I Am Not My Children’s Father

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I am a single parent and the sole caretaker for my four children. But I am not their father.

There are some who would wish me, or other single mothers, Happy Father’s Day on the third Sunday in June. I want to be clear, I do not take that adversely, in fact, I take it as a compliment. But I am not my children’s father.

I am a mother. I am the lone parent. I am the only name on the Emergency Contact line. I alone put to bed, provide, comfort and guide my children. But I am not their father.

But my children are not fatherless.

For over three years I prayed everyday that God would be a father to my children. And He has.

gpopFor over three years my father, my children’s grandfather, has been in my daughters’ lives every single day. He has never stopped being a parent to me and through him, my children see what a father should be.

This post was originally published on June 16, 2014. (Still true, though…) 

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10 Things I Don’t Say

I recently read an interesting blog article,

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You can find the original article here. I found it thought provoking, mainly because my own experience is much different from the author’s.

(Spoiler: It’s never crossed my mind to say (or think) most of these – fear of judgment or not.)

1. “Your words hurt.” I have never experienced a person saying something to me in regard to my single parent state that was intentionally mean or hurtful. I have been saddened and hurt by words, but the intention behind the words was never hurtful. Words that hurt, hurt because they touch an open wound. A “Daddy-Daughter Dance” is a lovely thing, but when your daughter doesn’t have a Daddy to attend with, those words hurt, even though the words themselves were never ever intended for that purpose.

2. “We will freak out if you ever refer to our kids as ‘baggage.’”   No one has ever referred to my children as “baggage.” Ever. People really say that to single parents?

However, I do agree with the dating piece of the author’s point, and I would/will say this. Don’t date me if you are unsure of the “whole kids thing. Just. Don’t.

3. “We’re not rich.” Ha! I doubt that anyone even assumes that we are. And I do not receive child support.

4. “There will always be some “drama” with our kid’s other parent, if they’re around.” My children’s other parent is not around, so our drama level is way low.

5. “We feel isolated and lonely.” This is a hard one. Yes, absolutely, Single Moms are in a world of their own. I agree that connecting with like moms, single or married is key. News flash, there are married  moms out there who feel isolated and lonely. I’m thankful to work in an office with my parents and brother; if I didn’t, I would definitely feel more isolated and lonelier. But, I also believe isolation and loneliness are situations that, under most circumstances, we can change. Conclusion: Occasionally, on a cold, dark night I have felt isolated and lonely, but in the warm light of day, it rarely crosses my mind.

6. “We worry constantly that we aren’t doing a good enough job.” Absolutely not. I don’t worry, and definitely not about this. The reason: I have Christ in my life and He loves my children even more than I do. How could I worry about my  job of raising them when I have the God of the Universe sticking it out and walking with me? I trust Him. Worry is futile.

7. “We aren’t very much fun.” Huh. How many married people with children are super fun? Really. Come on, be honest. By our mid-thirties we’re already falling asleep on the couch in the middle of our favorite show. We can’t go out for coffee because it keeps us awake and we can’t drink wine because it knocks us out. This is not a single parent thing. This is a parent thing. Kids wear us out and it doesn’t matter if there are 1 or 2 or 10 parents. You know it’s true. However, I’m definitely still fun.

8. “We don’t have a strong sense of ‘self'” Yes, I do. I’m a Mother. 😉  I think I covered this in my recent post 1%. Or 5.

9. “Long before our kids could understand adult conversation, we talked to them like they could.”  I have no idea if this is true. How would I? I have no way of knowing whether I would talk in the same manner to my children if I were still married or not. I’m kind of at a loss here.

10. “Someone complimenting our kid means the world to us.” Yes. Yes. And YES! Wait, doesn’t every  parent feel this way?

Yet, In all honestly, I think it does mean more to single parents. On this point, I agree whole-heartedly with the author of the article. I think #10 is a gauge with which we can measure how well things are going in #6 . When nice things are relayed to us about our children we get a sense that:

They really are turning out OK.

Being raised by only one parent isn’t scarring them for life.

They are well-adjusted and kind and happy.

joy l

I suppose every parenting journey, married, single or other, is unique. The paths of our lives rarely lead where we expected. I latch on to the joy that is found in the brief moments that build our days. Eventually, they will build a lifetime.

cwj 3Isn’t that exactly what this blog is all about?

I’ve been a single parent of four children for three & a half years.

 

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I Teach My Children To Be Rude

You read that right. I teach my children to be Rude.

These little angels? Rude?

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OK. I didn’t teach them that kind of rude. They were born with a complete knowledge of how to be rude to their siblings.

If you hadn’t noticed, I have FOUR daughters. Four girls. Four female children. And I am compelled to protect them.

Many years ago when I was barely twenty I traveled around the Middle East with friends. In Egypt, I traveled with two girlfriends. Two of us were Caucasian Americans and one of us was an Asian American. The two of us who were easily identified by Egyptian men as “White American” were targeted constantly. Men would walk up to us in a museum and grab our hands or brush against our bodies. In tight spaces or taxis men surreptitiously put their hands on us attempting to touch our breasts or bottoms.

Yet our Asian friend, as much American as us two white girls, was relatively untouched. The sleazy men didn’t identify her immediately as “American” and seemed somewhat in awe of her.

Here’s a fact, Middle Eastern men do not treat their own women this way in public. They did not treat my Asian friend this way. I’ve noticed the same phenomenon all over the world.

What is it about American women that make us targets?

Here is what I think. Women in other parts of the world are raised to be RUDE. If a man “accidently” bumps in to her, she hauls off and lets him have it with a verbal tirade. I’ve seen it – and the sleazy man slinks off. These non-American women have no internal restrictions that keep them from acting rude in order to let a creepy man know to Back Off.

American girls/women have been taught: Don’t make a scene. Don’t disrespect our elders. And because someone is a friend or relative of a friend that we need to listen to and respect them.

I say NO. And so I teach my daughters to be RUDE.

This has become more crucial in recent years because my girls are getting older. They go places – Without Me. Birthday parties, sleepovers, camping trips, etc.

Nowadays our conversations go something like this:

Me: “If a friend or relative of so-in-so is bothering you in the pool or keeps talking to you and picking you up and throwing you around, what do you do?”

Daughter: “I say, ‘Get off me. Stop doing that. I’m going to tell my mom.'”

I let my kids know that there will be NO negative consequences for being Rude to a person who is making them uncomfortable, harassing them (even jokingly)  or bothering them.

They have been taught their entire lives to be kind to others. I know, I was taught the same thing. I didn’t know I could or should open my mouth and make a scene.

This world is full of predators; to keep my daughters safe, I teach them to be Rude.

Don’t get me wrong, I do want my children to be kind as well, I’ve written about it here.

Sharing this post with #TheLoft.

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Have a Plan Man, Er… Mom

Advice-for-Single-Moms-Have-a-Plan

“…it can still feel like I’ve been punched in the gut when I know an event is occurring that my children cannot participate in because they do not have a father who lives locally.” – Me

There are some things that only single moms know. I’ve found having a plan helps A LOT.

I’ve written about it here for my bi-weekly post for Moms of Faith.

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I’m a Mess

Earlier today I confessed to the blogosphere that I’m a thief, so I may as well come all the way clean. I’m a mess.

I came downstairs into the office area this morning to have my brother (who works here) help me carry a table outside that I am selling at my yard sale tomorrow. He noticed my wrist was wrapped. Yes, my hands, my most valuable assets for yard sale-ing (and typing) are a mess. I have Ganglion Cysts in both wrists and the left side was flaring up. ganglion

Later, as we were maneuvering the large table out the small door my brother commented on my “bad back.” Yeah, that’s a mess too. Thankfully, I rarely have back and wrist flareups simultaneously.

My eleven year old daughter stayed home from school today because she was sick with d-reah all night. Probably because she had a headache yesterday and I didn’t have children’s pain medicine so I gave her Excedrin. Twice. I probably killed her stomach. Worst mom ever. I’m a mess. She’s definitely a mess.

My shower is a mess. I bathed today with a Lalaloopsi doll looking up toward my privateness and the scooper from an Easy Bake Oven.

1284Speaking of showers, my seven year old hasn’t bathed since at least Monday (possibly longer.) I did, however, make her wash her face on Wednesday.

What a runny, stinky, painful, cluttered, happy mess.

 

This post was written for 5 minute fridays, the word was , you guessed it, MESS. Find link here.

5minutefriday

 

 

 

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What I Want My Children to Be

kind

I confess that if I had a choice between hearing that my child was:

A.   An A+ student

B.   An All Star athlete

C.   An Artistic prodigy

D.  Kind

I would choose D. 

Read to find out more on how I feel about this over at my weekly post for Moms of Faith here: I Want My Children to Be Kind.

I write for Moms of Faith every Wednesday & Saturday.

 

Weird Things I Witness

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Once I went over to ask a neighbor (of a home I was cleaning out) when trash day was; I caught the woman at the exact moment she found her beloved cat dead. I started to comfort her and then the cat came back to life. Seriously, it moved and then walked away.

By the way, trash day is Friday.

I was in Express at the local mall a few weeks ago near the back door that opens onto the parking lot. While I was looking at a table of jeans near the door (searching desperately for my size – why are there never any size 12s? Plump girls need jeans too) a man came in from outside. He was standing near the jeans and I heard him call over another man. Within a couple of seconds both men grabbed a huge pile of $80 jeans each and ran out the back door.

I can’t make this stuff up.

A couple years ago while I was watching the New Year’s Eve fireworks over the Delaware River flaming ash was falling from the sky. I watched a piece of ash land a few feet behind me and light the grass on fire. Simultaneously a piece landed on a man’s pant leg and lit his jeans on fire.

I always wondered if that could happen.

On the topic of fire, while I was driving down the local highway last week I realized that the car in front of me on fire. The entire bottom of the car was flaming. I pulled way back and made sure the driver knew.

He eventually pulled over and jumped out. I drove on home.

I don’t know why I witness this kind of stuff. Maybe it’s because I am a single parent of four young children and therefore am required to be hyper aware of what is going on around me at all times. Maybe I am just in the right place at the right time. Maybe it’s a gift.

What weird things have you been witness to?

Vows & Vidalia Onions

Vidalias, where have you been all my life? If only I could find a man like you…

At two weeks shy of my 40th birthday I discovered Vidalia onions. I’ve been a long time onion crier and for the first time in my life I cut an onion that didn’t bring me tears.  Could there be a man out there like a Vidalia onion – one who doesn’t make me cry? (in a bad way, good tears are totally cool)

Would he need to have been born and bred (possibly conceived) in Georgia?

Would any Southern gentleman do?

If I ever do find my very own Vidalia onion of a man, I have one addition to the traditional vows that I would like him to add.

Groom: “Do you promise to love, honor, cherish and protect her, forsaking all others and holding only to her forevermore… 

…and take out the trash whenever the need may be

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This should never happen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I do.”

🙂

I’ve enjoyed spending the month of April writing through the alphabet with the A to Z Challenge. I’ve been waiting for “V.”

I Don’t Like This, So I Wrote About It

God-of-My-Emotions

 

Clenched Chest. Unclear mind. Randomly upset.

My moods and emotions are pretty steady most of the time, but there are days when my chest feels clenched, my mind can’t focus and I feel upset for no reason. Believe me, I try to find a reason, and often times I don’t. I don’t know why something will bother me more on one day than another – hormones? Maybe. Whatever the reason, I. Do. Not. Like. It.

I don’t like it at all.

I don’t like it so much I wrote an article about it at momsoffaith.com. Find it here. (God of My Emotions)

Be encouraged. 🙂 If you struggle with this, I’d love to hear from you.

I write articles for Moms of Faith twice a week. Find me there every Wednesday and Saturday. PS – You don’t have to be a Mom to visit. I promise, no one is checking. 

It Didn’t Happen

It didn’t happen this week.

Every Wednesday I put up a post with household projects that I planned to do during the coming week and follow-up from the previous week. See example here. This REALLY helps me get projects done around the house – and I am LOVING it.

I knew this past week would be busy and I shouldn’t have planned anything, but I did. Aaaaaaand, it didn’t happen.

Oh well, it can wait til next week and instead of painting a vanity I had a ton of fun with my family celebrating Good Friday, Easter, Spring Break and my daughter’s eleventh birthday. (I told you I shouldn’t have scheduled anything.)

No Before’s and After’s this week my friends, however, I leave you with lovely collage of our week (mostly yesterday.)

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Sometimes, Making it Happen is building the family. 

See you next week when I will be back to the grind.