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Monday, April 27, 2009

Co-parenting anyone?

I keep wondering if there are any other folks out there like my little family. We are an odd pair of parents. Toyin and I aren't married, nor are we a couple. We were once and it was nice, but in the end we realized that the main thing we enjoyed about each other was the sex.
We stayed friends and when I got pregnant after what was supposed to be a fun weekend swimming and jetskiing we decided to do what was best for our daughter.
We decided to be co-parents.
I had never planned to be a mother. But I knew that if I ever did, there would be no other choice but to stay at home with my kid(s).
When I told Toyin that I wanted to stay home with Annika, he agreed to support me for the first year.
In order to do that, we figured that it made sense financially to live together.
We are not a couple, yet we have chosen to raise our daughter together. We live together, share bills, meals, and fight like a dysfunctional couple. And so far, it works way better than I ever thought it would.
Ask me on another day, and I might tell you I'm in a living hell. Ask him, and who knows what he might say, like me, it would probably depend on the day.
But ask our daughter, (she can't talk yet) and she'll babble at you and crawl over to one of us arms raised and look around at us as if this is the most natural life in the world.
She doesn't know anything different. She's happy. So it works.
I wondered how this year would go.
Living with an ex-boyfriend. Depending on him for money. Wondering what people think of our arrangement. Deciding when or if I should tell people that ours is not a typical family. Letting people assume, and they do.
But it has worked as well as any marriage, maybe better than some, maybe not as good as some.
It's going to end soon. We've been talking about when the day comes that we no longer live together. I'm nervous about becoming a single mom for real.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

About me

I am a stay-at-home mom, or a SAHM. I live in Austin, TX with my daughter, Annika, who is 11 months old, and her dad, my co-parent/ex-boyfriend/friend, Toyin. He's Nigerian. I am an ex-news reporter who misses writing very much.
I have lived in a lot of places.
I was born in Huntington, NY, on Long Island. My family moved to Texas when I was 7 years old. We lived on a ranch just outside of the tiny little town of Trent, population 300. When I was 14 we moved to Abilene, population 100,000. That sounds fairly big, but it has a small town atmosphere. There's not much to do there. When people from out of town would ask us what there was to do the standard answer was, "We got a mall." (Insert Texas drawl)
When I was 22 years old I met an Air Force man named Walter. Abilene also has an Air Force Base, but I met Walter in Wichita Falls, a few hours away from Abilene where he was in tech school. This comes after basic training and before your first station. We got married six weeks after we met and I moved to Okinawa, Japan with him. We lived there for three years. We got a cat and named him Bob.
When we moved back to the states, we lived in Great Falls, MT for a year, then moved to Detroit.
It was in Detroit that I met Annika's dad, Toyin. This was after Walter and I divorced and I decided to finish up school. I had worked at a bank for several years and hated it passionately. I was working on my journalism degree and took a job at the school newspaper where Toyin also worked as the graphic designer.
As I finished up my schooling, I got a job where I was interning at a weekly, community newspaper called The Mirror. The paper was recently killed, or so I heard through the grapevine. We covered six Detroit suburbs, Ferndale, Pleasant Ridge, Royal Oak, Huntington Woods, Berkley and Clawson. My beat was Berkley and Huntington Woods.
I got laid off from that job in the first week of 2007. I had worked there for two years. A month after my layoff I moved back to Texas.I moved to Austin where my parents and sister lived (and still do).
I got a job at a small advertising agency. In August of 2007 I went to visit Toyin where he was living in Norfolk, VA. We had a romantic and fun weekend, swimming in the ocean and jetskiing. Three weeks later I realized I was pregnant.
Toyin moved to Austin and agreed to support me for a year to I could stay home with our daughter, which I have been doing. She was born on May 10, 2008 after 19 1/2 hours of labor, 15 of it without any pain medication.
We have dog named Baltar, named after the character in Battlestar Galactica. Baltar is a big blustery, drooly dog. He doesn't have as much complex subtext as the character on BSG, but I love him anyway. My cat, Bob, died in January. I miss him very much.
I tried to post this in the About Me section Blogger and it was too long. So much for all my journalism training, I am still too verbose.