Archive | June 2011

Why dating is an exhausting ritual, especially for the single mother.

I never really dated before. Even the concept of a date seems weird to me because I am from a generation where most relationships stem from a series of “hanging out.” When I was in high school, I was fat. I wasn’t the “fat girl”, I just happened to be overweight and had much more interest in becoming a screenwriter than becoming someone’s girlfriend. There were the occasional guys that passed by my radar with a little more glimmer than others, but they’re mostly gay now. A cute 16-year-old boy whose favorite movie is Charlie Chaplin’s “Gold Rush”? yeah, he’s into dudes. Needless to say, I was simply a horny film nerd who was able to delay my need for a boyfriend until I found one in film school. Perhaps, I was hoping that would also be where I did my girl-on-girl experimentation too.

But life has a funny way of working in a much different manner than I had anticipated. I ended up not going to film school, which caused me to meet my ex when I was 19. So since the age of 19, I have been with the same person. Sure, there were some gaps in-between that allowed me to have a little extracurricular exploration, but for the most part, that was it. Well, now at the age of 26, I am back to the drawing board.

It’s been 7 years, 1 marriage and 2 kids later but I was rip-roaring-ready to move on. I can’t stress how much I am over my ex. I was pretty much edging away from him a few weeks into the marriage. It was one of those situations where there were plenty of good times at the beginning that justified the bad times. The problem became that these issues just became increasingly difficult to stand for.  It also seemed like an obvious red flag when I would meet someone I was attracted to, and my immediate thought was “Damn it! why do I have to be married?” I’m sure that is normal, but within a year of being married? probably not so much. I’m proud to say that I never cheated on my husband though. No pumpkin eaters here.

Anyway, recently I went out on a few dates with someone. He has many attributes that should make him perfect. Unfortunately, that would make things easy. I am not a girl who likes things to be easy. I have to say, that I am at total fault when it comes to this sort of stuff. I am sure I will continue to date perfectly nice guys but somehow mess with their minds in an attempt to relieve my own boredom. There is also another factor that often looms; the time it takes to actually go out on dates. I should probably be at home with my kids, not at an overpriced steak house with some guy that bores me. Sometimes I even question whether I should even worry about such things, then I think about how my mother didn’t date anyone after she was divorced. Depressing.

Perhaps, my patience has worn too thin for the male population. Don’t get me wrong, I think dudes are great, but I think I have become quite picky in my old age. I don’t want another stinker. It’s like when you drive an old beater as a teenager and you never seem to want to get rid of it. It’s familiar. It’s not so bad. It doesn’t break down EVERY time you drive it. Who wants to go car shopping? But I haven’t quite reached the age where I am going to settle for, simply, reliable. I would still rather have a 1970s Challenger that might break down, but is a blast to drive. My dating days are far from behind me, and it is going to be a good time as long as I simply enjoy the ride and not mind if I find myself a few more lemons.

Why you should only get a mouse for a toddler if you are a mom who likes mice.

My mouse can't juggle marshmallows, so yeah, she's basically useless.

Understandably, it may not be a great idea to get a pet for a 21 month old. I have a feeling that I am never going to be that mom who says no when my child wants a kitten or brings home a lizard that he/she found on the way home from school. I’m not going to have a crazy zoo in my home, by any means, but as long as we have the room and all animals are cared for, I am going to allow  it. In many ways, I am still the 10-year-old girl who wants to bring every stray dog home. There are so many moms, mine included, that dread the idea of a new pet. I have to wonder, were they always like this? or is there is a certain age that you become this way?

Hopefully, I will never reach that age or mindset. This is a similar mindset that adults display whilst disciplining a child. When my children ask why they can’t do something, I will always explain to them the reason. If anyone ever hears me say “because I said so”, I give you full permission to kick my ass. Children will never listen to you if you don’t give a rational explanation, they will simply assume that you are just a mean parent. I have worked at a number of after school programs with children K-6 grade. I was always placed with the 5th and 6th graders because the other instructors couldn’t deal with them. Something amazing happened, they listened to me and favored me out of every other adult in the program. Why? because I talked to them like they were my age. A 12-year-old might be considered a child, but they don’t think that way anymore, so you shouldn’t talk to a 12-year-old the way you would talk to a 7-year-old.

Back to my mouse story. After my friend bought his 2-year-old a hamster, I was suddenly stricken with the need to get my son something small and furry too. When I told my mother my plan to go to the pet store and get my son a hamster, her response was “you don’t want to get him a hamster.” This is something that comes up quite often with my mother, I rarely agree with her basic opinions on most things and yet she insists that she knows what I want. ” You don’t want to work full-time”, “you don’t want to move to LA”, “you don’t want to go back to work and leave your babies at home with a sitter all day”. My mother and I are very different people, but as sure as shit, she continues to assume she knows what I want to do. This also occurred when I was a child and she would give my brother a healthy helping of cottage cheese on his dinner plate and bring me my overcooked steak sans a side of cottage cheese. When I would ask her why I didn’t get any, her response was always “you don’t like cottage cheese”. This would occur on a regular basis.

So to the pet store we went. My son looked at all the furry creatures with pure wonder and I was so excited to see that sweet smile adorn his pale little face. After taking a gander at reptiles and fish too, I decided it was decision time. Although a hamster was tempting, I decided against it only because those suckers love to bite. I have had many hamsters in my life and have been bitten by every single one. They are just too skittish. Adorable, yes, but too crazy for a toddler. I decided upon a good-natured mouse. I have also had mice before, and felt they were a better fit.

Once I set up the cage and let my son see the mouse, he was ecstatic. You never know how toddlers are going to react to animals. Years ago, I let my 3-year-old cousin hold my mouse and after holding it for a second, she threw it against the wall. The mouse was fine, just a little dazed. My boy was eager to hold Angelina(After the cartoon ballerina, not Jolie). He picked her up and squeezed her. I immediately took her from him and decided perhaps he was not ready. My son is a sweet and gentle kid but I don’t want him to go all Lennie on that poor little mouse.

I’m not regretting the purchase of our new pet, I am actually quite happy with her. But I am also someone who loves rodents, and she is quite cute. So if you do decide to get your toddler a pet, I highly suggest it is one that you, yourself, may have gotten on your own. To think, my mother was happy with a pet rock when she was a kid. This may explain her inability to listen to others. Yes, I am still upset I didn’t get any damn cottage cheese.

My irrational hatred of “Sex and the City” and how I have seen every episode.

There are certain shows that you absolutely love, but must watch with the curtains drawn. No one wants to be judged for what they are watching, there has to be a reason why “Desperate Housewives” had fantastic ratings for years but you could never find someone who watched it.

“Sex and the City” is a show that I have watched sporadically since it first premiered. It was one of those shows that I continued to watched for reasons that were beyond me. I have always hated the characters, the laughable dialogue, the lame attempts at plot development, not to mention the anti-feminist basis for most of the character’s motivations.

Let us first dissect these four horrid women:

Carrie: Her attempts at appearing adorable and childlike are nauseating. There is nothing cute about a 35-year-old woman prancing around in a tutu, whining about everything, and expecting everyone to go along with every thing she desires. She is incredibly selfish, and spends an inexplicable amount of money on shoes and hideous designer clothing. The woman has literally worn a belt cinched around her bare mid-riffed waist. Poor Aidan, that handsome furniture maker wanted to marry her and she decided that having an anxiety attack whilst in a wedding dress and cheating on him was the best solution for ending things. Don’t even get me started on her insufferable writing skills. How does this woman get paid to be a writer? The lead is immature, materialistic, selfish and a poor columnist, and those are the characteristics that are supposed to be endearing.

Charlotte:A princess that has her eye on the prize, meaning a husband. But this husband can’t be impotent or that ruins the whole prince fantasy, although there was no guarantee that sleeping beauty or Cinderella were always left satisfied. Charlotte’s biggest fault is her pure close-minded naiveté. She isn’t a bad person, but that doesn’t mean you don’t want to beat her over the head with some sense.

Samantha: Being a sexual person is good, even being a bit of a slut can be fine if you are careful. Samantha’s problem is she is getting far too long in the tooth to be acting like such a free-spirited co-ed. Not to say that a mature woman can’t enjoy her fair share of meaningless sex. The character of Smith was great because it showed that Samantha was actually a worthwhile human being that could be in love, and be in love with someone who wasn’t awful (remember Richard?). But it was a shame to see them split in the first movie. It was also realistic and understandable. Samantha, no matter how much she may have daddy issues, may be the least infuriating person of the quartet.

Miranda: The thing about Miranda is that she portrays what a feminist would be in the SATC universe, which is to say, a false superficial version of feminism. The woman accidentally gets pregnant by a nice bar owner, Steve, who basically worships the ground she walks on. I can’t really blame her for not initially falling head over heels for him, because, like so many women, I am also always into the bad boy and have no interest in the really nice guy. After years of fighting it, Miranda finally realized that Steve is the perfect guy for her, after years of treating him in an unreasonable and harsh manner. She also constantly complains about the bummer her life has become since becoming a mother even though her social life doesn’t really seem to be majorly changed. She really scored on the likeability meter when she  insisted on Steve’s alzheimer’s-ridden mother move in with them. In the movie, it is revealed that nice-guy-Steve cheated on Miranda. If I were Steve, I would have cheated on her too, she’s mostly a cold bitch.

One might ask why I hate a show and yet am so well versed. Well, I think having a vast knowledge of a show and disliking it makes even more sense. But logically, it would seem that if I don’t like a show, why do I continue to torture myself, and waste hours upon hours of my life knowing every detail of characters that I hate. Seriously, if I were trapped in an elevator with these women, I would find something sharp to drive through my temple. Or perhaps each of theirs. I can’t give a reasonable explanation for any of this, some things we just can’t explain. In many cases women are friends with other women that they will continue to talk trash about, stab in the back and constantly complain about but will still attend their party. This may be the reason why I like to hang out with men.

Do we lose our identity when we become mothers?

I will try to make this post in a way that hopefully will not come off as  vapid and insensitive. Even as I write the title, I was wondering whether it sounded a little too Carrie Bradshaw, meaning insufferable and ridiculous. Perhaps, I will even write a complete post about my irrational hatred for “Sex and the City” and how I have seen every episode more than once. My mind has drifted, so let’s get to my original point, a mother’s identity.

When I was in my early twenties, I had the best time in college. I had great friends, lived in the dorm, with my roommate who I love and still am close to today. We did the weekend drinking, campus wandering, frat/sorority party attending. It was fantastic. Now at 26, I still love to see those same friends, and also spend time with ones I have met along the way.

Recently, a really close friend of mine moved away. I just absolutely adored him and our time we spent together, but since I have an unfortunate fate of being stuck in the black hole that is my small town, while the ones I love so dear move onto better things, it bummed me out. Having really good friends is seriously important to maintaining sanity and fighting off depression. My mother lives close to me and visits every day in order to see her grandchildren. When I told her I was upset that I didn’t have anyone to hang out with, she responded with “Well, you’re a mom now that’s who you are, you lose your identity when you become a mother.” I was shocked at such a statement. My mom is not exactly the party animal type, nor was she ever. Being 53 years old has simply made her even less so. The idea that we are no longer ourselves when we have children offended me.

To be perfectly honest, I didn’t necessarily want children as young as I had them. I got married when I was 22, rather reluctantly, because I was in love and it didn’t seem like a terrible idea. Immediately my husband wanted a baby. At 24, we had our son. When I was pregnant with our daughter, at the tender age of 25, I decided I wanted a divorce. I won’t divulge at why the divorce was necessary, but we were just way too different. We started dating at 19, and as I matured, he regressed. He also has not seen his children in months, the children he wanted more than anything in this world are not as high of a priority as drugs and his girlfriend.

So here I am, 26 years old with 2 children under the age of 2. Not exactly what I had planned. I figured I would be living in New York City writing for some funky movie or music magazine, living in some hell hole that I couldn’t afford. This all being a stepping stone to a great career as a successful journalist, but alas, my life took a different route.

Don’t think that I don’t love my children more than life itself. They are incredible, sweet, smart and well-behaved. I wanted children some day, it just seems that everything was rushed. But I don’t think that means I should stop being me. It just made me sad for my mother that she thought that having children meant you lose yourself. We all lose parts of us, I no longer wear the shirts I wore in college that were actually from the little boys section. I’ve accepted that I am too old to show off my midriff in a Batman shirt. Instead, I’ve saved these shirts for my son or daughter when they get a little bigger.

But I still like to get drunk with my friends and sit around watching movies or talking for hours about ridiculous things. I also like going to the bar and watching people. I am also single now, something I haven’t been in years. My mother never dated anyone, after she was divorced, the whole time my brother and I were growing up. It’s nice that she focused on us kids, but it’s also sad that she couldn’t do things for herself.

I’m at a point in my life where I am not in a relationship with anyone and I want an occasional random hook-up. Just because I have children doesn’t mean I shouldn’t get laid.

So do we lose our identity when we become mothers? I don’t think we have to. It should be possible to be a great parent while also being a great friend, significant other, lover, laser tag player, dancer, drinker, karaoke singer and anything else that might make us happy. We are moms but we are also people, and the happier we are as unique individuals, the better we can do our job at raising our lovable little brats.