Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Friends Without Children & Other Rants

When I moved to Sacramento, I quickly made several single girlfriends and we spent endless nights dancing at Harlow's and Faces, then recovering the next day over Starbucks and at hot yoga. Those days are long over.

Back when I was a stay-at-home mom, I felt like my single friends often wondered what I did all day with my "free" time. And that is when the "singletons" started dropping out of my life.

Perhaps the fact that my ex went back to work for FIVE twenty-hour shifts, back-to-back, leaving me with a cranky baby for almost a week on end, then proceeded to stay away for two years (always working) with no help in sight had something to do with it. I began to sense a major rift between my single friends. I could not just spontaneously agree to host a book club meeting, nor could I commit to a once a week yoga class, and definitely forget having drinks and dinner on a Saturday night.

Now that I'm technically "child free" for 50% of the time, I feel, in some ways, that though my son is older, I have more obligations and the leash seems to be getting shorter and shorter.

So when my friend, Dina, sent an email with this great editorial on the demands of motherhood, I knew I had to post it here.

Without question, I feel that the editorial addresses the challenges of every stay-at-home mom. But allow me to vent just for a moment here. I don't think anyone has it harder than the single parent who TRIES to stay at home and also TRIES to make a decent living so that she and her son can pay the mortgage and eat.

Sometimes my friends don't understand when I can't find time to have long phone conversations or when I can't make a commitment to be somewhere every week, like at yoga or even every month, for a book club. Believe me, I'd love to have these distractions in my life.

But the reality is that when B's at school, I'm working. And when he's home in the afternoon, I'm finding things for us to do. I am territorial about this one-on-one time with him; I have so very little of it these days. Generally, my mom comes over in the late afternoon and I'm back to work. If I'm lucky, I can come home in time to eat with him and if I'm very, very lucky, I can even tuck him in.

Then on the days when I don't have him, I stack up as much work as possible and try to complete as many household tasks as possible so that when we do have time together, we can do fun things, like last week's bird house painting project, without feeling badly about planting him in front of television while I run the vacuum. And so goes the life of a single mom.

It's not ideal and there are people who don't understand why I don't have more time.

To be sure, no one has it easy when it comes to motherhood. And that's why I'm so glad that the writer of this editorial tackled the issue with such honesty...


Kirsten said...

Amen sister. Sometimes my husband doesn't understand why I don't have time to pick up the dry cleaning. He is puzzled by what I do all day.

heartatpreschool said...

LOVE that article!

I don't know how you do it all - being a single Mom has to be the hardest job on earth.

BTW...hope you know that when we were giving you a hard time about not posting on your blog, we were just teasing you - we're right there with you sister!