minor chaos

One single mom, two inconvenient exes and three highly amusing kids


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The Love Advice I am Actually Qualified to Give My Daughter

I’ve written that, as a single woman who has been through a couple of really nasty divorces, I may not be well-qualified to give love advice to my remarkable, young adult daughter.  However, there are some pieces of advice that, as a self-reliant person who has survived heartache and disappointment, I feel quite confident offering.  I also know that, if my very independent son were ever to ask, the advice would be pretty similar.

  1. Girl friends are your most important asset. It’s only obvious because it’s so completely true. instagram No matter how perfect this guy is, odds are high that you will break up some day.  It’s hard for you to believe.  That’s okay.  That makes you normal.  So just trust me.  You simply don’t spend eternity with every guy you fall in love with.  But you can get to the end of your days and have a number of close friends you’ve known for dozens and dozens of years. And when those perfect boyfriends exit the scene, however or whenever it happens, you’re going to be pretty darn lonely if you haven’t maintained friendships with your girls.
  2. No one puts Baby in the corner. And by the way, you’re Baby. Never date anyone who doesn’t treat you like you matter—alot.  If he is all lovey-dovey, ooey gooey when it’s just the two of you, but doesn’t acknowledge you to his friends, move on.   If he is active on social media, posting all his workouts and pictures with his frat buddies on Instagram, and none of his posts include you, his girlfriend of six months, it means he’s publicly keeping his options open.  Move on.  You’re better than that.  You deserve better.
  3. Don’t ever let a dating relationship stop you from pursuing opportunities that are great for you. My oldest daughter had a boyfriend her junior in high school. She also had a dream to earn a spot in a Drum Corps International corps.  If she made it, she’d be on gone, performing all over the country from May to August.  During the audition process, the boy’s mother actually questioned me.  “You mean, she’ll be gone ALL summer?  They won’t get to spend the summer together?”  Her son apparently wasn’t any more thrilled with that idea than she was.  Thank God, my driven girl didn’t let that keep her from auditioning because, before she even found out if she’d made it, the boy had broken up with her for completely unrelated motivations. Remember that thing I said that you didn’t want to hear—that thing about the high odds that most of your relationships will end at some point?  It’s true.  Fast forward a couple of years.  My smarty pants girl was recently offered a paid fellowship to do some kind of crazy nano-something research over the summer at a university close to where we live in North Texas.  I don’t pretend to understand it, but whatever it is, I know it’s great for the resume of a young electrical engineering major. She did hesitate just a little about accepting it, hoping that she’d be offered something a little closer to where her friends and Mr. Perfect live in Arkansas.  Again, thank God she didn’t turn it down.  It turns out Mr. Perfect was a convincing disguise for Mr. Lying-Cheater and not at all worth sacrificing her great opportunity.  And here’s another cliché.  If your Mr. Perfect really does turn out to be Mr. Perfect, he wouldn’t want you to sacrifice something that was a great opportunity for you.
  4. Don’t be the girl who puts down other girls. Why is it our go-to response to treat other girls like competition and to actively seek out their flaws? It’s like it’s a hard-wired shortcoming, engrained in our DNA.  There are enough other forces in our society, working to find any little fault in our young women.  Don’t help them.  Be a positive force.  How is this love advice?  Well, it’s very tempting to make catty comments about the girl who is dating the guy you liked or who your boyfriend asked out behind your back.  Just don’t do it.  If it turns that you’ve been unwittingly dating a player, I would be willing to bet that the “other girl” has no idea he’s pretending to be committed to you.
  5. Living well is the best revenge. Okay, not every dating relationship turns into some kind of battle. I get that.  Maybe revenge is too strong a word.  But this advice works well in all kinds of situations.  Any time in life that someone treats you in a way that is less than what you deserve, don’t give in to feelings of self-pity, resentment or vengeance.  Don’t bother wishing awful bad things on them, even if you’re tempted to hope someone will drop a house on them.  Instead, focus on being more successful, more happy, more healthy than you ever were before.  And trust me, when your paths cross again at some point and they happen to notice how awesome it is to be you, it’ll feel much better than if they’d been abducted by aliens.
  6. Your heart is going to get broken and it’s going to suck. Oh, how I wish I could arrange the universe so that no one ever made any of my kids’ hearts hurt.  And you know, I think I’ve actually met a couple of kids and young adults whose parents have magically been able to shield them from nearly all kinds of disappointment in their lives to date.  The problem is, those parents also seem to have managed to raise weak, narcissistic people who I’m sure will fold like a paper cup the first time life throws them a real curve.  No, it sucks, but it’s unavoidable.  You’re going to get your heart put through the wringer.  And when it happens, it’s going to hurt.  But I promise, every time it happens, it will be temporary and you will get past it.Blog Image
  7. Truly, you will get past it. But the only way past it is through it. There just aren’t any paths around it.  You’re going to hurt.  And the degree and duration of the hurt will be in direct proportion to the degree to which you were convinced that the person you loved was your perfect person.  All you can do is to take the best care of you possible.  Make yourself get up, get dressed, and get out and do things instead of wallowing.  No, it won’t make the hurt go away, but it will give your brain some additional things to focus on so that you’re not 100% consumed by how crappy you feel.  And, in a few days, you’re going to hurt just a little less.  In a little longer, you aren’t going to be constantly thinking about the person who broke your heart or how badly you feel. It may hit you a few times during the day, but it won’t be all the time.  In a little longer still, you’ll realize that there were signs you missed or additional reasons that Mr. Perfect actually wasn’t.  And, at some point, in a few weeks or maybe even a little longer, you’ll be just fine.  You might not even believe then that you let yourself feel so completely horrible now.
  8. Don’t dwell. Look, I know you want to understand why the guy who swore his undying love just a few days ago has done a 180 degree turn.  You think that, knowing or understanding will make you feel better.  Maybe you even have some hope of undoing the break up.  But don’t.  There is a fine line—a nearly invisible, slippery, delusional line—between understanding and obsessing.  Turn that mental energy into taking care of yourself.  Go for a run.  Head to the library.  Go see a movie with friends.  And trust me, there is no need to keep texting with the girl he cheated with because you aren’t going to learn anything else you need to k now.
  9. Abby Lee MillerAbby Lee Miller from Dance Moms had a point. Save your tears for your pillow. When you give someone your heart and they let you down, it’s hard not to let them see you fall into a million pieces.  But, to the very best of your ability, don’t. They don’t deserve to feel that important and you’ll regret the messy break down later.  I promise. Besides, very few of us are pretty criers and, when things dissolve into sobbing, no one looks good.  As quickly as you’re able, regain your composure and hold it together until you are in a neutral location with friends or family who love you or, if you’d rather, alone.  Then you go right on ahead and cry and stomp and even throw things and curse if you want to.  But the person who just crushed your heart doesn’t deserve a seat at that show.
  10. Don’t kid yourself.   When you get your heart broken, if you want to, go ahead and tell yourself you’re never dating anyone, ever again.  Just as long as you realize that’s highly unlikely.  You’re probably going to live another 60 years or more and the odds of you remaining romantically isolated for all that time are remote.  Or, if you think you’ll feel better to get your flirt on right away, go ahead and do that.  But be smart. Don’t kid yourself.  The chances are very low of the real Mr. Perfect crossing your path immediately after the discovery that the role has been recently filled by an imposter.
  11. Look fierce. You may think this is shallow advice. If so, you’re wrong.  When faced with rejection, some girls put on their sweatpants and gorge on Blue Bell.  I’ve been that girl and I’m here to tell you, it doesn’t help you feel much better and it really does little to boost your confidence.  Instead, get yourself something new and awesome to wear—even if all you can afford is a big, shut-up pair of earrings. Fix your hair, put on your make up and get dressed.  You’ll feel better about yourself.    Confidence feels much better than wallowing, I promise.
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Love Advice for My Daughter—Am I Qualified?

 

Love AdviceMy oldest daughter is brilliant, excelling in crazy hard math and science classes I could have never survived for a minute, even if my very life had depended on it. Her first semester of college, taking 17 hours of things like Calculus 2 and C++, she earned a 4.0.  While working 20 hours a week. She has always been so brave.  When she was 10, she decided she wanted to be a figure skater.  I was afraid she might be embarrassed to be the oldest girl in a beginners’ class. I was afraid she’d be disappointed.  I almost discouraged her from trying. She went on to skate and compete successfully at levels I never dreamed she’d reach, holding her own against competitors who had started much younger. As a high school student, I loved being in the color guard with my high school band. When Drum Crops International—known as marching band on steroids–toured through our area in the summer, I watched in awe and amazement from the stands as the guard members made their corps’ shows truly spectacular.  Years later, my daughter didn’t just watch. She participated, living the grueling life on the road, practicing in the sun 11 hours a day, sleeping on tour buses and gym floors all over the country.  She’s gorgeous. I would have given my eye teeth at any point in my life to have been as beautiful as she is.

Somehow, this extraordinary young woman still looks to me for answers and really, genuinely considers my advice.  And that’s great because, you know, I’ve been a mom for nearly 19 years so I figure I know stuff.  Don’t fill your closet with a bunch of random separates just because they’re on super reduced sale.  Save your money for a few things you can use to put stellar outfits together.  Don’t worry when the friends who take shortcuts seem to come out on top.  They won’t stay there.  Give people chances.  Don’t be one of those girls who constantly looks to find fault with other girls.  Stuff like that.  I’ve got a million of them.

I continued confidently handing out advice and pep-talking through the high school dating ups and downs and it always seemed like I did okay. She seemed to feel better and she kept coming to me for guidance and encouragement.

At no time did she ever appear to stop and question my qualifications.

But here is the thing.  I’ve been through two really nasty divorces from guys I never should have married.  Don’t get me wrong.  I adore all three of my children and can’t imagine living in a world in which they didn’t exist.  But I married their dads with more unresolved baggage and deep-seated insecurities and more self-doubt than anyone could possibly carry around and still make decent choices for themselves.  I did not marry men of great character.  I did not hold out for men who would cherish me or feel privileged to have me in their lives.  The results were really awful, very painful relationships. I can say with certainty that I’m a much more self-confident, evolved, person and that I have divested myself of the majority of that heavy baggage.  I can look back at times I zigged when life would have been far easier if I’d zagged and I can do that today without feeling pain or self-pity or regret.  I can also say that I have not prioritized dating in a number of years and that I make self-deprecating comments, like that “I’m really good at picking ex-husbands” or that I’m not allowed to date unless I’ve first convened a panel of close friends and advisors to select men with whom I’d be allowed to spend my time.

So, really, how am I qualified to give love advice to this amazing young woman?

At this point, I’m not sure I know the answer, which sort of undermines my whole shtick about being the mom who knows things.  I am careful not to say things that sound like man-bashing or that leave her feeling that guys can’t be trusted.  I think people might expect that kind of advice from someone with my relationship history, but I don’t actually feel that way.

What I do know is that I can’t tell her that someday, her prince will come and she’ll know for 100% certain that he is THE ONE and they’ll live happily ever after while woodland creatures deal with all the household drudgery.  I can tell her that odds are high that she’ll probably have to kiss a lot of toads, so to speak, in order to find a guy who is worth keeping around.  The process can be messy and painful and, sadly, there aren’t any short cuts.  In almost every case, in order to end up in a long-term, rewarding relationship, you have to go through disappointment and heartache and, when it happens, you can’t fast-forward past the unpleasant part. You have to actually go through it.  And you will get through it and things will be better on the other side of the hurt.


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The “Why No Blog” Blog

It’s been months since I wrote a blog entry.  The reason is really pretty simple.  To me, it makes sense to blog when I have some cogent thought or well-considered, meaningful opinion to share.  An answer.  Or a really thought-provoking question. But something that could potentially add some small sliver of something to the lives of anyone who might read my words. For the past three or four months, I really don’t feel like I’ve had any answers and, at times, I’m not entirely sure I knew what the right questions were.

Just to be clear, I wasn’t exactly wallowing in a depressive state, pondering the meaning of life and coming up completely dry.  I was just sort of existing while trying—really hard—to find a new job.  I avoided the self-doubt and feelings of failure that the loss of my most recent job could have caused because, in my honest opinion, I and others had been hired by a bunch of nitwits who failed to clearly think through the implications of hiring the leadership team for a whole marketing department without considering they were weeks away from hiring a new CEO and merging the company with another one.  Okay, it’s best if I stop there, lest some potential employer one day accidentally find this post.  Let’s just say, as hard on myself as I’m apt to be, it was pretty easy for me to logically and rationally understand that that one wasn’t on me. But I did do plenty of worrying, praying and stressing about how I was going to keep the lights on, keep my daughter in the sport she loves and keep the roof over our heads.  I was in no financial position to be unemployed.  At all.

Friends suggested I blog about my experiences.  Well, I’m here to tell you that anyone who would really want to read my frustrated ramblings of interview after interview, canceled job requisition after canceled job requisition and so on probably was in no better shape than I’ve been.  No, I had no answers so there would be nothing to blog about.

Here we are in mid-March.  I was laid off in early November.  The update is a snoozer, but here it is. I was a “finalist” candidate for 6 or 7 different great jobs.  For two, the job reqs were closed—a CMO resigned, two companies merged—that kind of thing. There was one position in which the CEO wrote me to say that they had chosen another candidate, but that he wanted me to know that it was a tough call and that he’d been really impressed with me, etc.  That was nice.  A giant global company decided to go with an internal candidate.  Understandable.   Two companies that had gone so far as to ask for my references just went totally silent.  Seriously, they didn’t even respond to my following up for a status update.  I was so puzzled.  I still am.  The only thing that remotely makes sense is that both companies have some loose ties to a guy I once worked with who just really didn’t like me.  His not liking me started before our VP hired me.  She asked him to do a peer interview before she offered me the job.  He kept me waiting 45 minutes, then didn’t look me in the eye and acted totally bored by my presence the whole interview.  Crazy, but all I can think of is that this guy who would never give me a chance when we were colleagues did what he could to make sure I never got a chance somewhere else.  I t’s just a theory, but it’s the only reason I can come up with that these two companies went so suddenly and unprofessionally silent.

Last month, the recruiter for a big digital security company contacted me as soon as a new job was posted.  I had applied for some other position and she remembered my resume.  Within a couple of days, I’d had great phone with the hiring manager.  I was told to expect an in person meeting to be scheduled early the following week.  Instead, when she called back, it was to tell me that job requisition had been frozen because they weren’t yet sure they knew what they really needed.  Really?  Again? This time, I was asked to take the job on a contract basis for a couple of months or so.  As the recruiter put it, “If you find your dream job while you’re here, you’ll at least have had something to do in the meantime.  And if this does end up becoming a full time opportunity, you’d have the inside track.”

That’s what I’m up to.  I’m working as a contractor with an hourly rate that, thank God, has allowed me to get health insurance coverage for my family after three months without it.  I’m still interviewing with a couple of companies for jobs for which I applied back in January, but if I’m smart, I’ll get back to filling to job hunt funnel with new applications soon.  I can’t say that I’ve learned anything particularly compelling or worthy of sharing, except that when these things happen, you’ve just got to keep moving, keep searching, keep going because not doing so isn’t really a viable option.  But I already knew that.

Different Rules for Teen Boys than Girls?

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There should be special training available—for free—for anyone raising twin teenagers.  In fact, for those of us doing it alone, someone really needs to offer hugs, adult beverages and chocolate at the training sessions.  My 13 year-old darlings are providing me lots of opportunities to learn and grow as a parent lately and while these lessons are sort of free, they are not the kind of training to which I’m referring, nor does either child offer much in the way of those deal sweeteners I mentioned.

The good news, however, is that I have recently learned the answer to a question I’ve had for many years:  Why do so many parents have different rules for their teenaged sons than for their teen daughters?

If you grew up as my sisters and I did, with a Golden Boy son in the family who seemed to have been born into a world free from curfews, dating restrictions and third-degree questioning, you probably have some pretty firm opinions on this topic.  And if you’re an egalitarian, fair-minded, forward-thinking person—the type I consider myself to be—I’ll bet you have always sworn that, in your household, the same rules would apply to sons and daughters alike.

Golden Boy Jenkins

Mr. Golden Boy Jenkins lived the unrestricted life in Bridge City, TX. See this boat? He built it and used his bicycle to get it down to the bayou. I’m not sure what our neighbor lady was thinking, letting her two little boys and their dog ride in it with him. They probably didn’t ask her.

 

Here is what I think I’ve learned, or, at least what I’ve recently learned about my own household.  The rules don’t seem to apply evenly because my son doesn’t ask.

Please don’t get the wrong idea.  I’m not suggesting that my son makes his own way in the world, his mom’s restrictions be damned.  But I’m not the type of parent who issues edicts willy-nilly, setting rules and regulations years in advance for hypothetical “what if” scenarios.  As such, I never made a statement on dating age to my three children.  When they were too young for the prospect to realistically loom on the horizon, each of my daughters asked when they’d be allowed to date.  Both times, I answered that it would depend on their own levels of maturity and trustworthiness and that we’d address it when they time came.

My son will ask me every time he wants to walk to the park or go outside to ride his bike, especially if I’m not home.  If we have Blue Bell in the house, he’ll ask before he digs in.  I guess that is a statement on what I clearly value—safety and ice cream. But when he wanted to take a girl to the movies, he never asked.  Not because he is sneaky or manipulative.  It just didn’t occur to him, apparently, to be a big deal.

Over the summer, he met a girl who lives in a nearby town and goes to a different school.  Just for fun, let’s call her Myrtle (oh, is my passive aggressive showing?).  Myrtle is a close friend of an awesome young lady from our church, so I figured she must be a pretty decent kid.  When she and my son started texting and talking on the phone, I wasn’t too concerned.  First, I thought, two eighth graders who live in different towns and attend different schools, I thought, can’t be taken too seriously.  They can’t get together unsupervised and, for that matter, they can’t even get together very often.  This thing has “short shelf life” stamped all over it.

Then, about a month ago, he said, “Hey, mom.  Myrtle and I are planning to meet on Saturday at Cinemark at 3:15 to see [some horror movie I can’t remember].  Will you please drive me?”  I know what you’re thinking.  If I had a rule on dating, I should have thrown it out right then.  Or I should have thought one up really quick.  But he threw me.  He made an actual plan?  He knew what time the show started, at which theatre and he was asking me a few days in advance—politely.  He had the element of surprise on his side.  “That movie is rated R,” was my first response, followed by, “And wait—I don’t think we’re ready for you to go to a movie with a girl by yourself—that feels too much like a date.”  His only response?  “Oh.”  Phew.

Ten minutes later, he was back.  “Okay, we’ll see Ninja Turtles—same time, same theatre.  And we’ve each invited a couple of friends so we’ll be a group.  My friends can ride with us, since they live sort of far from the theatre. You’ve already seen Ninja Turtles, so can you watch something else in the theatre?”

Okay, maybe I don’t have an answer to the question of why rules apply unevenly to brothers and sisters in all households.  But I do believe I have a better understanding that applies to my own household and even the one in which I grew up.  Maybe my sisters and I—and my own daughters—have received more reinforcement for asking permission or seeking out rules and guidelines.  Perhaps I’ve even, unwittingly, given them different messages.  I am going to have to reflect on this because, even though I don’t necessarily endorse eighth grade dating, I do want them all to feel equally confident in their ability to get things done and, just maybe, that starts with making a plan to go see a random movie with someone like Myrtle on a Saturday afternoon.


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Things I Didn’t Know Until I Had Kids: Siblings Fight

It’s true.  I had no idea. 20140515_064339-1 (8)

My siblings were teenagers when I was born so I grew up with no one home but me and my tired-too-young parents.  Sure, I’d seen siblings bicker on television, but I figured all that was only for comic effect. It turns out, though, that real life siblings can be shockingly awful to one another.

My three kids started young.  I remember Hope, then five, screaming from the back seat that “the girl baby” hit her.  I’m not sure how old infant Caroline was, exactly, but she was apparently too new to have been on a first name basis with her big sister.

Caroline didn’t wait long to join the fray.  Her first full sentence was an order to her twin brother to “Sit down Evan!” By the time they were preschoolers, I had told Hope so frequently that it was absurd to fight with the three year old twins that Caroline had taken to putting her foot down.  “Hope!” she’d squeak. “You can’t fight with me.  I’m a three year old!”

A couple of years later, I decided that maybe it was okay for a recently divorced mom with three young kids to admit to being overwhelmed.  I think that realization hit in the Walmart parking lot as I sat bawling my eyes out in my parked car with all three kids sitting in the backseat.  For the first time since we’d entered the store an hour earlier, they weren’t bickering, yelling or teasing. I guess the sight of your mother disintegrating before your eyes will do that to a kid.  I didn’t normally fall apart easily.  In the previous couple of years, I’d gotten out of a dangerous marriage through a horrible divorce, lost my mother to breast cancer and had been completely shut out by a sister I had always adored.  I had become a pretty tough cookie.  But there was just something jarring about that set of drinking glasses broken by my brood in the checkout lane that provided the cherry on the cake of the judgmental looks from the older and childless shoppers.

I thought my kids were broken.

Not long after, I saw a counselor on my company’s Employee Assistance Plan.  I told the woman that I was a single mom with three young kids and that I was admitting for the first time ever, to anyone, that sometimes, they overwhelmed me a little.  “They bicker and argue so much that sometimes . . . well, it’s a little bit like being picked clean by piranhas.”  Wow, it was hard to admit that.  But she’d reassure me that those were completely normal feelings, right?  Nope.  She apparently misheard what I said and interpreted it, instead, as “They really interfere with my groupie ways and nights of hard-partying adventures.”

I thought I was broken.

I didn’t admit to anyone else for a long time that my kids fought constantly.  Nothing I tried could make them stop and the counselor had pretty much confirmed that I was a horrible mother because I admitted to being overwhelmed.  I guess the piranha analogy was too much for her.

At some point, I confided my secret to oldest sister and my brother.  They promised me it was normal and shared plenty of stories about the sibling squabbles that I had missed out on in our family thanks to my own late arrival on the scene.  Still, I wasn’t convinced.  When a kind friend or supportive neighbor would say something like “You know, I really admire you.  I don’t know how you do everything you do.  You’re a great mom,” I’d smile and thank them, but I’d feel like a big sham.  Great moms’ kids are not always at each other’s throats.  Never once ever in the life of the quintessential awesome mom did a middle school son text that his high school sister had just told him she hated him during their drive to school.

So what is the great resolution to this story?  Are my kids, now 13, 13 and 18, the perfect pictures of love and support?  Did I somehow find the answer to peace and harmony in the home?  No, there will be no Nobel Peace Prizes given out here for finding a universal cure to sibling fighting.  I’m not actually sure that anything changed except for my expectations.  Instead of feeling like a failure when Evan and Caroline fight like maniacs while doing chores downstairs, I will admit to sometimes shutting the door to the room in which I’m working upstairs.  That is often followed by the further evasion of shoving in the earbuds.

But there is hope. Or Hope, who was away all summer, home for two weeks, then off to college.  In the month that she has been gone, the only person who has missed her nearly as much as I have has been Evan, the little brother she fought with every single morning she drove him to school.  It’s a good sign that there really is love mixed in with all that fighting.


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A Toe in the Water

Caroline scraped her toe at gymnastics and was concerned about it stinging when she got in the shower.  The only bandage in the house didn’t impress her as equal to the job, so she created a little beanie for the affected digit, just to be on the safe side. Turns out, it worked pretty well and we probably didn’t have the match to this pink glove anyway. 20140916_223640-1


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10 Things People Need to Stop Saying to Single Parents–Right Now

Baby Face Palm

1.  I know exactly how you feel. My spouse works such long hours/travels so much that I’m JUST like a single parent.

No.  No, you are nothing like a single parent.  I’m guessing your spouse adds income, helps make major decisions and makes plenty of other contributions to the running of your household that you might only notice if you had to do them all yourself.

2.  I never asked for child support after my divorce.

Then you probably didn’t have sole or primary custody, friend.  Because when one parent has the kids all or most of the time, they don’t have to ask for child support during a divorce. It’s not a favor.  It’s a requirement.

3.  Don’t you just hate that your kids have to grow up in a broken home?

Broken things are dysfunctional. A home in which there is no hatred, where there is relative peace, in which there is no abuse and in which the members of the family can live and grow and be happy, successful, well-adjusted people can be completely functional, regardless of how many adults live there.

4.  Don’t you want to get married again?

Just to be clear, being a single parent isn’t a disease requiring a cure.  It isn’t a broken state that needs to be repaired.  Some single parents remarry.  Some don’t. 

5.  Mrs.

Here is a tip, especially for all you well-meaning educators.  If a kid’s last name is different than his or her mom’s last name, you are better off to address mom as Ms. unless you know for certain that you’re not only dealing with her re-married name, but that she actually prefers to be called Mrs. instead of the more modern Ms.  Trust me on this one. In professional settings, women are Ms. and men are Mr. and no one gets so personal as to worry about their marital status. 

6.  Don’t you worry that your son will suffer from not having a positive male role model? Or-Don’t you worry that your daughter will suffer from not having a positive female role model?

Here is the great news.  None of our kids are being raised in a bubble, having access to only influences that can be found in our own homes.  There are teachers, neighbors, aunts and uncles and other people to meet and influence us every day in the great big world.  And remember—even when they’re related, not every person makes a positive role model.  Some parents can actually do a better job in that capacity when they are no longer living in a dysfunctional (dare I say, broken) environment every day.

7.  But what happens when your daughters get married some day? Who will walk them down the aisle?

Please understand that this is an insane question to ask a mother whose children are not remotely close to adulthood or marriage, to begin with. With that out of the way, you may not believe this, but some of our daughters—and some of yours—may grow up and decide they have no interest in marrying.  Gasp. 

8.  I heard you’re a single parent, so I gave your son an application for free and reduced school lunch.

Yes, it’s true.  That happened to me when my son was in 6th grade.  It probably would have been wrong for me to let that school employee know that my income was easily twice hers.

9.  You are so lucky! You get to have time by yourself when your child goes to their other parent’s house!

If you make the mistake of saying this to the parent of a young child who is just learning to cope with holidays, a child’s birthday or other special time without getting to see their little one, please be prepared with a hug, a drink, some tissues and an invitation. 

10.  Divorce/having a child outside of marriage is against my religion.

That’s nice.  Judging others is against mine. Fortunately, being a single parent is no more contagious than being judgmental, so we’re both safe.