On Becoming a Single Mother by Choice

I was born to be a mom. I’m sure that anyone you ask who knows me well would completely agree.  I was a mother’s helper when I was seven years old, and I got paid $.50/hour.  I started babysitting regularly for a family with a three month old and a three year old when I was ten years old.  (I look back and think that family was crazy for hiring me at such a young age, but in my defense, I was a mature ten year old.)  My jobs growing up and my major in college were all kid related. At functions that kids and adults attended, I always found myself hanging out with the kids (even as an adult). I gravitate towards kids, and they gravitate towards me. My mom has referred to me as a Baby Whisperer. My friends have commented that I can somehow love anyone’s kids … Continue reading

Life Lessons from Klickitat Street

I took Pink and Purple to see Ramona and Beezus at our local theater over the weekend. I didn’t expect to spend most of the movie in tears.

In the interest of full disclosure, I tend to cry at most kids’ movies. I don’t know why. I’m a notorious non-weeper in my personal life. Oh, I feel pain and sorrow, no doubt about it. It’s just that I internalize the negative emotions until they settle in the pit of my stomach like a pile of rusty razor blades, or clench them in my jaws like tetanus. But there’s something about movies that makes it ok for me to release all of that. I don’t know whether that’s particularly true of kids’ movies, or if it’s just that kids’ movies are all I seem to see anymore.

Ramona and Beezus was a little bit different, though. Setting aside the fact that Continue reading

I Want To Believe

I was a huge fan of The X-Files, and one of the show’s catch phrases was “I want to believe.” I had no idea how that phrase would eventually come home to roost.

I really didn’t expect that my daughters would still believe in Santa Claus by the time they were in 3rd grade. I’d be surprised if all of their Christmas-observing friends still believe, and I find it unlikely that none of the non-believing, worldly-wise 3rd graders has spilled the beans. The right jolly old elf hasn’t come up much in conversation this year, and my hunch was that they had their doubts, but maybe weren’t ready to ask the question outright, for fear of having their suspicions confirmed.

When I imagined having kids I also imagined that bidding the Santa days good-bye would be accompanied by a feeling of loss. I’m all for fostering magical thinking among the … Continue reading

It’s These Moments That Catch Me

It’s these moments that catch me.   This morning before work, way too early for my liking, I walked my three year old son and his bestie Elmo to his car seat and strapped him in. As he often does, he smiled and asked, “Hug, Mommy?” after I fastened his seat belt. I leaned in and hugged him, feeling the strength of his tiny little arms pulling me in.

I then brought my daughter’s infant car seat around and fastened it in place, bending over to kiss her downy head as she slept through the whole process, more beautiful than I have words to describe, cooing softly and smiling.

It’s these moments that catch me. When I am doing everyday Mommy things and I get blown away with how much I love these itty bitty humans that am privileged to call my children.

I loved my life pre-kids, I orchestrated great … Continue reading

Chanukah Traditions

In my family, Chanukah was (and is) observed primarily as a children’s holiday. No gifts are exchanged from children to adults or between adults. Chanukah, when I was growing up, was about lighting candles (for many years these were the only blessings I could say in Hebrew because I had memorized them), and eating pre-made latkes (potato pancakes). My mother is generally a good cook but she cannot bake and she cannot make “Jewish food”, but we kids got gifts — until we reached college age. After that, it was just candles and latkes.  We were taught that the heart of the holiday was the struggle for religious freedom, which resonated with what I learned about American history in school. Chanukah wasn’t just “the Jewish Christmas.”

When I became an adult, I lit candles in my own home, usually without the latkes and definitely without the gifts.  I fell in … Continue reading

A Letter To My Younger Self

I recently read a blog post by someone who has kids and was lamenting her pre-kid single life freedoms. The post was a letter to her young self about how she should enjoy being free, staying out late with friends, traveling and not worry about meeting someone to share her life with—or about whether she has kids; that her life would be just great without them. I love how people who are married with kids always joke about what a pain it is to be married, and tell single people how lucky we are to not have to “deal with” a partner and how hard it is to be tied down to kids.

So I decided to write my own letter to my younger single self:

Dear naive self who thinks she’ll just meet Mr. Right at that perfect age (no need to worry!) and who believes her uterus will … Continue reading

From a Mom of a Little One through Anonymous Donor IVF

In the popular media, single mothering by choice is sometimes about these crazy women who go looking for sperm donors like they’re ordering pizza toppings — Tall? Check. Good SAT scores? Check. Mushrooms? Check.

In reality, it’s not about the sperm. It’s not about the donor. It’s not about the turkey baster or the petri dish. It’s about the milky smell of a newborn, the little fingers that clutch mine when we cross the street, the worries about paying for college and whether the plastics and the scented baby shampoo will poison my toddler. It’s about motherhood, not hatred of men. So that’s why I’m leaping to add my voice to this blog. I want people to understand why so many of us are doing this. I’ve always known I was a mother, I just needed a little help to get there. And I thank God — thank God thank Continue reading

Thanks

Last month at youth group, when my son was asked what he was thankful for, he said, “everything.” And I’ve been thinking a lot about that … how he knows at nine to be grateful for the rain and the sun, for pain and joy.

This year isn’t ending like I thought it would, but that doesn’t mean I’m not grateful beyond belief. For closed doors and new beginnings so good that I didn’t dare dream of them myself. And for God’s grace to sustain me between the two.

For friends who are present and friends that teach me lessons. For family that’s got my back and the ones who drive me crazy (sometimes the same ones).

For doctors and medicine and treatment and access to them.

For youth group kids who teach me something new every time I’m around them. A church family of kindred spirits.

For stores who … Continue reading

Supermom

As usual, time has gotten away from me and a holiday is fast approaching. I was going to dress up as Supergirl for Halloween; mostly because I have the costume and there’s a television show about her. Then it hit me…why not dress up as myself?

Supermom.

I manage two little lives, taking care of all their needs and many of their wants. I give boo-boo healing kisses. I run our home, which needs a ton of work, but is still standing. I work full-time, plus some each week. I drive long distances so my kids will be with people I trust while I am supporting us. I keep my title of “Mom” by earning it with sweat and diaper-changing equity. I don’t go out “adulting” often because I prefer to spend my time with my babies. I even keep our many pets fed and watered, if not played … Continue reading

Do Children of SMCs Have Psychological Problems?

One of my biggest questions when considering becoming a single mother by  choice was how it would affect my future child. Would I be setting them up for a harder life because of my desire to become a mom? Would they suffer mentally from being raised by only one parent versus two? I knew it was time to do some research to see if I could find the answers to my questions.

The Journal of Family Psychology conducted a study on 51 solo mother families and compared them with 52 two-parent families. The study measured maternal wellbeing, mother–child relationships and the child’s adjustment to mothers, children and teachers.

I was thrilled to read that there were no differences in parenting quality between family types apart from there being lower mother–child conflict in solo mother families. That’s right! There are less conflicts between mother and child in solo mom households. Maybe … Continue reading

“After I joined SMC, I learned so much! One of the best things was not feeling alone. So many had gone before me, and if they could do it, then so could I! My local group was a great source of support and becoming an SMC was the best decision I've ever made.”

– Joyce Gabbert