Tag Archives: parent

Feeling Replaceable

The biggest problem with loss is the feeling of being replaceable. Sure, it is nice to be the dumper or the two-week-noticer, but when you are not, it doesn’t feel so good. I got a taste of that when I was unexpectadely reminded that even though I am the mother, there is always room for one more.

It is something you think about when you have an ex anything and there are kids involved. You forget there is the potential for your off spring to bond with another adult. You ex has bonded, but you could give two shits about that particular bond (matter of fact you have often wished they got stuck together like humping dogs in the street). No. What worries you most is her (or him) glopping themselves onto your kids with fun stuff like shopping and outings and your kids sticking. After all, you are the rule setter, the drill sergeant, the taxi, the bill payer, the yeller, the spanker, the bad guy and on the tired days the ‘i don’t care’ guy. You don’t get the luxury of every other weekend fun in the sun spoil time with your children. Your spoil time and your mom time is intermingled together and it can be hard to tell the difference. To them…you are just mom…and to you…well…maybe you are not entirely replaceable but you certainly aren’t alone and it hurts.

It hurts somewhere way deep down, in a place no one can quite touch, when you think about being replaced. When your boss lays you off to replace you with someone younger and cheaper–it hurts. When your significant other breaks it off to replace you with whomever–it hurts. When your kids replace you with a girl/boyfriend, or just activities and friends in general–it hurts. But I suppose it doesn’t have to.

Looking at it behind mature lenses, we are truly irreplaceable. Someone can fill our seat momentarily, sure, but we are marvelously, wonderfully made uniquely enough so that no one person can step comfortably in our footsteps. There is only one you. There is only one me. Of course…I prefer to seethe and throw a tantrum about the potential of the Replacement, but that’s only because that feels better than being all yogi-om and mature. Realistically (here’s the mature crap again), I should know my worth and I should know my place within this world and in the hearts of those who truly love me. Why…I am smwart. I am kand. I am impowtant. Can’t take that away, no matter how much glitter and gold is thrown in the air.

~SM

Death (And Other Grown-Up) Prepping

I am a single, 35 year old mother of 2 with no life insurance, disability insurance, retirement fund or emergency fund. If a bird shits on my life the wrong way everything collapses. I am on the brink of turning 36 and I suppose it is time for me to become a real, live grown-up. First thing first—Death Prepping.

The hardest thing a person will probably ever do for themselves and for their families is create, read and sign their Last Will & Testament. I spent last night’s baseball practice reading and re-reading my Will. It puts lots of things into perspective, especially when you do not have much to leave behind.

I read through the Will, imagining The Girl and The Boy sitting in a lawyer’s office listening to him read my last wishes. Morbid. But necessary. Being prepared for your death is less about you–it is about who you are leaving behind.

I think the thought of doing a Living Will came from (don’t judge me) Grey’s Anatomy. Derrick dying, Meredith having to make whatever decisions, Bailey bugging Ben about what he wanted to do in case it was left up to her–it all translated into real life. What if something did happen to me? Would my loved ones know what I wanted? Hell…did I really know what I wanted? The Will was easy to deal with…the Living Will was what had me reeling.

Thinking about what I wanted done in the event of something I cannot possibly predict was hands down harsh. What if I am pregnant? Do they save me and then the baby? Or just let me go and save the baby? What if they want to amputate a limb? Will it save my life? Can they leave the limb and still figure out a way to save me? How long, if at all, do I want to be hooked up to machines? Who will I appoint to carry out these wishes and pray they do not let their emotions get in the way? See…I told ya…harsh.

To ease some of the morbid tension between my future self and my sick/dead self, I decided to focus on something a little bit more cheery: Retirement. My plan has been (and continues to be) to live out the rest of my days in a Charleston beach house with the ocean as my back yard, teaching horny 20 year olds about literature and writing. I refuse to be 65 skrimping to live. I want to actually set my bills to auto-pay. I want to have several commas in my savings accounts and no negatives in my checking accounts. I want to be able to live in peace with no financial worries.

Planning for your death, sickness, and retired life is exhausting. I was so tired by the time I got done with all of that, I had to go to bed early. But, when I laid my head down on the pillow, I felt accomplished. I felt ready. I felt…like a grown-up.

~SM

Mommy Dearest

“Nooo moore wire hangers!” Everyone (even if you have not seen the movie) knows the epic, crazy mother, Joan Crawford (Faye Dunaway) line. Obviously, she would not have won Mother of the Year, but it is also obvious that she had no clue what she was doing (as a parent) and perhaps wanted to. We can all relate to that–can’t we?

I am just going to put it out there for those who do not have children and for those who do but live in a bubble: being a parent sucks. Of course it is a blessing to be in charge of another human life; to watch them grow and blossom; to carry on a part of you–probably the best part of you; but the guilt and the mistakes and the many no-take-backs we as parents endure makes the job pretty sucky. Just sayin. Would I trade it? Absolutely not. Would I trade the parental guilt? Hellz yea I would.

I have been mulling this parental guilt thing over for about a month or so. It started when some kids we knew had private school interviews. Suddenly, thoughts (more like questions really) of why weren’t my kids doing that, am I a slacker parent, did I not work hard enough, did I not make them work hard enough burst any sort of happy bubble I had.  Yesterday, while taking a 15 minute walk in the park, my mind was swimming with thoughts of fitness, weight loss, races I wanted to run, new running shoes–and suddenly the parental guilt came. There I was walking, thinking about myself (literally) and The Boy was at practice down the hill. Shouldn’t I be there watching? Should I have stayed in the car with The Girl and talked to her? Shouldn’t I be thinking about them and school and making flash cards and pounding Life’s rules and regs into their heads? Was I a selfish parent?

Half of the time I have no clue what I am doing. The other half of the time I just throw my hands up and hope for the best. I feel terrible, quite honestly. It feels like everything is moving so fast and I have no control over what is happening. My life is moving in a positive, yet Sadie-centered direction, but at the same time The Kids’ lives are moving at the speed of light in an unknown direction. How does a parent parent that? Am I no better than Joan Crawford when I have a ‘no more wire hangers’ melt down over gum wrappers or shoes or cups being left in random places like the bathroom? Am I a detriment to their success? Am I creating monsters? Are they going to be lazy or driven? Will they aspire to succeed or live on my couch forever? Is it okay for me to live my life too? Are they spoiled? Do I not say no enough?

Ugh…all of these question with no answers is leaving a bad taste in my mouth. Perhaps I should neutralize that with some cake and think about this later….

~SM

Tick Tock On The Bio-Clock???

Let me preface this post by saying that I have no intention, I repeat, no intention of having a kid. That being said…

My aunt told me there would come a time when the clock would tick–the bio-clock that is–and it would start small and then get louder and louder until….baby or naugh. I am not sure if it happens after a woman’s children are grown or half way to grown or in her 30’s or mid-30’s, but I am pretty sure mine is ticking just a little bit. On the other hand, it could just be the fact that I am getting older, things are changing and I actually sorta can tolerate children (gasp!).

Quite honestly, I never wanted kids. They are time consuming, body damaging, money hogging, time consuming (not a typo), food gobbling, crudely honest little people. When you have children, you are in charge of a whole person for the rest of your life. Every decision they make essentially comes from how they were raised (this statement excludes people like Hannibal Lecter). You have to worry about them when they are babies and then when they are in grade school and then as teenagers and oh, God, driving and then in college and then after college. It is maddening to think of the responsibility of caring for a tiny person. I never wanted any part in that responsibility. But then….

I am a parent. I would say (aside from their sloppy rooms) I done good. Partially due to the village surrounding The Kids, partially due to values I (ok and The He) were instilled with, and greatly due to God. I (ugh, we) managed to make them okay little people despite my womb’s objections. I should dust off my hands and be done…but…something….tick tick tick….

Babies are popping up everywhere! They are on television. Family members are having them left and right. They are coming into the office. Babies are everywhere and everywhere they are the more I want one to squeeze one and pet one and feed one and name her/him George (yes…Looney Tune ref). I can’t say for certain that is my clock beginning to tick. Perhaps it is. Or perhaps my mind is adjusting to different views of new life. No matter the case for the bio-clock making it’s presence known, it needs to settle down and fast. I can see the finish line. It is right there, just a few miles away…I can’t possibly introduce a new little person into that glorious vision of freedom, clean house, and dinners for one….besides I have no baby daddy potentials. The next baby daddy needs to be pretty freaking awesome both in looks and in bank account. Yea. I said it. And you agreed…a little.   😛

~SM

Steal Away Home

When I decided to leave The He, my first inclination was to go home. Pack our crap and burn up the road. I wanted to take my ball and run home as fast as I could. It is coming up on a year since moving out and the urge to leave is still there, but The Kids…not so much.

My life still feels up for grabs when it comes to leaving Atlanta. I have been here for over 10 years and this was the first year I actually explored and enjoyed the city. I still have so much to see and do here, and there is a growing appreciation for the things it has to offer. When I go home, it feels slow and sleepy. But then if we move home we will also be moving all of our activities with us so would it really feel so slow and sleepy?

Part of me also feels by not moving home I would let down the people who want us to come back. The other part of me feels by moving home I might possibly be leaving behind various possibilities not yet unearthed.

My parents are getting older and so are the children. Luckily for them they have had summers of Carolina livin’ and their relationship with The Grands has not suffered because of distance. But if we stay, what will they miss out on? No one is guaranteed another day…what/who will they miss if we stay here? On the other hand, they have been here all of their lives. We (The He and I) managed to do something for them I was not able to experience as a kid: They stayed put. The Girl and Boy stayed in the same elementary school K – 5. They lived in the same house since they were babies (until recently). They were stable. This past year their stability went out the window. So, in light of Life changing events, do I stand still and hang on to their last little bit of stability? Or do I plan to throw caution to the wind and leave?

Quite honestly, I have 5 years left. The Boy will be off to college in 4, the Girl off in 5. If they want to stay, as their mother, I can sacrifice that small piece of time….right? Home will be there and I suppose if God sees it fit for us to leave, we will. Some days though…just some days when the weather is beautiful and the wind is blowing just right, I want to be home. I want to be in Mommy’s kitchen listening to Daddy mowing the grass, watching the Kids do kid-at-grandmas-house things. I want to have get togethers with the Crew on Friday nights and see the Nephews. Some days I just want to be with family and not so much on my own. This is quite a conundrum to be in. *sigh*

~SM

Coming To Terms: Valentine’s Hater

Yup. I am a Valentine’s Day hater. When I was a youngin and didn’t quite know any better about the ways of the world and love, I was hopelessly in love with anything love related. Love stories. Valentine’s Day. Engagement. Soul Mates. Then there seemed to be something magical about the lot of love stuff….now? Well…

The Girl was buying a Valentine’s gift for a friend and she pulled me into the red/pink/white section of hearts, cards, and ‘I luv u’. Everything in the designated ‘BUY ME NOW! Or else your wife/gf will never let you live this down!’ section made me physically ill. Even the cards made my palms sweat. The scattered shoppers gave me odd looks out of the corner of their eye or snickered at my disgusted grunts and moans. I hate Valentine’s Day.

When The Girl popped her head around the corner of an adjacent isle, she shook her head and stepped out. “Mommy!” she said with a surprised yet enthused look on her face.

“What?” I answered picking up a heart laden gift bag like it was a dirty diaper.

“Do you have to make that face?! It’s not that bad.” She shook her head again and grabbed my hand and pulled me down another isle. “C’mon. I’m almost done.”

There she was, spending her own money on a gift to show someone she cared and there I was ruining the experience. I suppose when your eyes open and perhaps even when you get a little experience under your belt, certain things in the world just have a different feel. Valentine’s Day has a vomity, break out in hives kinda feel for me. But just because I am a VDay hater doesn’t mean I should ruin it for everyone else. I made an attempt to straighten my face and I even made myself buy a card for Young Gun (who also dislikes VDay), but after about 20 minutes of it riding in the car with me, I decided to take it back.

No matter how much you like/love someone friend or otherwise, making an over the top effort to gift on one particular day is asinine. I just can’t. And you know what? I am comfortable in acknowledging my Valentine’s Hatership. It is just a stupid day–what about the other 364? Just sayin’

~SM

Young Gun: The Kiddie Mix & Mingle

Young Gun came in knowing I had children. He understood the dynamic of my family life. He knew my rules about coming to the house, and meeting the children. He was patient and kind with it all. Still is actually.  The children understood I would date. They understood there would be phone conversations and dates on kid-free weekends. The children knew I would not bring anyone into their lives or their home with out careful consideration. Everyone understood that separation, for me, was paramount. Soooo why now does it seem like everyone is moving ahead and I am standing still?

When I left The He, I had a long list of rules. I would not date anyone right away. I would not sleep with anyone right away. No one was allowed in my home. No one was allowed to meet the children. (There are more, but I won’t dare bore you with the rest) I have stuck to every rule, except now, things are moving faster and they are changing.

One of the many bullet points in the parental job description is to protect. As a parent, my job is to shield the kids from as much harm as I can. Logically, I know I can’t protect them from life itself, but I can protect them from the mistakes I make. What if it doesn’t work? What if we end up hating each other? What if it’s too soon? What if the kids love him but he doesn’t like them? What if he gets too attached? What if we all get too attached? There is an intricate web being weaved here and I am desperately trying not to get the kids caught.

I suppose it is a mute point, right now anyway. No one is hanging out with anybody just yet. I still have to wrap my head around a few things as it is. When the time is right, when I am comfortable with it enough to consider letting both parties mingle, it will happen. Until then, I just need for the outside to slow down….just a little.

~SM