Look To the Western Sky

A blog about single life as a parent & the dreams of a writer by Margo L. Dill

Tag: single parent

Put the Parenting Magazines Down and Step Away Carefully

One day, my friend Julie said, “Have you seen the latest issue of (Insert some wonderful parenting magazine here) and their suggestions for back-to-school lunches?”

The funny thing is I had seen that article–I think it must have been a free issue sent to many houses, and I remember thinking: Do people really make these types of entrees for their child’s school lunch? Coconut and raisin pita roll up?  Almond butter and banana sandwich on 12-grain bread? Homemade minestrone soup? And do children eat these dishes? Where have I gone wrong?

Julie brought me back to reality. “My children basically eat cheese and crackers. Or their potato chips.”

Yes, now you are speaking my language.

I’m not sure who writes parenting magazine articles. Their bios state they are a parent of 12 or triplets, or they have adopted children from several different countries around the world, but I’m not sure if I believe them. Or maybe their bios are the only true part of the entire page, because really, who lives their lives like the parents in parenting magazines?

Let’s take a couple of headlines for example:

25 Ways to Make the Holidays Special 

First, no headline of any parenting magazine should ever have more than 5 tips for anything, and even 5 is semi-overwhelming. Do you really need to read a magazine article about how to make the holidays special? Aren’t they special all on their own? Isn’t it magical as a kid to think of the big guy in a red suit coming down the chimney, eating your homemade chocolate chip cookies and drinking your milk, and leaving you presents that you asked for? It’s also special that your entire family gets together and eats a meal, and maybe even plays a game instead of watching Netflix. Driving around and looking at Christmas lights or watching a Christmas movie snuggled under a blanket is special! Trust me. You don’t need a magazine article to tell you how to make this magical time of the year magical. You can figure this out all on  your own with the same things your mom did for you BEFORE there were articles like this at your fingertips or pinned to your Pinterest board.

Is Your Child Getting Enough Sleep?

Please don’t read an article like this. If you are clicking on this article to see if your child is getting enough sleep, then the answer is probably that your child is not getting enough sleep. Enough said.

How to Play with Your Child

I am all for articles that might introduce new games or even craft ideas (if they are easy) for you and your child. But do you really need an article that tells you HOW to play with your child at an age-appropriate level? No, you really don’t. It will just stress you out. You will be ridden with anxiety after reading this article and wonder constantly if you are playing with your child correctly and stimulating him or her enough to become smart enough to get into the best preschool. And don’t worry, there are articles galore (10 Ways to Tell if Your Preschool is On the Cutting Edge) to help you stress out about this, too.

SO what should you read?

I really feel like Mommy blogs, such as The Tribe Magazine  or Scary Mommy , are much more realistic and helpful. Some of you may be shaking your head. But just like Pinterest and sometimes the Facebook fantasy world we all portray are too much for me, I can’t believe that people live their everyday lives like these writers for parenting magazines portray. I can’t believe that people need articles telling them 12 ways to diaper their child or 13 toys that help your baby reach super intelligence.

So please, do yourself a favor (and the rest of us, too). Step slowly away from the parenting magazines and love your child because you are the only one who knows how to do that the best.

 

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Every Time She Leaves

_DSC0354I recently heard someone say that when you become a parent, a little piece of your heart is now living outside your body. Isn’t that the truth? Every time, my daughter leaves to go with her dad, it makes me, well, sick to my stomach. I know she has fun. I know she loves her daddy. I know she misses him. But the transition is tough–she often says things like, “I don’t want to be without you, Mommy.” She’s not choosing me over him; she’s just stating how much it sucks in her little Kindergarten world that she cannot be with her mommy when she wants to.

And that does suck.

I was the one who asked for the divorce. I’m not going to get into why. It’s not even important to anyone but the two of us. But I will tell you that although I feel like I made the only decision I could after many struggles, I still doubt being away from my daughter, like I have to be, because I chose to divorce her dad. It is the hardest thing for me–still–and we have been separated since May 2015.

I cope by trying to do things I could not do while she is with me. I try to sleep more. I try to get our house organized. I try to see my friends. I try to plan fun things to do when she comes back. I try to remember that she needs me to set boundaries and discipline her when we are together, even though I want to make every moment precious.

I’m a lucky mom. I have a healthy, vibrant, strong-willed, beautiful little girl, and I have to trust that I have made the best decisions I could make for her, regardless of what anyone else thinks. And when I miss her–I am lucky that I can call her or Skype with her, and that we will be together again soon.

It’s not easy to stay positive. But that’s how I make it through…every time she leaves.

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