Pulling Double Duty: Happy Father’s Day to all Truly Single Moms

Most Father’s Days, I give myself a pat on my back and celebrate being both Mom and Dad for my only daughter. Today, as my daughter prepares to move out, I forgot…..until I received the sweetest voicemail from a fellow single mom who wanted to celebrate US for doing Double Duty all these years.

I have to admit I don’t quite know what being a Dad really is. I have an amazing Dad, who has saved me from the same failed relationship twice, once on the West Coast, last on the East Coast. Yet, I never got to witness a father grow into his role. I never got to struggle through that with a man. It was my choice to leave my daughter’s bi-coastal dad, and while I don’t regret my choice for multiple reasons, I do regret not having that family unit for myself and for my daughter.

I have met several fathers in this tiny town of Ashland, Oregon, who somehow manage to co-parent their children, stay active and in their childrens’ lives, and make the best of it. They are extremely supportive of their ex-wives, keep their mouth shut when needed, speak up when needed, and learn a different struggle. I have witnessed this more than the beauty of the family unit.

For my daughter’s entire life (she is now nearing 19), I would cry when I saw a father that was engaged and proud to be both a doting father and loving husband. I gave that up, because I knew it was not possible with the man that pollinated me. That doesn’t mean I didn’t long to have that and provide that.

Somehow, I managed to marry 2 more times, and each time the pivotal point was how they treated my daughter. We were a package deal. And those marriages didn’t last, and somehow….through the course of my daughter’s life, through my wish to have a family unit that I had given up, my daughter has had 3 fathers, all of whom are not in contact with her. And that kills me. If only I could turn back time, I would not undo my life for my sake, but I would for her’s.

So, I was the soft one, the hard one, the one who took her out on dates, and out to concerts. I am the one who took prom pictures, and spied on her internet activity. I was the one to set limits and consequences, and to talk about life and lessons hard learned. I was the one to teach her (or not) lessons about life, love, responsibilities, money, friends, school, morals and ethics, self-care, boundaries, relationships, cooking, cleaning, nature, self-reflection, and more. And it was tiring. I got to enjoy my daughter less, because I had to pull double duty. I have moved my daughter from the East Coast to the Southwest, to Maui, and to the West Coast.

And today, she is moving out.

And today, I got to be the dad that my dad was to me. Staying active has paid off, for I did the heavy lifting down one set of stairs and up a new. I had the joy of helping my daughter move safely into her new place. While it is tiring pulling double duty, I do get to partake in every aspect of helping her, and that’s a blessing. There are no parental duties doled out to one over the other.

fathers day standing stoneOn this Father’s Day, I flexed my muscles in support of my daughter, and then I celebrated by wine and dinner at her work, watching her at her first job, full of pride for the woman she is becoming. Double duty isn’t always easy, but it’s worth the hard work.

To all you single moms out there who hustle every day, and take care of every detail, who shuttle your kids around and advocate at school, and somehow manage work and children and playdates and afterschool activities….without the break that people in co-parenting relationships get…for the single moms doing your best to take care of your kids’ needs and still somehow take care of your own too…for those who must be the sole disciplinarian, sole counselor, playmate, life coach, family doctor, shuttle driver and comedian… HUGE kudos to you for pulling Double Duty.  Reach your arms out and wrap them around your awesome self in a big hug.

You are amazing.




Bathtime Musing #3- YOUR Part in THEIR Lie

When we are being lied to, it is important to reflect on our part in the lie, especially as a parent and partner.


Turning it around

In a half hour, a complete stranger helped me to understand a power struggle between my daughter Keely and myself that has caused us much strife over the past year. I left this call with a “stranger” able to breathe freely in a way I haven’t felt in months.

This person somehow, in a twist of celestial fate, showed up in my Facebook feed yesterday offering free 30-minute calls to people. She goes by April Dawn*, which I find even more interesting, as my daughter goes by Keely Dawn.

She reminded me indirectly of the mirror our lives are to our internal state. I expressed concern over my daughter’s ability to make things happen in her life for herself, and how I hate being in the position of having to decide whether to step up for her again or to let her feel the consequences of her lack of action. April said she sensed a lack of trust in my relationship with my daughter, and asked me to turn around my lack of trust in my daughter’s ability to make things happen. She asked if in some way I might be acting from the fear that I am not able to make those things happen in my life, and it hit me like a brick.

Yes, as always, it was my issue all along.

I let myself down when I was 18 when I quit San Francisco Ballet School. I have lived with that regret ever since. I have found ways back to dance here and there. I blamed circumstance. I pointed the finger at my folks for not financially supporting me when I needed it. But in the end, it was my responsibility to ask for help, and to find a way to make it happen, to believe in myself enough and to love myself enough to make my dream my life.

And I didn’t do that for myself.

And I project that regret onto my daughter, fearing she will do the same thing. And it’s not right, nor is it helpful.

The call happened twenty minutes ago, and already some of the details are fading, but the lesson isn’t. I have put so much energy into trying to “help” my daughter succeed at what I think are the most basic things, and all I really need to do is make things happen for myself. Live by example.

My fear of not being able to make my own dreams come true, has led me to put pressure on my daughter to make hers happen. Near the end of the call, April asked how I felt about making things happen for myself, and I remembered that in the past year, I have actually made some huge strides for myself in that direction. Lately, I have been feeling very stuck and impotent in that area, but reminding myself of the steps I have taken suddenly reaffirmed my trust in myself, and hence, my trust that my daughter will be o.k. She is on her own path, and she will find her own way. I sighed out tension I have been holding for months.

When I take away my fear of letting myself down and learn to trust myself, I suddenly trust that my daughter can do what’s right for herself. And when I am in that place of trust, I can guide vs push her. I can be there for her, but let herself do what she needs to do. I can allow her to find her own way, and remain available for her, but not intercept.

I can trust her because I can trust myself, and that’s a HUGE relief for both of us!

*April Dawn has a Relationship promotion going which I am happy to spread the word about. If she can help me reach clarity in a half hour on something I have missed for months, I can only imagine how she can help guide people in 4 months!


Co(s)mical life


I got busy with the Hurricane Sandy deployment and couldn’t keep up with the posts, but I will go back and post the pics, because it was an awesome experience. TONIGHT,… tonight…. I have felt so many waves of emotion. … Continue reading


Hurricane Sandy Deployment: Days -9 to 0


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Standing in the temporary pharmacy here at South Nassau Communities Hospital, feeling like I have been transported out of time. The time warp hits when you get deployed. Many people don’t know that I am a member of the Disaster … Continue reading


153- Holy Past Blast Batman!


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Life has been very full lately, largely of stressful things…. really stressful things. Yet, it is all balanced by so much beauty and support, that I honestly can’t complain. I don’t want to be in crisis mode all of the … Continue reading


151- Channeling a giraffe*


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Ever attended a Non-Violent Communication (NVC) class? Well, now I have! I think if people haven’t done some type of therapy, they may not get the format of the class, which was formatted like a therapy session, with a Check-In … Continue reading


150- Deep Inner Work


A big part of me has been wondering why I don’t seem as inspired to write lately, and it dawned on me this morning that it’s because I have been going inward. I am seeking my own companionship instead of … Continue reading


145- For all the times I had no voice

For all the times I had no voice, for the spirit within that is unseen, unacknowledged, unheard. For all women and the times they had no voice.

My God, how sad that I have so often felt Just. Like. This….

Vit Gestalt performance from Karolin Kent on Vimeo.

Excerpt from the site:

‘Vit gestalt’ is inspired by the research around the issue of female oppression within societies. This piece discusses her social restrictions whilst portraying her as a proud and strong creature, fighting for recognition. Kent utilizes the mediums of performance and live-art in order to discuss this matter. ‘Vit gestalt’ delivers a strong visual and expressive image by blending subtle and grotesque expression, through a structured improvisation of movement and voice.

Performance at Halmstad gatuteaterfestival 2012


143- So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.


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This excerpt of T.S. Eliot’s work from Four Quartets: The East Coker speaks to my need for silence, and the innate uncomfortable-ness of that space between the light and the dark. It is in the anticipation of what lies beneath … Continue reading