Single Mom Out Loud

The joys (and desperation) of raising a boy without a man


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Tea Anyone?

I have a friend visiting from Brasil and staying with Kaio and I,  and like every good host I asked him to watch my son for a few minutes so I could run an errand. Going to the grocery store alone is such a treat when we have a child. We can wander around the isles like a free 21 year old college student, without having to worry about a 30 pound-borderline-being, who is a ticking bombing waiting to explode in front of everyone.

I usually tell people everything that can go wrong when I leave them with my very creative child, but I figured I wasn’t going far away therefore no extensive instructions were necessary. My little expedition didn’t take longer than 30 minutes and when I got back to the house I saw my friend on his computer in the living room while Kaio was out of sight. I immediately asked where he was and how he behaved, hoping that he wouldn’t tell me that he “accidentally” drowned my child in the bathtub after minutes of torturous crying.

Surprisingly, he told me Kaio was great. And that he was making tea for him. Hmmmm. He must have liked the toy tea set I got him from ikea.

Within seconds Kaio walks into the living room, tea cup (and water) in his hands indeed. My friend drinks it and says:

– “Thank you Kaio. It’s so good. But that’s enough. I am full.”

– “How many of those did you drink?” (Me a little confused)

– “I don’t know. Like 6 or 7.”

– “Was it good?”

– “it’s just water. It was fine.”  My innocent friend smiles while giving Kaio a very loving hug.

I couldn’t help but ask him: “Did it ever cross your mind that the only place he can reach water is the toilet?”

Given his panicking facial expression, no it didn’t.

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22 Things Single Mothers Should Teach Their Sons

Being a single mother is a tough job. You constantly go back and forth between acting like a mom and dad. Playing two roles is an even harder task when it involves a boy. We are not men so it’s hard to teach our boys how to be one. Many of us wonder which important lessons we should be focusing on, and which ones we should let them learn on their own. Below are 22 things I think every single mother of boys should teach their sons.

1. To be a kind
This is the second most important lesson you can teach your son. Its not your job to toughen him up. That’s the world’s job and I promise, it will do a good job at it. Teach him to be kind. Kind to people. Kind to animals. Kind to himself. And kind to you. But most importantly teach him to be kind to those weaker than him. Kindness is a strong man’s virtue.
2. To always be a gentleman
In today’s world sometimes acting like a gentleman can be looked upon as sexist. Its not. Start by teaching him to open the car door for you. To hold the elevator. To carry the groceries. Teach him to pick up the check if he can afford it. To buy flowers. To walk a girl on the inside of the street. To give her his coat if she is cold. To get the car while she waits if she is in heals. Being a gentleman NEVER goes out of style.
3. To be selective with his sexual partners
This is probably the hardest lesson to teach a boy these days. Boys are expected to have as much sex and with as many women as they can. Teach your son to be selective. To value his body and his time.
4. To play a sport
Every boy needs to play sports. They need to burn off that energy and they need to learn to compete. Make him pick a sport he enjoys and teach him to focus and better himself.
5. Discipline and self accountability
Teach him discipline and self accountability. To wake up on time. Go to bed on time. Turn his homework on time. Don’t enable his bad behaviors. Don’t let him get away when he does something wrong. Teach him that there are consequences to his actions. Punish him when necessary. There is a difference between raising a man and raising a delinquent.
6. How to throw a punch
Being gentle is a virtue but knowing to defend yourself and others around you is an even better quality. Teach him that there are only three circumstances in life in which he can and SHOULD throw a punch: To defend himself. To defend his lady. And to defend those being physically attacked by bullies, racists and homophobes.
7. To be none of the above
Teach your son from an early age that bullying, homophobia and racism is unacceptable and he will grow up believing it. There is nothing more manly than a man who defends those oppressed by society.
8. When to walk way
As important as it is for him to learn to defend himself, its also important he learns when to walk away from an argument or situation. Either be with you, his wife, his boss or a stranger. Knowing the difference between standing up and walking away is wisdom.
9. How to tie a tie and tie a knot
Both are essential skills. And while you are at it, also teach him to iron his shirts.
10. How to change a tire
If you don’t know how find a friend who does. Teach your son the importance of knowing how to change a tire. One day it might go flat when he is driving that special girl home.
11. How to cook
Cooking is an art. Teach him to be an artist and to never depend on others for his meals.
12. To apologize
He can’t always be right and he needs to learn to apologize when he is wrong. The world is not a kind place to those who are arrogant enough to think they don’t make mistakes.
13. How to drive a stick
Every man needs to learn to drive a stick. Maybe he will always buy automatic cars or maybe he will be into manuals. Either way, teach him to drive both. For both emergencies and self pride.
14. To lose with dignity and win with humility
Sometimes he will win and other times he will lose. Teach him to lose with dignity. Without excuses. Without pity. And to win with humility. No cheating. No making fun of those who lost.
15. To be strong
Its okay to cry. Its okay to feel pain. But every boy needs to learn how to be strong from early age. Teach him to be tough and brave. Teach him to pull his own bandages. To fall and get up without crying. Pain is weakness leaving the body so teach him to endure physical pain with strength. And be there for him when emotional pain brings him to his knees.
16. To drink responsibly
Almost every person drinks alcohol. When he is old enough, teach him the art of alcohol as well as the dangers of it. If you teach him this, the police won’t have to.
17. To never hit a woman
Violence is never okay. A woman should never hit a man and a man should never hit a woman. But teach your son that if he is ever hit by a woman it’s NEVER okay to hit back. Teach him to walk away. Teach him to restrain her kindly. But teach him that he is never allowed to hit her. He is a man. And being a man comes with advantages as well as responsibilities. Never hitting a lady is one of those responsibilities. There is no exception to this rule.
18. To tip
It’s important to learn to appreciate the service others provide us. Teach your son to always tip. And to tip generously. If he can’t afford to tip he shouldn’t be going out.
19. To choose his shoes wisely
Nothing says more about a man than the shoes he wears.
20. How to fix things
Every man should know how to fix things around the house. Teach him how to change the light bulb, to hang frames, to put together furniture, to unclog the drain. Once he learns how to do them, let him do it for you.
21. To dress with class
Teach him to coordinate pants, shirts, jackets, ties, belts, socks, etc., Its important to let him create his own fashion and be his own person but it’s just as important to teach him to dress appropriately to the occasion.
22. To be an exceptional father
This is the most important lesson you can ever teach your son as a single mother. Maybe your son has a good relationship with his father or maybe he has never met him. Either way, teach your son to be an exceptional father. Teach him the responsibilities of fatherhood and that its never EVER okay to abandon his children. The value of a man is not measured by his muscles or paycheck. Its measured by how he cares for his children. Make sure he learns this.

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First Things First

I spent the whole night thinking about this entry. I kept going back and forth in my mind on which topic I should write about for my first bog entry. I wanted something funny. I wanted something uplifting and somewhat cool. But something kept telling me to write something real. I could see sit here and write about a great time I had in Colorado last week, the time I had my vibrator confiscated by TSA for being a potential weapon (true story), or I could even write about my friend’s tampax birth (you heard that right and I promise this story will be coming soon). But I realized none of these funny stories would actually tell the story of my life and how I got here in the first place. I had to start from the beginning.

For starters, I never dreamed of being a single mom. As feminist as I am, I am a firm believer that children will always do better in a two-parent home and that boys need a daily father not a distant relative to visit every few months. I never dreamed of raising a child on my own, let alone a boy. And I definitely never dreamed that if I had to, I would actually be good at it. When you spend years of your life being told negative things about yourself, you start to believe it. For years I thought I would never succeed in a career, that I would never be able to hold a job or friends or a relationship and that I would “fuck my son up”. For years I believed I was crazy, inadequate and unlovable and therefore I was doomed to be a bad mother too. Turns out I am none of those things. I can succeed in my career (very well for that matter), I have tons of friends (many whom I have known for more than 10 years) and my son is a happy and healthy child. Those who know Kaio, know how absolutely brilliant and beyond his age he is. I don’t mean to sound cocky, but I do like taking partial credit for the amazing child he is.

Kaio’s dad or, as I like to call him, Mr. Big, is not around. He hasn’t been around from the moment I told him I was pregnant. You might be asking why I am referring to him as Mr. Big and it’s not because he is some wealthy big shot like Sex and the city’s Mr Big. That couldn’t be farther from reality actually. But because at some point he was a big love and because he is just all around big; like my son. Big hands, big feet, big dreams and an even bigger ego. Unfortunately.

Mr. Big and I dated on and off for 3 years before I got pregnant. Things were never perfect. Quite the opposite. It was chaotic. But always passionate. Some people say that we are so alike that that’s why we never worked out. In Brazil we say: Two biters don’t kiss. And its true. But I think the reasons that ultimately made me a single mother are lot more complicated than a Brazilian saying can explain. I don’t want to get into details of our relationship or how he ended up completely bailing on my child because that’s not what this blog is about. I am simply here to share my story, my struggles and the laughs that is my new life as a single mom. I know I am not the only single mother out there so I am sure many can relate. Its scary, its challenging but it’s also so rewarding and fun. People constantly ask me if I could go back in time if I would have an abortion and my answer is always the same: No Fucking way. Kaio is the most amazing human I have met and its kind of cool that I made him. He makes my days a lot more fun. I constantly catch myself laughing when I see him do something dumb like trying to put his left shoe on his right feet or trying to fit under the couch, and getting angry because he can’t. And there is nothing more soothing than drinking a glass of wine in the end of the day, watching some TV while hearing his giggles in the background. I swear his giggles heal.

So lately I came to the conclusion that although it wasn’t something I dreamed of, my new life as a single mom is quite interesting. There are diapers, laughs, poop eating, horrible dates, great commitment free sex, lots of temper tantrums and a lot more wine. Kaio came to teach me that maybe our future is something that happens when we steer off the course we had drawn for ourselves.