Friday, January 20, 2017

The Afterlife: No Mans Land

A friend sent me a blog link and I’m not sure why. 

The pitch was something along the lines of ‘fabulous and inspiring…’

Seriously, after 300 words my first thought was this; what is so inspiring about a smug, self-congratulatory blog written by a woman with not only has a husband but local family to share the wear?  
In her happy little child rearing community she’s able to pump out offspring with more efficiency than a production line in a Taiwanese toy factory.

And her perfect husband helps sufficiently with their brood and housework, not to mention their renovations, that she has ample time to sew clothes for her litter, quilt and blog and restore antique furniture, while whipping up culinary triumphs in her Thermomix. 

Bet she’s never been late on the school run in her whole perfect life.

Excuse me if I don’t feel inspired to do anything more than run gagging to the bathroom.

In all of her pomposity she has no idea what it means to have one child, one dog, one cat, six snails and a no-longer-husband. And there are plenty of single mums and dads out there doing it tougher than I am.

Actually I don't consider that I'm doing it tough at all, even though my kitchen is too small to accommodate a Thermomix.  (I have seen caravans with bigger kitchens than mine). 

What I have found tough, is diving back into the shallows of the dating pool; talk about your mid-life crisis.

It was something like fifteen years ago, my last first date.    

I honestly don’t know if I can cope with the untidy selection of discarded outfits all over my bedroom when my eight year old daughter is already on that chuck-stuff-everywhere theme with the living room, and well, every other room in the house. 

I’m just too old for this shit.
No really.

I try for 'understated sexy', without dressing like an invitation - lest I have to resort to combat training to get home unmolested.

And as much as I would greatly benefit from a stiff drink to relax my nerves, I can't drink much because, when your offspring bounces on your bed daily at 6am, you soon realise that hang-overs and young children do not mix.

This leap back in time to my single twenties and thirties just doesn't seem as much fun as it was back then.  I'm more self-conscious now and for many different and uncomfortable reasons.

To shave my legs or not to shave my legs? - that is the question. On one hand it is just asking for trouble; there's that expectation that he'll know either way. But if I don't, what if things are going so well he is in a position to discover that my legs are knitted from mohair? 

Not conducive to getting a second date.

If I wanted one.

And even before leaving the house, I’m already thinking; Not.
I'm just not sure dating is worth the trouble. 

I suppose it's validation - it has the potential to show me I'm still a desirable woman. That I'm something other than than a cook, cleaner, handyman, playmate, homework supervisor, dog walker and dishwasher.

But getting ready for a date knowing I'm paying someone, by the hour for the privilege, even if it turns out to be awful, is a bit of a downer.

Maybe I should just stay home, reorganize the kitchen and put that babysitter's money towards a Thermomix? 

Or maybe I just don't date at all. I mean I've had enough dates to last a lifetime and I'm not a huge fan of sitting awkwardly in restaurants with virtual strangers anyway...

I guess my ideal would be a special friend with a nice kid of their own where we could just hang at each others place, and or go to movies, when we're both on childless weekends -  and have play-dates when we're not.

No marriage, no cohabitation, just hanging out: Friends With Benefits.  

I guess that makes me the perfect woman in many male circles. But where to meet a potential special friend?

Well lightening may strike.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

My Reboot

It’s been a long time between posts and I’m thinking that it’s time to officially come out and say it.

Out loud.

Even though it’s been what? 

Counting on fingers here…

HIT ME WITH A WET MACKEREL; 3 years and 10 months sans-spouse!?   

You’ve got to be kidding me?

I guess time also flies when you’re squabbling and bending the ears of very expensive lawyers.

Well it wasn’t all squabbling, but without getting into the nitty gritty, my life-re-balancing act has definitely taken more time than I would have imagined.  Then throw a full time job into the mix and everything tilts precariously sideways again.

<Standing up hand on heart> ‘My name is Suzy Mac and I’m a single parent.’

OK it’s not Alcoholics Anonymous, more like un-Married with Children anonymous.

Not that I’m complaining: no sireee. 

I know how to count my blessings.

This work gig was a long time coming and as flexible as full time employment can get. And let’s face it, financial independence is nothing to be sneezed at (especially after all those legal retainers) for a spasmodically working single mother.

Also, thankfully, now I have She-Who-Used-To-Worship Pink’s daddy back as my wingman; so there’s a backup plan to school drop-offs and pickups versus truly hideous traffic.

I also get time off for good behaviour which is as necessary as it is bittersweet. 
Our co-parenting arrangements meant that two nights out of each week Pinkster is at her dad’s place. As two of those nights, every fortnight, land on a weekend I can ‘go out’ on the town and reboot my social existence too.

But the first childless nights were awful.

Home Alone.

It’s kind of Empty Nest Syndrome come 10-12 years too early’.  I’ve never been separated from Pinkster before, bar one short hospital stay. 
But that empty bed, without the tiny sleeping face to stroke and kiss, was pretty hard to take. 
The first few weekends, Orange Dog and I were both despondent and lost, wandering around our home in deafening silence. 

I had to develop coping strategies that involved a lot of exercise, which agreed with both the dog and my waistline.

It’s better now; I’m in a better place, having managed to poke a proverbial paperclip into my factory reset, I’m practically back to the store version of myself.
Just 15 years older (shhhhh).

Reboot sanity – tick

Reboot career – tick

Reboot physical self – tick:  Thanks to this terrific weight-loss programme called ‘divorce’, great genes and a little botox.

Reboot social life – (post plethora of work Christmas parties) another tick

Reboot self – well that’s still a work in progress but certainly closer to the tick than the cross.

So henceforth, this blog will have more of a Perfectly Imperfect Single Parenting slant - now I’ve finally come out of the closet.