Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Compromises and Adjustments

I have been thinking about what to post lately, because a lot has been going on the past few months. I don't know that much of it has been noteworthy, except that we're moving in a couple of weeks. So, I decided I'd write a little bit about compromises and adjustments. The kind that come with becoming a parent, and most specifically a single parent.

Making the decision to become a parent later in life, on one's own, is usually a very planned process. Though I made my decision pretty quickly and a bit out of nowhere, from the moment I did, I planned out just about every moment until it happened. And for a lot of single women who choose this path, they've been fairly or very successful financially - have had an active and ambitious career, own their own home, have a substantial savings already, etc. - and can afford having a child on their own with some security. I was not that woman. I've had a patchwork job life, and have never been financially savvy or secure. But I had health insurance and a job, and I did start this with some lofty goals of getting myself (and my shit) together before the baby happened. But honestly the baby happened quite a bit quicker than I'd anticipated AND if really honest, I also hadn't done the work to get on track. Once I started the process, any money I did have flew out the window for all the things that it takes to make, have, and raise a baby. Forward to today, and I'm an embarrassed, closeted debtor with little ability to see how to get on the right track in my current situation. Frankly, it scares the crap out of me. I fear poverty desperately, though having the privilege of supportive family around, am also somewhat enabled by the cushion they'd provide if I really needed it for us. But my reality is becoming somewhat stark and I've been faced with the need to move without the resources to really make it happen in this expensive city. So when offered the opportunity to move in with a friend, I decided it was the best thing to do.

My friend is amazing and generous, has the space for us to live there comfortably without crowding or stepping on one another, and has recently broken up with his partner, so probably could use the company. He's known my son since the day he was born, and they love each other like family. He's stable and kind and an all-around good guy. The move into his home affords me a somewhat reduced rent and honestly, a better suited dwelling for my toddler boy and me. It gives me another adult in the house to somewhat lessen that constant, underlying anxiety of shouldering every bit of every responsibility on my own, for while. And it gives me some space to get my shit actually together this time. It's transitional. It's a gift. And I think a gift for each of us.

I am very, very grateful. But I'm also sad. While I truly believe it takes a village, I also banked (funny choice of words right now...) on being able to do this thing mostly on my own. Balls to the wall, badass and ass-kicking. But having started this parenthood thing already in over my head, digging out of the avalanche that followed has been nearly impossible without help. Maybe I should have waited. Except I was already 40.5 years old when I made the decision. Waiting wasn't actually, necessarily, a viable option. And I believe my son is the perfect example of what is meant to be, will be.

So now, I have to scrape my way back by making some compromises to my living situation, my privacy and personal space, my own little life with my son, my finances, and just how we live our daily life. But I have learned quickly that I'll do anything I can to make a good life for my son. This is just not so much a sacrifice or hardship as it is an adjustment. And a gift.

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