Single Mom Out Loud

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

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The Next Generation of Entitled Kings

When we have a child we tend to be very aware of our surroundings. I personally, tend to focus on kids everywhere I go, and I tend to observe a lot of other parenting styles. Its involuntary. It just happens. Its impossible not to observe the way some parents are raising their children these days and its even more impossible not to judge some of them. And don’t even try to tell me that there is no right or wrong parenting. Because there is. And its pretty simple. It comes down to one basic concept: Don’t raise an asshole. Apparently this is very hard for a lot of people, because in the last 16 months I have noticed something quite depressing if you ask me: the raising of a generation of self centered kings.

Let’s go back to a few days ago, to a hotter than usual February Saturday when I decided to go kayaking with Kaio. When we got to the marina there were three mothers in their mid thirties with their babies. They were all waiting outside the marina restaurant in the patio/play area. When they saw that I was renting a kayak and putting Kaio’s life vest on the conversation went something like this:

“Oh wow is your baby going kayaking with you?”

“Yes. We do this all the time. Weather is perfect.”

“Aren’t you afraid he can fall over or something?”

“Not really. He is wearing a vest and its a marina. Its calm.”

“Won’t he get tired and hungry?”

“It’s inly a couple hours. He will be fine.”

“That’s crazy. I could never do that. If my prince ever hurts himself I will die. Plus he can get a sunburn or get hungry. My son is my world. My little king.”

At that point I just smiled. I figured it would take too much energy to explain to those women how they are actually damaging their little highness.

But I couldn’t help but ask myself: What are the chances that little king will grow up and find a woman that will idolize him and fulfill his every need the way his mommy does? And what are the chances that little king won’t grow up to be at the very least, narcissistic?

Women are constantly complaining about men’s selfishness but they refuse to change the way they raise their sons. They raise these boys thinking they are princes and mini kings whose existence is the reason the world goes round, and they complain that these same boys are failing to become caring and nurturing men.

And this is not only a boy problem. Girls are being raised just as bad; As shallow princesses of imaginary castles waiting for one of those kings to marry and spoil her. Just like mommy and daddy.

We are living in an era where kids are more spoiled than ever. They are more entitled than ever. And they are more out of control than ever. I always hear moms complaining that their bundle of joy are dictating their lives and how they don’t feel like themselves anymore. But none seem to understand that kids are just a reflection of them as parents.

Kids are being assholes, because parents are being enablers.

It would take me the whole eternity to write down all the times I have seen mothers idolizing their children. Treating them like royalty with total discard for the world around them. Raising them with the best toys, the most expensive brand clothes and teaching them that they are entitled to the best of the best. Always. No need to earn anything. And spoiling them is just one fraction of the problem in my opinion. The bigger issue lies on the lack of discipline and limit most of these kids have. They are calling the shots at home and in public. They choose what they want to eat, when they want to eat and where they want to eat. They kick, they yell, they misbehave and disrespect everyone. Parents have become the ones following orders from these under developed mini dictators; sometimes even walking on eggs so it doesn’t set off a shit storm of tantrums. It’s frightening that this is the next generation of men and women.

I am not saying we shouldn’t treat our children with love and tell them how important they are. Kaio is definitely the most important person in my life. No doubt. He is the reason I wake up every day and decide to be a better person than yesterday. No doubt either. But he is not by any means the epicenter of my life or the world. I am still me. I still have a career, friends, and school. Kaio is the most important part of my life, but he is NOT my life. And he needs to learn that. He needs to show respect towards me and others at all times. He is not entitled to the best of the best nor he is entitled to act however he pleases. Kaio is not King. Nor prince. He is just a boy. A beautiful boy extremely loved by his family. But nonetheless, he is just a boy. A flawed human being like every other, with no crown to carry and whose life does NOT trump the life of others. And that is one of the most noble and valuable thing he can accept about himself.



Don’t Be a D*#k. Vaccinate Your Kid.

In the midst of all the discussion surrounding the current measles outbreak in the US, I decided I might as well jump on the bandwagon and share my opinion on this matter.

I spend my entire pregnancy telling everyone that I wasn’t going to vaccinate my child. I mentioned the countless articles I read on how in most cases the risk of harm to a healthy infant from a vaccination far exceeds the risk of harm from the disease itself. I went on to talk about the articles floating around the internet which (wrongfully) links autism to vaccines and how I refused to risk my son’s health because everyone else refuses to question the pharmaceutical companies. The pages and pages I read seemed very convincing. The statistics made it look like it was far more likely for my son to be hurt by the side effects of the vaccines than to catch the various diseases against which the vaccines protected, after all we live in America where most of these diseases are not a threat. So I convinced myself that I was doing what was right for my child.

But I refused to take into consideration that the point of vaccines isn’t just to protect ourselves but our entire community.

As a liberal, you would think that I got this concept. I mean, I have always defended universal healthcare even if it meant I had to pay more taxes. I currently have no problem paying a higher insurance rate through ObamaCare so that families who can’t afford the full price of insurance on their own can have access to health care. I’m happy to do so for the sake of public health and the greater good. How is vaccinating my child any different? How did I manage, for so long, to think it was somehow different? I am core believer that those who are better off in life have a moral obligation with those who struggle. Yet, I couldn’t understand the moral obligation I had with those around me when it came to vaccinating my son.

It wasn’t until I talked to a doctor (and humanitarian) friend that I understood how selfish I was acting, and I managed to vaccinate my child as quickly as medically possible.

He told me that in the past low vaccination rates were due to low-income families lacking access to doctors and medical care. Now, low vaccination rates appear more often linked to well-off families opting out.  And if privileged parents keep opting out of vaccines, the likely outbreaks will end up hurting everyone, and especially those without adequate medial coverage. We also have to take into consideration those who can’t be vaccinated, like young babies and children who suffer from already health depleting diseases, such as cancer and aids. In fact, the current measles outbreak in the United States started at Disneyland, here in California. And because it’s a small world after all, there are over 100 confirmed cases of measles in 14 states and Mexico. The latest case is a baby at a Santa Monica Daycare. Thankfully, it’s not my son.

Being vaccinated is a civic and moral responsibility. By vaccinating our kids we are not only protecting them, but we are also protecting our community, especially vulnerable kids and low income kids who have no access to health care. We are protecting those who are in most need of protection. So please parents, don’t be a d*#. Vaccinate your kid.

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Single Motherhood And The Drama of Having a Gifted Child

I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while but I’ve been so busy with work and moving that I kept forgetting, so here it is.

I am constantly hearing from my mommy friends about how stressed they are because their kid are picky eaters, or are spoiled, or are mean to other kids. I have heard every complain one can hear about kids. And every time I hear mothers talk about how they feel their lives are over because they have a child or how they don’t feel like themselves anymore, I silently thank the universe I am not one of them.

People are constantly asking me how it is to be a single mother, and I think they are always surprised with my answer. To start, I don’t feel in ANY way that my life is over or that I am not myself anymore. Quite the contrary; I feel like my life is just starting and that I am finally starting to figure out who I really am. And that’s thanks to Kaio and his presence in my life.

Kaio is just all around awesome. I know most mothers are blindly in love with their bundle of joy that they fail to see what spoiled punks most of them really are. But I promise you I am not one of those mothers. I am harder on Kaio than I am on anyone else, but that’s because I want him to be the best version of himself. I love that kid to death and I refuse to become one of those mothers who enable their kids bad behavior. I congratulate him when he is great and I discipline him when he is bad. I am raising a man, not an entitled self absorbent being.

Every person who has met Kaio says the same thing about him and these people don’t even know each other. They all mention two things about Kaio: the way he stares at you as if he is looking into your soul and his soul itself. Now, I am not a christian or a spiritual being in any way so I can’t really tell you what they mean. As much as I try to read books on spirituality, meditate and sing kumbaya, this whole new age thing is not for me. I prefer world affairs and science. I like debating both to a fault. But everyone of my friends who do enjoy the whole soul enlightenment idea, they all say that Kaio has an “old soul”. That he is enlightened and evolved. Whatever that means.

What I do know is that he is bright. Extremely bright. Kaio said his first word (mamma) by 5 months, he started crawling at 6 months, and started walking at 9. His development hasn’t slowed down a bit. At 12 months he learned to ride his scooter and now at 15 months, he can tell the difference between all 10 numbers and primary colors. He has an ear for music applauded by one of my good friends who is a drummer, and he absolutely hates baby talk. In fact, he prefers adults over kids any time of the day. And this is just his professional resume.

He is so much more than that.

Kaio is sweet and extremely happy. He smiles more in one day than I probably have in my entire life and there are very few things in this world that will bother him. The kid is just all around chill. I have no idea where he got this personality from but I am glad he has it.

I am not trying to say he doesn’t have his moments. We all do. He will have grumpy days in which not even chocolate cookies will please him. He will have temper tantrums in which may look like the world is coming down upon humanity. And he will even have days in which he will spend hours just giving me the silent treatment, refusing to say a word no matter what the emergency. But those grumpy days, temper tantrums and silent treatments are rare for him. They are so rare I even enjoy them. As crazy as it may sound, its a breath of fresh air. Because honestly, sometimes the pressure of having a nearly perfect child gets to me. I am not even close to being the perfect mother, and the fear of potentially ruining him with my flaws is too much for me to handle sometimes. I call it “the drama of having a gifted child”. And I hope I don’t sound ungrateful by calling it that.

That’s Kaio. Sweet. Loving. Well centered. Mature. And extremely smart. He does in fact make my life so much greater and exciting. Yes, sometimes its hard and most of the times its also exhausting, but neither of those two things are bad necessarily. Every success story you hear involves hard work and sleep deprivation. No one has accomplished anything spectacular by drinking all night and sleeping in until noon. And that’s how I look at my situation as a single mother. I might not be solving cancer or fighting for world peace, but I am contributing to the world in a different way: by raising the best human I can possibly raise. And that’s a whole lot more than a lot of people can say.

No doubt things changed, but for the better. I still have a life and I am still myself, I just modified it a little to fit him in it. Instead of spending every weekend doing something crazy, I now take only one weekend out of the month to do that while Kaio stays with my mom. Either be Vegas or San Diego or whatever. Instead of going out every night, I now only go out 2-3 times a week after he is already asleep (to avoid taking his time with me away from him). Instead of spending every Sunday at a bar with friends, I spend it with him (and friends) exploring new museums or new hikes, which is much healthier anyways. In fact, Kaio is only 15 months and he has visited every museum in LA, including LACMA, MOCA, Getty, Natural History and the California Science Center. He has definitely enriched my life culturally, because I probably wouldn’t have gone so frequently if it wasn’t for him.

So this my new and improved life. The thrill of getting drunk every night was replaced with the joy of seeing him change. The excitement of being 100% free was replaced with the fulfillment of teaching him new things, cool tricks and the world in general. Children see the world through the eyes of their caregivers, so my hope is for Kaio to see the best the world has to offer. A friend’s father once told me: “Life offers a man no greater satisfaction than the raising of the next generation”. I think the same applies to women. Its fun. Its a gift. Its a privilege. And it’s inexplicably satisfying if you are brave enough to stick around and do it.


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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.