Things You Should Never Say . . .

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Things You Should Never Say

I stumbled on an article last night after a brief recording session . . . testing the mic placement for a guitar.

It’s a Huffington Post article titled: 11 Things You Should Never Say to a Single Parent.”

I was prepared to be wholly unimpressed.

The upside was, though, I was not.  For the most part they got a lot of it right.  Much of it, though . . . I’ve written about before for Rene Syler’s Good Enough Mother:  “The Answers to Life’s Grueling Questions.”

There are a couple absolutely glaring problems I have with their version, though.  First…let me be clear…I get that I’m not their target demographic.  I read parenting articles, steal ideas (like they did…he said claiming ownership of the topic knowing he has no claim but being angry, cynical and grumpy anyway) and basically look for things to write about.  Their demographic is women, parenting women, young women…not a high male demographic that I’ve seen on their site.

Still…the very first thing not to say: “My husband’s out of town, I’m a single Mom too!”

So you negated your headline and eliminate single Dads entirely.  Thanks.  Appreciate that.

“Must be hard to find someone to date a person with baggage.”
I don’t even know how that applies to me.  I’ve known too many men and women with baggage and their not divorced, widowed, or even have kids.  If having your wife die suddenly brings baggage it’s not like I could help it.

Still if you keep reading, there are very similar things to what I’ve written:

“Hey you get time to yourself now!”
Dead on, btw.  Umm…no.  All my time is spent with small versions of my gene pool.  I love them, enjoy the hell out of time with them…and when they go to bed it’s silent.  I like that sometimes.  Many I don’t.

“You need to start dating!”
Yeah…I heard that early on, just weeks after Andrea passed away.  Never understood that one.  Sure, I’d like to but I’m being picky.  I was married for a long time and I want to find someone who gets how absolutely beautifully insane my life is.  That’s a hard climb for even the bravest of soldiers.

“Don’t they need a father/mother in their lives?”
WOW!  The first one where Dad gets a throwaway nod…yes, by the way.  It would be nice.  You learn to be softer as a Dad.  I would assume you learn whatever it is we men have to offer as a woman.

“You look tired!”
Mine said “When do you sleep?”  My answer is the same: I haven’t slept since 1994.

“How do you do it all?!”
I hate this question.  I really do.  I never bark at people who ask it, but I hate it.  There wasn’t an option and there isn’t one.  I take care of my kids.  Period.  If I don’t, I’ve failed and they really fail.  If you think failure is an option then your kids are doomed…and the Apollo 13 crashes.

“Why are you still single?”
Good question.  I guess because Liv Tyler and Rosamund Pike have lost my phone number.  This one’s a hard one for me.  I was married a long time.  I want to date again…but I want to get it right.  I have people roll their eyes at me, but I can tell when I have that first conversation with someone.  I can see something in the eyes and the smile whether it will work, it’s pretty quick.  Maybe it’s intuition or pheromones or spark or maybe it’s because I can tell they have as many strange interests and are as crazy as me.  They can hold a great conversation.  It’s rare.  I’ve met a couple people who fit that bill and they’re dating others.  So yeah…still single.  Not going to just go date willy-nilly.  I don’t have time for that.

The bigger, badder problem with this whole article is the fact that, again, the article makes the assumption – based, again on their demographic, which is fine – that all single parents have an ex around and are divorced.  Let me be clear: not all divorces end with an ex willing to help.  However . . . many do.  So that question in there where they reference “getting time to yourself when the ex helps” is just silly for me.  Yes…I have a village of people (a small one) that can help, but you also realize that as a single parent you hate relying on everyone else to help.  Plus…my kids are missing one parent.  You feel – wrong as that feeling is – that you’re pawning them off on someone to get time to yourself, and you feel selfish.  The reality is you have to be selfish sometimes.

I don’t get an ex to sweep in and take the kids every other weekend and I’m actually kind of glad that they don’t.

All in all…they did pretty well considering they mostly alienated the single dads out there.  We got at least a little bit of attention, though, and that’s something.

But in the end . . . when people ask why I don’t get out more . . . last night I sat down, worked on vocals with a new microphone, and my kids snuck out of bed and watched.

That’s a pretty damn good evening…single or no.

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