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time to play
saturday, march 1, 2003

the children are away and the adults will now play.

i remember a few years back when a friend told me that when my ex and i finally developed the "normal" child custody arrangement - when the kids spend weekends and maybe 2 weeks out of the summer with their dad - that i would understand why she hated the arrangement. she missed her kids and said i would too.

news flash: i still don't understand.

yes, i miss my kids, i love them too much not too, but i also deeply appreciate the break. course, my weekends away from the kids are still not quite regular (dad's a nurse and his schedule doesn't allow for regular weekends off), and they have yet to spend 2 weeks away from the house with dad (i'd be more worried than missing then since i'm not sure dad can handle more than a few days of full time fatherhood), so my mind might change should weekends become regular and they start spending 2 weeks out of the year with him. but, for now, i like the peace and quiet, something i'm sure has to do with having four children. there's a lot more room for conflict between four kids than there is between two.

i also think it comes from feeling like a single parent since the children were born. their father has always been involved in their lives, but he's never been much of a disciplinarian, even when we were married. "no" has only recently been added to his vocabulary and that only because he's finally discovering his financial limitations. when we were married, he worked, i raised the kids. that's the way we wanted it - and i still feel strongly that children need a parent at home when they are especially in the elementary school years, but that didn't mean all he had to do was provide the money for their needs. parenting is more than that. and it was, and is, the more than that that dad has always had a problem with. for our son in particular, who has special needs and a behavior management program that needs to be followed by everyone, dad has trouble being on board.

so i've always been the one giving the kids a foundation based on rules and discipline. dad agrees with me, but his follow through is often weak. and, like most parents, we often disagree on what's acceptable, especially when it comes to movies and such. we're finally to the point where he calls and screens the movies through saxy and i, but it took 7 years to get there.

and what about saxy? well, he's a step-dad, which puts him in an awkward position. he has to walk a very fine line with the kids, and him being the one to discipline needs to be limited because of it. generally, i tell him to let me handle things unless i'm not there, in which case i tell the kids to listen to him. i back him up if something comes up and he has to ground one of them or something, but i often find myself being the referee between him and the children until i'm telling everyone to shut up. it's pretty bad when you feel like you're parenting your husband because he's as bad as your oldest teenager. i try not to get on his case about it too often - he's never been a parent before so hasn't grown into the position like i have and i know he's really trying to work on it, but it can get on my nerves to hear him and kitten acting more like brother and sister of similar ages than anything.

so, yes, i'm still, more often than not, the single parent. and i probably always will be.

single parents need breaks. they usually don't have someone to help them pick up the slack, they're on 24-7.

i remember when i was pursuing my a.a. and listening to a conversation between a couple of other students. the gist of it was that they could not understand why single parents thought it was okay to date and agreed that if they ever became single parents they wouldn't do so until the kid was out of the house. they would put their lives on hold for their children and basically looked down on anyone who didn't do the same.

who were these girls kidding? first, they were from one of the many "me me me" raised generations who were taught to go after what the wanted, when they wanted it, regardless of who it would hurt. selfishness is the name of the game these days. secondly, since when does being a parent mean you have no right to a life of your own too? it's been shown we all need time to ourselves and we all need hobbies, activities, and relationships beyond our family lives. relationships that include the romantic as well as the platonic. to not give yourself permission to have these things is to invite all kinds of health issues, not the least of which is depression. it's not good for you and it's not good for your kids.

i love my children. but i also love having met a man i love dearly and who loves me back. and i love spending time with that man without worrying about the kids. and i love being able to write without interruption, or going to the movies without having spend $30 or $40 because i had to take the children with me. i love having moments when i can be uncensored and "off the program."

i love to play.

site of the moment:
ring/clique of the moment:
word of the moment: compel

to drive or urge forcefully or irresistibly; to cause to do or occur by overwhelming pressure


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