Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I promise they'll be okay

I want to take the lighter side of being a single parent but, discrimination of parents kills me. It does work both ways, it's different but, effects both sides. I'll try to explain and try to look at it from both directions. BTW... This works for married parents too and is not a single issue.

There's a discrimination that happens to all of us dads. Sometimes it works in our favor and sometimes not. I'm sure a good deal of it comes my way from my own insecurities but, after talking to a few ladies, I'm leaning closer to it being true. Any given day, go to a playground and look at the people with their kids. Moms and Dads; playing, taking a minute or two to chat with friends, what ever it takes to stay level on any given day. Watch how people talk to each and then, go to a restaurant, do the same and listen.

On the playground, you have the dynamic of parents playing with their kids. Everything is great or, is it? Everyone has their own reasons for going to the playground, mostly to keep the wee ones happy and wear them down. My perception is this. When people see Dads playing with their kids, we get accolades and praise for being such loving parents. On the other hand, Mothers get beaten up on playgrounds because, the thought is that they should be home; teaching, cleaning or, god forbid cooking. I thought this was only an issue when getting pulled aside by Babyboomers but, like any discrimination, it runs deep. Even mothers my own age say the same crappy things about dads playing with their kids and mothers letting everything go to hell. "That might be extreme."

Flip the situation:

Now we're in a restaurant, same deal only one parent taking their kids out to eat. Mother by her self in the corner booth, kids are little rowdy but, some what controlled. A father is in another booth down the way, in the same situation. I want to say it's the same in both places but, it's not.  In fact, most servers will check on the mother twice as often, and then sympathize if the kids get a little out of control. Dads get ignored a little bit and told that now they know what it's like for single mothers. They'll get dirty looks from other patrons, when a mother will get sympathy. Same situation. It's cultural and it's fine.Whether the people are nice, mean or, just can't figure out why. Any parent might need a drink, not want to make dinner and flat out just say fuck it. Playground, Restaurant, Store it doesn't matter, parenting is a honed craft and isn't always pretty.

I'll give it to the ladies, you have an emotional attachment that can't be matched. Bed time is where I always wish a woman was there to help calm the kids but, in the morning, forget it, we shine. All the other things; Homework, Cleaning, Cooking, wiping butts, kissing boo boos, all these things can go either way. Who's more disciplined or, attached. I don't know but, I think it's pretty equal in many ways. I can only ask for people to break the thought that it's harder one way or the other because, it's not. I promise any parent who has the best intentions for their children and loves them without fault, will do okay. Hopefully, they won't ruin your dinner in the process.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Did I really just buy my son a Barbie?

Admitting my son loves and embraces all things pretty is an understatement. In fact, this wasn't the first time I've bought him a Barbie doll and probably won't be the last. Last week, I was being a little frugal and doing some random shopping online. I ordered some Barbies, a couple for my daughter and couple for my son. Monday comes and I have a date! I go out to the mailbox and there is a large padded envelope with a very elegant red doll dress in it. I had made a mistake by only ordering a dress instead of one of the dolls. Anyway, he was being a little fussy about me going out that night so, I said screw it. " Hey Buddy, look what came in the mail for you today." I pulled out the tiny red dress with white dots and this little boy's eyes lite up and a glow came across his face. It was a priceless moment of total surprise and it made his day. Now it's clear, the right decision regarding buying my son a couple dolls for Christmas morning was a good one.

As a Father that has to play the mother role too, I have to say it feels like I'm walking a tight rope. Being supportive after he makes his life decisions is one thing but, guiding him one way or the other is tricky. I don't want to tell him Barbie Dolls are only for girls but, drawing the line at dresses, makeup and a couple other areas is a must. In fact, I push baseball, riding his bike and skateboarding along with having a Pandora station for him that features Blonde and the Pretenders because, he will only listen to Girl sung music. Without having a mother around, my kids don't get the day to day girly in their lives. It's just something I have to somehow bring in just enough to cover. I probably don't make happen so magically but, some balancing is happening.

Truth is, I feel like it's most likely a phase. He does like a bunch of tough guy stuff too, Power Rangers and such but, I still worry about how he's going to be treated in school and on the playground if he gets into an excited frenzy about how pretty a girl's doll is. Kids are mean and brutally honest about their view of what's right and wrong right? We were raised with a very clear dividing line between what boys and girls played with. For me, it was skateboards, bikes or, playing Mario Brothers. I never had a doll or even thought it was an option. Now, we have this thing or, parental correctness and being really overly nurturing. God forbid, you make your child cry or deny their freedom of creativity. You'll screw them up or stifle their entire future. At least this is what I perceive from the new parent culture and I don't really love it. I say let them be kids and getting hurt is all part of the territory.

When it comes to guiding this beautiful little person through his childhood admiration's, I will support and share his love for all things pretty because, It all comes back to balance:) I'm Townie Dad; I bought my son three Barbies and a house for them to live in for Christmas.


Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas is rapidly approaching and thankfully I'm still Single

Holidays are hard and I for one, have a need to please my family. Not just my children but, my siblings and parents. My parents tend to go with the flow, cross their fingers and hope for the best. I should follow suit but, something inside drives me to want or, need to make all these people happy by; disguising my short comings with good cheese, lots of wine, in a clean house, dressed with those big Christmas lights from the 70's. Our town itself looks as if Christmas puked on it, so why not follow through.

Today, I'm happy for being single. I can deal with a passive aggressive form of Christmas. I have grown to love it over the past 37 years and why stop now? I can even deal with trying to use the texting grapevine, to figure out when the Mysterious Clan of In-laws is going to randomly stop by. Adding another person's set of feelings to the holidays, is a lot of pressure. What if she has kids and in-laws? I try and want to date but, being emotionally clear two weeks out, lets off a ton of pressure. It also allows me to reserve all of my cheer for my kids and immediate family.

This all being said, I have a date on Monday and couldn't be happier about it. It's a date and not an instaship. Future blog,"Dating with the potential!!!" explaining my thought of dating as a full time father of three. When her expectations of me being a normal human go out the window and thinking I need a woman to be whole. I assure you, I'm as happy as I can be or, will be, for the time being:)

Back to the matter at hand: Feelings at Christmas and why single is easier. There is going to be an awkward interaction at some point. The person I had trusted and thought would be there forever and always will have a moment or try. If you do not have this issue as an ex, good for you. My Ex-wife however, is an emotional rollercoaster and feels the true guilt of leaving her family. It really hits home around the special occasions of the year. I can't subject that pressure on someone else, at least not yet and not over the holidays. I'd be happy to introduce a person who truly makes me happy to the crazies in my life. The key would be that.  Whether or not that person makes me happy. Otherwise, why spread the holiday weirdness? Single is easier and this year was no different than last. Self defense set in and I cleaned emotional house just before Thanksgiving.

Yep, I'll be playing it by ear and only caring about one schedule, my kids and making sure it's memorable for them. After all, this might be the last time they are my only concern. This one last time, I'll pretend nothing is bothering me, invite anyone who is out, in and offer good cheese and wine. Please, treat my kids and I as one unit because, we will always stand this way. I will always do my best for them and that just might mean eventually, inviting someone else in.

Happy Holidays

Intro to me

2AM: The Colbert Report just ended again and all I can hear is echoing coughs, ringing through the house and I turn off the TV. Staring at the ceiling and going through my day; wondering about any connections I may have made. Wondering how many days to avoid my parents house, after subjecting my father to dinner at the bar, with my kids. BTW....Who was that cute teacher talking to my son on the playground and is she single. (that would be a bad thing, that I wouldn't act on or talk about in life.)

Old Townie Dad; would have had enough to drink to block this problem. It's a new day and trying to get three kids up, fed, dressed and safely delivered to school on time "hang over," just sucks. I suppose standing out on my deck smoking would have also helped. It was after all; the comforting smell of smoke drifting off of my grandmother and father that to this day, makes me cozy, in a weird way. Due to that image, I thought it would be best to give that awesome habit up too. So here I am, laying here and I can only check on the kids so many times. I'll eventually drift off and the plus side of giving up the previous two issues is that, I apparently only need a few hours of sleep to get through any given day.

This could easily be anger driving my alertness, it's been three days. I told the children's mother about them being sick and I've only received a text message. I'm reserving a sappy rainy day to describe my current and past relationship with her. Short summery: Cheaters will always cheat and sociopaths will only do what feels right at the moment, it's all for some sort of life status. Her life is a long list of bad choices that guide her constantly down the wrong path. I'll leave it at an out of site, out of mind mentality, brief fits of guilt but, having the complete ability to turn that into sympathy.

I'm no angel either and hope a good girl captures my attention soon. I have this problem of treating any girl I date, as if she is only second to my children. In fact, it has only been few and far between that any woman could grab my complete attention. Another story for another time. Hoping this will mostly be about my interactions as daddy and the people I talk to, laugh at, get confused by or, just have fun with, from day to day.

Like the mothers at the playground and how they all think they're killing their children slowly. Thank you Doctor Oz and your ability to make canned goods a topic of inescapable conversation. I work from home and refuse to watch any daytime television because, I like what I cook for my kids and farm stands don't have internet shopping. That's where it begins, I should actually work and possibly take care of the sick child rotting his brain with skittles and power rangers down stairs.