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Friday, November 25th, 2011
I didn’t have Caroline for Thanksgiving this year. I wasn’t really looking forward to it. I never do look forward to holidays without her… divorced holidays are pretty sucky in general. It’s supposed to be family time, you know? Maybe they get better, but it’s all still pretty new to me at this point.
She left with Tyler for his parents’ house in Phoenix on Sunday, and she’s coming back tonight. HSD went to Florida to visit family. My best friend went to Maine to do the same.
I was not looking forward to this at all.
I made sure to have a big, long to-do list of stuff around the apartment to keep me busy. I told myself that the alone time would be good for me, that it would be nice to sleep in and work out and have a glass of wine on Thanksgiving without worrying about what Caroline was destroying in the other room.
And you know what? It was actually really nice.
I’ve gotten a ton of sleep, gotten all Caroline’s old baby stuff bagged up and sold for Christmas money, cleaned my apartment from top to bottom, and gone on plenty of long runs. I went to Thanksgiving at a family friend’s place with my family, and it was so relaxing to eat delicious food and have adult conversation and not chase around a toddler and try to get her to eat her green beans. It was just… nice. It wasn’t lonely at all.
So this year, that’s what I am thankful for. For the silver lining to divorced holidays, for the time spent alone, the time spent relaxing, a respite from my crazy-busy life. For the time to get things done, for a glass of wine, for adult time. And for knowing that once I’ve had my little break, my daughter will be coming home to me with a huge, excited grin on her face and with her arms outstretched towards me.
And now? It’s Christmastime, my favorite time of the year. I get Caroline for Christmas this year, and she’ll be almost three, and it is gonna be awesome. I’ve got all my boxes of Christmas stuff out of storage, and it’s ready and waiting for her to come home and tear into it. I am so looking forward to sharing all that with her… and I’m thankful for that, this year, too.
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Caroline, Christmas, Custody, Divorce, Friends, Holidays, Single Parenting, Thanksgiving, Vacation, Visitation | Categories:
Caroline, Divorce, Single Parenting, Unexpectedly Expecting
Thursday, October 20th, 2011
Guys, I’m on momcation again.
Tyler’s parents are visiting, so he has her for almost a week. He came and got her from my place around 6:00 last night. Here’s a text conversation that transpired between my friend and I around 6:05:
Me: Caro just left. I miss her already.
Friend: Aww, I’m sorry, Jules. She’ll be back before you know it!
Me: Just kidding I’m FREEEEEEEE, B*TCHES!!! HAPPY HOUR TOMORROW!!!
(You can just go ahead and put my Mom of the Year award in the mail.)
I’m fully prepared to be considered a terrible person and unfit mother for this post, just to get that out of the way. But I don’t really care, you guys. I need some toddler-free time and I need it bad. I need to pee alone, I need to wash the applesauce out of my hair, I need to not hear Dora the Explorer’s voice for at least 48 hours, and most of all I need to actually (gasp!) be allowed out of my house after 7pm.
Mostly I just need some sleep. Caroline pretty much never sleeps anymore. She’s been up nearly every hour of every night since I came back from Jamaica. Before I had a child, and especially before I became a single mom, I was one of those people who had a love affair with sleep. I cherished sleeping in and I could practically taste a good nap like an icy cold glass of lemonade on a hot July afternoon. I’m not gonna lie– whenever Tyler takes Caroline for more than a day or two, I miss her a little… but mostly I just revel in the extra sleep that I get.
I’m also going to be seeing quite a bit of HSD while she’s away, which I’m excited about, and yes we are seeing each other again, and it’s going really well, and I swear by all that is holy that if you guys give me too much sh*t about that in the comments I will never write about dating again.
Tyler’s been much better about spending time with Caroline since he got back from his summer trips. I catch myself doing that, telling people when they ask, “he’s been doing so well, seeing her almost every week”… almost like I’m marveling at a puppy being housebroken long before I expected that he would be. When I do, I sometimes remind myself that it’s not some kind of feat or accomplishment on his part, that he is simply doing what he should be, as her father, and only part of it at that. But then again, it is better than it was, and I learned long ago that you can’t force the visitation issue, you can only encourage their time spent together and appreciate your time “off” when you do happen to get it.
And this week, I plan to appreciate it to the fullest.
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Caroline, Custody, Dating, Divorce, Friends, Residency, Single Parenting, Toddlers, Tyler, Visitation | Categories:
Caroline, Residency, Single Parenting, Unexpectedly Expecting
Wednesday, October 19th, 2011
‘Tis the season for pumpkin carving, apple picking, soups and stews in the crock pot, adorable little kids in costumes, and patients harassing me to get their treatment done before the weather and roads become icy and unpredictable.
I love fall. Always have. I love the crispness in the air, the smell of wood stoves, and the colors of the leaves (just kidding, I’m colorblind, but I threw that one in there for those of you who aren’t, because I’m nice like that). Last fall was a little bit crazy for me, because Tyler and I had just separated and no matter how clear-headed I sounded, I probably wouldn’t have noticed whether or not the seasons changed at all. Those first divorced holiday seasons are tough. But this year I am in a great place and I am so ready to enjoy every minute of it.
Caroline and I went to the local orchard this past weekend with some friends and picked out some pumpkins, which we will obviously be carving and putting candles inside regardless of my apartment’s rules against such things. I’ve also gone apple-picking, hayride-riding, and have been cooking all kinds of delicious fall things, like apple crisp and maple-roasted chicken with sweet potatoes and roasted squash soup.
Halloween is coming up quickly, and true to form, I haven’t even considered what costume Caroline will be wearing. She says she wants to be a princess (this should come as a surprise to precisely no one) so I suppose that’s what she’ll be. Tyler had her for Halloween last year, so he got to take her trick-or-treating– I’m so excited to take her this year for what will be the first time she’s gone with me. Partly because I think it will be so cute… and partly because she still isn’t allowed much candy so I am totally gonna eat it all. If any other dentists ask, though, I will of course be throwing out all the candy and replacing it with a bucket full of toothbrushes because that’s how we roll.
So tell me, how is your family celebrating the fall? What are your favorite fall dishes? What will your kids be for Halloween? (HINT, I need ideas that aren’t princesses. Thanks in advance.)
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Tuesday, September 13th, 2011
Once in awhile, I write a post that I know I’m going to take some flames for. I don’t write controversial stuff just for the sake of being controversial, but occasionally an issue comes along that I really believe in and I’m willing to stand up and speak my mind about, and this is one of those cases.
Some single parents refuse, or choose not to seek out, child support from their child’s biological parent. Why? The reasons I’ve heard include the following:
1. They can raise their child on their income alone, and don’t want help from the other parent. They would rather do it by themselves.
2. They feel that the child is better off without the other parent in their life for any number of reasons, so they don’t want to accept child support because they don’t want the noncustodial parent to be allowed visitation.
3. They don’t want to anger the noncustodial parent by seeking financial support– they want the relationship to stay civil and friendly for the child’s sake.
Although I can understand the reasons behind the decision, and recognize that really none of it is any of my business anyway (before everyone comes in here and screams that at me), I still personally take issue with it.
First of all, and this is my biggest issue: child support is not your money. It’s your child’s. The money is only paid to you because your child would probably rather spend it on candy or video games than daycare or vegetables. Maybe you truly don’t need that money to give your child the things he or she needs. But if that were me, I’d still take the money and put it in a savings account for college or something. Because that money is not mine to refuse.
Also, it’s actually a myth that seeking child support means you are obligated to allow visitation. Many single parents don’t realize that child support is actually an issue that is completely independent from custody and visitation– a parent who pays child support may be denied visitation, and conversely, a parent who is behind on paying child support cannot be denied visitation. The judge makes the decisions on child support and visitation, and they are not related to each other at all.
And as for the last issue, if you read this blog regularly you know that I am a huge proponent of keeping things civil between coparents at the expense of pretty much anything else, because it’s what’s best for the child. However, you have to stick up for your child and draw a line somewhere, and in my opinion, child support is a good place to do it. It’s one thing to let it slide for the sake of civility if, say, the other parent consistently shows up 10 minutes late. It’s entirely another to give them a pass on financial support that you could be using to give your child a better life.
Of course there must be special situations in which denying or not seeking support is the right thing to do, but in general, it’s not charity money– it’s a legal financial obligation, and to deny receiving it is to do your child a disservice. In my humble opinion. Now, go ahead and flame the bejeesus out of me in the comments. I’ve got my flameproof suit on and I’m ready.
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Sunday, September 11th, 2011
In my opinion, there are two basic types of partner-less parents. Single parents, and solo parents. I’ve been both, sort of, and I can tell you that there are good things and bad things about each situation.
Single parents are probably more common. A single parent raises their child or children without a partner, but the child’s other biological parent is still in their lives and takes him or her for visitation.
The good things about being a single parent are first and foremost that you get a break once in awhile. Parenting on your own can be brutally exhausting and it is really nice to actually sleep in and be allowed out of your house after your kids’ bedtime and run errands without a child in tow. And, of course, it’s beneficial to the child to have both parents involved in his or her life to the fullest extent possible, barring certain circumstances where a parent is deemed unfit.
On the other hand, being a single parent means that you still have to interact with your ex, which can be difficult, especially at first. Minimizing tension for the sake of your child is so important, but depending on what went on before your separation, it’s no fun for anyone. (If you read this blog regularly, you know that Tyler and I have struggled with this in the past.) It’s tough to make that shift from couple to coparent, and we all have varying degrees of success at it.
Solo parents do all of the parenting completely on their own. Their child’s other biological parent is not in the picture at all, for whatever reason.
It sounds overwhelming, but there are some good things about being a solo parent. You don’t have to consult anyone else on your parenting decisions. You don’t have to deal with your ex or your ex’s significant other or anyone, really. You don’t have to depend on anyone else’s schedule. You don’t have to get stressed out over canceled visits and whether or not you think your ex is taking enough visitation, or whatever. You can just do what you want and what you think is best for your child.
Then again, of course, there are no breaks. None. And you have to be mom and dad, which sucks because, let’s face it, it’s hard enough to just be one or the other.
Due to Tyler’s periodic extended absences from Caroline’s life, I guess I can say I’ve been both, and I definitely prefer being a single parent to being a solo parent. I need those breaks that I get when he takes his visitation. And it’s better for her if he is around. It definitely makes for an adjustment period when he comes back into the picture (and we are entering this phase now that he is back from North Dakota), but once we’ve all worked through that, I know it will be easier on everyone overall.
Which type of partner-less parent are you– single or solo? What do you like about the type of single parent you are?
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