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Single +1

Sarah Fowler

by: Sarah Fowler

Today would have been my 5th wedding anniversary. I’ve now officially been divorced for longer than I was married and I’m not quite sure how I feel about that. I’m proud of the woman I am now but there is always that “what if” game that you play in your mind. Would I be a different woman? A different mother? These last few years have been an amazing journey of self discovery; not just finding out who I am as a single woman but who I am as a single Mommy as well. Admittedly, I struggled in the beginning and spent countless sleepless nights lying awake in bed and wondering if I was woman enough to handle being a mommy and a daddy to my precious little girl. I threw myself into being Super Mom and nearly drove myself to the point of exhaustion baking cupcakes, organizing play dates and making baby food from scratch just trying to be the perfect mommy. And thanks to that, or maybe in spite of, Prinny and I have a relationship that is so…it’s so powerful that I can’t even put it into words except to say that I am so deeply in love with that child that sometimes when looking at her I have to remind myself to breathe because she simply takes my breath away. We have this amazing dynamic and sometimes I feel like a five year old is my best friend. She and I have mastered the ebb and flow of our daily routine and I can say without a shadow of a doubt that this is the happiest I’ve ever been. Still, there’s just one tiny problem…what she and I have is so good, it’s so stinkin’ prefect, that I have no earthly idea how to add a man into the mix without losing everything we’ve worked so hard for. When it comes to dating a being a single Mom, I have no idea what I’m doing.

I was 19 years old when I found out I was pregnant. In that instant of seeing those two little pink lines, I became a Mommy. A lot of things have changed in the past six years but one thing remains constant: It is my job to do anything humanly possible to protect my little girl physically, mentally and emotionally. It’s what Mommies do. While I knew, I just knew, that I was going to marry Prinny’s father, in the very back of my mind, I also knew that our story wasn’t the things that fairy tales were made out of and began to mentally prepare myself for being a single mom. During my pregnancy, I had a girlfriend who was a single mom to the most adorable little boy you’ve ever seen. She dated frequently and most of her potential love interests met her preschool aged son. One day, after my friend and her latest boyfriend had broken up, her little boy crawled in my lap, looked up at me and asked why his Mommy’s friend had stopped coming over to play with him. With his big brown eyes filling up with tears and a tremor in his voice, he asked me: “Is it because he doesn’t like me anymore?” In that moment I made a promise to myself and the little girl growing inside of me that my daughter would never ask that question; that any man who met her was the real deal and was going to be around for a long time.

I’ve dated casually here and there in the past few years and during all that time I have tried very hard to keep my Mommy life and my dating life completely separate. And I’ve done a pretty good job. Maybe even too well. A few months back I had been seeing someone for a few weeks when he asked to meet Prinny. We had only been out a few times and I was completely unprepared for his question. I told him that while I appreciated him wanting to meet her, I still thought it was too soon. He immediately ended it. And if I think about it, I can almost see where he is coming from. Maybe taking five minutes out of our day to introduce him to Prinny wouldn’t have affected her one bit, one way or another, but still…what if it would have?

Being a parent is a job filled with constant joy, love and worry. You worry that you’re going to make some huge colossal mistake and permanently screw up your child requiring years of therapy for both of you. In an ideal situation, you have a partner to turn to, someone who has the same worries and concerns as you do and who you know loves your child just as much as you do. But being a single parent, you don’t have that support. You’re doing it on your own and constantly playing the “what if” game. What if I had stayed with her father? Would she be happier? What if I finally introduce a man into our lives and he leaves? Will it break her heart? But what if I don’t and we both miss out on finding a man who loves both of us? I honestly don’t know what the answer is. But I do know that at the end of the day, Prinny and I are healthy, happy and have each other. And while it is just the two of us, maybe it’s meant to be that way for a little while longer. Because the love of my life is a brown haired brown eyed little girl and I wouldn’t trade what we have for anything in the world.

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10 comments

  1. Mike Cooper

    There will never be a woman who knows how to be a good mother when her first child is only five (5) years old. It takes ‘hands on’ experience and you aren’t even a parent anyway until you have two children. And, you will never be “woman enough” to be both a mommy and a daddy to your little girl. Mommy’s can’t be daddy’s and you should stop trying to be daddy’s. Encourage visitation with the father unless he is an ax murderer. And, if that’s not possible, introduce your daughter to everyone you date, unless you are dating everything that has a pulse. Children need a male influence in their lives, too. Your daughter can certainly understand it wasn’t her fault if he leaves, even if it was her fault, if someone explains that to her, they understand… Because few men will be able to love your daughter as though she were his; and chances are, she will never love another man like she did her father,, That’s a wonderful thought, but it rarely happens,.. And, your daughter will probably tell him that one day in the form of “you aren’t my daddy”. So, in reality, the damage was done when the divorce was final as far as that part goes,,,it’s just a matter of how you choose to try to minimize the damage to both you and your five year old. In my opinion, it’s usually easier to save the marriage, but I can’t know that in your case. In any event, you can’t shield your little girl from her feelings and emotions forever. Let her get some experience with pain and hurt and love and hate. She might learn how to better deal with her emotions now, without later feeling the need to add substances when she becomes a teenager. Because you won’t always be around to keep shielding her. They learn very quickly, so start letting her learn how to deal with men….. and you too…

    • not

      I would like to say that your remark on not really being a parent until you have two is complete and total b.s. True enough the dynamic changes when another child is added, ‘you’ become a parent the moment the child screams for the first time. A mother is a mother from the moment on conception. And whether you have one or ten, the number of kids you bring into the world does not make you any more or any less of a parent.

      Introductions are appropriate when it is to someone who is a really good friend, however introductions to people you casually date are not appropriate, especially men that may not stick around, because then you would have to explain why another man left. The ‘damage’ from the divorce can have different effects dependent on your reaction to it. True enough, you can’t always shield your children, it is however your job and responsibility to PROTECT your children from un-necessary pain. THAT and unconditional love among other things is what makes you a parent.

      There are no right or wrong ways to live life. You have to do what you personally feel is right. I was a single mother for 6 years of my daughter’s life, and unless you know what’s it’s like to be a single mother, or father for that matter, you cannot and will not ever understand. Sometimes you have to just do what feels right at that moment.

      • Mike Cooper

        Ok a mother is a mother. I’ll give you that. But, when that first one screams for the first time you are actually on the parent learning curve. Obviously you took that comment way too literally. And, unconditional love wasn’t an issue. That’s a no brainer unless you are a sociopath. Are you telling me that introducing your 5 year old daughter to a “really good friend” who’s a male is more “approriate” than introducing her to a male you “casually date”?? Because of some potential “stick around” factor?? As a single father I don’t get that. I want to meet your children early in the dating game. Not talking about sleeping over meeting them, just over dinner or for an ice creme cone. Both of my children are grown, but I was a single father. When the first child falls down and skins its little knee, the parent of the first single child will rush to pick up the child, sterilize the wound, blow on it, and sing it a song till the child quits crying. By the time of the second child, that skinned knee isn’t quite so critical anymore and might not have even made her cry had you not rush to pick her up. By the second one, you have learned to let the child cope a just a little more on its own…Now, I’m not saying stand by and watch your toddler child get destroyed emotionally or physically. But, they do learn fast and the time will come you will wish you had started teaching your child things at age 5, that you might have thought was a 12 year old lesson. Sometimes they have formed opinions on most things before you realize it. This what I mean when I say it takes two. In my opionion, I think you can introduce your child to both your male “really good friends” and your male “casual dates”, if there’s a difference. Otherwise you might start to resent your child and not know it. You should try and have a life and get a baby sitter and go be yourself. I know I’m way out of my league here since mother always knows best and I dearly love both my children and have never resented either one, but I’ve known women who have because they felt too tied down. But, consider a father’s or potential father’s view point. Allow your child to learn how to cope with all their feelings and emotions to some degree at an age earlier than you might think, and don’t sheild them to the point they believe, at age 5, life is all about joy. It’s time they starting learning a just a little reality. Just sayin,,,

    • Clark

      “Let her get some experience with pain and hurt and love and hate” You sir are an idiot! We are talking about a five year old little girl. Why can’t she just experience the joy of playing with her dolls and toys and being loved by her mom. Our children grow up so fast now…we need to let them be children as long as we can.

      “you aren’t even a parent anyway until you have two children” You are not only and idiot, but you are an asinine idiot! I’m sure there are thousands of parent(s) with one child that would prove you wrong.

      • Mike Cooper

        Oh, calling me an idiot and an asinine idiot wasn’t helpful was it? You sound like my ex wife. Yes, let her get some experience with pain, and hurt, and love, and hate, and respect, and then you help her learn to cope with it. If all you expose her to at age 5 is dolls and toys and being loved by her mom, then by the time she reaches age 12, she still won’t think there’s much of anything else in the world but dolls and toys and mom’s love, which is the best love, I know, but there’s more to life and she needs to start learning about some of it.. All I’m saying is she will need that knowledge as soon as she becomes a teenager. So, at what point do you want her to only start to learn about it? They do grow up fast. At age 5 their brains are like sponges, and as parents we should soak em down with as much knowledge and information as we can. And, by the second one, you will know as a parent, you might should have gotten an earlier start on teaching these kinds of things than you initially thought with the first one.

        • Deanna

          I do agree with Mike Cooper on this situation,
          I myself was at one time a single mother of 4 children… And i allowed my children to meet every single man i dated, 1 i wanted to see how he responded to my 4 children, the 4 children, i lived, breathed and would die for…2, I wanted to see how they responded, My rule of Thumb while dating was seeing how well he got along with my children and if he ran, then good riddens he wasn’t right for me or my children In the first place , (And yes several men ran, My kids were not the least bit affected by that fact either) My children were so little anyway it was an out of sight out of mind thing…My kids were 5,3,2,and 1 when i started dating again after my failed marriage Now they are 11,8,6,and 5 and have absolutely no memories of the men who came and went from my life, I Never needed a daddy for my kids , Never ever was i looking for that in the first place, my kids have a daddy that loves them and would do anything for them, I let their father be their father, and when they need him, he is there on my door steps waiting to meet their every need…
          I am now remarried to a wonderful man who loves me and my children, My children are very happy children, they were not scared by any man i let them meet….I always said, if you can’t accept them, then you can’t have me…We were a packaged deal…Me and all 4 of my children have the bond of a lifetime, …

          And i do believe that a mother is a mother from the time she sees the little pink lines on the pregnancy test, but i do believe that one can’t possibly really understand the strain parenting can have on a single mother (Or a married one) until you have more than 1, Having 1 is a walk in the park….I know… i at one time was a mother of only 1 child, I only thought i had it tough until one day i woke up and i was a *single* mother of 4, We struggled….1 child was absolutely nothing compared 4

  2. joe sowins

    Was sort of hoping that with all the tragic happenings around our area this past week you might write about something besides your pathetic love life,but I guess thats what they pay you for.What a waste of money!

    • L.B.

      These are written in advance. Perhaps you should check into things before you run your mouth and spout negativity.

  3. John Brody

    Eric you are a really smart guy I was thinking that trees deserve much better than this column.
    Personally I think if they left this column out of the packet. It’s readers including me think that the packet would be considered a more serious paper that would probably have slot more subscribers without this garbage in it. I have a friend who subscribes to the packet and we always say wow I wonder how dumb she is gonna make herself look this edition. That poor little girl what’s her name prinny??? What is that all about anyway? I hope that is a nickname she calls her because that would be very hateful for a mother to really give her daughter that name let’s just hope it’s not her real name! On a more serious note what is this little prinny or whatever her name is gonna think when she gets older because this is on the Internet and you will probably be able to find some part of this column easily. For many years to come, and let’s say now she’s big prinny and decides to look back at some of mollies columns??? What will she think did I ruin mamas life because of me she couldn’t bring them to meet me.I tried to meet them but they would run straight out of mommys room the next morning guess mom had won again. See mom loves to bring men over most nights and I try to meet them and mom would say you know the rules if I win you don’t meet him but if he wins he’s good enough to be part of our family. I never told mommy but I new what they did they would wrestle just like me and my friends but only they aces Ed slot more and they always wresteled wit all there clothes up sometimes mom would even call him ugly stuff and I guess he was knocked cause then she would somehow tie him up and I knew what that meant mom was gonna win again. I remember thinking that if she keeps winning I’ll never get to meet another man that makes mom happy. But then again now tar I’m older why did she always act so happy everynight when a new guy would come over!!!
    Please drop this distributor I’m begin you!!!!! Cmon man!!!!

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