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.

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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.

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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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