Thursday, July 23, 2009

Balancing my singular pride

I haven't written about this a lot lately because I don't know if I can express myself to the fullest extent. But since I've read two separate posts from two different single moms I know and love that have basically said that choosing to be alone is not really a choice, I have to respond.

I'm not going to name them because I don't want this to turn into a personal attack thing. It's NOT a personal attack. It's not personal against them or anyone else in a relationship.

But there are plenty of people writing about being in relationships or wanting to be in one. I have chosen a different path for myself, and it's not sad or lonely or a defense mechanism. It's the choice that's right for me.

Kori and I have probably written about a million emails to each other in the past 2+ years. There's one in particular that I'll never delete. It's when I talked about the choices we were making. Kori, I hope you don't mind that I'm sharing some of this:

The fact is, we're making a choice to remain single every day - not because it's easy, but because we're strong.

'Member that guy that I met thru ____ a few months ago? He was a really nice guy and I totally could've taken advantage of him and roped him in to be a step-dad to my kids. I didn't because I didn't feel anything for him. I say I don't have choices, but really I do.

We are NOT stuck in bad marriages. We are NOT going out every night looking for a sugar daddy. We did NOT stay with losers.

We kinda rock, you know that?

Kori is now in a relationship, and I'm happy for her. I know that she's making the choice to be in this relationship, knows the risks and benefits, and has decided it's worth it to her.

So I'm going to do my little disclosure one more time. This isn't about her, or anyone else, but me.

For me, I'd rather sleep alone or have the girls crawl in bed with me.

For me, I want to know that things in the kitchen are as I left them.

For me, I want to spend time with our family and friends, but then have it just be the 3 of us at home at bedtime.

For me, I like getting la1d every now and then, but I don't want to play the dating game.

For me, I like bowling with friends or going with my cousin to D-land, but then sometimes, I want it to just be the 3 of us having a good time together.

Have I had moments of loneliness? Of course. But they're only moments. I used to think at times I would die of it in that first year or so of single motherhood, but you know what? I didn't.

I suppose you could call my friends, my family, my blogging, my writing for Examiner, my love for So You Think You Can Dance and West Wing distractions for my loneliness. I think that minimizes the importance of friendship, of family, of our internet connections, and the last 2? Happy hobbies that are a nice end to the day for me. I won't die without them, and they're easily replaceable with other fun, harmless hobbies to help me unwind.

As most of you know, it's also important to me to be involved in my daughters' education, to see musicals, to be politically active on issues that are important to me.

As I see it, it's a full life.

Every time I've tried to look into the option of dating, I always end up backing off. I can always find a reason not to date. So, if it never makes the top of my priority list, then how important can it really be to me? I don't think it makes me sad or pathetic or in denial. Of course, denying that you're in denial is almost impossible, but I stand by it nonetheless.

Do I notice cute men? Of course! I'm SO not dead yet. Do I flirt? Yes. Do I have s3x? Enough for me. Do I really want them to call me the next day? No, thanks, I'm back to obsessing about my daughter's homework load, or gay marriage or planning our next family vacation or worrying about money or happily busy at my job. (And all the while, emailing Kori & Natalie, talking to RadDude and Nancy, replying to texts from my daughter, dealing with the internet and/or cell phone company, and trying to read yet another post in my Reader!)

One of the single moms wrote that we need other people. I don't disagree with that. I need my daughters. I need my parents. I need RadDude, and Nancy, and Kori and my LA Moms friends. And I think that they need me, too.

That's enough. More than enough. That's my life.




Your last part was exactly what I meant. We do need other people. Some people prefer it in relation to the opposite sex (or same sex). And others will celebrate love with their families and community, as you've mentioned here.

The point is that we are never alone or unloved, even when we think we are. We simply need to appreciate the love that is already in our lives. It sounds like that is exactly what you are doing!

Great post!

The Exception said...

I had to read this. I love people; I love men; I love the enrichment that I find in my every day life... and that is how I take care of me right now. I, like you, make the choice to do it on my own with my daughter and family and friends. If a relationship happens one day, then it happens. Right now, I choose to be a wonderful mom without a relationship. Like you I flirt, I date, I engage in physical fun and intimacy, and I spend a lot of time involved in my daughter's life through her dance or theater or school or just the two of us.

I love my life. I love the path that I travel. I remain oopen to opportunities... and right now, I am happy! (without a man living in my house)

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

Great post April. You really seem to have everything at your terms. I think that's how it should be for everyone, no matter what your relationship status is. Unfortunately, too many people "settle" for relationships with people they don't necessarily match up with, because it's an easy distraction.

So Single said...

Interesting that you meant your post to completely disagree (I clicked on the link) I don't think it disagrees that much. You don't have to feel a NEED to be with someone. Some women do, and are seeking it out. But just because you are completely content with your life right now, doesn't mean you wouldn't be just as happy, if not ecstatic with life if a significant other came along and just added to the happiness. The way you put it, it almost seems like one has to detract from the other.

I think it was a great post and well put and well expressed. Just posting my .02 on the subject.

Mel said...

I agree that everybody has a choice and I'm happy that you are happy with yours. It sounds like you are a fantastic mom who enjoys being surrounded by those you love. Good for you for being real. This post was well thought out and beautifully written.

Anonymous said...

wow.... while I was reading your post I felt SO happy for you. And you know why? Not because of the choice you made but because I got the impression from your post that it was an intelligent, well-thought-through decision that showed total balance of thought, logic and peace.

Very few people display this type of rationality in their decision making - congratulations. I mean it - you've got a lot to be proud of.

Oh - and I totally understand and relate to everything you said!! ;-)

iol. singal

MindyMom said...

Like Vinomom, I don't really see how this is disagreeing with my post. As I said, I didn't know of anyone who prefers being single over being in a (healthy) relationship; now I do.

The point of my post was more about people who imply that those who seek a relationship are daing so to try to fill a void, rather than ust plain old wanting a relationship because they like being in one. That doesn't mean I'm not OK with being single, just that I would prefer to share my life with a man.

I don't think either choice - being single or being in a relationship is a poor one, unless it's for the wrong reasons. (like filling a void or a defense mechanism) Your reasons all sound valid and completely understandable. To each his own.

jenn said...

This is a good post. I think there are good (and bad) reasons for being single and for being in a relationship. It sounds like your reasons are well thought out and work for you. That's awesome.

I'm at a point right now where I don't think I'm ready to date. Some people don't understand that. Honestly I don't have time to date. Between work and Shiloh and now going back to school, I have no time for relationships. I don't know how I'll feel in the future, but this is where I am and I'm okay with that. And if I meet someone tomorrow, then we'll see what happens...

Jen said...

Again, April, you are such a fabulous, wise, wonderful woman and writer.

My mom is the same way. Yes, she had a long relationship with my dad, but when he passed away, she has never been "looking" since - she's happy being SINGLE.

Here was another fabulous post along similar lines (and written yesterday) from my friend NYC/Caribbean Ragazza:

Anonymous said...

Ahh, Jen of A2eatwrite said what I was going to say....

I have a wonderful husband and I am glad that we have the relationship we have. It is extraordinarily hard work, and for us, worth it. With that said, if he goes before me, I have absolutely NO INTENTION WHATSOEVER of looking for another man. I don't want or need a man to feel whole and satisfied and honestly, I don't want to have to work hard again at having a relationship. What I have now is wonderful and I have no need to replace it or follow it up whenever our time together is up!

I'm glad to count you among my strong women bloggers! And proud that you feel the way you do about this issue!

Shiona said...

Any post I was considering has been about this subject as well. If that's what works then that is what works. It's great that you actually know what you want and cab di everything on your own terms

Anonymous said...

Reading that email made me realize that I could have actually been married by now--and I could certainly be in a relationship. But not with anyone I really was so head-over-heels for that I would have been willing to forego all my private time, my friend time, or my hobbies of the kind that you listed above.

I remember when my boyfriend lived in Florida I went to visit him for a "writing vacation" where i sat in his house and wrote while he was at work during the day. I always felt a tiny pang of regret when he came home at 6 and I had to abandon the word processor.

Christina at Onely

LunaNik said...

This is a great post. Both for the powerful message you conveyed with such eloquence and for the fact that you love So You Think You Can Dance. I too am an addict!

Anonymous said...

Hey April, thanks for writing this. I don't think you are taking the easy way out by not dating. I think for ME though, its easier to stick with whats comfortable, what I'm good at, and what I know, and that's being alone. I've learned how to kick ass by myself as a single mom, and I like that.

When confronted with something new and scary, its my instinct to swim in the opposite direction, and I think that's a bad habit which I need to stop. I don't want to NOT date because I'm afraid or because its too complicated or too hard.

I really don't judge you or any other single mom who chooses to stay single. I know how hard it is and how fully you devote yourself to extremely important causes.

Thanks for always being such a role model. It helps me figure my own life out!

Clever Elsie said...

I'm really late to this but just wanted to say that this is such a beautifully written post! It so perfectly sums up why many women choose to remain single. Thanks for speaking out about it and helping others to understand the particular satisfaction that singles derive from their autonomy.