Monday, April 19, 2010

Stepford Dreams

I'm finding it quite difficult to be in a relationship while raising kids. With my two girls it was just me. Me in charge of making enough money. Me in charge of deciding what bill to pay or what groceries to buy. Me in charge of laundry, and choosing a doctor, and deciding what time bedtime is, and when they should get a haircut (and how short). Me in charge of getting the oil changed in the car and the linens changed on the bed. Me in charge of choosing a bank, a dry cleaner, a vehicle, a school, a kitchen table, a set of dishes.

It was on my shoulders to decide what kind of family traditions I would like to let go of, continue, and begin. I was the only one who decided if my kids would be the kind who went to the movies, or church, or the park, or a fast food restaurant. I've always been the only one to hold the remote. Hold my child's hand. Hold the new lease for the new apartment. Me, me, me.

And now I've got this... this... this foreign relationship thing. This we-both-have-a-say concept I sometimes have incredible difficulty wrapping my head around. I find myself having to defend a book purchase yet accept a new table saw. I find myself explaining that the doctor my two girls go to is competent enough for Cletus to go to as well. I find myself further explaining what a mess and hassle it will be to take 1 out of the 3 children to a different doctor in a different clinic in a different town just because somebody's mother doesn't happen to know the one we've been going to. I find myself having to swallow hard the knowledge that some families celebrate Easter with bottles of booze and scratch off lotto tickets, and grow wistful knowing that other families go to church in their special outfits, eat a calm dinner and laugh together while children search for candy filled eggs.

I feel like I have to fight for (or perhaps against) the different way I grew up. The idea of slothing and self-entitlement drives me insane, but I'm learning not every kid grows up experiencing the hard work it takes to maintain a home. I was brought up believing you worked hard and when you were done that's when you relaxed, went on your vacations, showered yourself with dining out, fancy jewelry and expensive toys. Other people were raised with the "life is too short to do yard work" mentality. Other people were brought up believing that you spend now, enjoy now, and deal with that pesky retirement fund later. My parent's taught me there is pride in living debt free and living below your means, and shame in racked up credit card debt for bar tabs, weekend getaways, and utility bills.

Sometimes I think the differences between V and I are on such opposite ends of the spectrum it will take a miracle to survive. It's a darn good thing I'm not a quitter, because quitting would be tempting. All those times people would say to me, "Wow. I don't know how you do it. You work two jobs, the single mom of two kids - wow. It must be so hard."  -- you were wrong. Compared to this, it was so very easy.

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