I haven't blogged in awhile and this is why.....
We all know the rhetorical answer to this question, of course. However, I have a more specific rhetorical reason for asking this question…..Am I still a single mom in suburbia?
I write this because as many readers know, I have been dating someone for over a year now. What some readers may not know is that we got engaged in January, we had talked about this step together of course – and we are very happy. Before you ask, just like everyone else is asking, “WHEN are you getting married?” the answer is in a couple of years or so. We realize that we have made a very big commitment to each other, this does involve our children, and we want to be as prepared for marriage before we enter into marriage. We made the very big decision of moving in together a few months after the engagement, which meant the moving the kids in together and the actual move happened about a month ago. What I was not prepared for was/is the question of my new identity because in the majority of society’s, friend’s, and some family member’s eyes: In making these two steps I have relinquished my title as a single mom?
To say I have not been struggling with this would be a complete lie and it leaves me asking myself and others (if I had the courage): what makes a single mom?
By my tax claim status – yes I am a single mom and will be the next two or so tax years.
Am I single as in not married? Yes. Am I a mom? Yes. OK, therefore I would be a “single mom.”
Yet, many would say, however, you have a future husband who is there when you come home and loves both you and your daughter. True. Many would say, you have someone to have dinner ready on some weeknights now. True. Many say, you live in a house with a man, your children, and his children and are becoming a family. Somewhat true. If you have ever done it before, I would assume you would agree that this is not a just add water family situation. It takes time. Bonds take time. Love, trust, building relationships all take time.
Beyond that, I still act as a single mom/parent. I have the same financial responsibilities with no increased income besides splitting rent and utilities, though a house of 6 costs a lot more to feed than a house of 2. I still have to work, therefore having my daughter in daycare or with a babysitter 40-50 hours a week throughout the year. I take her to all her appointments, make all the phone calls, fix all the ouchies, take the brunt of all the meltdowns, use every bone in my body to be diplomatic with my daughter’s father who is still angry with me for living my life and goes weeks without contact in between partial visits with my daughter. I am still paying off the debt from my daughter’s medical bills I couldn’t afford to pay at the time. I am still paying off the debt from the credit cards I had to use to in between paychecks to get by. I am still staring at pictures of just the two of us from pregnancy to 4 years old. I am the next of kin and in case of emergency 24/7 365 contact number.
My future husband is still learning how to be comfortable living with a 4 year old in the house, just as I am learning how to be comfortable living with another adult, two tweens and one teen. We are still learning what our roles are with each other and with our kids and what the kids’ roles are with each other. This is not the Brady Bunch, people – it is real life.
So with all these new things, different things, difficult to discern things – I get frustrated that to others my role or my title as a single mom is , or so it feels, being challenged. When a widower re-marries, do people assume that the parent who passed away will become just a memory and nothing more and that the step-parent will take over as mom or dad? No. Does someone who never knew their or a biological father never hurt from that circumstance? Not that I have seen. Has all the work I have done on my own from pregnancy to now vanish or become less relevant, less of a battle, less courageous now that I have a partner? I would like to think it doesn’t or that it won’t. That everything, every step, every tear, every question my daughter will come across that has do to with her biological father being in and out of her life will not be answered solely by me for the next 14 years or more?
I am not saying that I don’t want to hope to foster an awesome and loving blended family home with a beautiful (but completely worked on throughout many years) marriage, I do. But to erase what has been my life for over 4 years, the only years of life my daughter has known, seems a bit much, because we couldn’t have had a shot at this new family picture if I was first not a single mom and my fiancé not first a divorced single dad.
And that’s all I have to say about that....except that I will still continue the single mom in suburbia blog with my new adventures. And maybe, just maybe, create a new one about our blended adventures. OK, now I'm done ;)