar to how I say “my” apartment “my” mess and “my” cats.

Moms don’t be selfish enough, so here we go.

I didn’t start thinking about how I will be affected until recently. I’m not scared or turned off by the move-in decision but I am realizing things will be different. I’ll probably have to clean more, because now someone else will be in the apartment and will call bullshit on me when I say, “Oh the place is a mess because X day is my cleaning day.” Patience will have to stop climbing in the bed during the night. I’ll need to give up closet space and take some of my pictures off the wall (My walls are covered) P and I will have to stop saying that we live in a “giiiiirrrrlllll houusssse!” I may have to be more discreet about feeding the raccoons outside.

None of this is a big deal. Relationships are about compromise. And the boy is very laid back, accommodating, supportive – all that nice stuff.

I’ll also probably have to give up control in parenting stuff. Will I no longer be a single mom? That is a title that I have embraced and allowed to become part of my identity.

And then there is this nagging question: Will he want to stay after he sees me at my worst? He knows I snore, but does he *really* know what a lifetime of that means? Does he?!

Growth is good, and I am welcoming it. But, hmmm, what mom can truly give up all control? A well-balanced one, like the ones we read about and see on Pintrest. It will be fine, it will be better. I am going to live with one of the most awesome of people. I know all of this.

But still, hmmm …

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Yellow hair

1398613_10153450104585478_1871085614_oSo my kiddo’s hair is a big deal.

When she was a bald baby it was blown out that I didn’t make more of an effort to prove she wasn’t a boy. As she got older I didn’t tame her lion mane of curls. I let her hair grow. I was, of course, scolded for this. I recently cut it short as per her request, and parents and teachers are asking why I would do such a thing.

Sometimes, her hair is home to lice: worst parent ever, right here.

To some (and sadly an influential some) her health, happiness and intelligence are less important than her hair. She has a paternal grandparent that will tell her girls need to be pretty in order to marry a rich man. Where do I start with that?

Not only is it frustrating as her parent, having my life and parenting judged by misplaced strands, but it worries me that she will get the message that she is only as good as her looks.

At times, my amazing daughter comments that she is less cute than she was a baby, hinting at the entanglement of the consumerism trap: teaching our society that a female is only worthy for her looks. I tell her that commercials do this intentionally and that they want us to feel bad so we buy their stuff to make us “happy.” I think she hears me, as she will roll her eyes at beauty ads saying, “They aren’t getting MY money.”  I can do a lot, but I can’t completely condition her against the outside world.

I’m not opposed to compliments regarding her hair or fashion choices completely. She puts a lot of effort into choosing how she wants to look that day. Some days she dresses up like an X-Men, others Tinkerbell. One day everything will match, the other she will wear one leg warmer or one glove.  I want to encourage her on her choices and applaud her creativity. I make sure to compliment her on these inner qualities constantly. It is very easy to leave it at calling her cute or pretty, and I know this. We love our children and these are words we were taught to mean good things. So I make sure to love her for herself alone and not her yellow hair.

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“What? I gotta stand up for myself”

Patience is pretty big into standing up for herself.

That is why she asked to give Tim Hudak a piece of her mind. Her 47 second speech is unscripted, unprompted by myself, hilarious and adorable.

Then this guy got upset and did what conservatives do, make fun of six-year-olds.

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I write other stuff too! Check out HillaryDiMenna.com