CHAPTER ONE THE DISCLAIMER: THIS IS NOT A FISH STORY!
While it's true that authors don't write books unless we are hopeful that we will make money, and that lots of people will find our work compelling; you must understand that I would be lying if I said that success in print is my only reason for telling my story. Please understand, this is not a "quick fix" book. I didn't set out to write a "tell-all" book on the best possible technique for being a single parent by choice. I am not interested in being a featured speaker on Dr. Phil (although, if he called, who in their right mind would refuse?). And I'm not interested in being the next Dr. Spock of the baby-rearing world. This book was written mainly as a cathartic study in parenting. This was my way of remembering what I did that worked.
This book is also meant as a resource for my son; to pass these notes along to him so that when he decides to raise children one day… many years from now, please… he might have some hints about what worked for us.
If you are a person considering single parenthood, or know someone who is, approach what I offer here with a tremendous amount of skepticism and reserve. Although I share several interesting techniques for dealing with the more obvious speed bumps along the child rearing road, (or at least the ones that seemed obvious to me) please remember, this is by no means anyone's parenting "get out of jail free card". This is just another resource for a unique person, who may be faced with a unique life challenge. If you read any further, use what you can from these pages, and throw the rest out. If you gain a menial ten percent of positive information from this volume, I'd call it a successful and a worthwhile purchase for you and a worthwhile writing exercise for me. If there is absolutely nothing that you can find to agree with or use in these pages, burn this book and don't suggest it to your friends!
For those of you considering the life of becoming a single parent by choice, I highly recommend spending a year or two as the caregiver for someone else's children first. There are no moments so revealing when thinking about how you will parent than watching up close and personal how others do it. And while I do not advocate the idea that children should be test-driven… there is something monumentally important about test-driving yourself before you make the life-altering change of inviting a child into your universe. I know no better way to make sure you are ready… and even then, you may still not be completely ready. I encourage you to prepare with the first step of observation.
That having been said, I'm not a wonder-woman-single parent with the magic secret decoder ring which will give you all the step-by-step instructions to raising the perfect child. This is not your child's "Owner's Manual". I'm just a single parent, like many others, trying to fill a gap I found in the resource department of my local library.
Nor is this is not a fish story. What I share in these pages are what I discovered to be tested and proven options for assisting to nurture a child who will grow to become a happy, healthy and semi-well-adjusted person in their own right, despite the fact that they only had one "full-time" parent. I know this approach works because my son is living proof. Further proof is this statement from my then-high-school-aged son; "Mom, you're a cool parent. My friends think you're cool, too".
In my world, that's pretty high praise.
You'll find some interesting stuff here... some Op Eds, some Information, Book Reviews, and More. Poke around the categories and see what ruffles your feathers... in a good way!