I started this blog six years ago. I was married with three young children in American Fork, Utah.
Now, I'm single, still with three children, but on the cusp of huge changes. I’ve been divorced for two and a half years, and we’ve lived in Idaho Falls, Idaho for nearly four. Now me and the chicklets are moving back to Washington to be closer to my family. I’m currently in the middle of packing up our house while my ex begins his summer visitation.
I’m excited about this new chapter, and I thought it only appropriate that I celebrate with a new-ish blog. While this one still has all my old posts, it also has a new name and address. It’s called “FYI, Sometimes There’s No Grass,” and below, I’ve pasted the post that inspired it all. I hope someone out there enjoys it.
Okay, so maybe I jumped the fence thinking that things would be better over here. That not only would the grass be greener, but that there just might be a single parent amusement park with a secret spa in the back. That, like Ann Romano, I would skip through single motherhood with grace and resolve, sporting a flashy ensemble and perfectly coifed hair with my three well-behaved children in tow. But the truth is that sometimes I wear my pajamas in public, get fruit snacks stuck in my hair and untangle my brawling children at the public library. FYI, Sometimes There’s No Grass.
This may be news to people, but being a single mother is not as glamorous as some may think. Not that it’s excruciating either. Some days it’s like a musical montage to “Sunshine on My Shoulder.” Other days are as pleasant as exfoliating a sunburn with 60-grit sandpaper.
And that has nothing to do with my kids, mind you. They’re in the 98th percentile of awesomeness (yes, that has been scientifically proven and documented). It just means that as one woman with three kids, I have a short list of priorities, and they go something like this: 1. parent, 2. make money, 3. parent some more. 4. drink lots of diet soda.
Of course that’s not all single moms do. There’s chauffeuring children from school to ballet to soccer to the doctor to the orthodontist to the library and to the drive-thru for Happy-Hour slushies and two for one corndogs. And then there’s managing the mortgage, miscellaneous bills, co-pays, daycare costs, extracurricular activity fees, and if you’re me, a running tab for overdue library books. There’s worrying about whether the bed-wetting and sibling rivalry are acceptable age-appropriate developmental issues or the result of deep-rooted divorce-related trauma. And don’t even get me started on homework, housework, budgeting, disciplining, psychoanalyzing, and conflict management with the ex (although those last two might be synonymous). All this, remember, on a streamlined schedule that includes a full-time paying job.
So as for a personal life, I have none. Well, unless you count dreaming about that greener pasture and the man who will not only mow it for me but also build an entire playland (bare-chested, of course), install a sprinkler system, and add me to his retirement account.
Aside from my dreams, I don’t get out much. And when and if I do meet people, it’s in a natural setting like the elementary school, the othodontist’s office or, say, second-hand stores.
First of all, let me just say that Goodwill Industries is a fine establishment for parents wishing to purchase clothing for children growing at breakneck speeds. Second of all, I’m a single mom—do I really need a second of all?
So I had been divorced for nearly two years when someone hit on me in a second-hand store. The symbolism is not lost on me.
But first allow me to set the scene. We were both in paperbacks when our eyes met, the world stopped and I could barely hear the John Tesh Radio Show being broadcast over the loudspeakers. And then he asked, “Are you single?” I answered, “Yes,” following which transpired the most awkward conversation of my life. Mostly because I’m a little rusty, and I was wearing my fuzzy pink slippers. I can’t make this stuff up, people.
When I noted the event on Facebook (because I really am shameless that way), my friend responded by telling me that when picking anyone up at Goodwill you have to be sure to wash it, at least twice. You should also check that it doesn’t have any rips or tears. Or lice. Because while it may look like a good deal at first, it could be totally broken, and Goodwill has a No Return policy. Maybe that warning should be posted on my collar.
So for those of you wistfully imagining what it might be like to be single again or for those beginning that new chapter in your life full of optimism and hope, consider this a public service announcement. Not only is the grass not greener on the other side, sometimes there’s no grass. And sometimes there’s just a second-hand guy with a Speak & Spell he plans to sell on eBay.
Or a lady in the paperback section wearing fuzzy pink slippers.
Welcome to my life as a single mom.