April 11, 2009

Easter Eggs, Report Cards and why I'm a single mom

We colored our Easter eggs today. Every year, I obssessively inspect twelve eggs as they go in the pan. There are never any cracks, crevices, or weak spots crying "Don't boil me!" that I can see. I add water, heat, and about 10 minutes later, I have nine very nice eggs, and three that sport any of a variety of cracks: spiderweb, equator style, and Humpty Dumpty style. This year I had all three styles of cracks. How does this happen. What happens during that brief window of time when water and heat are present to cause these perfect eggs to become a mess? And why do I then eat multi-colored egg salad the week following Easter? The boys think the colored egg white is really cool when they do it, but ask them to eat it? Oh, goodness no! That's like asking them to eat rat poison, which I suspect they might be more willing to eat.

C brought home his report card on Thursday. This child has made me so proud. He's in 2nd grade, so they don't yet do the A/B/C/D/F grades, they do E/S/N/U, for Excellent, Satisfactory, Needs Improvement, and Unsatisfactory, same as the conduct/behavior grades. He came home with all S's for his academics, and all E's and S's for his behavior. This child struggled with reading and math all year, and had tons of trouble last year and in Kindergarten due to his ADHD. To have improved this much is such a wonderful thing, and I am so proud of him.

On that same day, he also scared the crap out of me. He and J are real big on finding....well, any living creature they can: lizards, frogs, toads, grasshoppers, beetles, whatever. That afternoon, they were digging by a pile of rocks, and I heard the word "worm" on the breeze a couple of times, so I wasn't overly concerned about what they were doing. Until a few minutes later when C shouts to me, "We found a snake!" I, of course, as mothers do, flip out. "What are you doing? Put the snake down!"

"It's just a little one!"

"I don't care! Put it down!"

"But it's tiny. It can't hurt us!"

I get a jar and demand that my child immediately deposit this tiny, little can't-hurt-us snake into the jar. He does, but very reluctantly and giving me the evil glare that says I'm the wicked witch of the west carrying Dorothy off to my castle.

I come inside to look the snake up on the internet, with stern warnings and threats of bodily harm to my sons of what will happen if they dare to touch another snake. Fortunately, they were right, it wasn't venomous. It was a Florida Crowned Snake, completely harmless to humans, and apparently fully grown at it's incredibly tiny size. I have some pictures that, once I calmed down, I took and will post later. I let them keep the snake for a couple of days, and this morning, we set him (her? it?) free in the front yard, so it could go on it's merry way. Then, we had another talk about leaving snakes alone and how it's not nice to give Mom a heart attack by catching one and then insisting that it's not going to hurt you.

I belong to a website for moms. It's a website where you can join groups that revolve around a variety of topics, and ask questions in various forums on numerous parenting issues, including relationships, cooking, and the different stages of your child's life. Recently, there was an article in a popular entertainment magazine about Jamie Lynn Spears and how she isn't going to get married right now. There was also a recent announcement that Sarah Palin's daughter and her boyfriend/father of her child broke up. And then, of course, there's Octomom.

Now, on the website I belong to, there are some very...young moms that have taken the stance that these girls/women are right, in not marrying. They are of the opinion that "you don't need a man to have a baby". Now, I am only 30, so I am not from that generation where unwed mothers got sent off to live in a convent or the desert until the child was born and then returned claiming they just had a nasty case of pnuemonia. But, the women making these comments are one of two things: they don't have kids yet (usually, they are pregnant), or they are happily married to the love of their life. Now, my question to them is: Do they really think that we CHOSE this life?

Let me be clear: I did not CHOOSE to be a single mother. I didn't get pregnant with the intention of raising my children alone. Yes, I was not yet married when I got pregnant with my oldest child. And yes, I did tell his father that I was not going to marry him simply because he got me pregnant, and yes I did mean it. But still, it was not my choice. It happened, and I was going to do what I needed to in order to care for and raise my child, even if that meant going it alone. But it was not my choice: it was not what I used to dream about when I would be waiting to fall asleep at night, it was not my goal in life, to get a good job and then have a couple of kids and raise them alone. I intended to raise them in a partnership, with their father. That did not work out. Their father was not capable of being a good father and husband, and I reached my breaking point, the point at which being a single mom sounded better than being his wife.

But, still I would never, ever tell anyone that being a single parent, mom or dad, is a good idea. It's hard. There is no one to share the load, no one to help discipline or share disappointments, no one to celebrate with. No one to take over when I get sick, no one to cook when I am too tired. No one to ground them, to order them to take a bath, feed the dog, or go to bed, just me.

I love my children, and I would not trade them for anything, and if I had to go back, knowing how it would all turn out, I still would do it all over again. But, with that said, I got the impression from what I read about Bristol Palin that she is promoting abstinence. That's all well and good, but I have to say, I don't think I want my kids looking to her for suggestions on how to handle their sex lives. Whether she intends to or not, she looks like a hypocrit, and sets a bad example for teenage girls. To stand there, while holding your baby in your arms and say "don't have sex", makes you look like a hypocrit. And naturally, she looks great. Her family has money, more than most single moms, and so she has people to take the baby while she does her hair and make up before going in front of the cameras. It sets the wrong image in a teenage girl's mind of what motherhood is like.

I just had to get that off my chest.

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