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The Bold And The…

The Bold And The…

A few weeks ago I was teaching a kids yoga class. As we flowed through the Warrior poses, we chanted, “I am strong. I am bold.” After the first round, a girl asked me, “What does ‘bold’ mean?” My first inclination was to say “ballsy”, but I figured that probably wasn’t appropriate in a class of six- to nine-year olds. Instead, I decided to use colors. Plenty of the kids had on bright clothing so I showed examples, “This pink shirt is bold. So are your green socks.” Then I had a better idea. “Bold,” I explained, “is when someone throws garbage on the ground, and you tell them to use a garbage can.” I elaborated. “Better yet, it’s when you pick up the trash, hand it back to them and show them where they can throw it.” “Hey,” said one girl, “my mom does that.” “Mine too,” piped another. I looked at E with a triumphant grin. I do that all the time, much to his chagrin. He rolled his eyes back at me. Vindication, finally. And then I took my definition a step further, “Well, of course they do that. Moms are bold.” Ain’t that the truth. I have recently had my own foray into the world of boldness. Brazenness, even. I did something I never thought I would do and I had a great time doing it. It’s getting a lot of attention (which, admittedly, I enjoy), but that’s not the reason I did it. After a year of hell, I decided to do something to recapture my spirit and take a path that I had never taken before. I posed naked for a magazine. A local New York City publication has a yearly Naked issue. They invite readers to pose nude – wherever and however they want. When the call came out in June, I thought it might be fun. I play poker on a monthly basis with about ten women and I approached them with the idea. About six of them said yes; they thought it sounded like a great idea. I emailed the magazine, and they were very receptive to having a bunch of moms sitting around playing card in the buff. We started to make plans for a photo shoot. Unfortunately the timing did not work out and nothing happened. The Naked issue came and went. However, the editor and I stayed...

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Some Assembly Required

I never played with LEGOs as a kid. When I was growing up, those colored plastic blocks were more for boys than girls. I remember seeing a whole village built out of LEGOs in my cousins’ basement and maybe even attempting a few buildings myself. But it just wasn’t my thing. I was too busy trying to get Barbie and Ken (and their immobile oh-so-essential body parts) to make out. Even my sister, who was a tomboy — until she jettisoned into the world of designer jeans and hair products at the tender age of fourteen — didn’t do the LEGO thing. She preferred Star Wars figures, and holsters worn over pastel sundresses. I cannot remember who gifted E his first set of LEGOs, or even when it was. But we — yes, we — have been hooked ever since. The first set came with a booklet that showed animals, cars, and houses that could be crafted out of this versatile toy. E was too young at the time to do any actually creative construction. (Although he really did enjoy stacking red 2x4s as high as they could possibly go.) So it was up to me to make the lion or the apple tree. E would point at the booklet, say, “Mommy, make this,” and I actually could. It was very satisfying. Full disclosure: I’m not a particularly handy or crafty person. Examples? Here you go: A) My sister came over the week after E was born to put together his crib. I didn’t even attempt it. B) Last year on “Crazy Hat Day” at his school, E put a monkey visor on a cowboy hat and declared it a done deal. Obviously the non-craft gene runs in the family. I felt bad so I offered to put ribbons along the brim to perk it up a bit. “Nah, we’re good,” he declared. I was visibly relieved. I can remember the first moment I realized how gratifying LEGO construction was for me. We were making a pirate ship (or was it a troll mine?) and were halfway through. “That’s great, Mom,” E said, “Just leave it like that.” “You might want to leave it,” I muttered through clenched teeth, “But I’m almost done with the lower deck.” He went off to play with something else. Ninety minutes later a glorious — albeit, tilting — pirate ship emerged. I was so proud of myself and...

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Baby Love

Baby Love

Like I don’t already feel like a giant biological clock, I am now getting pressure to reproduce.”By whom?” you ask. (Okay, so maybe you don’t ask but then this will be a very short post.) My baby wants a baby. That’s right — E wants to be a big brother. And since he is a seven-year old boy, he ain’t subtle about it either. The common refrain is “I want a brother or sister.” “I know, baby, I know,” I say, “We’ll see.” One time he got pretty darned specific on me and asked for a big sister. I told him that was probably not going to happen since I just did not feel like going into the definition of a blended family for the poor child. The latest plea was just so sweet, it continues to gnaw away at me. (Because I don’t have enough guilt in my life….) E was describing how he saw a big boy helping his little brother get a drink from a water fountain. “I’d do that, you know, if I had a little brother,” he told me, “Or a little sister. Whichever one you have.” Oh, honey — I can’t even get someone to ask me out on a date. My procreation skills are definitely in a lull right now. Part of me agrees with E. I want a baby. I see those little bundles and I just melt. Even though I know I enjoyed his babyhood immensely, I feel as though I was so sleep-deprived that I didn’t appreciate that time as much as I should have. Would I have valued those moments more if I knew that all his firsts might be lasts for me? I watch the movies of when he was a toddler and I want to cry. It certainly doesn’t help that my ex features prominently in those films. This is a wonderful example: E and I were watching a movie together. “Whose hand is that?” he asked. “Your dad’s.” “Are you sure? It has a ring on it.” Lovely and observant of him, don’t you think? At any rate, a baby is not happening anytime soon. Should I adopt? I’ve considered it. I also just turned the big 4-0 (gasp!) so I know that if a baby is going to happen biologically, it should probably sooner rather than later (guess it’s time to re-open that internet...

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The Loveliest Liability

A few months ago in the New York Times Magazine there was an article about a community of single moms. These women, single either by choice or circumstance, created their own extended family with themselves and their children. They were fully committed to each other and had decided to dedicate themselves to the upbringing of their children. It was amazing to see how that was their utmost priority and, in the meantime, they had decided not pursue romantic relationships with men. Yeah, that’s so not me. That’s not to say that raising E is not my top concern. Because it is. But I know that I am also more than a mommy (although I know there are days when we all wonder if that’s actually true). That boy is the most important thing in my life. However, I also know that if I sacrifice my entire self to be a parent, I will be less of one. So I need my time to myself — grown-up books, lunch with friends, poker nights, dating. Ah, yes — dating. Easier said than done. Especially for a single mom. There are plenty of childless single women out there. And that’s not to say that these women do not have plenty to juggle in busy lives, but it’s different when you’re a mom. For example, I’m tired all the time. One guy wanted to meet me for a drink at 10:30pm. 10:30? Doesn’t he know that if I am not already in bed by that time, then my tush is firmly planted on my couch? I mustered up my strength (along with a nap and a shot of Diet Coke) and proceeded bravely. There’s also the guilt thing. I have pangs if I leave E with a sitter more than a couple nights a week. It’s silly, really, especially considering that when he’s not in school, we spend a great deal of time together. But I like reading Harry Potter at night and I miss our cuddle time. (Although, truth be told, cuddling with someone closer to my age range is very appealing as well.) And the biggest difficulty in dating? (Drum roll, please.) Men don’t want to date a mom. Oh, I’m sure there are those guys out there but I have yet to meet one. I have had more than one instance when someone who seemed like a potential date dropped...

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SWM (Single Working Mom) Seeking…

A month or so ago I wrote a piece about how hard it is to incorporate dating into the life of a single mom. Sarah, one of the fabulous Better Way Moms founders, told me that post resonated with a lot of readers, and she asked me to write a follow-up piece. “Maybe even something about an actual date,” she wrote. Yeah, right. Over the previous year I could count the number of dates that I have been on with one hand (and that’s not including my thumb). Oh, well — there are plenty of other topics to write about. And then a miracle happened. I got asked on a date. It was a set-up by the very dear husband of a very dear friend. He’s a great guy so I figured that anybody recommended by him was worth a shot. I got the guy’s number and called him up. (Yes, that’s right — I called him. I’ve done it before and I’m sure I’ll do it again. It’s my “taking the bull by the horns” approach.) We had a great conversation and made plans for the following Saturday night. “Maybe, just maybe,” I think, “Things are looking up for me.” I am the constant optimist. And the date was lovely. He was young, smart and funny. A little bit of a geek, which I (a geek myself) find insanely sexy. More great conversation and lots of prosecco. We walked around a bit while holding hands. I got a good-night kiss (okay, kisses…) and hopped in a cab home. Before that he said, “You have my number.” “And you have mine,” I replied. I heard nothing from him on Sunday. I know it’s old-fashioned of me, but I like a guy to call the day after. So I tried not to think about it too much. Nothing on Monday either. But like he said, I did have his number. So I decided to (wo)man up and call him — again. I left a simple message, “Had a great time, would like to see you again, etc.” Nada. Nothing. Bupkus. There goes my ego. The morbidly curious part of me would like to know why I got the big blow-off. Was it that I’m a mom? (Although he already knew that.) The ten-year age difference? (Told you he was young.) This is a guy who told me I was cute and sexy. (Indeed,...

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Party of One

Party of One

In my almost three years of being a single parent, I have experienced highs and low. I know there are great advantages to being the only grown-up in the house — the rules are mine alone and I get all the hugs. But there are the low points, too. Last week I experienced what I believe is one of the very worst aspects of being a mom flying solo. Puke. It’s gross, and it’s true. A late-night vomit fest is way too much for one person to handle. I am a full and clear testament to that. A week ago I woke up to E crying and ran into his room. I flicked on the light to view a scene that would have made Quentin Tarantino’s stomach lurch. My poor babe was sitting up in bed, covered in mess. I sprang into crisis mode (not the easiest thing to do at midnight) and immediately became the woman who can do it all. (Excuse me, would you mind handing me that red cape? Thanks so much.) I ran to the bathroom for warm washcloths to clean my boy up. As I did this, I began a mommy monologue. “Oh, my baby. You’re going to be fine. It’s okay.” Over and over I repeated this until at least one of us started to feel better. When he was clean I set him up on my bed with a bowl next him. He was cool to the touch, exhausted, and fell asleep within minutes. Now came the hard part. In my previous life as a married mother, the late-night throw-up extravaganza was a tag team affair. One of us attended to the child, and one of us did the clean-up. Now it was just all on me. While E slept, I began a task that should have required a hazmat suit. Stripped the bed down to the mattress. Cleaned up the floor and the walls (told you it was gross). And rinsed everything off — myself included — in the bathtub. And then, finally, I was ready to go back to bed. So what did I do? Grabbed my pillow and a blanket and slept on the floor of his room. Why? Because I wanted to make sure E was okay. That’s what a mom does, right? Except I didn’t sleep. My head started to race. “Why do I have to do...

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