I’m No Carol Brady

But my hair is beginning to resemble hers.

No, seriously, today marks the beginning of a month-long visit by my son. I couldn’t be happier. Amazing how it feels like he hasn’t even been away.

I suppose I should bring my readers up to speed, huh? Okay.

A year and a half ago, I was a staff nurse in Michigan. Due to economic conditions, the stars being misaligned or some other cosmic bullshit, I found my full-time job being slashed to practically per diem. As the low person on the seniority pile, when census in our unit was down, per union contract, I was the one that was forced to stay home.

You can see how this affected my bottom line.

I investigated travel nursing options with the blessing of both my son and my ex-husband who at the time, realized that the economy in Michigan was getting no better, and in an effort to make more money, this was a viable alternative.

Well, that and it really, really aligned with the gypsy traveler in me.

I found my first assignment up in Santa Rosa, CA at a small local hospital in their Med/Surg Tele unit. Weeks passed, and with the economy getting no better in Michigan, I found myself entertaining the possibility of permanent positions here in California. Was it a difficult decision? Sure. I knew it would keep me from my son, yet I knew that he was thriving back in Michigan and being well cared-for by my ex and my mom and her husband. Tyler was certainly not suffering from a lack of love.

I should interject at this moment to address the oft-answered question: “Wow. Don’t you MISS your son?”

Um, yeah, dumb ass, I do. But, I also want my son to see a strong woman who is willing to travel miles for a good job to provide financial stability for him. Is it a trade-off? Sure. I had to take my chances that my son wouldn’t think that his mother abandoned him in search of a job. it was a chance I was willing to take. I will also admit, I had never been the type of mom that couldn’t leave her son while on vacation, for a weekend, etc. If this makes the mother in you cringe, I make zero apologies. There are all different types of mothers, and I don’t fall into the category of “helicopter mom”. If you do, fine, but moms come in all shapes, sizes, and philosophies. Yeah, I missed my son, but I didn’t cry every day or fail to motivate myself to go to work and do my job. Some may even say I’m not the most “maternal” person they have ever met. I don’t take offense to that. I embrace that. I am the person I was meant to be. I’ll be the first to admit that you’ll never find me volunteering for the PTO, organizing a school dance or militantly shoving those fucking fundraiser brochures under peoples’ noses. I did volunteer in Tyler’s classroom when he was in early elementary school. I’ll also be honest and say that while I did it to be with Tyler, a big part of me did it to get a cheap laugh at the interaction of children with each other. Priceless stuff. Girls cliques starting in first grade, boys bulldozing each other as they clean up toys, flagrant nose-picking and non-filtered conversations with kids. All good shit. Yeah, I’m a fan of ALL that.

When I was offered a permanent position here in California, I leapt at the chance. The money tripled what I was making in Michigan, the benefits were free and comprehensive and the fringe benefits were phenomenal. I realized that this meant PERMANENT. As in, I’ll be living here and not traveling. Yep. I’ll take it.

Meanwhile, I had created a home here with my now fiance, so things were beginning to settle down somewhat. Last year, we traveled cross-country back to Michigan for my fiance and my son to meet for the very first time. To say it went well was an understatement. We had a fantastic time, (no thanks to my ex-husband who tried every petty trick in the book to derail it) and we came back to California with a renewed sense of purpose to have Tyler visit more often.

Fast forward to this past April. My mom and Tyler came out to California for the first time. Again, to say it went well would be understatement of the century. I could read it in their faces and see it in their smiles. Yeah. California was a huge hit.

Another fast-forward to today: my 12-year old son flew across the country to come and spend the month with me and my fiance. We have many trips planned and a lot of downtime planned. I think it’s important for my son to see us in both environments. I think it’s important to immerse my son in what we call “daily life”. I work. My fiance works. We maintain a household. I want him to see two hard-working people in addition to all the fun we will have. Who knows. There may come a day when Tyler will choose to live here in California. I’m painting him a realistic picture.

The biggest point of this post is to tell those moms out there who may not feel the most maternal, that IT’S OKAY. Nobody said we had to be like Carol Brady or Michelle Duggar (holy shit, thank goodness) or even the Octomom. Make no apologies for how YOU parent. Life is too short. Enjoy your kids, enjoy YOUR life and enjoy the all that surrounds you. Even if that means the occasional glass of wine while you puree baby food.

My biggest hope is that my son can look back and say,

“My mom fucking rocks.”

Yeah. Just like that.

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6 thoughts on “I’m No Carol Brady

  1. Susan says:

    You do rock.

    Great post on how to be comfortable being the type of mother that you are – the important thing is that both you and your son are happy with it.

    Enjoy your month.

    PS – I am enjoying the irony of you having a Facebook log in at the bottom of your comment screen – as I know how much you love it ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. You’ve achieved a great balance in your life and that is what we all should strive for. It was good to hear your background and history. Speaking of background — It is very hard to read comments here with the dark background and gray font. Maybe it’s my eyes after a 12 hour night shift at the hospital!

  3. Good. For. You. and ultimately — good for Tyler. I have no doubts that he will realize (if he doesn’t already) that his mom completely rocks.

  4. It is hard, you do what I couldn’t. We don’t have family that can do that for ours. I have entertained later in years. we will see. I did a contract in illinois and absolutely loved it. It was 90 miles away so it was doable and profitable for me and my family. As long as it works, keep doing it I say. I am in home health now…..good luck keep in touch. carole43 on twitter.

    carole

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