belonging

Guess what!  I have a new recruit for you this week!  Don’t know what a Sluiter Nation Recruit is?  Well hop on over here and read up.  We can wait.

Ok…so you’re back.  Good.

Today I get to bring you another one of my favorite DAD bloggers…J.R. from Sex and the Single Dad.

Don’t let that blog title fool you, while J.R. can let the raunchiness fly from time to time, he’s not writing a sex column over there or anything.  In fact he writes about what it is like to be the full-custody single dad of a 13 year old daughter while trying to write and date.  He is pretty funny…and from time to time very poignant.  (although I am sure he would somehow make a dirty joke about the word, “poignant”, if I said it right to him).

I think I met J.R. through the good old Red Dress Club (now Write on Edge) and loved his writing.

Then we became twitter buddies and we all know where it goes from there…

quit being dirty!  I’m talking about bouncing writing ideas off each other and exchanging stories.

He’s a good guy, that J.R.

No matter what he tries to tell you about himself.

*************

A month ago Kate asked me to do this guest post and I was all, “Hell yeah!”  I then explained I had one request and this one was a deal breaker.  Kate is well aware that almost every single time I read “Sluiter Nation” my brain reads, “Sluttier Nation” and she’s OK with that.  (Admit it, you’re done that once or twice, right?)  I told Kate I would write this, but only if I could make a reference to Sluttier Nation.  There it is.  Now on to my blog post.

I was told the topic was “Belonging” and I immediately knew I could knock this one out no problem.  But I was wrong.  At least a half dozen times I sat down trying to come up with the right angle, but never got more than eight or nine words in before stopping.  There are a thousand different ways to look at belonging, but which way did I want to go?

The more I let it marinate in my brain I realized there was one angle I could take which not many others can accurately portray.  “Yeah,” I thought in a very Jon Lovitz-SNL way.  “That’s the ticket.”

For those who don’t know who I am, I’ll throw you the Readers Digest version.  I lovingly refer to my 14-year-old daughter as Drama Queen and I’ve had full custody of her since she was five.  My ex, who I call Baby Mama, has been in and out of the picture, though lately she’s been more in then out.  [That’s not supposed to sound dirty].  You may think the job of full time single dad sounds glamorous, but I assure you it’s not.

How does this fit in with the whole “Belonging” theme?  There are gaggles of full-time single moms out there, but there aren’t a lot of full-time single dads.  I’m not slighting single dads with visitation or shared custody, because I’m not at all.  Being a parent is tough period.

That being said, married parents have their group that they fit into and single moms do too.  I did a few things with some other single dads, but I stopped because I got tired of explaining why I couldn’t drop everything at a moments notice to go to Vegas with them on their free weekends

I remember one particular moment like it was yesterday.  Her Majesty was around seven and this was in the midst of a four-year absence by Baby Mama.  We went to K-Mart to grab some clothes for her and I was asked to leave the store.  Why was I asked to leave?

We were picking up shirts and jumpers for school (her district has uniforms K-12) and when we went to the dressing rooms I told the lady I wanted her to come into the men’s with me because she has a problem with turtlenecks and jumpers and I needed to help.  The way the lady reacted; you would have thought I asked permission to kill her dog.

This chick raised her voice and made a scene about how what I was suggesting was inappropriate and said my daughter had to use the girl’s side by herself.  I asked who would help the Queen when she got stuck and the lady assured me that wouldn’t happen.  How the F can this person assure me of anything when the first time I saw her was 20 seconds ago?  “Whatever,” I said as I waved my daughter forward.  Less than 90 seconds later Drama Queen screamed, letting everyone as far as the grocery aisle know she was stuck inside a turtleneck

I looked at the guardian of the K-Mart dressing room and asked if she could go help my daughter.  “I have to stay here,” she said in a monotone.  The screaming continued and finally a woman came to the rescue and got the turtleneck off.  At this point I demanded a store manager and when one finally showed up, he was all you would expect from the Assistant Manager of a mostly falling apart K-Mart.

I swear to God that the first words out of his mouth were, “Why don’t you have her mom bring her back to try on clothes later?”  “Why don’t I what?”  I thought.  The long and short of it is the dude suggested that I leave the store before, “I call the police to tell them we have a shady character they should talk to.”  I looked at the guy and laughed in his face.  “Seriously?”  I asked.  “Go for it.”  The manager stammered (probably because I didn’t pee my pants and run away like he hoped) and politely asked me to leave.

I’d like to say this was the only weird instance, but it’s not.  I used to hear comments from the local chapter of the Snarky Moms Club when DQ’s hair wasn’t all fancy on picture day and they thought it was stupid that my daughter made me Mothers Day presents.  It used to bother me, but then I realized they all must have unhappy marriages and that’s why they’re so shitty to people.  Plus, the pack leader has a boob job that’s both off-center and with two vastly different shapes

Now that my daughter is in high school I have new stresses to deal with, but over time I’ve learned that “belonging” to a social group might be cool, but it’s not necessary for being a good parent.  I’ve somehow managed to raise a daughter to high school freshman on the Frosh-Soph Tennis team without any major scars (physical or emotional) and no legal problems, so I must be doing something right.  Ish.

*************

You should definitely pop over to his blog.

And “like” him on facebook (tell him “hi” from Sluttier Nation while you are over there…he he he).

And follow him on the twitters.

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About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.

Comments

  1. Lyttlethingsmttr says

    Awesome post JR, KMart Blows!

  2. Dana Wales says

    As usual entertained and at the same time sad that single dads do have to experience this!

  3. Great post… someone just found themselves a new fan.

  4. Oh WOW for Kmart! This is the best recruit I’ve seen so far Katie! Off to check your blog now JR!

  5. I absolutely love your attitude and outlook on things JR. Great post.

    Psssstttt…makes me feel so much better that I’m not the only one whose brain reads Sluiter Nation as Sluttier Nation.

  6. Kmart sucks.

    (hehehe Rainman.)

  7. Great to meet you JR! I’m now following you on twitter and off to check your blog soon!

  8. “The pack leader has a boob job that’s both off-center and with two vastly different shapes.”

    Oh, I know this woman.

    Just kidding.

    But I know women like this woman.

    Meeeean.

    Stay tough, Dad. You sound like you are the bestest dad in the whole wide world. Following you!

  9. Wow! Thanks so much to all of you for your awesome comments. I think I’ve picked up more chicks this morning than I have in nine full years of singleness. Who care’s that I’ll never sleep with any of you? Kate, does this make you my pimp?

  10. Great post! You have a new follower here too!

  11. Yes, I’m sure you have plenty of stories with many more to come! Love your attitude and your humor! Also? I, too, would say you must be doing something right. Ish.

  12. I’m getting more comments here than I do on my own blog posts. Maybe I should start posting my stuff here. Thanks again for hooking me up with this honor, yo.

  13. This was great, JR.

    Is it weird that I’ve actually thought about this kind of situation before? Like, “What does a good dad do when his little girl needs to go into a public bathroom?”

    Women think nothing of bringing their sons into the ladies’ room – I’ve seen boys as old as eight or nine in there.

    But what about girls? I suppose the assumption is that girls are safe in a women’s bathroom. But what about when they’re really little?

    I know. Way more detail here about my inner-thoughts than you needed.
    So let me just say this: I’m impressed by your strength as an advocate for your daughter.

    And full-time parenting is hard. For everyone.
    Kudos to you and good for your Queen.

    At any age…

    • Thanks Julie. The bathroom thing was tough. Once she hit around 5 I would let her go into the women’s room, but I stood right outside the door, most likely looking like a sex criminal. Last year I had a woman say something to the Forever 21 store manager because I was “hanging around” outside the dressing rooms. It’s not “hanging around” when you’re waiting for your daughter to show you the clothes she’s trying on. I’m not sure why I’m supposed to feel like a pervert when I take my daughter places, but apparently I’m supposed to feel that way.

Trackbacks

  1. […] I was a featured guest blogger dude over at Slutier Nation on Wednesday.  Check it out.  Also on Wednesday, Good Men Project reprinted a recent post of mine.  Thanks […]

  2. […] I was a featured guest blogger dude over at Slutier Nation on Wednesday.  Check it out.  Also on Wednesday, Good Men Project reprinted a recent post of mine.  Thanks […]