It’s not easy being a single parent. It’s especially hard with two teenagers…although it would probably be tough in a two parent household as well. I don’t make a lot of money so our opportunity for adventures are limited. They live with me, so I’m responsible for keeping them on track with school and chores and all the ‘fun’ parenting stuff.
They are good kids though. Both nerdy…and I mean that in a loving way. Recently I surprised them with tickets to Comic Con Chicago. I’ve been trying for two years to get us to the big one in San Diego…I got close this year but still missed missed my window. So when the opportunity to do the one here came up, I snatched it. Last time I tried to take the kids out to do something they complained for a week, so I decided to keep this one a surprise. When we got there, they were excited. I only know this cause I had to ask…teenagers are not as open with their excitement as say a 6 year old would be.
As we were standing in line I told them that I wanted to take pictures and that I didn’t want any of those stupid “I don’t want my picture taken” faces…you know what one’s I mean. I told them to just enjoy it. That’s when the boy told me I wasn’t the “fun” parent. OUCH! That hurt…a lot. It’s not that I don’t try. I mean, really, they don’t give me much help when it comes to doing things they would like. I’ve asked several times what they would like to do…where would they like to go, but they never offer up any suggestions. This adventure was something I thought would be right up their ally, but I can never really be sure.
I stood there in line feeling like shit. There was a moment I thought I might actually cry. This shit isn’t easy. I went from being a stay at home mom to being a full time working parent with a house to take care of on my own, bills to pay, children to feed and take care of all by myself. For the most part I think I’m doing pretty good. There was a moment I thought…I wonder if I would be the fun parent if they were only with me one night a week and every other weekend. What if HE was the one responsible for them 99% of the time. Chores, homework, shopping…as well as trying to get the boy to get a job and taking him for his drivers license. What if the only thing I had to worry about was dinner once a week, and what to do with them for two days every other week.
During dinner I brought it up. I asked them what they would think if they lived with their dad instead. How fun do they think he would be if they were with him all the time. They agreed, that he was probably more fun because he was just making the most of the little time they had together. Living with him wasn’t something they were interested in doing, I think they like the way it is. All I wanted them to understand was that they needed to give me some help in the “Fun” area and understand that I have more responsibility when it comes to them than he does.
Like I said, they’re good kids. They get it. I’m sure it would break their hearts if I said I wanted them to live with their dad for awhile…I’m pretty sure it would scare the hell out him. I don’t want them to. I’d miss them too much. However the house would be much cleaner if they did…my grocery bill would be 1/2 the amount and I’d probably be able to cut all the other utilities down substantially. Sigh…it’s always greener on the other side I suppose.
I think I’m going to have to work on this “fun” thing though. Teenagers can suck sometimes…but I truly believe I’m just the kind of mom to break through that tough exterior and find a little balance with them. Challenge accepted.