As A Single Mom, Sometimes It’s Bring Your Child To Work Day

In real life, when I’m not picking boogers out of one kids nose and gum out of another’s hair, I am a Realtor. I’ve always had a job. Besides the obvious reasons of needing the dough to survive, to me, having some sort of interaction with the outside world after I became a mom was important. Something to break up the long days of baby-talk and over zealous reactions to my infant finding their feet. Before the big D (divorce, get your mind right), it was nice.

It was the perfect job for a mom that wanted to pretend she was a stay at home mom too. I got to wear both hats, because theoretically, I was both. Back then, I would work when I knew my (then) husband would be home and make sure to not schedule any appointments when he wouldn’t be. I could be the one that was raising my kids and not missing any of the big (or little) moments in their life, while providing some sort of contribution to our family. Win-win. After the big D, my job became dangerously necessary. I NEEDED a steady income, and an ok one at the least.

And so, regardless of my new status as a single mom, I was determined to make sure that my career prevailed, whether I had help or not. “Or not” being the most common scenario. And because of that, there are more times than I would like to admit that I have had to take my kids to work with me.

I really try not to. Let’s be honest, I could use the break from then as much as they can from me. Still… babysitters are a luxury that I just can’t afford consistently, especially when it’s going to be a brief- 20 minute appointment that I’ll be paying a sitter a minimum 2 hour rate for. On the other hand, it’s just not “professional” in some cases. But when you are a single mom and you have three little kids and bills and baseball and karate and gymnastics and need groceries and toilet paper and laundry detergent, you gotta do what you gotta do.

I’ve gotten exceptional at slipping in a little disclaimer to my clients up front that I have young children, there might be a time or two where I may need to cart them along with me. And most of my clients are more than ok with that. Some even encourage it as a way to give their own children in tow someone to interact with while we are out.

That being said, in truth I kind of like my job, and my clients, and I would like to KEEP them as my clients. And there are days where I really shouldn’t bring my kids with. Not because my client would disapprove and not because the circumstance wouldn’t allow, but because on that particular day all three of my bio kids are apparently in need of some sort of exorcism. They have clearly been possessed by some malevolent poltergeist and are in desperate need of purification before they spontaneously combust.

One particular day speaks to me when I think about all of the times I have paraded my children into the car with outlandish promises of fast food, ice cream, unlimited IPad time or whatever else I can come up with in the moment to threaten them into submission so I can get through this engagement without completely losing my credibility.

On this specific day, I actually had a babysitter lined up, but as {my} luck would have it they had some unavoidable situation pop up and could no longer help me. I had a long(ish) appointment to be at, and in my career, it is not easy to reschedule steps of major importance to the transaction so my options were limited.

After carefully considering all of the things that could go wrong and the ways I was going to proactively safeguard said things from happening, I made a pact with my oldest, pledging him the title of “the boss” and therefore far too much power for a (then) 6 year old, and packed my nuggets into the car with promises rolling off my tongue as I strapped them into their car seats.

“Do NOT say anything about the house. Don’t even THINK about running. You absolutely can NOT start whining and crying. Don’t you DARE ask to leave or complain. And when we are done, if we get through this hour with ZERO issues (yeah right)…. I’ll take you to Disney World.” – Me, in my blissful ignorance.

Once this appointment is rounding the corner to the finish line, my youngest falls asleep, my oldest is ready to play on his IPod and my middle is just done. So I offer to take them all out to the driveway where they can wait in the (doors locked, heat running – I’m not an animal) car. They gladly take me up on my offer and off they go. I run around the house in a frenzy making sure all of the lights are off, windows are closed and doors are locked, and as I’m doing so I start hearing some very loud techno music coming from outside. The old lady I’ve become is secretly cursing whatever teenage driver must be on the road and how “irresponsible” they are (as if I was never that same adolescent without a care in the world).

I’m standing in the doorway delivering my clients the rundown and summary of our appointment today and next steps for them as we start walking out of the house… and we all look over simultaneously to where we can see all three of my children have created their own rave in my minivan.

The car is vibrating up and down to the base of the music that is BLASTING out of the speakers into the silence of the neighborhood and if that wasn’t bad enough one of my demon-spawn rolls down the (very large) back window revealing that dependent #2 is whipping their shirt over their head screaming “DANCE PARTY!!!!” as they all jumped up and down some more squealing with delight.

At the time, I was mortified. Now, looking back, it was pretty flippin funny. Thankfully, my clients saw the humor in it from the beginning and were cracking up at my tiny humans cutting a rug in between the seats of the car, half naked.

After that day, whenever I am faced with potentially having to take my children to work with me or finding them a new sitter at the last minute, I try a little harder, beg a little more, and consider deeply the possibilities of what they are capable of before I decide on risking their attendance at my important meetings. Luckily for me, this particular little stunt of theirs was in breach of our contract guaranteeing them a future trip to Disney World. (PHEW!)

Until next time… be the mom that gets the job done. Even if it means you have to drag your kids to work with you. Even if it means you have to promise them the world (or Disney World) to do it. And remember, whatever they do now that makes you want to cry, will probably make you laugh years from now.

MomTransparenting

 

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Trans-parenting… The Story Continues.

If you haven’t read my previous post… find it here: In The Spirit of Transparenting – Let’s Get This Party Started

This is a two-parter and you have landed on the back end, so rewind, and come back. See you soon. 😉

So, where did we leave off? Ahhh, yes. My 4 year daughter has expressed in some pretty profound ways that she identifies as a boy. Now what? As a parent, I instantly went into panic mode and started learning all I could to help, support, nurture (but not push) my child. People are constantly questioning if we moved too fast, if I may have decoded this message from my child in error. Maybe they just need attention? Maybe they are around too many boys? Aren’t they too young to make such drastic changes to their lives?!?

Photo Credit: TransStudent.Org/Graphics

I’m a person with a Master’s level education who loves research, so my initial reaction was to get on the internet and figure this out. Whilst burying my face in google, and joining every mom group related to this I could find, I ascertained that many kids who present with gender confusion start to “figure this stuff out” around this very age. Whether or not they voice it or know how to articulate it in a way that an adult can decipher, is a different story.

So maybe my situation wasn’t as far fetched as I had first considered. I also discovered how family, especially their immediate family, reacts to and treats the child regarding their requests to start identifying as their true self makes a HUGE impact on their mental health and well-being for years to come. And by HUGE, I mean, it’s a matter of life and death. According to Trans Student Educational Resources,  more than half of transgender youth with families that do not support them and accept them attempt suicide at some point in their lives. The statistics on this are astounding.

That was when I made the decision to follow my child’s lead, wherever that may take us, and not look back.

People keep asking me if I’m sure. If she might be too young. If we “allow” this then what if?? What if we are WRONG….

And to those questions I have to say, I’m not sure. At this age I don’t think anyone could or would be 100% certain about anything when it comes to their child. BUT, if we don’t accept this, if we don’t “allow” it and follow their lead to wherever it takes us on this path, the consequences of that are astonishingly terrifying. Scary enough that I’m going to do whatever it takes to show my child that if he is different, if he is not who we thought, if he is trans… it doesn’t matter, not to me. Because no matter who or what my child is, he’s mine, accepted and loved. Every single way I felt about my child before this event, hadn’t changed.

If anything, I had only grown to have far more appreciation for my child. My heart swelled with pride. I was so proud of his bravery, his strength, his courage, and….. quite frankly I gave myself a nice big pat on the bat for raising a child who had such awareness for himself and felt comfortable in coming to me, his mom. I know I sure as hell wouldn’t have had the guts to do that when I was a kid. My mom scared the crap out of me. She still does. But, I digress,  that’s a story for another time.

Nothing I’m “allowing” my child to do isn’t reversible. But I feel like it’s important to mention that I am not “allowing” anything! I am simply listening to my child. I feel like I’m chasing a moving train that left the station LONG before I got there and I’m just trying to catch up, catch my breath, and enjoy the ride to our destination. Even if it’s not something I ever thought would happen in my wildest dreams.

Photo Credit: Tran Student Educational Resources

As shitty as this might sound, no one WANTS this for their child. Nobody wants to know that the life they are leading is one that will inherently cause more stress, more opportunities to be bullied or disliked or treated differently or unfairly. Nobody asks for their child to be part of a population that is known in history to be misunderstood and discriminated against. Even the most progressive parent is not going to kickoff this process jumping for joy when their child says, “hey mom, I know you guys thought I was a girl… but guess what? I’m really I’m a boy”. Progressive parents don’t spring to attention and say “HELL YES! I am so HAPPY for you! You get to be part of the group of people that the majority of the population is completely confused about! YAYYY!” No. As parents, our first reaction (from almost all parents I’ve talked with in this same situation) is fear. But, when the reality of it is, this is who they are… you just don’t have a choice. It just IS.

Photo Credit: Trans Student Educational Resources

I would like to say our process in these short 6 months has been a slow one, and maybe for my child who has been having these thoughts and feelings, it has felt like forever, but from my perspective…. it’s been really fast. Shortly after my child told me his true feelings we got a hair cut, he started refusing any and all of his “girl” clothes and needed an entire new wardrobe. Soon after that my child asked me to start using male pronouns to refer to HIM (him/he/his/son), because, he’s a boy. He walked into school and shortened his name to his first initial. And unlike the “average” little “girl”, when we are out in public and someone recognizes him as a boy, he is elated. It just makes his damn day, and I love every minute of it.

I have no idea what the future holds for this kid. In my research frenzy it sure seems that when a child at this age is this in tune to their gender, chances are they aren’t going back to the gender they were assigned at birth. And for my son, it sure seems like living his true self as a boy has made him a happier, bubblier, less angry, and more social kid overall. He sure seems to me like he’s finally found his place in this world, and for that I am eternally grateful. I’m just so thankful that my child had the insight to do it and the confidence and bravery to come to me before it was too late.

I’ll be sure to update along the way, but until then…. be the mom you want to be. Even if it means you have to advocate for your kid. Even if it means that you might be the villain to others, but to your child, you’re a hero.

 

Mom Transparenting

 

 

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