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Adventures in single parenting: From a single pretending to parent

As a favour to my sister – who is a single parent – I’m taking care of her two boys for a good portion of the summer. These little trouble-makers are 7 and 10. 

I’ve done this before. Taken care of kids, that is. These kids, in fact. For a good portion of last summer. And the one before.

Why is this year special? You may ask. This year they’re actually living with me all week. Sleeping and waking, they’re all mine until their return home on Fridays.

For any single thinking of eventually becoming a parent, pay heed to what I’m about to say. It’s important. It could affect your life-altering decision. And it will most likely be biased because, most people who know me know that, I have no intention of ever becoming a parent.

Lessons learned:

  1. There is no such thing as privacy. Even if you lock yourself in the bathroom with the fan on and the shower running, this is still considered by children to be an acceptable moment to tattle on their sibling. The knocking on the door will not stop until you’ve responded.
  2. Imagination like we knew growing up no longer exists. While most of my memories of summers long gone involve the hot sun, neighbour kids, and nothing to play with but old sheets, modern kids find it difficult to function without a screen. Limiting screen time might help, but that doesn’t mean they won’t stop asking for it.
  3. “Please stop”, “find something else to do”, “no”, “don’t throw in the house” and many other phrases mean nothing to anyone but you. While they make up the majority of your vocabulary, children forget you said it the moment your mouth stops moving.
  4. Food disappears. Apparently children are, as they are often speculated to be, bottomless pits. Like the knocking on the bathroom door, don’t expect children to cease asking for food.
  5. While I myself have been known to have a good laugh over a fart story, kids – boys especially – will take it to a whole new level. They don’t even need to hear the word, only think they heard it and hysterics will follow. “Potty talk” goes way beyond the age of potty training.
  6. You will never be taken seriously again. Even if you say, “I’m serious.”
  7. Don’t ever tell a kid what you don’t want them to do. They’ll do it just to find out what you’ll do if they do it.
  8. You’re idea of a fun thing to do usually isn’t fun. At all. Mumbling to each other, thumping each other and sitting on each other is fun. Apparently.

I don’t know how my sister does it. I’m convinced she has a super hero costume under her blouse and skirt. The kicker here is that these are good kids. I love these boys. I love all of my nieces and nephews. But I’m glad they’re my nieces and nephews. I can pretend to be a parent, but at the end of the week, they’re going home and I get my peace and quiet back.

No More Mr. Nice Guy

I have an aunt, an awesome aunt, who has told me more than once, “Honey, you’re a lot of woman. You’re going to need a whole lot of man.”

I laughed the first time I heard it, but now that a few years have passed, I really know what she meant.

I recently “met” a guy on eHarmony. The thing about eHarmony is that you can usually find some connection with your local matches and even some not-so-local matches. I’ve been matched with my former pastor’s son and a guy I once went out with, but didn’t quite get along with his pigeons. Heck, Plenty of Fish even matched me with my ex brother-in-law. Awkward!

I digress. This guy I met on eHarmony – turns out that one of his Bible school teachers was my Sunday school teacher when I was a kid. Small world, eh? And that wasn’t the only connection. I asked around about him for character references and got the same response from everyone – he’s a really nice guy.

While there is nothing wrong with being a really nice guy, if that’s all people say about you, you’re not for me. After speaking with the guy, I came to the same conclusion. He’s a really nice guy. And when you put me into the picture, it would most likely mean that he’s a guy I’d walk all over. Not intentionally, but my personality is such that I could very easily put the pants on and that would be that.

I blame my mother. My name means “courageous in judgement” – a.k.a. “highly opinionated”. Thanks, Mom. Put that with a “really nice guy” and I’ve just taken over. While, for some women, this would be a perfect setup, it’s not at all what I want. I don’t want to wear the proverbial pants in a relationship. I want a man to take the lead. Someone who can (and will) challenge me and my opinions. Someone who will pursue me.

Sorry all you Mr. Nice Guys, you’re not for me.

Single By Choice

I just finished another round of family weddings – two a week apart from each other. While I am thrilled that two more of my cousins have found love and good men, the well-meaning comments are less than thrilling.

Things like “So, when are you getting married?”. The third finger on my left hand is obviously bare and the person sitting next to me is my 9 year old nephew.

“Your turn next!” I counted, one younger sibling and 6 of my younger cousins are now married with one more is engaged. I don’t think “turns” count here.

“Go for the bouquet – you’ll be next for sure!” I’ve lost count of how many bouquets I’ve caught. I sat the last toss out.

“So, where’s your man?” (They peer over my shoulder as though there may be a man hiding behind me at which point I look back, hoping there is.)

So, to all you well-meaning encouragers, I thank you, but your comments would be better left unsaid.

But here’s the thing, I’d rather be single than be with the wrong man. I’ve seen countless young women in the church lower their standards in desperation. And, in doing so, seen their walk with God falter and fail. Trying to make the wrong relationship right is only a waste of time and effort as well as a mockery of the time you’ve spent waiting for the real right one. Until the right one comes along, I’ll stay single. By choice.

What would you think?

You see a photo of a guy dressed all in white lounging with his legs crossed on a white couch in a beachy-looking place with a blue daiquiri in his hand, what would you think? Really.

Just seeing whoms out there.

No, that’s not a typo there. It’s a real headline from a real profile.

Now that I’m done school and also have the week off of work, I thought I’d peruse Plenty of Fish for some newbies. I may actually have time to have a social life for the first time in… ever. But if headlines are any indication as to what the profile has to say, there isn’t much hope. Here are some of my favourites from today:
“I’m the wagyu” What’s a “wagyu”?

“D 4 damager.. power to the people” I don’ t know what that means. Is it an inside joke or am I missing something?

“sooooo…yeah.” Sooooo… what?

“***Must be fit and over 24 to get a response!!***” Glad to know he’s into personality and intellect.

“In need of a snowboard buddy for winter :-)” That’s romantic.

“LOOKING FOR GOOD-HEARTED GIRL” And apparently he likes to yell. The first three lines of his profile appeared the same. He wants to learn English.

“I wear tinfoil hats” I actually thought this one was amusing, but he looks like my brother…

And I’ll end with this one:

“Staying Classy” So you went on Plenty of Fish?

I’m sorry, did you say something?

So, I haven’t posted in a while and there are two reasons for that. 1 – I’ve been crazy busy finishing up my education. Had my last day of class last week and by the end of next week I’ll be out there looking for work! 2 – I think the pond has run dry. All that drought in the States has caught up to Plenty of Fish and there ain’t much for good fishin’ these days.

I was perusing some profiles today to see if anything good had popped up in my absence. Nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Then, my phone buzzed! I had a new email! There was a new message waiting for me on Plenty of Fish!

“f&@#ng in the indian clothes 😉 sexyyy” (insert confused silence)

This message was then followed up by “?”.

I don’t understand. Was I supposed to respond to that? In what land should a girl be expected to respond to that? Never in “real life” would I respond to a guy swearing at me as an introduction. Why should it be any different online?

That’s all I have to say about that.

The Vision of Love

I was listening to Kris Allen’s new album the other day (which I immediately labelled my summer album after listening to the first 3 songs) and one song goes like this:

Make-up hides her face
‘Cause she feels out of place
She cries
Come on someone tell this girl she’s beautiful

I admit that I’ve been this girl on many occasions. I’ve seen this girl more times than I care to count. Sometimes she’s the girl sitting in the corner of the coffee shop. Sometimes she’s sitting waiting for the bus. Sometimes she’s walking down the street with her head down and sometimes no one ever sees her.

I’ve seen unfeeling young men mock her and though she often hides it well, I have felt her shame. I’ve seen the “cool” girls snub her and I have felt her pain. No matter how hard she tries, nothing seems to change. And the truth is, she’s not the one who needs to change. She’s beautiful just the way she is. And, if someone would look past her glasses or braces or out-of-date clothes or few extra pounds they would see that too. 

I’m tired of guys who make no apologies for not wanting messages from “fatties”. I’m tired of guys who let the door slam in the face of the shy girl. I’m tired of young men treating young women like they don’t matter. 

I wish that I could find every young woman like myself and help her to see that her value is not in how other people see her, but in how she sees herself. The way people treat her does not define who she is. She is beautiful just the way she is and one day, someone will realise just how much they’ve missed by letting her fade into the background, she will shine far brighter than those who spent all their time ignoring her.