5 min Read
A Single Mom Celebrates Being in Charge
February 24, 2010
5 min Read
February 24, 2010
I’m just back from a late-night jaunt with my seven-year-old daughter to a local submarine sandwich joint. It’s 10 p.m. We wore our pyjamas, ate cookies outside the store and, when we got back to the house, watched our favourite reality show and drew tattoos on each other with coloured markers. Questionable parenting? Sure. But, with three other kids, the night was all about her having mom to herself for awhile. Enough with others’ woeful tales about having to take out the garbage, chase the mice, mow the lawn and there being no one to help decipher the French homework. These life lemons are ripe for glorious transformation.
I’ve been a single mother to four children for five years. Then, the kids were two, four, six and eight. My ex and I now have a reasonable working relationship, but it had to evolve from long sessions of bitter battles about such minutae as where to store the kids’ ice skates and who gets to host the birthday sleepovers. But now, all the fine sharp cheddar in the fridge is mine, those ridiculous hip waders are gone from the basement landing and I don’t ever have to watch Bounty Hunter again. Ever.
I make those minute-to-minute choices by myself, as I make all those choices regarding my children – – those lovely creatures who are the delightful product of that illconceived union. I’m not talking about the big stuff here, like health, education or whether our nine-year-old gets that Super Mario tattoo he’s been begging for (yeah, we caved). Just the regular business of everyday life. My microwave popcorn dinners. My sleep-too-late weekend mornings.
My occasional choice to let my 11-year-old watch bits and pieces of Borat. Now, these choices are mine. All mine. Because, while single parenthood has robbed me of the right to blame, it’s also released me from the other end of that covenant.
It’s the reason I and my band of midget circus performers have been known to trip out to the all-night Shoppers Drug Mart at 10 p.m. to give the blood-pressure machine a whirl and shop for hairbrushes. Why the kids get to eat their lunch on the garage roof (if they’re prepared to haul up the chairs). Why going to the movies with Mom, who favours large tubs of salty popcorn, is a lot more fun than going with Dad, who doesn’t.
It’s just me on this path now – and that suits me fine. I no longer have to weather the withering frowns of disapproval from the Other Parent. If I want to replace my daughter’s recently deceased hamster with another soon-to-expire rodent, or paint my son’s room Pokémon green, or teach the lot of them the entire songbook from Les Miserables one night over dinner, well, hell . . I can.
The Successful Single Mom: Get Your Life Back and Your Game On
by Honorée Corpron, $14.95;
Published March 2010