Mommy blogging, the only way I know how …

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Which of course means, with a glass of wine in my hand. Makes it harder to type, but easier to write. I believe that is what they call a paradox. Or a word closely related to paradox.

jr. is going to be 14 in less than three months. This causes me to feel a multitude of things. Panic, because it means I am getting older. Sheer terror, because I know what I was doing when I was 14 (I’m not getting into details here, but every gray hair on my mother’s head was put there from 1988-1993, courtesy of yours truly), sadness, because my baby is growing up, and joy, because as he gets older and more independent, I get a little bit more freedom.

This is important to me for two key reasons. 1.) I was a young mother. When my friends were turning 21 and partying their faces off, I was changing diapers and working 27 jobs to keep afloat. It’s not a fun way to get through your 20’s, but we did it, and I think we both came through it fairly ok. 2.) I was single mom. As much as Baby Daddy is a help now, it wasn’t always that way.  I’m not saying I never got to do anything, but I didn’t get to experience being young in the same way that a lot of my counterparts did.

For the past almost 14 years, almost everything I have done has been to make life better, to give jr. a fighting chance, security, peace, stability, and to position jr. to be successful in whatever area of life he chooses to take on. I bring all of this up now because in the past few weeks, I have been, for lack of a better word, negligent.

Perhaps that is too strong of a word. It’s not like he has been walking around hungry in dirty boxer shorts, begging for change on the streets of Mt. Lebanon, but I have raised the bar on my expectations about what he can and can’t manage when I am not home. Which is becoming more and more frequent.

There is my job. I have worked late many nights, traveled way more than with any other job, and have had more evening events than in the past. That takes up time. There is dating. I try to protect jr. by not introducing him to just anyone, which I think in the long run is the right thing to do (jr., say hello to your Uncle Fill In The Blank), but in the short-term, means more time away from home.

Up until September, I would either get a sitter, wait until he was at his dad’s, or take him to my mom’s. Then jr. sat me down. Mom, he said, I am almost 14, I do not want a sitter, and quite frankly, grandma is crazy. I would rather stay home alone (The kid has a point. My mom is a little out there. Again, you can probably blame me.) So I think. Ya know, when I was 13, I was babysitting for other people while they went out all night. I vividly remember watching my neighbor’s three kids until three in the morning, and watching the hubby walk in and puke in the fireplace. He said it was *the* most effective way to prevent a house fire.

So my little man can handle a few hours alone. Heck, I don’t go out beyond a ten-mile radius, and my mother is literally two blocks away. We can do this. And for the most part, we can. But there are days, oh there are days, when I think that I am being a bad mom. And some days that I probably actually am.

I bring all of this up for a reason. I am struggling. At what point can I stop feeling bad about not spending every waking moment with him? At what point can I say, you know, I love you to death. I have given up my youth, my figure, I have sacrificed and scraped and bled, and it’s okay now if I want to take some time for myself. To figure out who I am. And what I want. Because you won’t always be here.

Is it 14? 18? 21? Never? I know you never stop being a parent. And I don’t ever want to. But when is it okay to take some time for you, for no other reason than you want to? I don’t have the answer, and I bet you don’t either. It’s hard to grow up along side of your kid. It’s one of the hazards of being a young mom.

I hope I’m not doing him wrong. If I am, the good news is I have a really good job with really good insurance for any therapy that he may or may not need. It’s easy to think of me as a wine, rum, and tequila-swilling harlot, because that’s what I let you believe, but at the end of the day, I’m just a mom watching her baby grow up, and hoping like hell she isn’t fucking him up too bad.

Of all of things I have been, or ever will be, a mom is by far the hardest, and the most rewarding. I cannot believe this shit didn’t come with instructions.

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “Mommy blogging, the only way I know how …

  1. The fact that you’re thinking about this tells me you’re a great mom. And even better that you decided to share it with the rest of us. I have another 10 years before my oldest kid hits 14 and honestly can’t imagine it right now. Time for myself is something I struggle with every day. I’m envious of my husband’s business travel, though I know I shouldn’t be. It isn’t exactly a picnic for him.

    Mommy blogging looks good on you!

  2. Beth

    Aww, I think it’s totally safe to take a breather, especially when he sits you down and says so. If he knows enough to ask for some added responsibiltirs, than it’s definitely time to let him try it out. I think you’re doing right by him.

  3. I think your doing a fantastic job. You are doing the best you can in the circumstances that you are in. I was a single parent for a LONG time, and I have a boy just a year older than yours. Its always difficult, as the mommy guilt can take over and you are left thinking ok I just F&*4ed up royally here, or I gave it my all.
    Trust me you are SO not alone.
    Keep going!

  4. Let’s not speak again of the things that we were doing at 14 because HOLY CRAP, my kid better be a goody two shoes of epic proportions.

  5. I don’t have kids myself yet, but the best thing my single mom ever did was show me how important it is for a mom to have her own life. It showed me it was ok for me to go out and do my thing and figure out who I was, not sit at home with someone else defining who I was. And it definitely didn’t hurt our relationship. So git aht.

  6. I agree with ClumberKim: if you are thinking about this, it means you care, and that makes you a great mom. The fact that your kid sat you down and talked to you means you’re a great mom. You’re doing okay. It is a struggle every single day. I come at this from another angle: I didn’t have kids until I was 30-something, and I got used to what I call “me” time. It’s been hard to find balance, and I feel as bad as you do about it. But you have to take care of yourself, too.

    What Lauren said, too. Plus, our kids know we love them.

    ciao,
    rpm

  7. Starsky

    I think you have done a great job with Jr. and you do indeed deserve ME time! Hell, I’ve never had anyone else’s son make me soup (in a can) and a toasted (burned) sandwich when I was sick! Your panic and freaking out just means you care! So…strap on those stripper heels and head out for a guilt free evening…you deserve it!

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