Thursday, December 3, 2009

Sorta Solo Pseudo Single Parenting and Covenants

I've blogged before about the realities and my reflections about raising teenage children who are part of two homes - their dad's and mine. And, add a little toddler to the mix, the child of my husband and myself, and we've got a tapestry of relationships and parenting styles that is pretty darn interesting.

I'm lucky - our blended family is darn functional. We've worked to keep the dysfunction in the adult realm, and tried to maintain healthy and happy biggies. We all live in the same neighborhood. We're walking distance from Harley (that's what we'll call my X on account of his obsession with Harley bikes). My  husband, Mr. Silly Pants, is a friend and very generous adult in the lives of the biggies. He's super - we've grown as a family ourselves since he came into our lives. The depths of this have deepened since we brought our beloved little one into our family. I love being a family of 6.

It's also true that I do a lot of parenting in a pseudo solo space. I say that because I feel like a lot of the parenting I do with the biggies I do in my own space. This is by choice - I'm their mom. I don't want Silly Pants to parent the biggies and they certainly don't want him to parent them. Plus, my biggies have a dad. So, I parent the biggies pretty much on my own. Harley and I cooperate on critical items; common curfew, frequent dialogue about big items (college expenses, sports teams), and we have united fronts on big issue topics (drinking, drugs, dating). Communication lines are open, but most of the time I do my parenting in a more, rather than less, solo way. My opinion is that I do the bulk of the "parenting" in the context of my divorce.

My 'opportunities' to parent are different with each child. I think that's the way it is with children. This isn't a one size fits all family. For instance, Twinkletoes, who is now 19  live(d) here full time, at least up until she started college. For good reasons, about 5 years ago she stopped doing shared placement and stayed here full time. Thus, this was an obvious solo parenting experience. Living with me full time was the right decision for her. She's a super independent, focused, and self-disciplined young woman - so not much parenting required. Even though this is the case, presence has always been important with Twinkletoes. She's grown into an amazing young woman in my presence. Presence: that's the covenant of being a parent, in my opinion (and experience). Songbird is 21 now. She's a joyful, happy, gentle spirit and old soul. Parenting her has been about listening and being open and ready to receive her wisdom and insight. While my parenting didn't involve too many interventions, the experience with her has been close and emotionally lively. Listening: another one of the covenants of parenting.

Waffles brings up the biggie rear. I've got  a fresh parenting story about Waffles. He's a great kid. He's my first boy. For a long time I thought he'd be my only boy. I've always called him my pudding. He is such a free spirit with such a laugh and a sense of fun and silly. I'm crazy about this boy.  I'm more 'in' the parenting space with Waffles. And, although he is 17, he's still under the parental radar on lots of issues. Case in point. Today was the day we decided to get him a new snowboard. He had picked out a board - Rome Artifact. It was the board he wanted. He liked the quality, he liked the brand, the price was great at his board shop. The graphics/content didn't matter to him. In fact, in lots of ways he didn't "see" it, and at least not the way I did. It mattered to me. I said no to this board. He didn't flinch (much). So, one of the covenants of parenting is saying "no." There was no backup for this parenting moment. There was no feedback. Just my boy and me - working it out.

It's what my sorta solo pseudo single parenting gig looks like. It's all good.


kat said...

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Kat said...

I'm just curious, being a parent of two girls myself, what were the differences in how you approached dating with girls vs. boys? I mean you obviously told them different things but was it easier to handle the topic of dating with boys v. girls?