Tonight, I feel like the Carrie Bradshaw of the Single Moms at Work set.
No cosmopolitans, no $400 Dolce & Gabbana pumps, no Mr. Big waiting under on 500-count Egyptian cotton sheets. Just me—alone—sitting cross-legged in my own place, tapping away on my laptop with my hair piled on the top of my head. (Carrie Bradshaw would not have had American Idol on the tube, but she had her constant cigarettes, so our bad habits balance out.)
As I do every Tuesday night for Work It, Mom!, I’m musing about this not-new-anymore life I’m living, but still can’t quite claim as mine. I’m staring at my laptop screen, trying to channel my inner Carrie.
As you guys know, Carrie Bradshaw proposed a question each week in the Big Apple, and did her sassy, excellent, honest best to come up with a well-researched answer, about sex, relationships and the single life.
But she got out of the house more than I do. She had the shoes for it.
I don’t know many single mamas. I especially don’t know many single mamas (or papas) here in rural New England, where I live. In fact, I kind of count on you gals (and guys) for that. You help me make sense of how this works—this being single, raising kids while trying to earn a living thing. You’re my Mirandas, my Samanthas, my Charlottes.
I think I need to find a few single friends nearby, too, for sanity’s sake.
I have to say, I’d rather be writing Carrie’s column tonight. Pre-marriage, pre-kids, I used to live and work in NYC. I never thought I’d miss it. And I didn’t, when we were first married and moved to New England. No white picket fence, but two little girls and a sweet 100-year-old house seemed like the beginning of a nice life. Who needed New York?
Now, when I watch reruns of Sex and the City (as I’ve been doing this week, ad nauseum), I find myself missing it—the restaurants, the “I’ll meet you at 13th and 2nd,” the thrill of belonging to a place with so much history, so much vibrance. My best friend from high school was there. Some of my college friends were there. My grad school friends were there. D was there. Friends and family were always visiting, it seemed.
Sure, we worked crappy jobs by day to do theatre by night, but there was a camaraderie to it all that I wasn’t able to recreate after I became a country mom.
Maybe camaraderie is what I’m looking for. Maybe a way to erase my past as a married mom is also what I’m looking for.
Samantha would argue the case for some fabulous, meaningless sex, too, but that’s never been my thing. I ascribe meaning to everything, and thus emerge unscathed from nothing. Better stick with American Idol.
Anyway, this week, a friend wrote to ask me this:
What are the upsides of being a single mom?
I wanted so badly to impress her. I wanted to immediately tick off ten terrific reasons that it’s great to be a single mom, earning a living on my own. I wracked my brain, thinking what an early-season Charlotte I must seem like so far in this column—all about marriage, and lost without it. Where’s my moxie?
I came up with three half-baked responses:
1) I can watch whatever crap TV I want. And I can let the kids watch too, without as much guilt. I guess that’s something.
2) I guess we can eat cereal for dinner more often, too, and I can make it a “fun” thing.
3) I get the opportunity to be a strong, savvy, amazing role model to my girls.
Except I could do that before the divorce, too. No one was stopping me. Ditto for the TV and the cereal, really.
So for now, I guess can’t really answer that question with dazzling brilliance.
Which, I suppose, is an honest answer, for me, for now. My honest answer is that I have no great answers, yet.
Maybe it’s just a sign that I’ve got seasons to go, just like Carrie did, before I get the kind of answers that are going to be satisfying to both you and to me.
In the meantime, I’d love to hear from YOU, my blessedly more evolved readers. What are the benefits of single parenthood, in your eyes?
Because, um, I’m a little stumped out here. And lost. And lonely.