Christmas for 2

It’s hard to get into the holiday spirit as a single mom. But, tell that to my five year old! He has enough holiday cheer for both of us. So…it’s all about grinning and faking it. I did my best.

10847738_10204702763662499_7843714354677418224_o

Small tree for a small apartment

We needed a  spot to hang our stockings.

We needed a spot to hang our stockings, so I made a fireplace out of cardboard boxes. Don’t ask me where I found the motivation to do this because I am so not crafty. Every once in a while the mood strikes me though.

10548214_10204795035769244_3019203743510349315_o

Then we got sick. And yes, we have an elf. Don’t judge me. I hate the fucker, but Thomas is a part of our family now.

And, Ms. Claus struck again. I'm telling you, Santa is overrated. I'm sure she does all the work anyway.

And, Ms. Claus struck again. I’m telling you, Santa is overrated. I’m sure she does all the work anyway.

Advertisements

I feel like an imposter

Do you ever look at your life and think, how in the hell did I GET here??? How can this be my life? Seriously, I used to be cool. I was adventurous, I traveled and went to concerts and could dance in 4 inch heels all night long. Now I am a mom. But…it just doesn’t seem real sometimes. Like, this is my life? For real? It can’t be. I don’t think I belong here.

    im·pos·tor or im·pos·ter
    n. 
    One who engages in deception under an assumed name or identity.

Yup, that’s me! Imposter mom. Imposter grownup.

I smile around them and act normal but inside I know…I don’t belong here!

I’ve never felt comfortable in groups of other parents. Preschool parties, sports teams, birthday parties, any group activity full of 4 year olds really. I feel like all the other parents are looking at me thinking, “IMPOSTER!”

Why don’t I belong?  Maybe it’s because I never really pictured myself having kids. I became a mom by accident – a great, happy accident but an accident no less. Even though I love being a mom, sometimes I still can’t quite believe I am one!

The other parents all look and act waaayy more grownup than I feel. Even though they are about my age, they seem so mature. To start with, they are married. That just seems like a grownup thing to do that I’ve never been able to pull off. And they own homes and drive minivans and all kinds of other grownup stuff I just don’t do.

This week Boo Boo starts soccer and I just know some other mom there is going to see me and think, “she is soooo not a soccer mom. Imposter!”  And kindergarten. OMG. Soon I’m going to have to join the PTA and volunteer in the classroom. And go to back to school nights. And everyone is going to know. I DO NOT BELONG HERE.

 

Ramblings

I remember when I wanted this blog to be about my dating life and adventures. Seriously. Yeah, I’m over that now.

I mean, really. Who the fuck has time to think about dating when you are just trying your best to hold your shit together and take care of your kid, day in and day out? I am so burnt out and exhausted. I cannot remember the last time I was alone. Just, completely alone. I don’t want to date. I want to be ALONE. I’m so tired of being stressed out and tired of being tired.

**This is where I insert the required disclaimer that I love my son and I would never change anything about our lives, I’m just having a rough time and need to vent. Of course I freaking love my son. I’m still human. Sometimes I DON’T love my life. I would change a LOT about our lives. I wouldn’t change him, because he really is the only thing that gets me through the day sometimes. And I’m so proud of him and the person he is becoming. But, sometimes looking at him makes me feel like the biggest failure of all.

God, I’m 33 years old, I’m supposed to have my shit together by now. I’m not supposed to be living paycheck to paycheck. I’m not supposed to overdraw my bank account because I bought him a damn scooter for Easter. I’m supposed to have finished college by now. I’m supposed to be working UP in my career. I’m supposed to be able to afford for us to live somewhere nicer than a freaking basement infested with disgusting fucking stink bugs. I’m supposed to be healthy and active and not weigh 50 lbs more than I did 5 years ago. I’m supposed to have a social life and friends and WANT to go on dates. Fuck, I’m supposed to be married already. My son is supposed to have a fucking FATHER.

I can’t put any real effort into dating or meeting someone because it’s just too much damn work. I can’t be myself. I can’t say to a potential date, “yeah, I really don’t have my shit together. I’m broke, I’m stressed out, and I’m tired. I don’t want to go out for a drink and have witty conversation. I want to go home and go to sleep right now. I’m only here because I’m SUPPOSED to want to date. And I keep hoping if I do it enough, I’ll meet someone who I actually DO want to date.”

The truth? The truth is, I want to meet someone who I don’t have to pretend with. Someone who just sees the life I’m living, sees me struggling, and thinks, she’s awesome. I want to marry her, be a father to her kid and have a baby. And I want him to have enough money to support our new family. There, I said it. Yes, it’s true. That’s what I want. I don’t want a sugar daddy. I want to work and finish school and  have a career. I just want a partner in it. And he has to be hot. And smart. Why is all that so much to fucking ask for?

I know I just went in a rambling circle from wanting to be alone to wanting to be married with a baby. I don’t know what I want. 

My little sensory seeker

I’ve mentioned here before that my son has had some developmental delays since he was about a year old. He has displayed a lot of sensory issues and was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder SPD) by his Occupational Therapist at 18 months. If you are not familiar with SPD, the best way I can describe it to you is that a person with SPD has trouble regulating their sensory input. It presents in many different ways, some kids are sensory avoiders and dislike loud noises, fast movement, and over stimulation. Other kids are sensory seekers and crave constant motion and movement. Many kids are a combination of both. Boo Boo is a combination. Kids with SPD are sometimes anxious and overly cautious. Many are misdiagnosed with ADHD and medicated unnecessarily. If you are interested in learning more about how SPD works, you can visit the Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation’s website.

BooBoo is constantly in motion. He craves movement and sensory input as much as possible. He loves to swing, run and jump. As a toddler he used to watch tv upside down because he liked the feeling of the head rush. Even as an infant he sometimes only could only be soothed by TV. He would fall asleep with the Baby Einstein DVD’s playing on the TV. Now he is really only sitting still if he is absorbed in the tv. It focuses his senses so he is able to hold his body still.

Sensory issues often cause development and speech delays. Some kids have trouble forming words correctly in their mouth. Others are so distracted by the all the senses coming into their bodies, they are unable to focus on learning. For Boo Boo this was the main cause of his delays. Once his SPD was diagnosed and we began finding ways to calm his body and senses, he was able to start taking in new information.

He has made amazing progress over the last few years and I am incredibly proud of him. He went from not saying his first words until age 2.5 to being extremely (and I mean extremely) verbal at 4. Developmentally he has remained somewhat behind his age group. He is in a class with 3 and 4 year olds and he seems to relate better to the younger kids, and that’s okay. I’ve thought for a while now that I may end up delaying his entrance to kindergarten for a year, or possibly have him do 2 years of kindergarten.

Over the last 6 months, new concerns have cropped up. He has a lot of issues with food. I read recently about the difference between a picky eater and a problem eater. A picky eater had a limited repertoire of foods they will eat, but will still sometimes try or add new foods to the list. A problem eater continues to remove foods from their list. They sometimes will eliminate entire food groups, colors or textures. Boo Boo’s diet now consists of various forms of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and pizza. He eats some fruits, and snacks like chex mix and goldfish. And that’s it. He has continued to remove foods from his diet. He used to eat chicken nuggets, fish sticks, hot dogs, typical kid foods.

For anyone who has ever had the attitude of, “my kids will eat what I make them and if they don’t like it they can go to bed without dinner,” has never had a child with sensory issues. He WILL go to bed hungry. And he won’t, “eat if he gets hungry enough.” (Side note: unsolicited parenting advice and cliches offers by people who don’t have a child with special needs is NOT appreciated.)

In addition to the eating issues, we are struggling with behavior issues. Boo Boo becomes very, very focused on certain activities and it can be difficult for him to remove himself from them. He often will continue to do things after clearly being told to stop, like touching things he is not supposed to or playing with a toy. Of course, some of this is age appropriate for a 3 or 4 year old. It can be difficult to gauge how much of his behavior is age-related and how much is caused by or amplified by his extra sensory needs.

He has become extremely sensitive to loud noises, bright lights and cold temperatures. He can often be observed enjoying activities while holding his hands over his ears. When he is over stimulated he will often complain of being cold and will even start shivering when it’s not cold outside. He also has problems being touched on his head in any way.

Hair cuts are literally torture for both of us. He cries as if he is being tortured for the entire time. His hair is usually either super long and shaggy in his eyes because I have put off having it cut, or cut short and unevenly because he would not hold still while having it cut. Hair washing is a daily battle, as is combing hair and brushing teeth. Washing his face, wiping his nose and cleaning his ears each involve their own fight. I can rarely use a thermometer to take his temperature. He has. It yet visited the dentist because I just don’t see how he would be willing to allow anyone to look in his mouth.

Now that we are approaching school-age, my concerns about how BooBoo is going to function in a classroom are increasing. I scheduled an appointment with a developmental pediatrician at Children’s National Medical Center next month. I don’t really know what to expect. SPD is not a recognized disorder in the DSM IV (the manual the medical community uses to evaluate and diagnosis psychiatric and developmental disorders.) Some symptoms of SPD are very similar to those of autism. In fact, most kids with autism have some form of SPD as well. But, many kids have SPD without having autism. As a single mom who works full-time, I don’t know how we will manage occupational therapy or other recommended services.

But, we will find a way. The first step is getting some answers and some solutions to help him. The rest will work out somehow, someway.

I had a point for sharing this, but it spent a lot more time explaining the history than I planned. So I will save my vent about being a single parent to a child with special needs and the rant about my mother’s horribly offensive reaction to a recent conversation about my child for another day.

Single Mom…dating?

About a year ago I wrote a post about why I don’t date. To make a long story short, I just didn’t have the emotional energy dating requires. (Read the full post here.) Well, I went on a date last night! So I guess now this single mom is dating. I’m not sure what switched in my brain but recently I just really started to feel tug of loneliness. I am really tired of not having anyone to share my life with. So, I took the plunge and headed back into the world of online dating.

I’ve attempted online dating sporadically in the past. I usually never got past the first email or two. As soon as a guy mentioned the idea of actually meeting in person I just kind of backed away and pulled the old disappearing act. I went as far as texting with a few guys but still never went anywhere. One guy did a disappearing act on me and I suspect he may  have been married. Another was obsessed with talking about his ex-wife. Now, I totally get that if you are in your 30’s and online dating, you are going to have some baggage. But, let’s move on now, shall we?

I went on one date with someone I met online about  3 years ago. There was zero chemistry and I’m pretty sure the feeling was mutual since I never heard from him again. Even though I had no interest in seeing him again, it still stings a little to know he felt the same way. I mean, I think I’m pretty awesome. Obviously he did not agree!

So, back to the point-I went on a date last night. My most recent foray into online dating has been slightly more positive. I started talking to a guy and we seemed to really hit it off immediately. We have a lot in common, very similar situations with regard to our children and priorities. So, when he asked me to go on a date, I actually said yes.

And then, surprisingly, I had a really great time. We really just talked for hours and it seemed like we never ran out of things to talk about. And now comes the hard part. The part that goes with the post from a year ago. The waiting. The anxiety. The, “is he going to ask me out again?” feeling. The knowing that I could get hurt because I like this guy and he may not feel the same way. And then because I’m a woman, I over-analyze everything. Everything. It’s so damn stressful it makes me want to do my disappearing act again. It’s so much easier to just hide away with my 4 year old than to actually put myself out there and risk getting hurt.

But, I’m not running away this time. I’m out there. I’m going to risk it. Wish me luck, I might need it.

The hardest thing?

Someone asked me recently what I think the hardest thing about being a single mom is. I was like, wow, great question, but how could I even begin to pick just one? But after thinking about it I realized I do have an answer, and it’s hands down the hardest thing about being a single mom. And it’s not the obvious choices that probably pop into you mind when you hear the question.

It’s not money. The thing about money is, it’s just money. It really is. No matter how much I have or don’t have, it doesn’t control me our my life. Yes, it sucks to always be stressing about money. It sucks to know that I have to depend on child support from his father and that if it doesn’t show up one month, I might not be able to make rent. (And that has happened before.)  Really, compared to a lot of single moms, I am lucky in that department because I actually GET child support. My son’s father does have a decent job and the child support comes to me straight out of his paycheck so for the most part, it’s not something I have to worry about. Although it hurts my pride to need it, I am grateful to have it.

The hardest part isn’t loneliness. Yes, I’m lonely. It sucks not to have someone to share my life with. It really sucks not to have someone to share being a parent with. Being a parent is such an amazingly rewarding experience and I wish I had someone to share that joy with. And at night after Boo Boo goes to bed…well those few hours when I’m alone for the first time all day, when it’s quiet and there is no Mickey Mouse playing in the background, that’s when the loneliness hits. At least I don’t have to worry about sleeping alone. My 3-year old prefers to sleep with me and he’s a great cuddler.

The hardest part isn’t dating. I’ve posted before on how I feel about dating as a single mom. Although I’m sure dating as a single mom is hard, for me right now it’s easy. Boo Boo comes first and the rest will have to fall into place around him. If it doesn’t…oh well. I don’t have the time or energy to be sad about it.

The hardest part of being a single mom is the constant knowledge that somewhere, in the very near future, my son is going to ask me, “why don’t I have a daddy?” And I don’t know what to tell him. As he gets older the questions will just get worse. “so and so says that everyone has a mommy and a daddy,” or “why doesn’t my daddy want me?” or even worse, “why doesn’t my daddy love me?” My heart hurts and I get a sick feeling in my stomach thinking about these questions.

How am I going to raise a strong, confident young boy and raise him to be a man while facing these kinds of questions? I want to protect my son from every possible hurt in this world. I don’t want him to ever feel sad or rejected or unloved. How am I going to protect him from the hurt and pain of rejection from his father? Not to mention the fear that some day he will blame me for his father’s absence. Of course, I will tell him that not everyone has 2 parents, some kids have two moms or two dads, and some just have one or the other. I will tell him that his father does love him but he’s just really far away and can’t be here for him. I will tell him that his father loves him but doesn’t know how to separate that love from his anger at me for taking him away. Then I will have to explain to him why I took him away. (That’s when the blaming me will start.) Someday he will grow up and he will be able to understand how complicated it all is. He will be able to understand that I had to make the best choices I possibly could to protect him and give him the best life possible. Some day he will understand that his father really does love him, in his own, sadly selfish way.

Some day he will understand it all. But it’s going to be a very long, difficult road to get him to that understanding. And that is the hardest part of being a single parent.