This summer, my 9-year-old son lets himself into our apartment after getting off the camp bus. He goes upstairs and plops his stuff down and calls me at work. I get home within an hour, so he’s not home alone for very long. He says he’s fine. He says he can handle it. His friends ask their parents why they aren’t being left home alone. He’s only cried twice.
Don’t ask how many times I’ve cried. How many times I’ve questioned the wisdom of this decision (which, honestly, has been based on monetary concerns but also factored in that he’s a very responsible boy who has handled being home longer than this—it’s the letting himself in part that makes me somewhat concerned). My son is self-reliant for his age. And he handles this responsibility with bravado. He has his own cell phone now—so he can call me when he gets … Continue reading
I’ve always wanted to have children, always wanted to mother. I’ve been an au pair to other families, spent time with all of the kids of friends and family. I hoped and assumed, of course, that I would have a family of my own when the time came.
I suppose that’s the tricky part – that time thing. Like many, I’ve been in a series of long relationships that have not withstood the tests of time. A long medical training that I started when I was twenty-eight ended ten years later. And there I was, at thirty-eight, for the first time seriously thinking of having a child on my own.
So many questions came to mind – how could I do it? How could I make it work in time and money and love? And most importantly, would it be, could it be fair to bring in child into the … Continue reading
On the first weekend of December 2002, I was finally able to announce on the Single Mothers by Choice (SMC) online Forum, “Cristina is home!” My son, then almost 9 years old (conceived via donor sperm), and I had just returned from the airport in Washington, D.C. With us was my almost two-year-old daughter adopted from Romania.
I was exhausted from the four-hour car ride and from the emotion of the day. But then I saw her—my beautiful little daughter was being wheeled toward me in a stroller by my agency director. He placed her in my arms and left. I expected bliss—I was wrong. She started screaming at the top of her lungs, “Nu! Nu!” (“No! No!”) and slapping me on the face. We walked through the airport with her screaming and hitting me and me telling her everything would be alright. Later my agency representative would tell me … Continue reading
Just when I think I am a absolute freak of nature, defying all sorts of social standards and practices (usually by going under, and not over, the bar) something transpires that speaks to me, saying “Tara, you are *not* so bizarre or unique after all.” So, there. I cannot promise I’ll share anything like that with you today, but I’m just saying…
Being a member of Single Mothers by Choice (SMC) has been one of the most valuable and meaningful aspects of my life. Although I am awkward to connect and put out disjointed, sporadic posts on the private online Forum, the generous, informative women on there help to alleviate my seemingly irrational feelings or quell the ridiculous tsunamis of fear in which I try to keep above the water. Some of the concerns I see on the Forum are internally referred to as “Standard Issue Issues”- pretty much … Continue reading
For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a mom. I started babysitting when I was just 9 years old and continued to do so through college. I have always loved children and “borrowed” my friends’ children on a regular basis. When I was in my mid-20s, I would often say that if I got to be 35, wasn’t married, and had no prospects for marriage, I was going to go to a sperm bank and use a turkey baster. Fast forward 10 years: Me, at age 35, not married and not involved with anyone. And so my journey to a child began.
Fast forward another 2 years. I had moved back to my hometown so I could be near my family, bought a house, lost weight, and was on the brink of my first donor insemination. I was beyond excited!! The morning of my insemination, … Continue reading
Four years ago this month I conceived my first child by a non-medicated, interuterine insemination. I hadn’t been a Thinker for long. Or perhaps, I had been a Thinker my whole life. The certainty that I would never marry and have children was something that haunted my thoughts since I was in my early twenties. Until I separated the two life events, becoming a mother seemed all but hopeless. I thought about it only in terms of what would never be.
For over a decade, I mourned the loss of what came so easily to most women: a family. Once I gave myself permission to research the possibilities of single motherhood, things happened very quickly. Within a month I had read everything I could find on the topic. I began contacting adoption agencies. The official responses were consistently negative. A social worker at a domestic agency said to me, “No … Continue reading
My mother was a single mother. My father died, and I don’t remember him. I don’t know if that is the reason why becoming a single mother by choice was never Plan B for me, but it might have played a role. I did do the whole relationship thing for a while, but when my relationship ended, and after spending years working all over the world, and loving my freedom, I went back to my personal Plan A – becoming a single mom by choice.
I never did picture mom, dad, and kids as the perfect family when I was a kid. Having a great mom was quite enough. I grew up in a liberal environment, where family structures were hardly ever questioned. I used a known donor to conceive both my kids, and now have a wonderful daughter and a great son. We live in Eastern Europe, where I … Continue reading
I’m struggling with feelings I never thought I would have for my newly adopted 4-year-old son. It took a few months to come to grips with the fact that I do not love him the same as I do my 8-year-old biological son. It had not occurred to me that that was possible. It was somewhat therapeutic just recognizing it for what it is worth. I would like to think this difference will fade with time.
Responses from Our Wise SMC Forum Members:
“I hope you can give yourself a break. A 4-year-old comes with his own history, complicated by the whole issue of transition, further complicated with whatever trauma might exist related to his previous history and post-institutional stuff. The chances are very strong that the boy you are parenting now will be very different once he develops the confidence to know that you are his mom … Continue reading
Or how pursuing my dream of having a child made dating more fun.
As these musings might indicate, my single dating life was often riddled with worry. When dating a man, I was rarely fully present. My mind ran the back story. I’d size him up, then rocket mentally into an imagined future. Is he the right fit for me, and I for him? Is he commitment-phobic? Am I? Are we wasting our time?
Of course, sometimes, there was true hope and love. But the stifling “what-ifs” commanded my attention. Revelations. Then about a year ago, a crossroads moment appeared. My father was in the hospital, in what would turn out to be the last month of his life. I was about six months past the most painful breakup of my life, and about six months away from 40. While chatting with a friend during a business trip to New … Continue reading
(Thank you to Lisa Belkin, author of “The Motherlode” blog in the NY Times, for permission to use this post. Although the question posed is about raising a child in NYC, its wisdom is useful for people living anywhere.)
After the government last month released its annual tally of what it costs to raise a child to age 18 ($222,360), I received an e-mail message from a reader, A., who is looking for advice on how to find a more practical number. That lump sum is interesting as a conversation starter, she says, but it isn’t much help in trying to budget for an actual child.
I’m a single woman trying to figure out what it will cost for me to bring up a child living in New York City (hopefully in 2011).
Many of the Web sites I’ve looked at seem conservative for Manhattan or just unrealistically … Continue reading