Wednesday, February 25, 2009


I have this recurring nightmare about not teaching my kid enough basic life skills because I'm too busy doing other stuff, like obsessing or laundry, and then she'll be living with me when she's 41 and I'm *mumblemumble* 70-something. I think this is a universal mom concern, not just single moms. We're all just some busy chicks.

So my ED biz partner, Cathy, made a suggestion many weeks ago about having my 10-year-old daughter take ownership of one dinner a week, which I thought was brilliant. I broached it with E and she was delighted, maybe mostly because I told her she didn't have to do dishes on those nights. But we're several weeks into it and I tell ya, the girl is hauling: we're mincing and sauteing and creating. We're planning ahead, and defrosting and shopping. But mostly we're talking and teaching and learning, and that's the wonderful thing.

For some reason this year, I've been especially cognizant of 1) being in a midlife crisis and feeling terribly old and 2) recognizing that time is going by at warp speed. The two, for me, go hand in hand, so it's been kind of sweet to spend this time together--it achors something for me, as much as teaching her to brush her teeth, get dressed on her own, ride a bike or do an algebra problem.

How have you combined the teaching/"being" times in your households? Please share your wisdom in the Comments section...and thanks!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Biting the Lie

I bit it big-time yesterday. Presented with an over-the-top, publically presented, single mom success story of redemption and provision and relief, I bit the Big Lie (or at least one of the Top Ten Big Lies), which is that God loves other women better than me, because He's giving them an easier gig. In this story, people were practically tripping over themselves to help this single mom. She got almost everything she needed or wanted and then some. And a great new guy, too! I listened while holding my jaw in my lap and thought, "This is not my reality...or the reality of the single moms I know."

Truth is, the story was a set up. It was intended to look as good as possible. The problem with this, though, is it discounts and discourages the scads of other single parents who are doing the daily slog without the multiple blessings from heaven, without the fireworks. I call this Life in the Meantime (LITM), and it is the life I lead 99.9% of the time. It consists of 5th grade homework, milk shortages and medical lab results that suggest I have another something to deal with. It consists of working with other single moms--one who's going through the ringer, one who's doing better. The fabulous helpful spouse is apparently on back order. My toilets are dirty. I'm tired but managing.


But I needed to remind myself, so I will do it here, for your benefit as well: LITM is holy work. It's honorable. It's not flashy or award-winning, but it's solid and necessary. It's my church, these days...the place where I show up, hoping to hang with God in and around the other stuff and other people who make me laugh, witness my tears and otherwise cheer me on. It's not neat, tidy or optimal, most days, but it's incredibly real and rich, in its own way.

I had to take some time, cry a little, talk to a friend, go for a walk with my girl and generally get back to basics to get past the lie. I don't want to cheapen my life, your life or what we're called to do on behalf of single parents by falling for the Good Life = God's Good Graces deal. Not to mention it cheapens God.

How much do you value LITM? What's your lie? And how do you come back to center?