When I started this blog on May 30, 2012 – the day I got my positive pregnancy test – I couldn’t have possibly dreamt up all the experiences that were yet to happen. Becoming a mother – Evelyn’s mother – has been and continues to be the journey of a lifetime. Nothing has brought me greater joy, frustration, made me more exhausted, filled to bursting with love (and sometimes tears).
This blog has brought people into my life who I never would’ve met otherwise. I’ve even made friends in ‘real life’ thanks to this space. The friendships I have with some of you are invaluable to me, and have been an unintentional benefit to writing so much about my life with Evelyn.
Something has been weighing on me over the past year or so, and it’s become a feeling I can’t shake in recent history — it is time to bid adieu to this very public, over-sharing blog.
Evelyn is getting older now, and given what I know about my daughter, I suspect she will not want a play-by-play of her life published in such a public way. Sharing so many of the big and small parts of her infancy and early childhood has been a way of recording the things I would surely forget otherwise, and I will always treasure the words that have been written here.
Sometimes people read this blog and think they know-know me. They form ideas in their head about who I am and get a sense of closeness to me that isn’t reciprocal, because although anyone who reads this knows an awful lot about the online version of me and my daughter, I know little to nothing about them. It’s increasingly making me uncomfortable, baring so many details in a public space in which I have no control over who reads it or what they do with the information.
Blogging has been great ‘therapy’ for me to process all I’ve experienced thus far as a solo mom. This virtual space has been a way to connect with other moms of children around the same age, other queer moms in and outside of Toronto, and other solo moms by choice. But as Evelyn grows, so too does my uncertainty about sharing so much about her so openly.
It’s one thing to blog my own experiences and stories, knowing what comes with sharing so publicly; it is quite another to write about those of my child, who isn’t yet old enough to consent to this level of sharing. I don’t read many blogs written by parents of older children – not the type of blog written in the over-sharing style of Solo Mama, anyway. I suspect this pull-back is common amongst parent bloggers.
If I had it to do all over again, I would blog anonymously, or at least semi-anonymously. But, I don’t have it to do all over again, and so pulling back in this way is my way of putting up some virtual boundaries that feel long overdue. I’m still on social media, though I grow increasingly frustrated with myself for continuing to use Facebook when I don’t even like it and waste so much time on there that could be spent doing things I actually enjoy. It’s different there anyway – I can control who sees what and limit it to friends & family only.
I’ve been blogging at one site or another for the past decade. It feels as much a part of my days as drinking coffee (and heaven knows I do enough of that!). There is a large part of me that feels sad about letting go. But in closing this virtual book, I open space in my life for other things. I’m feeling called to be more present for my family, both near and far, and cutting down on some of my online time feels like a good way to do that. The ‘writer’ side of me will never go away, and for as long as I live I will document my life and Evelyn’s life in various ways – it seems I can’t help myself. Future posts on here, however, will be private for our family – a means of memory keeping.
tl;dr – It is time to say goodbye to the Solo Mama blog as we know it. Thank you for your love, support and friendship and for reading along on this journey of mine. It’s been a wonderful ride, and my cup runneth over with gratitude for all this blog has brought me. I will miss this space, and miss sharing with all of you. Until we meet again (on FB, Insta or email later today – ha!).
Some fun Solo Mama stats
- Years: 4 (exactly!)
- Posts: 1, 008
- Subscribers (currently): 561
- Average daily views: 293
- Total views: 58,179
- Total unique visitors: 13, 339
- Most popular post: Self-Insemination (A How-to Guide)
- My favourite post: I can’t possibly choose
- My favourite thing about blogging: all my blogging & real-life, blog-borne friendships. You know who you are.
I woke up at 4:00 in the night/morning to use the bathroom, when I heard the unmistakeable sound of Evelyn waking. Horrified, I tip-toed back into bed. And that’s when I heard it – her voice. Sounding chipper. Awake. No amount of begging, pleading or scolding could convince her to go back to sleep. So I’m starting this day off in a horrible mood because no one should have to wake at that hour and be “on” as a parent. Btw, this “on” I speak of involved throwing a pile of books at her and telling her to read quietly while mommy slept. I tried. I really did. But I couldn’t. So after an hour of tossing and turning while listening to my child read to herself, I gave up and made coffee. 6 pm should be a really “fun” hour in our house tonight.
My whining and complaining about that isn’t the point of this post. I want to whine and complain about something else.
See, last night I was mindlessly scrolling through Facebook when I saw mention of Hannah Hart. For those who have no clue who she is (like I didn’t until recently), she’s a lesbian YouTube “star” (this is something that makes me feel old). She’s really cute, if not a bit gregarious. I watched a few of her videos and I’m watching her mannerisms and looking at her style of dress and I just felt so…wistful. I used to look cute. I used to dress like a hip(ish) lesbian. I used to get asked out by girls. Now I look exhausted, wrinkled. I dress like a frumpy mom.
All of these late night thoughts made me feel sad. So much of my identity is tied to being a queer person. Being openly queer in the world touches nearly every part of your life in big and small ways. But right now I feel so, so invisible as a queer person. And it hurts and it sucks to admit it to myself (and you). To look at me is to look at a slightly overweight mother of a small child. That’s it, that’s all. I don’t have time or energy for much else.
The cultural presumption of straightness is deeply ingrained, and because I don’t have a partner to navigate the world with, I think people read me as a middle-aged straight woman more than they don’t. I spend my money on clothes for my kid, not myself. I don’t spend any time being out in the “queer world” in the ways I used to, though 90% of my friends are queer-identified. So at least I still have them/that.
I guess this is just another story of a mom losing herself in the throes of motherhood. Maybe some day I’ll get back to finding me in all of this. I don’t anticipate that day coming any time soon, but I look forward to the day when I can get to just a little bit of me. Maybe this is about aging and feeling a longing for my youth just as much as it is about motherhood. I don’t know.
It’s a long weekend here in Canada, celebrating Queen Victoria’s birthday, which no one I know actually celebrates. Most Canadians use this weekend as an opportunity to kick off “summer”, open up their cottages and enjoy the long-awaited warmth and sunshine.
My weekend got started when my boss let us go a couple hours early. I stole Bronwyn from her mama to run an errand and had some 1:1 time with her. Babies are a lot easier than 3 year olds in so many ways, but they are also a lot harder than 3 year olds in so many ways. I’m slowly learning that parenting never gets easier – it just gets different. Each stage comes with its joys and hardships.
We took Evelyn and Henry to a taekwondo place for their first test/lesson. Evelyn did really well for the first half of her test, but then stopped participating. She put her fingers in her mouth and let her shyness take over. She was also over-tired thanks to a crappy sleep followed by a 5 am wake-up. Henry took to it like a fish takes to water – he had a blast. The instructor thinks they’re both a good fit – he says Evelyn is a good listener but needs to work on her confidence, which taekwondo would help with. But at $95/month, I really can’t afford to have another soccer experience. The kind during which my kid throws herself on the floor and refuses to participate while everyone else around her does. I’ve decided to give it a few more months, at least, before making the investment. I’d rather us spend every waking moment outdoors while we can. When the weather turns cold again, which it unfortunately will, I’ll take her back and we’ll give it another go. Henry is signed up and raring to start!
We planted the garden in our backyard today. The kids had been looking forward to this for a few days, and were helpful until they weren’t, fussing about dirty feet and wanting to go inside and having a smoothie. They stepped all over some of the plants, over-watered others and did a good job otherwise. I have a feeling my garden may not be as fruitful this year, but I hope we at least get a nice harvest of some of the things we planted. No photos were taken during this time because I was elbow deep in dirt and loving it. My garden is my happy place.
This morning Evelyn and I were talking about what colours a chameleon would change to if placed in various environments/places. When I asked her what colour the chameleon would turn to if we placed it atop my head, she answered without skipping a beat: grey! Gee thanks, kid. I have may have lots of wrinkles thanks to you, but the grey hairs will wait to arrive when you’re a teenager. I hope.
We got the baby pool out for the kids yesterday – they played in it for a couple hours and it was awesome. Everything in life feels so much lighter/happier/doable when the weather is like this. I definitely live with seasonal affective disorder in the winter. I become a lot like Eeyore – everything feels grey, dull, depressing. I can’t live in this city forever, I can’t “do” winter for the rest of my life. But for now we’re here and I appreciate every sun-soaked day we have.
Evelyn and Henry play like kids now – not toddlers. They communicate using words instead of screams and howls and whines. They ask for things politely (70% of the time) when one has what the other wants. They can play alone in a different room from us for an hour or more. It feels damn near miraculous, this transformation. And it also makes me feel like I don’t actually want another child, because why in the world would I want to give up the tiny tastes of freedom I’m getting now that my child is growing and becoming more independent/less needy of me with each passing day? (Add one to the ‘cons’ list even though it is entirely selfish).
Tomorrow is another day away from the shackles of the work grind, and that means I might get wild & crazy and stay up past 10 pm again. Maybe.
It’s that time of year again – time for the ice cream truck to begin making its rounds. When I was a kid, we had a “sno-cone” truck that would circle around once/week. The neighbourhood kids would hear the music and go running indoors to beg our parents and grandparents for quarters to buy our treats. It was a highlight throughout my childhood summers.
The ice cream truck that circles around our neighbourhood here in Toronto strategically parks on the perimeter of the park that borders on the kids’ school in the after school hours. It plays its chime-like, enchanting music, enticing children within a 0.5 km radius to beg their parents for money for the ice cream truck. I’ve been telling Evelyn it’s the “music truck” and goes around playing music to brighten people’s days.
But the other day, she was wise to me. “Why is there ice cream on the music truck, mommy?” It’s just pretty paintings, sweetie. “But why? Is it a ice cream truck?” Hmmm, I’m not sure.
I know some of you are reading this and think me a monster – the sort to lie to her child about things. But let me tell you – my kid doesn’t need ice cream an hour before dinner. Not only that, but she can’t eat most of the offerings that truck provides. And just like she can stand to miss out on a treat right before dinner, I can stand to miss out on my kid throwing a fit because she doesn’t get a treat every day we pass the truck.
So, it’s one of those things I’m lying to my kid about, kinda like the tooth fairy. Only this time, it’s for my happiness instead of hers.
What’s that saying – sometimes ya win and sometimes ya lose? Yeah, this has been a “lose” week in the parenting department.
Evelyn had too much dairy during our time in Pennsylvania, and I have been paying for that in ways big and small all week. She’s got a couple mouth sores. Her mood has been vacillating between horrible and sweet. And her sleep has been shitty. A painful reminder that Evelyn and dairy do not mix, and she has not yet “outgrown” this (if she ever will).
She’s had 8 pee accidents in the past 3 days. At school, at home and when we’re out and about. When I ask her what’s going on, she can’t give me any explanation. She still goes in the toilet a lot of the time, but she’s been having more accidents lately than she did when she first started using the toilet. I’m pissed. See what I did there?
I’m on Snapchat. You can find/follow me and my pointless postings – username is “lindsandevie”. I still don’t know what I’m doing over there. Chances are high I’ll delete it within a week. But I’m having fun, for now.
Every time Evelyn is in the bathtub, she insists I call her “Alyssa”. I have no idea what that’s about. I’m not sure she does, either.
When I nannied many moons ago, the little boy I looked after asked his mom to turn the sun off – it was so sweet that it’s stayed with me all these years — a testament to how powerful parents seem in the eyes of their littles. It was raining yesterday on our walk home from school and Evelyn turned to me and asked, “Please turn off the rain mommy…please?” Adorable.
Evelyn is learning her letters (recognition, writing them is a ways off, I think, besides the letter E), and she’s begun to rhyme intentionally. These steps give me a tiny indication of how it is going to feel when she learns to read. I’m so excited about it. I’m way more excited about this than I ever was about her crawling, walking, etc…
This afternoon I let Evelyn paint her entire body because it gave me 15 minutes of peace. And then it gave me another hour while she played in the tub. This may become a part of our daily routine.
Evelyn has started asking if she can go play at her school friend Soraya’s house. She said, “Soraya said she wants me to come play at her house. She told me to ask you and then come.” The selfish side of me isn’t looking forward to playdates in other people’s homes (I mean people who aren’t my friends). I’d rather listen to 100 nails screeching down a chalkboard at the same time than make small talk. Introverts + small talk = let’s just crawl under a rock and hide instead.
I had my parent-teacher meeting with one of Evelyn’s teachers last week. I don’t know why I always feel nervous butterflies in my stomach before each of these meetings, I am always overjoyed to hear what they have to say about Evelyn. Her favourite things are books, taking care of babies/playing house, and demonstrating empathy when her friends are upset and hurt. It wasn’t all perfect, however. Apparently some kids walk all over Henry at school – he is a very gentle, affable boy and some kids take advantage of his kind heart. I was dismayed to hear that Evelyn can sometimes be one of those children – bossing him and taking toys from him – because at home they take turns being the “leader”. She doesn’t treat other children that way, so I suspect this must be a “sibling” thing.
I’m spending my Saturday night knitting and watching The 100. The acting is horrible, but I can’t stop watching.
Years before I got pregnant with Evelyn, I dreamt I had a daughter. In that dream, my daughter told me her name was Evelyn, and she would come to me when I was ready. When I woke up, I wrote the dream down and never forgot about it. I had subsequent dreams in which my daughter was born, playing, growing, talking to me. Until she joined me physically, she was often in my dreams. I went through those years knowing I would one day have a daughter, and my dreams didn’t let me down.
And now…now I am dreaming of another daughter. Long after I tried to come to terms with being a “one and done” family, it feels like another soul is telling me I’m not actually “one and done”. She visits me in my dreams, just like Evelyn did. Is this prophetic like it was with Evelyn, or is it just my subconscious working through my complicated emotions around having a second child?
I’m in this big city with very little to no physical support, my family lives a 6 hour drive away. I cannot afford two children in daycare. Hell, I can barely afford having one child in daycare/preschool. I am having some thyroid issues (I don’t know what’s going on yet), I’m tired a lot. I hate pregnancy. Evelyn and I have a great life together.
But logistics aside, my heart doesn’t feel done. It never has, not even when I was trying to come to terms with having only one child. Is this just how it is for moms – you always feel like you could love one more?
If I were to try to have another child, I would wait and try to conceive at a time that would ensure the baby is born when Evelyn is in junior kindergarten (she starts in September 2017), so I wouldn’t have to pay for daycare for two children. Presumably at that point Evelyn would more independent and capable. During my maternity leave, my employer very generously pays most of my salary (along with government financial support like all parents on parental leave get here) for the full year, so I wouldn’t have to worry about finances on my year off.
Evelyn’s dad (my sperm donor) offered many moons ago to help me have another child; he thinks it’s important for Evelyn to have a sibling. He lives in Florida now, so he’d either have to ship his sperm or come up once/month until I got pregnant, the latter doesn’t really sound feasible. I could always go with another local donor, but I’d prefer Evelyn to have a full sibling and know that both of my kids have a trustworthy donor-dad who loves them.
Honestly, this feels crazy to even consider. It is crazy. But who ever regrets having another child? My two sisters are the greatest gifts my mom ever gave me (apart from her unconditional love). Evelyn would love to be a big sister. She is so desperate for siblings that she calls Henry and Bronwyn her brother and sister. It physically hurts me to imagine Evelyn going through life without a sibling, but maybe that’s just me projecting my own feelings onto her re: siblinghood.I worry about what happens to her when I’m old and sick and require care or for her to make medical decisions on my behalf. Or when I die. Or when I annoy the f!ck out of her and she doesn’t have a sibling to call/text/vent to. I don’t really want to leave Evelyn in this world without a sibling to turn to for the good, the bad, the difficult. I want her to have a lifelong friend. And I know a sibling is no guarantee of a lifelong friendship. But what if it is, and I’m cheating her out of that invaluable relationship?
If I end up doing this, I can 100% guarantee my life will be immeasurably hard at times. I will cry out of frustration/exhaustion. I will sleep even less. I will be stressed. My dreams of traveling the world with Evelyn would be stymied. Any alone time I get now would be gone. Do I really want to give up my beloved relaxation time? Of course, I’d have another child to love and treasure and parent. My daughter would have a sibling. Lots of other solo moms have more than one child, a handful of them with no physical support like me, and they share that it is hard, but I’ve not heard any of them mutter anything about regret. It’s possible, but it would feel mightily challenging so much of the time.
I have a lot to think about. Right now I’m 60/40 (60% don’t do it, 40% do). I like my life with Evelyn right now – do I have the energy or desire to shake that up?
I’ll wait and see what turns up re: my thyroid issues, that may nix this whole thing anyway. I’ll ask for guidance and signs from the Universe and really listen to my intuition on this decision. It never steers me wrong. Maybe this baby is just meant to stay in my dreams. Or maybe she’s meant to join our little family here earthside. Only time will tell.