Hibernation mode.

single mom toddler

I’m writing to you right now because my child is still asleep. At 8:38am on a Saturday morning. Since spring he has been up at about 7am on the dot every morning. But I think he is getting his first cues for winter because he is back to sleeping 13 or 14 hours per night like last winter. I’m not saying this to brag but I’m just marveling at the situation. I got to sleep in. Then answer a bunch of emails. Then do some online shopping and automating. Then write on my blog! It is an unbelievable good morning.

Thinking about his trend toward hibernating got me thinking about this home we live in, in this city, in this state. And all the other homes we have lived in in his life so far. So many place and memories – good and bad – we have lived quite a life as a team so far. He was conceived in Manhattan. In love on the East Side. We made our way back west to California when he was about six months along still snug in my belly. All this time the thought of returning to NYC has pained me in that bittersweet way that memory lane has over you. NYC has a strange pull on a lot of people, including me. There is pride in feeling like you can succeed there and earn the title of New Yorker. And that can be hard to let go of – making a sort of internal war. It is a thrilling place to life (though certainly far from the only one of that kind) and that makes it almost like a drug that is incredibly hard to give up.

I’m from a similar place – where we live now – an area where your address can come along with a slice of pride. And I find that equally hard to give up though I think about it all the time given how the cost of living has absolutely skyrocketed here in the past few years.

How about you? Anyone else out there beginning to hibernate? Or thinking about moving away?

I used to…

single parent blog

I used to let strangers hold you when you were a baby. On the train. Waiting in line to get your birth certificate. In parks in San Francisco. You made so many moments more fun for people. You were just too magical of a creature to keep all to myself. Now no one can hold you for long!

I used to pick you up while you were napping. Never wake a sleeping baby but there were times I needed to hold you. Now, never wake a sleeping toddler!

I used to climb into your crib to snuggle you at night. You were an all night sleeper so early in your life. I would simply miss you after a few hours. I wonder if you ever knew I was there while you snoozed so soundly. Now? I’m not going to lie – I still do this.

I still kiss your cheeks as many times as you can stand.

I still surf the internet late into the night coming up with great long lists of books I want to read to you.

I still think about you almost every minute. You are so much a part of my every decision – I marvel to remember how I enjoyed my selfishness before you came along.

I still feel so lucky that you came along and just HAD to be here. You had to.

A childcare miracle.

single parent advice

I’ve recently stumbled on a childcare miracle for my little family. I met a mom of a kid my child’s age who decided to move her family about an hour and a half away to another city. Problem was, she still needed to be at the office (in my area) two days per week. So I suggested that she could stay at my place one night per week in exchange for basically babysitting my child while he was asleep. So I could go out at night once per week. Well, we are about one month into this experiment and it has been sooooo great for me. Just getting to be outside at night, walking in the evening air, has been so helpful to my single parent spirit. Getting to see a movie, or have a meal or a drink with a friend has been a game changer. So nice to have an adult conversation at the end of the day. I thought I missed that but I didn’t realize quite how much. I’m looking forward to using my newfound evenings to take a dance class, rekindle old friendships, and even join a book club (my book club of one has gone on looong enough!!!)

Added bonus, this woman is a really cool person with a lovely family. The price is right for both of us so it’s really a win-win. I’m looking forward to feeling more and more in touch with the world around me every week! How about you? Would you try a similar arrangement? Do you have your own childcare miracle in life?

Eating emotions.

single parent help

photo via

Never in my life would I say I “ate” my emotions before I became a single parent. But since then, my downfall has been the evenings after a long, hard day of either parenting or office politics or both. My son goes to bed so early that I find myself alone with hours of time to fill…usually with more work. I got into the habit of snacking that whole time, too. That translated into lots of nourishment I didn’t really need. I say translated past tense because I’ve decided I’m done with that. It is not helping anything emotionally and it has made my running and fitness goals that much harder to reach. I’m done eating loneliness, boredom and frustration. I’m done eating stress. It doesn’t taste good.

So I started last Friday with a whole day of just fruit and veggie juices and a regular family dinner with my son. I bought some locally available juices but this one looks similar. After that the plan is just no extra eating after dinner. So far so good! I’m feeling excited about running farther and faster as I go along. And glad to funnel my energy into other things. I know this is kind of a taboo subject but I’m relieved to break the ice and I hope others feel more free to share similar experiences.

Have a happy, healthy Thursday!

Weekend dreaming: links to look at.

single mom blog

Are you in the airport of your life?

Hmmm, Moscow Idaho is looking pretty good right about now.

I just tried one of these at a friend’s house and…holy leg massage! So good.

I would wear the life out of this shirt.

Found you some awesome screentime for a rainy day!

Think your tooth floss is environmentally friendly? Think again. And then check this stuff out.

Umbrella season is upon us! I’m getting this one for the kid and this one for me.

He’s not mine.

days are long years are short

I think I started feeling this way the moment my son was born: he’s not mine. Not mine alone anymore. In those early days as I watched other people cuddle him, diaper him and talk with him I realized the days of having him all to myself snuggled tightly in my belly were over. Other people were going to love him, effort to soothe him and build their own relationships with him. It was strange at first but every day that has gone by has been a teeny tiny step toward him not being mine alone.

I take him to preschool, where without me along he is loved by the teachers and the other kids. They have their own inside jokes and their own stories – many of which I’m sure I will never know. One of the teachers has been doing his hair into so many amazing braids. (Seeing my kid with a crown braid? Swoon!) It’s so sweet and it’s all a part of slowly slowly letting go. He’s still just a small child who will need me for years to come, but I can already see the day when he really won’t. And it’s not that far off in the future.

I had an unusual childhood where I struck out on my own at fifteen years old and was legally emancipated at sixteen. That’s about twelve years from now for him. I hope he doesn’t have to do what I did. But knowing that his ability to handle this world on his own is just over a decade away. It’s nuts. I keep hearing that saying “the days are long but the years are short” and it’s so true and it’s kind of a punch in the gut, too. As trite as it is – it really is true. The last few years have flown by. I feel like it was just last week that I found out I was pregnant. But then I think back on all the emotions, the beautiful days and hard days and see the schema – that giant accordion file folder – of his life unfold in my brain, I know it’s all there. It’s safe. Until I lose my memory I have nothing to be sad about. We’ve lived everyday and while not every day has been the most savorable – I am really trying to appreciate the privilege of being able to be a parent at all and peek behind that secret curtain of how families live.

So every day he is less and less mine. And it’s pretty special to watch.

BIG READ, little read.

how to raise an adult overparentingI just read How to Raise an Adult, and I have to admit that sometimes I’m guilty of the “overparenting” the author describes. It’s hard not to I guess, in these times of no more “village” it’s easy to pour your whole brain into this elaborate DIY project called raising a child. There are so many parenting decisions that I’ve done hours and hours of research on. Crowd-sourcing and literature reviewing myself into a guarantee I will raise a kind, brave, aware, generous, unselfish and resourceful person. And being a single parent, developing that strategy is mine alone. The most do-it-yourself way a person can parent. So, this book kind of helped me see where I can take a load off. I can pull back and my child will be ok. Maybe even better off. Also, as a single parent there are already a LOT of times that I can’t pour my heart and soul into every decision and every moment. This book made me feel a hell of a lot better about that. After reading this book I can say I no longer care about being deemed a “good” mother. I just want to be an actual person. Motherhood isn’t the totality of my identity and that is important for my kid and for me to remember. This book is good. Highly recommended!

Suffering through some tantrums at your house? We sure as heck have! Baby’s first year was hard. The lack of sleep in the very anger and mindfulnessbeginning, mastering breastfeeding, the decision fatigue (see above), the total dependency, the baby-proofing and associated mishaps – sheer physical and mental exhaustion. The second year? Oh mercy. That was hard for me. The slow switch to independence, days of frustration, tantrums. Oh tantrums. I wish we had found the book Anh’s Anger earlier. It’s about a kid who gets really mad and he learns how to handle it. I can’t tell you how many times mentioning Anh and his anger has diffused a tantrum in the weeks since we discovered the book. It’s been a game changer for us and one that I’d recommend to anyone going through that particular storm.

5 Things I love about being the single parent of a 2.5 year old.

  1. It’s easier than the newborn days. I think I’m finally feeling far enough away from the first year that I can see that it is easier now. The first year is so hands on and labor intensive (no pun intended!) I feel like I can finally sit back and watch him go.
  2. No more diapers! Saving me so much time and money! And it’s so cute to see how empowered he feels about using the toilet! So cute.
  3. Feeling confident as a parent. I feel good about my parenting choices. I’m not second guessing and I’m not as susceptible to other people’s advice and to caring what other people think. We’re good! You’re good! We’re all good!
  4. Help around the house. For a while now I’ve been enjoying my toddler’s help around the house. From picking up, washing his hands on his own, pouring his own water and dressing himself… Having his help putting away the dishes, preparing a meal and putting away groceries is pretty awesome.
  5. Watching him learn to read. I’m not teaching him to read but since he was only three days old we have been enjoying reading book after book after book together. Recently he’s been getting more curious about the words on the page and wanting to point them out and trace them with his finger. As someone who taught herself how to read, I feel pretty proud to watch him trying to figure it all out.

Growing and growing: links to look at.

download

Does this make you think twice about your kid’s shoes?

A surprise about chia seeds.

If you are what you eat, I’d be into being this today.

Keep standing tall.

Saying goodbye to judgmental friends.

Excited for these to arrive.

On not forgetting what delights you.

I will never let my child…

single parent screentime

You know the rest of that sentence. It’s different for every family. I will let you in on what I think at this point a mere 2.5 years into parenthood. I will never let my child have a driver’s permit before the age of 18. Or a cellphone. I feel pretty strongly about these two things. But when told to a friend she laughed and said – I bet you said you would never let your child have screen-time or eat sugar. Well, she’s sort of right…I did think that but by kid has definitely had both sugar and screen-time at this point. Who knows how I will feel abut cars and phones in the next ten to fifteen years. But right here and right now that sounds pretty good to me. What about you? Any future parenting decisions you are still holding tightly to?