Friday, February 6, 2009

Part of the Why I Don't Date Issue

Eli has been getting up a little earlier in the mornings to make Malt-O-Meal for all of us before we leave the house. He is 14, not outwardly loving and affectionate, but he does these little things to show that he cares. He makes sure that Sam, chronically underweight and not feeling well to boot, eats at least half of his, even putting half & half on Sam's portion instead of skim milk. While Eli is making breakfast, Hannah gets up and around and gets Owen dressed while I am in the shower, and Sam goes out and feeds the rabbit and fills the dog bowls in the house. We have this routine pretty well set now, each one of us doing what it takes to get everyone out the door on time with a minimum of fuss. It works for us, and has worked well for us for the last almost 6 years. Of course we didn't have Owen then, but he fit into our lives almost seamlessly, just another addition to the routine.

This is part of why I don't date. We work so well together, the five of us, that it is hard to imagine someone coming in and being part of that. The whole "If it works, why fix it" mentality, which I have heard other single moms say as well. It isn't so much that as much as it is a comfort thing; we all know what to expect of one another, the five of us working together for a common good; we work WELL together, the synergy amazing at times. Could any one of us move over and let another person carry their share of the load? I really don't know the answer to that one. It doesn't even feel like a control issue, it just feels like there might no longer be room.

There have been times in the past, even recently, where I have lamented the fact of my singleness; because no matter where things stand with Steve and I, I am very much a single parent. I live alone with my kids, I do the work of raising and loving and guiding and disciplining them. I provide for them financially (not well at time, but still, I am the sole provider). It is hard; it is backbreaking, heart-wrenching work, and every day there are questions as to whether or not I am doing the right thing, making the right decisions, being the best parent I know how to be. There are days where I know I am not, other days when I feel very sure of myself, but at the end of the day, it is fucking hard to be the only one. It is lonely, too, so lonely that I am not ashamed to admit crying into my pillow at night because I want so badly to have someone in the bed with me. Not in a sexual way, but someone to turn to in the middle of the night, a pair of arms and a heart much stronger than my own to lean on. I don't always feel that way, but there are moments that hurt so bad that I can feel my heart shatter a little bit more with every breath. Nights like the one when I had to leave Hannah at the BHC, or when I had no money and you people helped me out. Both bad times and good, and no one near to share them with.

I also don't date because, frankly, men don't ask me out. There isn't a long line of men just hanging around wanting desperately to date a mom with four kids of wildly varying ages; two teens who will leave home soon enough, but then two much younger children that will mean "he" will actually have to interact with and help, to a certain extent, raise-for the next 16 years. That is a daunting enough prospect for ME, much less a potential mate. If it were me, in fact, I wouldn't be asking me out either. Then, there is the little niggling thought that if a man DOES want to become involved with a woman with all these kids, then who is he really after? Her, or her kids? A scary thought, especially in light of what we have recently gone through. Do I think all men are pedophiles waiting to get their hands on my kids? Absolutely not. I would be a stupid parent indeed, though, to ignore the fact that a family like mine is easy prey.

And yes, yes, I know that I could go put myself "out there," but frankly, I have neither the time nor the energy to sell myself. It isn't where I am at in my life right now. I think this is part of why things work for Steve and I; we are not "in" a relationship, both of us free to seek out other companionship, and this works for me most of the time. Because I don't care to invest the time it would take to weed through the hundreds of losers to find one person I might think about a second date with. Please. I have a job, and a life, and four kids, and I don't want to waste any of that time going to a shitty dinner in a restaurant I don't like with a guy who has three teeth, all just because I am lonely and need to find "Mr. Right." No thanks. I don't want to expose my children to the kind of lifestyle that some single moms resort to, all in the name of finding love, nor do I want to expose myself to it.

Despite the difficulties and downright tragedies in our life this last year, I am still pretty content. Lonely? Yes. Not always, and not as bad as I used to be. But lonely doesn't kill, and I have been MARRIED and lonely which is far worse than being alone and lonely. Of course I want to meet someone who will just love me and accept my kids as the most integral part of my life. Of course I don't want slide into 40 still alone. But if I do? I imagine that the good things in my life will have increased exponentially by then, so I am pretty sure that I am going to be just as okay then as I am now. It isn't a bitter, "I hate men" thing, because I don't; I hate some of them, and I hate the way we still live in a man's world in a lot of ways, but I really like and even love a lot of men. Instead, it is just that I am not willing to put the rest of my life on hold while waiting or hoping to meet some mythical creature that may or may not ever appear. I am too good for that, worth a lot more than that.

16 comments:

justme said...

I was thinking that someday, when your kids are gorwn or mostly so, you will hopefully find that you have more time to pursue things that you enjoy, and maybe your mythical creature will appear then, and maybe it will work.

Doesn't help the lonliness now, but, in your words, just sayin'...

;0)

Good luck with the move this weekend!!!! I hope it goes as well as a move can go; moving B.I.T.E.S, but the result will be well worth it :0)

Lynn said...

I love this post.

You are doing what is best for you and for your kids and that's what matters. I know there are lonely days - and nights- but what you said is so true - You can be lonelier with someone sometimes than being on your own. Your day will come, and if it doesn't, then you're gonna be just fine anyway!

Good luck moving this weekend. I hope you get a minute to just sit, look around, and enjoy.

Mr Lady said...

I was only a single mother of three, and I only did it for a a year and a half, and there is no way I could have dated during that time. It's just like you said, there's a rhythm to the family, everything moves along just so, and anything coming into that would have stopped all our gears.

Even now that I'm back with baby daddy, my routine is totally screwed. I was so much more efficient a person on my own, you know? We all had our roles, everything was really clear.

I totally get you. That said, some poor guy out there is seriously missing out.

pisceshanna said...

I thought that dude at your AA meeting asked you out? Whatever happened to that? I think people DO want to ask you out, Kori, but I understand how hard it is put yourself in those situations where you can be asked out. I mean, we single moms go from home to school/daycare to work, to school/daycare, to grocery store, to house and repeat the process the next day. Its almost impossible to find a moment to even talk to another adult in a non-superficial way.
I hope we both find someone too, but I'm content by myself right now.

Dingo said...

Just as the routines and schedules accommodated Owen's arrival, I think that when you meet the person who is really supposed to be with your family, the same thing will happen. It might not be as seamless but all of you will do what you can to make it work.

I also think that when the kids are older it will be easier for you to think about being in a relationship. That doesn't make handling the loneliness any easier now, I know.

Good luck with the move! I'm so excited for you!

FreedomFirst said...

In addition, I think it's awkward and difficult to bring another adult into a home where some of the children are already coming into adulthood. Not a good time in their lives to be upsetting the family routine that drastically. And everything you said is so correct.

April said...

You know I hear you - on all of it! And I love you.

Kel said...

Being married and alone is a lot lonelier than being single and alone, in my opinion. Being a mom with 4 kids doesn't make it any harder than being a mom with 1 or 2 kids. I think we all worry what the men are after when dating us (at least I did when I looked at men before my hub). Hang in there,who knows what will happen in the future.
~K

~Shiona~ said...

I so understand where you're coming from. I hope I'm not permanently alone either. Upsetting routines and just having to deal with that whole side of things is not appealing to me either. Definitely not in the mood to sell myself now either. That is a good way of putting it.

MoziEsmé said...

I love that you are not stressing over singleness. So many women I know can't seem to focus on anything else, and quite frankly, it's better to be single than married just for the sake of being married...

Tara R. said...

As cheezy as it sounds, you'll meet someone when you're ready.

Xbox4NappyRash said...

There is grace and acceptance oozing from the white spaces between the words in this.

Loved it.

Ms Crazy Princess said...

I honestly believe that if you don't look for love, it will find you.

And when you do find that right person, he will fit in with you and your children just fine.

Have fun moving!! I am too. :)

Rachael said...

Makes sense! You're a good Mom. Hope the rest of the move goes really well!

geekhiker said...

I dunno. I personally think that lonely can kill. Perhaps not physically, but it can destroy someone on the inside.

Or maybe I just really need a dog.

J'Ollie Primitives said...

Parents Without Partners.
NOT dating.
No pressure.
Interaction with real live grown people.
Just sayin'....

Looking forward to hearing more about your new home. I'm so freaking excited for you!