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DK Says.......

September 27, 2007
Enjoying the Time Away From My Kids

So I've been regularly seeing someone new.  We seem to have settled on at least one weekend night, sometimes more if our schedules both allow it.  This weekend my ex asked if I could keep the kids until really late Saturday afternoon (5or6p.m.), if not all night. I said, I think I'm going out, but if that doesn't work out, then of course that would be fine for them to just stay all night.  Keeping in mind that my kids have not yet met Mr. New Guy, so if they're with me, then no "me-time" with Mr. New Guy.

So I ask Mr. New Guy about the weekend, and due to some tentative scheduling issues of his own, he's not quite sure if we'll be spending time together Saturday evening or Sunday.  When I mentioned the above, he commented "poor kids".  I don't think anything was meant by it towards me, but it got me thinking about the 50 ways that statement could have been interpreted.  I wondered if he meant that it was "poor kids" because there Mom really wants to go out with the new guy instead of spending extra time with them......or if it meant, "poor kids" because they don't even know where they will be??  In any case, I know in my heart of hearts, I am a much better Mom to them when I remember to build in time for myself.  Sometimes that means going to yoga class or taking a trip, or just reading a book.  This week it means seeing Mr. New Guy.  So yes, I may be selfish from time to time, and if it works out I hope to be this weekend.  In the end, I'll make a much better Mom on Tuesday when they come home because I will have had some of my "me-time" fulfilled.  My advice to all of you parents, remember to put your own needs first some times.......

September 23, 2007
The age-old question, What do I wear?
Dating with kids brings a whole new angle to things.  As I recall from dates years ago, it was always quite a chore to figure out what to wear when you go out on a date.  Enter split-family dating.  Now it seems I'm dressing not only for my date, but for the ex whom I see as I drop the kids off before I go on the date, and of course the kids.  I of course want to knock the socks off my date, that's part of the fun right?  But I don't want any weird comments from the ex.  I don't necessarily even want him to know I'm going out on a date.  Not that it matters, but who needs the flack?  So I choose something that I find fun, and maybe even a little sexy.  Did I say sexy?  Yes, us single moms can be that once in awhile too!  Enter daughter.  "Mom, you can't wear THAT!"  Why not?  She is now rumbling through the closet and selects something that she deems "appropriate".  I say, "I can't wear THAT, it will make me look old and FRUMPY!"  She says, "But you are old and frumpy!"  Great!  That's what I want to hear when I'm getting ready to go out for a night on the town.  Somehow, I know immediately that my original selection is exactly the look I was going for.  And my daughter.........well, I guess she'll just have to get over it.  I am single after all.  I'm sure we'll be battling over her date clothes soon enough!

September 20, 2007
A rose is a rose by any other name?

A friend of mine last week was trying to describe a man she was seeing.  Only she wasn't really sure what to call it.  I'm not sure if she is in a relationship or just casually having dinner now and then, but it made me start thinking. I've started dating someone too.  What do you call that person?  I know there comes a point where you are in an exclusive relationship, and when you are in high school you call that your boyfriend.  I'm not in high school anymore, (neither is she), and I'm at a loss as to what to refer "the new guy" as.  For now I've just been saying "the guy I'm seeing" or "the guy I'm dating", or even "the new guy".  But I suppose there is going to come a point where I'm going to have to introduce him to someone.  What will I introduce him as?  Even worse, lets say it does evolve into an exclusive relationship, then what do I call him?  "Boyfriend" just seems so.............well "highschool".  "Beau" seems so, I don't even know what.  Hmmm.  I guess I'm going to have to work on that one for awhile, or keep "the new guy" in the closet awhile longer!

September 16, 2007
Self Checkout With Kids???
I'm not sure whose great idea it was to have self-check out at the grocery store.  It was bad enough when it was the fast lane.  Now my grocery store has decided that it can be for every lane.  This is a difficult task to manage when you are alone.  After all, getting the darn thing to beep at each item is practically a science.  Now I used to be a grocery checkout clerk in college.  So checking out groceries is not a big deal to me.  HOWEVER, it reaches a whole new level when it is constantly yelling at you to put the item back on the belt, to wait for the attendant, and to put the item back in the bag.  Now enter kids.  Or worse yet for us single parents, imagine that you must take your kids to the store because there is nobody to leave them home with!  "I want to do it!"  Seems like an easy enough request.  The next thing you know one kid is scanning, the other is trying to bag and put things in the cart, which would all be really great if the darn machine wasn't yelling at you to put the item back on the belt and wait for an attendant.  Luckily my kids are a little older.  I honestly don't know how single parents of younger kids are going to be able to manage to get through the lines.  The worst part is they generally have 4-5 of these lines, and even though they don't require a person, there is still only one lane open.  So single dad with the squirly two year old has to keep this child in check through a ridiculously long line, and then fight with a machine.  Now that's progress!

September 15, 2007
When do you introduce the kids to a new date?
So I've been out dating again.  It's been awhile and my kids are older now.  They are a lot more aware of what is going on around them now.  It's a long story, but they've figured out that I've been seeing one individual in particular.  My daughter has been doing her best to figure out how many times we've been out.  She's come to the conclusion that if I have a 10th date, then it's her turn to meet him.  I guess from a kid's perspective ten dates seems like a lot.  From my perspective, I'm still trying to figure out what dating someone even means, let alone how much I like him and when do the kids meet him?  I don't know what the answer is, but I do know that I'm not going to let a 12 year-old dictate when I introduce my dinner companions.  Maybe it is just one of those things that I'll just "know" when the time is right.

September 12, 2007
Yes, we still do birthdays together
Today was my daughter's birthday.  The celebration sort of started last night.  You see when she turned one I started a tradition of making sure that when she woke up she had a bouquet of ballons in her room.  This year it turned out that she wasn't going to wake up at my house on her birthday.  So I called my ex, and asked if I could bring by the balloons last night after she was in bed for him to put in her room.  He obliged, and the tradition continues.  Tonight, we did the annual cake and ice cream.  The crowd has become significantly smaller as my daughter has grown.  There were no grandparents or childhood friends.  It was just my daughter, her brother, and I along with my ex and his girlfriend.  Everyone had cake.  Everyone acted like an adult.  My daughter got to enjoy her birthday with her parents at one time.  It is possible to cope with divorce, stand in a same room, and even smile.  I do it for one reason.  It makes my daughter know we really love her.

September 10, 2007
Still parenting issues
Just the other day a friend of mine said to me, "You mean that even when you are divorced, you still have to parent the other parent?"  I said yes, sometimes you do.  The conversation stemmed over my youngest son selecting an instrument.  Normally I am the one that handles all of those kinds of things.  I take the kids to doctors, dentists, tryouts, and swimming practice.  However, last week I was out of town and my son needed to select a band instrument at band night.  I carefully tried not to say anything to him about what I thought he should select.  Then I left a message with my ex, explaining to him that if we want our son to commit and become passionate about an instrument, then we really must say nothing.  Otherwise he would select based on something we had said.  So I came home to a beaming little boy, with his alto sax.  (His dad played it in school).  I was ready to be fuming............but when I asked my son if Dad said anything.  He said, nope, not a word.  But that he'd seen a man playing one at church, and ever since then he'd wanted to learn to play one himself.  So, yes, I parented the other parent.  It happens sometimes, just like when you are married.  And sometimes things just happen because maybe something like the interesting sound of a sax is just bred into our genes.

September 7, 2007
Homework Blues

School is back in session.  It seems like this time of year is always tough because you have to get back in the swing of things.  It seems to always be hard for me too, because I have to get back into the swing of homework.  I don't particularly care for homework.  I'd rather the kids just stay at school another two hours, get everything done there, so when we are back home we can have family time.  I guess it isn't going to work that way.  So on goes the saga of trying to get the kids to get into the routine of getting their homework done.  This gets even more complicated when you are living between two houses like my kids do.  Though Dad and I have similar philosophies about kids in school, homework is a different animal.  At my house it is typically done before dinner, or during the cooking time.  At Dad's it is done the minute they walk in the door.  I guess I don't like to do it the minute we walk in the door because I'm requiring some down time before I change roles.  In this case, Dad probably has it right...........but I think having a little down time gives us all some time to regroup first.  I'm curious about how other split families manage homework?  Is it a struggle between one house and the other?  If you have any stories to share, please contact me at dksimoneau@acpublicationsgroup.com, I'd love to hear from you.  Thanks!

September 3, 2007
Doing the dog shuffle too?
So I'm leaving town for a business trip.  Getting the kids taken care of is pretty simple.  They go to their Dad's right?  But what about their beloved dog, "Beamer"?  Well Beamer has become used to the split-family living situation too.  If I go out of town, Beamer goes right over to my ex's house with the kids.  We pack him a little overnight bag, his food, favorite toys, crate, and yes even his "beddy".  He doesn't go every time my kids go, but I think he would if he had his wishes.  He gets a little lonely around here when the kids aren't here.  ........And, when we pull up into the ex's driveway, he can barely wait for the car door to open before he's out and up to the porch, happily ready to pounce inside.  He doesn't seem to mind the shuffle a bit.  I think he likes the change of scenery, and I suppose the back yard doesn't hurt much either.  So off I go on my business trip.  My built in kid sitter is now also my built in dog sitter.  I guess it probably helps the kids too.  They don't have to miss Mom as much because they have their favorite furry pal.  Next I suppose I'll be watching my ex's girlfriend's dog too.  Oh, wait, I already did.  You know what, it's a great example to set for the kids, and I'm happy to do it.

September 2, 2007
How do these kids do it?
I've been doing the split-family thing for about 9 years now.  Yet somehow I'm always amazed at just how flexible my kids can be.  My ex and I really do parent together.  Yet no matter how much we talk and try to do things together, there are a multitude of things that go on quite differently at each house.  Just yesterday my ex was planning to take the kids on a camping trip.  He said to be there at 4:00.  We pulled up at 4:01, and I watched them march silently into the house grab their bag, and jump into the truck and be ready to rock and roll.  Now I don't know how their road trips normally go, but I've never seen them march so quickly in my whole life.  It occurred to me that when it comes to being ready to go on a trip, they clearly have some kind of expectation to follow.  (Certainly a different one than what goes on at my house, that's for sure.)  So I found myself wondering..........do they have little split personalities?  Do they march to a completely different tune at my house than they do at their Dad's?  It made me want to plant a little camera, not to spy on my ex, but just to see how differently they maybe behave.  Hmmm.  Makes you wonder..........


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