Monday, January 10, 2011

The often not so single single mom

So a bit of background on me. I am a self-proclaimed lesbian, who, dates men (let the flame wars begin). Hear me out here, I don't date men, in fact I don't date much of anyone really. I suppose if I had to pigeon-hole myself a sexual identity I'd claim I'm a "sapiosexual", my mothers brother (often referred to as The Optimist) claims I'm just "too brainy for men" and need to learn to "be less cerebral", I will credit him with something in this conversation, at least he knows what the word cerebral means.

Now as sarcasm doesn't translate well via the internet and I am, by nature, a supremely sarcastic person (and have been since birth, but that's a story for another time), I will tell you flat out, that my uncle and I don't see eye to eye on a lot of things, my love life however does tend to come up in conversation far more often than it should, and while I appreciate his assholery wisdom, I don't think we'll ever fully agree on how I should go about dating.

Now it is worth mentioning that I have two hellspawn children, darling, wonderful, amazing, light of my life, daughters, that do their best to love me despite my horrific personal failures character flaws and general inability to keep a clean house. I was also married to their father (I think I lose cool points for that one). I am now quite  blissfully divorced though, amazingly, I'm rarely single.

Tonight I am enjoying the single side, of my single life again. I am theoretically unattached romantically right now. I am living alone with my kids (and have been for half a year now) and I am a FULL TIME PARENT, with the exception of Saturday nights, where the amazing CookieMommy takes the girls for a sleepover so that I can put in one night at work without having to worry about who's babysitting, what time I have to be home and weather or not I'll have just finally drifted off to sleep when I hear "mommy, is the trash can on fire again?".

CookieMommy, you are my hero.

So single parenting is both fantastic and horrible all at once. You don't have to worry about weather or not your house looks like a war zone, if Cheerio's are an acceptable dinner food (and weather they go better with cheap Pinot Noirs or cheap Merlots), or if "I don't feel like it" is a reasonable excuse to simply not do any ONE of the 90bajillion things mom's have to get done in a day in order for the house not to explode spontaneously (these things include laundry (or in my house, the Floordrobe), dishes, cooking, and general house work). In fact being single, living without other adults, to some extent is like having the freedom to be a totally lazy teenager. Don't get me wrong, things still have to get done, you do have to take the kids to school, feed them, and do some house work to prevent eviction, BUT you get to decide what NEEDS doing based solely on your own ideas of "what is necessary to run a house hold".  For me, lately, this means that laundry and dishes get done on an "as needed" basis. Martha Stewart would probably pull a Linda Blair in the exorcist if she saw my house.

Of course there are the down sides to single parenting, working with only one income (and sometimes maybe a child support check, maybe... sometimes...), not having a car also is less than awesome, all of the grocery shopping and bank errands are done with small children in tow. Then there's the "what's an educated woman in her late 20's with an IQ in the 140's doing working as a stripper?" question, that I love so dearly. Do you have ANY IDEA how awful, expensive, and just down right frustrating it is trying to fine decent childcare for an allergy-ridden likely neurologically atypical 4 year old? We tried day care, it was a DISASTER. In fact, disaster was an understatement. Blame my overly crunch, granola-loving breast-feeding hippie-assed morals for this one, but HOT DAMN, good care is hard to find.

The short answer as to why I'm working nights in stilettos is that it was (and still is) the best choice for my family. What a crock of horse-shit that sounds like, even to me, and I'm typing it. But hear me out, when you've had nothing (and I've had nothing) for long enough, anything looks good. When I started this job, I used my last $2.30 to take the bus to the strip club and HOPED I'd make enough money while I was there to afford the bus ride home. It was a gamble, I had NO ONE to call, if I didn't make any money, or the manager didn't like me, or my shoes were wrong or WHATEVER, and I'd been asked to leave, I likely would have had to walk home, and where I was living at the time was the OPPOSITE end of town from the club I was working in. The gamble payed off, and eventually I started to climb out of the financial sink hole I was in, I went back to school, and got more of an education and came out the other side of the equation, two failed relationships later, with my kids still loving me, and my mind still relatively in tact and I realized that, working 20-25 hours a week, in the club, is giving me those moments with my daughters while they're still young. It's let me ALMOST have the illusion at times of being a Stay At Home Mom again. It's given me a chance to be a mother, not just a bread winner.

Time is the most precious gift I believe you can give someone. To me, if you spend an evening drinking wine with me and just talking, that's worth more than a months rent. To me, to be able to give my children my time, to be at home with them as much as possible before the academic monstrosity eats them up for 13 years is worth the sacrifice of having an unsteady income and a job that most people think is completely degrading and awful, and sometimes it is, but if everything in life were a f*cking bowl of cherries all the time I personally would be bored out of my tree.

I have a good friend, he likes to talk about risk vs reward, and I think most decisions in life are based on that premise, or at least they are for me, is what I'm getting from this situation worth what I'm giving up? For me, parenting is an instant yes. I wouldn't trade a thing in my life as a mother. As a person in this industry, I'm not sure, for now, the reward of being able to be present in my kids lives while we sort out some of the shit of early childhood (things like allergies and asthma and Aspergers syndrome) and still be able to stay off of government assistance is worth it to me. Are their other options, yeah, probably. Would they work as well for us? Maybe, I will admit to not knowing everything about everything. What I do know, is that right now, this is working, and until it's not, I'm unlikely to change it.

1 comment:

  1. Ani, I honestly don't think a finer thing could have been posted of you as a single PROGESSIVE mother. Obviously we all make choices between work and family.

    It seems to me with the slight risk you work under and major gains you stand to gain both monetarily and temporally that both you and your spawn are huge winners.

    Life is full of risk/reward circumstance hell everyone has to cross the street here in the pit of bad driver hell. I see your option as the lesser of many evils.