Wednesday, April 28, 2010

On Birthdays and Self-Loathing

My birthday sucks. It has for many, many years. I've come to expect it. However, I now have a toddler. A sweet, innocent, wide-eyed child, for whom birthdays are still new and magical, and without disappointment. This post should be about how magical A's birthday was, and what it meant to me as his mom- but it's not. I have that one in his baby book. The other side of the story is...

Yesterday was my baby's birthday. I had to work, and Tuesdays are my long day. You see, I work an extra job one day a week to help make ends meet. I do this not because I want to, but because my baby's daddy decided that helping with those ends wasn't so very important to him. So after my 12 hour day, my "family" went out to eat to celebrate the rest of the birthday that I had to miss. We never do anything together anymore, an after all, it was a special occasion. GRANTED, it was my bright idea, but...

The three of us go the restaurant. We sit, we order, we bicker like always, and we eat. Austin, in true celebratory mode, proceeds to throw all his kids meal (which we NEVER order him, because he just wants to share... but it was a special occasion!) into the floor in true baby gangsta fashion. You know, like those rap guys popping bottles of Cristal champagne just to pour them out over the hoochy back-up dancers. What a waste.

But I digress. Let's fast-forward to the check. The server brings it. Baby Daddy has been working for over a month now, so I make no move for it. Neither does he. It was like a classic game of stare down without the staring. He knew the check was there; I knew the check was there. He knew that I knew, and vice versa. But neither of us made a move. Finally, he cracked. He picked up the check, pulled out his wallet, and I began feeling victorious (which never, ever ends well for me). I thought that this, THIS, was the moment. The moment I had aspired to for over a year. The moment that I was validated not just as an incubator and ATM, but as a mother and human being. But alas, the moment was quickly crushed when he pulled out a single bill and passed the check to me. He wanted to split it. I was livid.

Before you pass judgment, let me mention that this restaurant was Logan's Road House. And we ordered off the "2 for $14.99" menu. Granted, we both had soft drinks, and we did splurge for that special kid's meal. I realize that in the grand scheme of life, it's not such a big deal- but really? Really? This is the thanks I get for carrying his child for 9 months (3 of which were spent on bed rest), giving birth, and busting my ass to single-handedly support our family? I'm not worth 2 for $14.99?

Insanity has been defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

And the moral of the story, kids, is "Don't get knocked up." And if you do, be sure to either run his background check and FICO score first, or be prepared to lower your standards- significantly.

At least Logan's has good rolls.

Monday, April 12, 2010

On Dating and Sleep Training (Especially Sleep Training)

There comes a point in every previously knocked-up woman's life where she reaches a crossroads. The single (or in my case, single-ish) mommy thing is a delicate balance- does she continue with the currently working formula, however precarious it may be; or does she risk tipping the scales and upsetting the balance to find a chance at new and possibly everlasting happiness?

Whatever the path this nurturing, overworked, and under-appreciated purely hypothetical mother might choose, one thing is certain: I Need To Freaking Sleep.

"And exactly how might this relate to dating?" you might ask. Imagine with me, if you will, exactly how a woman like me might begin a dating relationship.

Boy sees girl in a crowded public place. Boy and girl make eye contact. Eye contact becomes flirtatious. Boy decides to approach girl. Conversation goes something like this:
Boy: So, come here often?
Girl: Back off buddy, I have a baby.
*Now, we have 2 options.*
(A) Boy flees immediately, or
(B) Boy doesn't see the big deal, and pursues the conversation.
Boy: So, what part of town do you live in?
Girl: I live in the suburbs, with my Baby Daddy.
*Boy becomes concerned*
Boy: So you guys are still together?
Girl: No, but I fully support him financially, and have for a very long time.
*Boy's ears perk up, thinking he may have found the independently wealthy golden ticket*
Boy: So, what do you do for a living?
Girl: I am a teacher and full-time grad student.
*Boy realizes the error of previous logic*
*And again, we have 2 options*
(A) Boy immediately runs away and warns his friends along with every other eligible bachelor in the bar, or
(B) Boy is genuinely interested in Girl, and a relationship ensues.

Let's assume that Boy chose option (B) on the latter. At some point in any serious adult relationship, an overnight visit is bound to occur. So in our scenario, Boy has chosen to overlook all the other baggage, only to find a crying toddler in Mommy's bed by 11:00. And we are not just talking whimpering- we're talking wailing and gnashing of teeth. Not just tonight, but every night. Maybe even every night forever (Don't believe me? Just ask my friend, whose 7 year old step-son still sleeps in the bed with Mommy at night. I, for one, would be willing to bet that Mommy is single). This does not bode well for Boy and Girl.

Of course, if you know me at all, you know that I would never expect a man to come sweep me off my feet and make life super grand. So let's explore, more briefly (due to the fact that I'm crashing from aforementioned lack of sleep) that the mother took the other path: The overworked single mom is juggling a career and a child, and putting in extra hours to make ends meet. Toddler doesn't sleep, toddler keeps not sleeping, so Mommy doesn't sleep- ergo, sleep-deprived Mommy botches something important at work, gets fired and replaced by a younger, more put-together toddlerless woman without the ever-present stains on her shirt, bags under her eyes, and coffee pot in her hand.

And now to the point, for which you have surely been eagerly awaiting: I say all this to justify ignoring my kid's sobbing pleas for me currently coming from his room. The way I see it, he will be far more damaged in the long run from the lack of a stable and loving step-daddy (path 1) or the loss of a roof over his head (path 2) than from the lack of instant gratification in the form of coming to my bed. Of course I tell myself this now, but that doesn't currently make me any less tired. If this scenario ("Mommmmmmmmmmyyyyyy! Daaaaaddddddy! Why don't you LOVE me? WAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!") continues to play out tomorrow, Mommy might have to rule out medical reasons, like Austin's genetic susceptibility to my terrible seasonal allergies, for which Children's Benadryl is clearly the best treatment. This pollen is ridiculous, and if marked drowsiness is a side effect, so be it.

It's all about what is in the child's best interest.