I’m admittedly not a very good writer, so why, you ask, would I start a blog??? Well, because there are things I need to get off of my chest! Things that are not politically correct, things that probably shouldn’t be said out loud, things that will probably offend most of society, however, I have faith that there is at least one of you out there that will relate to (maybe even agree with) these random things that go through my brain on a daily basis.
I’m the oldest of 4 children, 1 girl (that’s me!) and 3 boys. Somewhere around 1987, my mother found herself raising these 4 kids (ages 12 yrs-2 yrs) by herself (she later took on a neighbor kid, but that’s a story for a different time). She worked three jobs to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table. We never went without necessities. Our shoes may have had holes for a little while before we could get a new pair and we may have worn hand me down more than not, but life could have been much worse.
That being said, with my mother working three jobs, someone had to be home supervising the younger kids, attempting to make sure their homework was done, cooking dinner, etc. Well, we definitely didn’t have money for a nanny and with my mom’s family living out of state (there was a short time her younger brother lived in the same neighborhood, but he and his family ended up moving too), that left me.
I grew up a lot between the ages of 12 and 17, when I left for college. A lot of me resented the situation while it was happening. It wasn’t until I was struggling in college and my mom was so far away (hey – 90 miles seemed really, really far at that time) that I began to appreciate the struggles my mother had (and was still) gone through. It wasn’t until years later when I had my own children that knew at a completely different level what those struggles truly were.
I was 24 when I had my first child. I wasn’t married, the father wasn’t around, it was a less than ideal situation. But with with a little (maybe a lot, who’s counting) of tough love and my mom by my side, it worked out. I was 27 when I had my second child, the situation still wasn’t ideal, but at least I was married and the dad was around this time. He even treated my oldest child as his own. I’d like to say this story ends better than my mother’s but sadly, ten years later I found myself divorced raising two kids alone, I still had mom’s tough love and she is still by my side, but there are 300 miles between us now.
My kids are now 18 and 15. My brothers are 39, 37 and 32. Two are married. I’ve always longed to have real blood nieces and nephews and it’s been a long standing joke in our family (extended family obviously) that I’ll just keep borrowing my cousins’ kids as my nieces and nephews even though they are really cousins.
Welcome 2017, both my sisters in law are pregnant. There are 15 years between grandchildren for my mom. I’m beyond ecstatic to have a nephew and a mystery baby (we only know the gender to one), but the look people give me when they realize that my two children are the only two until now is priceless. At first all I could say was “I know right, we didn’t think this was ever going to happen”. Then I started to think about it, this was God’s plan. For whatever reason, I’ve struggled with life. It doesn’t feel like anything has come easy for me. I’ve always felt inferior to my brothers. My saving grace, my “claim to fame”, my outstanding accomplishment was having the only grandkids. Not only were they the first grandkids for my mother, they were the first great grandkids also.
So now when I look back on this great parenting adventure, I realize that I never could have made it through without the help of my family and my children benefited from being the only grandchildren. If any of my brothers would have had children earlier in life, my family would not have been able to help me in all the ways they were able to for the last 18 years. And I get the bonus of being able to love on my nephew and mystery baby without my own little ones being jealous!
I have two teenage boys. Very boy boys. Like either God was preparing me to be their mother by giving me three younger brothers that were sport fanatics or gave me these kids because I grew up with three younger brothers who were sports fanatics. Either way, it works because well, I love sports!
Anywho, both my boys have played baseball since they were 5 years old. I have been watching these kids play ball for 13 years. I haven’t even been employed at a single company for that long (close, but not there yet). We’ve thrown football in there for a few years also, ya know just to keep it interesting I guess.
My oldest son completed his baseball “career” on May 26, 2017. His high school team ended their season with a loss in the 4th round of the playoffs. We were so close to going to State! UGH! It was a bittersweet moment. There were tears and a sigh of relief, because we were actually present at his high school graduation instead of playing baseball while the rest of the seniors graduated, and a moment of relaxation that came with the thought “no one has practice tomorrow”.
Cue the youngest son, who the Sunday after the oldest’s final game informed me that “he has practice on Tuesday”. IS IT TIME FOR SUMMER LEAGUE ALREADY????? Apparently so….. I’m thinking I should get paid for this. It’s like having a second job (on top of the full time paid job and the job of single mom). We have literally been playing baseball since February. If I count that out it’s really only 5 months out of the year – ok, not only, it’s almost half the year, no wonder I feel like I live there. Half the year with two kids at the baseball field.
Then reality sets in, my oldest played his last game. He’s graduated from high school, he’s moving out of state. There is no more baseball practice, no more games, no more “Mom, I need a new (insert equipment here). Mom, I need (insert monetary amount here) for (insert some fee here) times 2. While my bank account is breathing a sigh of relief, my heart is breaking. As much as I complain about being at the ball field 4 days a week during the season and countless consecutive hours during tournaments prior to the season, this is my second identity.
Who am I if I’m not running in 3 directions to get multiple kids where they need to be? Who am I if I have time to go home before I go to the field to watch not only my boys, but all of their teammates who you love and root for as if you had birthed them yourself.
I haven’t had one kid playing baseball since my oldest was 7 and his brother was too young to play. And let’s be honest, having a toddler at a ball park while trying to watch the other kid play is kind of like having two kids playing baseball on different fields at the same time. This is going to take some getting used to.
Maybe I’ll have time to really get involved in a hobby I’ve always wanted to do, maybe I won’t be exhausted all the time, I’ll probably be lost for a little while; thinking I supposed to be doing something and not know what it is. I suppose I’ll get used to it eventually. After all it will give me time to ease into the notion that in three years I won’t have any kids playing baseball. Yeah, we are going to ignore that thought for as long as possible. I’m not prepared to completely lose my identity as A Baseball Mom just yet.
My ex husband called me the other day, he wanted to tell me that he and his wife were coming to my son’s graduation, IF they could come up with the gas money. He then proceeded to tell me how it “just killed him not to be able to see my son play baseball this year”. Stop! Just stop! Stop talking. You can’t spew your bullshit to me. You didn’t even show up to games when you didn’t live 300 miles away. I was there, I was married to you for 10 years. I’m the one that picked up the pieces when you stopped paying child support and then moved out of state. I’m the one that made sure kids got where they needed to be even when they were going in completely opposite directions at the same time. When it meant that my day started at 5 am and didn’t end until 11 pm. Through the cold and heat at football and baseball games, through the boredom at award ceremonies and band concerts, through the many, many miles driven to practice and games, to and from school, and friends houses and doctor’s appointments and ER visits. Through the exhaustion. I did that. Not you. These are MY kids.
I have no problem with people being divorced. I don’t even have a problem with divorced parents who don’t play the whole “we do everything together for the benefit of our child(ren)” game. (See my blog Co-Parenting for my feelings on this) What I do have a problem with is absentee parents. A more appropriate word would be despise. I despise these people. More precisely I despise absentee parents who boast about their kids accomplishments like they had something to do with it. More than that, I despise the absentee parents who accept compliments on their parenting skills when they don’t have any skills. (I may have a slight issue here – that’s a lot of hate going on LOL)
So to all you parents that only come out of the woodwork when your kid is excelling at something, STOP. Just stop. Be proud, but don’t you dare try to take credit for any of it. You keep that between you and the kid. Tell them you are proud of them, but don’t you dare claim it. Because for every person you can fool with your beaming smile and lies, there are five more who were down in the trenches with the parent that was there for all of those things. Hell, they probably have more claim to that kid than you do. They know the truth. And one day down the road, when it matters, those kids will know the truth also. They will know who was there supporting them. They will know who made sacrifices. And they will know who made excuses.
So, lately I’ve had all these articles popping up on my Facebook feed about co-parenting and how wonderful it is. (This is what actually inspired me to start this whole blog in the first place.) I’m really on the fence about this. I mean I think it’s great if it works as it’s intended, but I’ve never seen it work that way. I know many families that “co-parent” and basically what I see is a bunch of people who are pretending to like each other in front of children and tearing each other down behind their backs. What I also see are children who are confused because they are calling kids brother or sister that are in fact not even one little bit blood related or a step sibling. I know, I know, you don’t have to be blood related to be family, but to little kids, that’s confusing in some situations. I see “baby mama” getting upset because “baby daddy” isn’t doing what she thinks is best for the child or not doing what she would have done and then posting on Facebook how wonderful it is for the child to have “all of these great parents in their life”. I see kids getting spoiled because they have birthdays and Christmas with 8 different families.
I’m a realist. I don’t like my ex husband. I don’t pretend to like him. Hell, if I wanted to pretend to like him, I wouldn’t have spent thousands of dollars to divorce him. I’m civil to him for the sake of my children. I don’t talk ill of him in their presence. I also don’t make him out to be something he’s not. Along with this, I honestly do not see how you can be friends with your ex. I know it happens, I just don’t understand it.
You see, in my brain, that’s his relationship to build or burn. If he wants a good, strong relationship with his children, then it’s his job to make one. Me pretending that I like him and want to spend time around him “for the sake of my children” isn’t doing anyone any good. I would never stand in the way of their relationship and have even, at times, reminded my children that “it’s Father’s Day or it’s your Dad’s birthday”, but I don’t have to be his friend (or pretend to be) for the sake of my children.
Maybe I’m selfish, maybe, it’s my way of coping, maybe I’m completely screwing up my children by not buying into this whole kumbaya parenting style, but I won’t be fake, for the sake of my children, I won’t be fake.