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Monday, November 23, 2009

Becoming a single mom for real

It's finally happening.

Toyin and I are moving into separate apartments at the end of the month.

We will finally be single parents.

I have mixed feelings about it. It will be really nice to have my own space again. Nobody to complain about my knickknacks or my taste in decorating. Nobody to rationalize purchases to. Nobody to cook dinner for. Nobody to pick up after.

But there will also be nobody talk to late at night. There will be nobody to take over if I am feeling frustrated.

With this move also comes the freedom to date again. Toyin and I never made a solid rule about that. If either one of us had met someone we wanted to date, the option was there to do it. It's not like we were faking being a couple just for Annika's sake. But it would have been weird. So neither of us ever made much of an effort.

Honestly, I had no desire to go out on dates or try to form a relationship with anyone. Toyin did not feel the same way, but he wasn't nursing or holding a baby 18 hours a day either.

I think he's missed the single life more than I have. It's not that I want to be in a relationship with him, but having our unusual little family life has made it a lot easier on me. For that I will always be grateful to him.

He will still be around. He won't be a typical one-night-a-week/weekend dad. I know he will swing by to visit Annika even on nights when she isn't going to stay at his house. I will do the same. We will forge ahead in this co-parenting relationship even though we aren't going to be living together anymore.

We will still discuss parenting methods. We will communicate with each other about Annika just like parents who live together. I think we will always be friends.

In some ways, I think, this is a better way to parent.

I know the standard belief is that kids need parents who are married; who live under the same roof.

But I know lots of people who stay in dysfunctional marriages and do more harm to their children than if they had just gotten divorced.

I wrote in a previous post about parenting with the end in mind. When I think about how Toyin and I will parent Annika together even though we live apart, I try to imagine how Annika will see things. I like to imagine Annika as an adult telling her friends that she had the best of both worlds.

"Sure, my parents weren't married," she'll say. "But they were always friends. They never made me choose between them. They always talked to each other. They were great parents."

Of course, if we succeed at this co-parenting thing and Annika turns out great despite having parents who don't live as a couple, she probably won't notice anything. It will just be her normal. That's really all I can hope for.

1 comment:

  1. Having the arrangement you will have is far better than being a single parent with no help or interest from your child's father. You are very fortunate to have the relationship you just described. Better now than when Annika has grown up with Dad in the home for several years into her childhood then to move out.

    You've had Toyin there during the most tender of moments and the most trying of times as you were adjusting to motherhood and going through those tough emotional swing after childbirth.

    You too will have the best of both worlds.
    You will be a fantastic single Mom


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