My Dad died when I was ten, so technically, I grew up with a single Mom. I know the struggles she went through trying to make ends meet, taking care of her five kids all the while dealing with her escalating Multiple Sclerosis. The major differences between my single Motherhood and my Mother’s is that she had a slew of kids ranging from six to sixteen years old and a sister who lived downstairs with us. That alone was a lot of help for her. My older brother and sister were given a tremendous responsibility and times were different then. We could walk to school by ourselves and play outside with our friends with no adult supervision–she had some alone time–not to mention a washer, dryer and dishwasher. (Oh, my kingdom for a washer and dryer!) She owned our home–my Dad made sure the note was paid off before he passed away, so we would always have a roof over our head. My Mom struggled, but I’m quite different from my Mom. She never dated another man after my father died. I, on the other hand, had to deal with a phone call home from my seventh grade math teacher advising my Irish-Catholic mother that I was doing poorly in math because my mind was wandering. She told her I was “boy crazy.”
I still am!
That is one of the greatest aspects of being single again. I can date, I can flirt, I can have as much sex as I want with whomever I want. As much fun as that is, it’s not always so easy because, well, I’m a single Mom.
I spend most of my days at various doctor appointments and almost every afternoon and night taking care of my daughter. I love my daughter. I don’t know what I would do without her. Before any man, ever, she is the love of my life, but damn, that little girl makes dating so difficult. Shit, she makes taking a long shower pretty damn difficult!
Whenever I meet a prospective date, the conversation usually goes something like this:
Prospective Date: So, I would like to see you, maybe a couple of drinks or dinner?
Me: Yeah, great, that sounds good.
PD: How about Friday?
Me: Sorry, Fridays are out, I have my daughter. And Saturday and Sunday are out too, because it’s my custody weekend.
PD: I understand, what’s your schedule like?
Me: Well, I’m free on Wednesday and Thursday nights and every other weekend. I can usually meet up for a cup of coffee on Friday mornings.
PD: Well, Friday mornings are out for me, I work, but we’ll talk, we’ll figure something out. Text me when you know you’ll be free.
I know, I know…it’s so simple…Get a babysitter!!! Not so simple. Babysitters are expensive and the trustworthy babysitters are hard to find in this part of Brooklyn–some of them have waiting lists! Then you’ve got to to the interview, introduce the potential babysitter to your kid, have them spend a couple of hours together to make sure they mesh and the biggest problem with a date night babysitter is…no sex. I’ve got to go home. For a first or second date a babysitter is fine, but there will come a time that sex will become an item on the dating menu and unless it’s my weekend “off”, I can’t stay over–or even stay out too late at a man’s house and I certainly can’t have him stay at mine. Besides, I don’t want to come home to my daughter looking like I just got fucked. I actually have limitations.
I have some family and friends that can help me out for a couple of hours when I have to go to a doctor’s appointment, but they have social lives too, and it’s really difficult to get a trusted friend or family member to change their own social calander to accommodate mine. As far as school vacations are concerned, oh man, forget it. Cancel that week. I’m on lockdown.
One more important difference between being simply single and a single Mom is my apartment. Any man I choose to date has and will know immediately that I have a daughter, but I truly believe that unless said “man” has children of his own, seeing that Mr. Bubble on the ledge of the bathtub is a reality check. The children’s book I forgot to put back on my daughter’s bookshelf after reading her a story in my bed. The random Lego that is so painful when stepped on with bare feet on the way to use the restroom. Being simply single means you have an “adult” apartment, and for the most part mine is, but it is undeniably shared with my little girl…books, Lego, My Little Pony and all.
During the past thirteen or fourteen months since I’ve been separated, I have had some excellent adventures with men. Admittedly, they are fewer and farther between than I would like. I have also bonded with my daughter in a way that I could never imagine happening had my STILL husband and I had not separated. I just wish it wasn’t so difficult to have both. I suppose you can’t have it all, and I would choose my child over any man, any day…but..well, I’m boy crazy!
And I always will be.