Why I May Never Be Invited To Another Baby Shower

Year round school is a dream come true for a single parent such as myself.

While everyone is writing parenting advice on cardstock decorated with foil embossed booties, everyone tells you the surface stuff. Read with sweet, innocent voice: “Get plenty of rest.” “Let your husband do the housework.” “Take people up on their offer to help.”

Screw that. What we should have been writing on those cards was the true stuff. The stuff no one tells you when you’re glowing, happy, filled with maternal joy and cake for four. Read with hard, militant, voice while using hand expressions: “It is scary as hell the first time you take a crap and yeah you may have to assist your body in the process. Don’t ask-instinct will take over.” “Your nipples will crack and bleed during feeding and those objects of sexual stimulation will be reduced to objects of nutritional satisfaction. There ain’t nothing sexy about smelling like spoiled contaminated milk.” “After the baby comes out you will spin the rest of your life wishing that crying, little brat would crawl back in there and give you a moment of peace.”

Peace. Ahhhhh. Do you know what peace sounds like? It sounds like three weeks of track out while the offspring spring off to the home of the noncustodial parent, at least that’s what it sounds like to the divorcee whose kids attend year round school. It sounds like a book being read without interruption. It sounds like being called ‘Shannon’ instead of ‘Mommy’. Do you know what it looks like? It looks like a clean house. Every shoe is in place, there are no toys in sight, and the one little pile of laundry that has accumulated sits patiently waiting for nothing at all. Do you know what it smells like? It smells like take out from exotic restaurants that don’t list chicken fingers and kids menus are comical. It smells like girly soaps, undiluted by too much cologne in an attempt to hide the signs of prepubescence.

Before year round school I often wished they would crawl back into the womb and give me a moment, a single glimpse of my pre-maternal self.

But Joanie Mitchell said it best. I had an undeniable craving for chicken nuggets today, from Chick-fil-a especially, on kid’s night. In the drive thru, I sat watching kids run wildly, laughing, barefoot. They were taunting the costumed cow and I can only imagine his thoughts inside the fortress that protected their sacred ears from his secular mumbles. My womb ached for my own little torturers watching them. My stomach was playing tricks on me.

There are only three days left in my kidcation and between you and me (assuming they are having too much fun to read my blog tonight), it’s a little too peaceful around here. I keep hearing things in the middle of the night. The sterile environment is freaking me out! And four-day old sushi stinks! If nothing else, they better get home and take out this trash. That’s another thing we should be writing on those cards “If it’s a boy, by the time he’s 8, you’ll never have to take out the trash again. Just remember to bag it up in your bathroom during that time of the month.” Besides, they both crushed my sciatic nerve when I was carrying them, I can only imagine the damage they would do now.

I should probably look into a traditional calendar.

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Sole Mates and Soul Mates

Few things compare to the exhilarating feeling of finding the perfect pair of shoes! Well, maybe finding them in your exact size!! Wait, and at 50% off!!! Euphoria erupts when you get home and discover that it is the perfect color for the dress you bought last week because it embraced every inch of your curvaceous silhouette without revealing the effects of overindulgence in everything from chocolate cookies to chocolate cake (and all things chocolate in between). The fact that you paid twice your allotted budget on the garment that is sure to turn this first date into your first proposal matters not compared to its ability to give an illusion of perfection.

Perfect hair. Perfect scent. Perfect make-up (but not so much as to look fake). Perfect cleavage and now…perfect pumps.

Two hours later, your heels are blistered and your toes are numb as you try to mask the pain in your “dogs” who are barking up something terrible. That perfect smile now looks like a sign of lactose intolerance and the pain on your face is mistakenly translated into rejection. He awkwardly searches for a way to discreetly check for the body odor that has offended you. Little does he know…you are in the process of committing shoeicide.

Why can’t those perfect 5” ring-wranglers feel as good as a pair of nude, Velcro strapped, support shoes? You know the ones with the rubber sole that can be found in abundance at your local Piccadilly or K & W during the early bird special hours. Why is comfort so ugly? And why is pretty so murderous? Before you get your panties in a bunch, ugly and comfortable shoes are great-if that’s what you like and kudos to you for being the one person on earth who actually buys them. But me no likey!

You have a better chance at finding your soul mate than finding your sole mate.

That’s what I discovered this weekend, when after just a few minutes of dancing, I discovered I had been wearing my two-hour pumps for three hours.* Ache set in but the joy on my soul mate’s face pushed me past the pain and two hours later, we were still grooving. That’s what soul mates are all about. When you find someone who connects to your soul spiritually, intellectually, culturally, physically and socially, you love them too much to let a little bunion end the fun.

I found my soul mate, but not in the way one may think. Not in that romantical love that leads to matrimonial union but in that unconditional love that binds two girlfriends at their heart and core and neither miles nor years can sever the union. For clarification, I don’t use physically to describe a sexual relationship (don’t get it twisted) but a relationship where one’s experiences with body image and body issues are that of the other.

My twin soul and I are as connected as conjoined Siamese cats and for that, I would wear nude, Velcro strapped, support shoes over a pair of come-get-me-stilettos any day!

*You have to find the mathematical calculation to maximize wear and minimize pain. For example, if you can only get 5 hours in a particular pair of leather pumps and you need to wear them for 8 hours, 4.5 hours should include sitting (slightly lift the back of the heel off the foot to relieve pressure but do not-I repeat- DO NOT take the shoe off) and only 22% of the day should involve walking at a mild pace, eliminate all steps and rub a numbing agent on at 4 hours. This method will have to be tweaked if the material is cloth or synthetic and if the shoe is bright red, forego the math cause you’re hot!

Happy Holidays?

The holidays are upon us.

Times such as these create a recipe for disaster. Start with a little loneliness, exacerbated by divorce, death of a loved one or single status. Mix in a bit of anxiety over unwanted visitors such as mothers who insist you need to settle down, fathers who question your career path and others who oppose your lifestyle. Add a dash of stress over a less than ideal financial position that requires a lot of creativity in purchasing gifts (in comes relief that you are single and without kids). Top it all off with insecurities over the weight you’ve kept on (and added to) all year long but resolved to get rid of January 1, 2010 and signs of aging that send you into a scene from The Sweetest Thing. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes (because that’s what most recipes call for) and voila!

But wait…

When you’re a college student who has nowhere to go when the residence halls close for the holidays because your drug-addicted father is missing in action and your mother has abused you since before you could walk (verbally and physically), the depression is exacerbated. Mix in an overload of courses, final exams and ten-page papers where your grades are suffering to say the least because said parents aren’t offering any monetary support so you’ve taken on a full time job to pay off tuition debts and send a little home to your Nana who is rearing your four younger siblings. Add a dash of dating the wrong men who are really boys or women who are really hoes (excuse the offense) and the STI’s they gave you as an early Christmas present followed up with a host of threatening emails, tweets and wall messages. Oh and don’t forget to top it all off with just a hint of photo harassment when your pics are multi-media-messaged across campus. Bake at hell for what feels like infinity.

Happy Holidays!

‘Til Death Do Us Part…

In just a few days I will celebrate the birth of my marriage or mourn its death, depending on how you look at it. It would have been ten years. Instead it’s been two and a half years since my divorce. I am reminded of this as the left turning signal on my vehicle is out. There are quite a few other things on my ‘honey do list’. I have learned to do a lot of them on my own but I refuse to clean the garage solo in the aftermath of last week’s snake sighting.

I remember the first time I ever took the trash out. I was the military wife of a deployed soldier. Having three brothers, I was always taught that there are male specific chores and female specific chores. Growing up with a mother and father in the household affords you that knowledge. When I married, I was fully educated on how to live with a partner. I was not educated on how to live alone.

No knock against my upbringing, but my parent’s generation, just as the ones before them were dedicated to the idea that daughters would one day grow up and marry. Checking divorced or single in response to questions that have no bearing on getting a root canal or pap smear was unheard of. I was prepped for washing dishes, cooking and decorating for the holidays. I was not prepared for mowing the lawn, changing a flat or cleaning the grill. Ironically, boys are taught to live alone. Mothers are often overheard advising their sons to learn how to cook and do laundry so they don’t have to depend on a woman. Girls are taught to depend on a man, be it their husbands or fathers. I am teaching my sons how to coexist in a healthy relationship as a respectful partner but I am also teaching them how to exist by themselves.

Gender roles have evolved. The family unit does not consist of a mom, a dad and two and a half kids any longer (which is morbidly disgusting because I often visualize the bloody upper torso of a toddler when I hear that term). But as much as things change, they stay the same. While it has become the norm to be single or a single mom, it still isn’t completely acceptable as evident by the stares in PTA meetings and doctor’s visits. I am often asked by teachers and the like “What is your last name.” Experience has taught them to ask. I live in a community where unmarried mothers are automatically assumed to be “baby mama’s” not divorcees. I think. Or maybe that’s my own insecurity talking out of discomfort from feeling like the only single mom in the play group or at the school play. I am sure there are others. The statistics say so. I am also sure that some of those wedded mothers wish they were not.

I have chosen to celebrate the union that brought forth two incredible little beings.