Saturday, February 11, 2012

ONE DAY IN A LIFE...

Certainly I'm not the first single mom and I won't be the last, either by circumstance or by choice.  Some people are amazed when I tell them my daily Schedule.  Some of my friends don't know how I'm walking around and able to form coherent sentences rather than rocking in a corner babbling nonsense to myself.  Others have no understanding of how difficult it is to manage the life of a six-year old child, handle your responsibilities at work, and maintain a sense of self as a woman, as a human being. 

The travel alone is enough to give you high blood pressure.  To get my daughter to school we have to travel by bus and by train.  Of course we could just take the bus alone to her school, but neither she nor I are inclined to awaken any earlier than we need to in order to do that.  (A word about Buses...  When I first decided to have a child, I had several fantasies about how it would go, as any regular readers of this blog probably know after reading some of my other posts.  I fully expected that if my daughter got into a school more than a mile or two from home that busing would be a given.  I imagined myself coming down to the lobby of our building in my robe and slippers, wishing her a glorious day at school and going back upstairs to my bed for an hour of rest before continuing my day.  I don't know what city I thought I was living in!  Needless to say public transportation is our chariot of choice if not necessity. And, for those of you who have never experienced a Fifth Avenue bus during the morning rush, its not for the faint of heart.)   

After I drop her off, I get back on the train to the Bronx and then take another bus to my job.  I do what I do at my job, then I either follow the same steps in reverse to pick her up at school or I go pick her up at the sitter and return home with her for a lovely evening of homework, dinner and bedtime rituals.

By the time my daughter allows herself to fall asleep, all I want to do is Drop, but no!  I have to get everything ready for the next day: set aside our clothes, get my lunch ready, make sure my daughter has what she needs for the next day in her backpack,etc. But mostly I sit and worry about all of the things I need to do that I'm too tired to do - exercise, read, write, plan for the future, relax. 


Someone told me that I have "alleged free time" but for some reason when this free time magically appears, I rarely have the inclination to do anything other than sleep. Can you blame me?  But, what if I'm just a crybaby?  I only have one child, after all, and when you think about it, she's a dream!  She's articulate, she works hard, she got into a great school, she handled the separation of her father and I like a thirty-six year old rather than the six year old she is.  She is the love of my life. And, I have a decent job with great benefits.  I live in a great building (I'm the typical real estate obsessed New Yorker.) So what's the fuss?  

If I were still together with my daughter's father, perhaps I wouldn't feel this much stress.  Most of the decisions about and for our daughter are made by me alone.  Am I always on target, are these always the best choices?  I don't know.  The entire burden of paying bills and buying the necessities of life are on my shoulders alone.  Entertaining my daughter is my responsibility as well.   Then there's work, where I have to be extremely conservative, in the sense that I cannot leave.  Oh sure I may want to explore other professional horizons, go back to school, completely change direction, but that is a dream for another time.  And, I'm not 30 anymore!  I've been in the same business for over twenty years.  If I change careers that is what I will probably be doing when I retire.  I cannot choose lightly. And, I wish I had my own bedroom.  As great as my apartment is, I'm sharing a one-bedroom with a six year old and all her toys.   


Maybe I'm not strong enough to be a single parent. I know women with two or three kids doing it alone and they seem to have their shit together.  They go about their daily business and survive.  They look good.  They date.  They travel. 

For whatever reason that's not my reality Today.  But I want to thrive. I don't want to be in my one bedroom apartment when I'm sixty!  I don't want to live paycheck to paycheck.  I don't want to run around out of breath climbing up and down stairs all day.  I don't want to go home to no mature companionship.  The strength of other mothers may  rub off on me one day, but for now I will try to get comfortable on the Fifth Avenue bus.

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