Tag Archives: single mom

Don’t Start Out With “I’m Not Looking to Date”

I recently told someone, before meeting in person for the first time, that I’m not looking to date.

That’s half true and half bullshit, but I am in super-shy/protective mode right now.

I cannot stand the Tinder/Match/Bumble/OKCupid kind of dating anymore, in which (as a woman) you’re bombarded with messages and flattery and if you move to the chat stage, you might get a dick-pic or invitation to come to his condo for your first date. (Or, “date”?)

No thanks.

Or you might meet for drinks or something, both resigned to getting through it, hoping for a spark, and both having more dates with others on your calendars because there are always Oh So Many Possibilities.

Yes, I’d very much like to be in a relationship again. I’ve had two pretty good relationship-type things (how do you define a relationship?) since my marriage ended — and then something brief but really shitty. I wouldn’t call it a “relationship.” I’d call it — well, doesn’t matter. It was short and shitty and made me feel like crap.

It didn’t help that I was at a low point in my life (depression flare-up) and therefore not as strong as usual.

The first person I’d met “organically” (I think that’s the term for it, when you meet through friends but not because they set you up, you just happen to be on the same camping trip or something). It lasted about a year, a little more. It was so much fun, so many adventures. I felt like I was being reintroduced to the world again — skiing and weekend trips and concerts and camping and spontaneity. We’re still close. The second person, I met on a dating app. There were strong feelings but it had to end, but we’re still occasionally in contact.

The shitty person, I won’t give details. Reminder: I was at a low point. So my confidence was low, and instead of reacting like I normally would and walking away with some well-placed retorts, I put up with shittiness. I don’t otherwise know why I’d put up with that. It didn’t last long, thankfully.

But I now approach the world with “I don’t want to date,” which isn’t actually true. I just don’t currently trust my sense of, “Is this reciprocal?”

So then I meet this person — friend of a friend, a situation much more appealing and promising than an online thing — and whoa. It was an interesting and funny and at times intense hour over lunch. For me, at least.

But probably starting out with “I’m not looking to date” before we even met was stupid. And my schedule for having any kind of a dating life isn’t great (because at this point I’m mostly happy to mountain bike with my people any weeknight I’m free, plus weekends, and I have been so out of the social loop for so long that I don’t know what normal people do on weekends if they’re not weeding and cleaning their basements and watching Netflix, alone).

So. I tried to express enthusiasm post-lunch, via text. But, you know, I’m not everyone’s cup of tea.

I’m still starkly single. And not sure what, if anything to do about it. Online dating — while I’ve met some great people, including a couple of Match people I am still lightly connected to nearly 15 years later — can be fine, but for me right now, it’s not what I want. And I don’t want to rummage through all the possible shared interests/schedules/etc. in meeting someone. And it seems that single parents meeting other single parents leads to maybe one night per week both people are available, so the ROI seems like it has to be high for both (not to get gross about it, but isn’t that what it comes down to, when your spare time is limited?).

I don’t know if I will ever find my Person. But I want to. I really, really want to. I miss closeness and intimacy. I miss connecting and sharing my day and hearing about someone else’s day, and having someone to care about, and having someone to care about me. I miss sex. I miss cuddling.

And…I want someone to want all that with me.



Cleaning Out My Basement

I spent much of today cleaning out my basement in anticipation of my upcoming move.

I don’t know yet where I’m moving to. I have 2 weeks left and I’m not yet panicking, not entirely, though I admit to waking at 3 a.m. with rising anxiety and All the Thoughts, wondering if I should get online and scroll through Zillow, Trulia, Craigslist yet again…and again…

So sleeping sucks these days. Yes it does.

But spending the day in the basement was great. Sure, it was awesome to see all the beach and lake posts from everyone else on Facebook — so glad you’re all having fun — but dammit, my basement was not sweltering!

But man, there was a lot to go through. I’m talking 10 years of marriage plus a total of 6-7 years of preschool art. I can’t even tally how many years at this point. It’s a lot of fingerpainting and scribbles and “Um, what did you have in mind when you drew this?” sort of stuff.

Boxes of it. Boxes upon boxes of it. Apparently last time we moved, two-and-a-half years ago, we just boxed and moved it all. And it seems that every time we’ve had company since then, we’ve boxed it all up and thrown it in the basement.

I went through a LOT of preschool art today. Why is it my job to go through this and decide what stays, what goes?

And letters. I was a frequent penpal with my best friend from high school. I have a lot of letters from a prolific college girlfriend. My father used to write a lot, yellow legal sheets starting with the affectionate address of my Icelandic name. I have boxes of letters. I save all the letters.

I found a photo of my father running his first marathon in 1998, at age 54, soon after he took up running after years of back problems. He’s my inspiration. I will scan that and send it to him. He’s 83 now and still really amazing. You should meet him.

I came across the first birthday card my older son, then age 3, wrote to his brother, then age 1. It begins, “Dear Stinkypants, How can we love you?” and goes from there, and it is so charming and endearing and I cannot wait to read it to them when they come home to me tomorrow.

I posted a lot of stuff to our town’s “Everything is Free” list, which is a hell of a lot easier than Freecycle. One woman came to pick up some cookbooks I’d left for her on the porch and noticed a cabinet I’d put on the curb.

So the cabinet. I found it on Freecycle two years ago and picked it up and it was perfect for next to our washer to hold detergent bottles. Sure, with a couple of knobs it would have been more useful, but it was fine as it was. Turns out I’d picked it up from fellow blogger Red Shutters. 14012269_10209656483825113_302781995_n
The woman who picked it up from me messaged me to say she’d done so and sent me a pic of it with knobs and a candle on top, on her porch. It looks beautiful. I told her where I’d found it and sent her to the Red Shutters blog. Doesn’t the cabinet look great?

So I’ve gotten rid of enormous piles of recycling and some trash. I was merciless. And sentimental. I know the preschool art can’t stay with us forever, but there’s no reason to toss it all just yet, right?

Now all I need to do is find an apartment. And get some sleep.



The Kids Are Here!

Today I picked up from camp two filthy children, one of whom had dirt on his eyelids. Due to the weather (I think), they didn’t go swimming as usual but instead had spent their day on a few different playgrounds.

They were tired and happy and so dirty.

Our home wasn’t exactly a paragon of cleanliness, either, I must confess. When they’re here, I focus on them (and meals, and packing for camp, and work, and laundry), and when they’re not here, I focus on work, and feeding myself, and trying to get some workouts in, and running some errands.

Also seeing apartments. I have about 6 weeks to find a new place (and that’s being very generous). I’ve checked all over all the places one would look for an apartment. I’ve reached out to several rental agents. I’ve posted to all my networks. I called the “very reassuring” realtor recommended by my neighbors, who — after hearing my details: 2 kids, 1 cat, X budget — clucked, “Oh, honey.”

The situation isn’t dire yet. We’ll be OK.

Anyway, today I had a (painfully, cursedly, brutally early) trail run, work, a quick noontime hour-long yoga class (I have the boys this weekend, meaning no real workouts all weekend, so I try to get them in when I can), more work, a phone interview for an extra freelance gig (got it!!), and a ton of apartment hunting.

I had promised to pick up the kids from camp a little early. So I had to choose between cleaning and getting groceries. Dragging two kids who just want to be home playing, at the home they haven’t been in for a few days, to the grocery store seemed unnecessary. So the cleaning could wait. I’d hit the store before I picked them up.

And lo and behold, of course they went right outside to play, which allowed me to tidy and clean and sweep and mop (a little). I made their beds with fresh sheets. I’d already put away their clean, folded laundry (normally that’s their job, but there were a lot of clothes to put away and it was their first day back in a few days, so I took care of it).

Often on Saturdays, when they’re here, we all work on cleaning together, but this was their first week of full-day camp, so I’m trying to keep it easy on them. We won’t spend the morning vacuuming and tidying and sweeping. They still had to empty their lunchboxes when they got home, of course (and they’ll empty the dishwasher this weekend, if timing works out).

And then I insisted on showers before dinner. I scrubbed the younger one (older one doesn’t need me). His knees never came clean. That’s all right.

Clean boys, clean beds, clean sleep. They’re home with me again, and when they’re not in their own world of imaginative play, they want to cuddle with me. I’m sure I’ll wake up to find both in my bed.

It’s how we start Saturdays, every other week. All together, snuggled. I love it.


Fitness at Home: Work Out in Your Living Room

I care about fitness. I care about having a functional, strong, healthy body. Also, I need to move and be active and challenge myself. And running for hours or doing a hard workout or spending 60 or 75 minutes doing yoga is fun for me. I’m really connected to my body, and often I stay centered through fitness. And, yes, the endorphins sure help a lot!

When the Kids Are at Their Dad’s

On my days without the kids, I go to the gym before work or go for a run or do a boot camp-style workout with a friend. Or, okay, sometimes I wake up early and then just lie in bed reading The New York Times on my phone. That’s nice, too. If it’s a weekend, I’ll meet my trail group for a run in the woods or go to yoga. Or, you know, lie in bed reading on my phone.

Single-Parenting Workouts

When the kids are here, however, I obviously can’t go for a run, and by the time I drop them off at school and get downtown there’s no time to get to the gym. My boot camp friend could come over and work out with me in my yard at dawn, but sometimes one (or both) of the kids gets up  and climbs into bed with me at quarter past it’s-anyone’s-guess. And I fear that if I’m not in the apartment but instead out in the yard, the child would search everywhere for me but not think to look in the yard (because when you’re half-asleep and needing Mommy, why would you check the backyard, especially if it’s barely light out??).

I’m just now getting to the point where 1) my hip is recovered enough that I’m ready to return to regular workouts and 2) I’m finally ready to get up early and work out on the days the kids are here. I’m tired lately, people. And that’s OK. Lying in bed reading before the day starts is a luxury.


This week, there was one day I got up early, ready to rock, except there was nothing to rock. I couldn’t leave the apartment. And I’m terrible about working out on my own. I know what to do. I could easily do an hour or more of yoga or circuit training or a boot camp-style workout or whatever. But alone — unless it’s running (and even then I like company!) — I’m not terribly motivated.

There. I’ve said it. I’m a very unmotivated fitness freak. I’m an introverted extrovert athlete. I’m a hermit until it comes to working out, which I can do for hours on end as long as I’m with other people.


I realized it was early and I should make good use of the time before the kids got up. Full disclosure: Ben had climbed into bed with me at 4:30 a.m., waking me at exactly the point in my sleep cycle at which I cannot go back to sleep, and then his small body somehow took up most of my bed. I had somehow nearly dozed off again when he started laughing in his dreams. I love that sound. Max used to laugh in his sleep all the time (maybe he still does). To hear Ben laugh in his sleep was delightful, if not terribly restful. It was, by then, nearly 5 a.m., and I gave up.


Anyway, there was a scones recipe I’d been wanting to try (more on that later).

Scones in the oven, I still had an hour before the kids would get up I had to get the kids up for school. I was so antsy to move.

chocolate chip scones with whole wheat flour; sort of a fitness treat?

Not necessarily your typical fitness treat, but they’re really good whole wheat chocolate chip scones.

Fitness Online

I’d retained enough of what I’d seen C and the kids do with the TV that I knew there was some kind of yoga or fitness channel somewhere. Long story short (wow, I’m getting more and more like my father every year — love you, Dad!), I found it is possible — very possible — to get in a good workout in your living room even if you’re an unmotivated/socially-motivated fitness slug like me.

I found my workouts on the Gaia channel (don’t ask me, maybe it’s a ROKU thing? I don’t really know how to work our TV except to use that device).

First workout: Kate Kendall, Flow Barre: Spicy Buns, 19:27. Kate Kendall is a lovely person who does these yoga/barre workout videos. You usually need a mat and a chair, and she’s filmed in some lovely location (a garden in Thailand? I have no idea). She’s approachable, friendly, knows when it burns, and will get you to the burn point in this nearly 20-minute workout before you’ve quite realized you’re going there. Go, Kate. She has a few other videos on the Gaia channel; I’ve done one other before “Spicy Buns” which is, as its name implies, a hip/glute workout.

Second workout: Rebekah Sturkie, The FIRM: Get Chisel’d: Kick It Into Gear, 14:29. Rebekah Sturkie is all business as she took me through a cardio/kickboxing routine. Mostly I could keep up (I’m terrible with learning new steps). She kept it simple, named the steps, and warned in ample time if a new step was coming up. She was relatively easy to follow, and the sequence got progressively more active (side kicks, knee-up, punches, front kicks). It definitely got my heart rate up and a sweat going. I would love an hour of that workout, but the almost 15 minutes was all the time I had left before I had to jump into the shower and then wake the kids. It was a really good and efficient workout, considering it was only 15 minutes.

So there you go. There are plenty of online/TV resources if you’re stuck at home and want to work out. I know Rebekah Sturkie is on YouTube if you don’t have Gaia.

And dangit, now I have no excuses, right? These people are just so personable that working out alone doesn’t feel so…alone.

Three cheers for learning how to use the remotes!

[This is not any kind of promotional post. I’m just trying to share what I found one morning when I wanted to work out at home. I’m sure there’s lots more out there, and I’ll share it as I come across it. Enjoy!]