My name is Jessica Brooke Sharp Durden. I have to remind myself that once daily, as my given name is “Mommy,” “Mama,” “Mom,” and once, to my horror, “Mother,” to a two year-old in dire need of a channel change from Fox News to Bubble Guppies.
Before I became a single parent, I was a non-single parent. Before being any kind of parent, I was raised by a single parent—a parent with whom, I promised myself, I would never duplicate parenting styles, skills, theories or truths. A parent whose reflection I now see in every mirror, toddler tantrum and the looks on my children’s faces, which look like promises to themselves that their parenting styles will never mirror mine. HA!
“It’s a pandemic,” I say, before I realize that the word “pandemic” is actually a My Baby Can Read word replete with definition. My now four year-old rolls his eyes and slingshots his 4-tined English peas in a South by Southeast direction squarely at my computer screen.
He has just informed me why my one year-old will not eat his mushed up English peas. “Because you want him to.”
The psychological depth and breadth of that remark coming from someone who’s birthday was too late in the year to enroll in Pre-K or tall enough to ride anything but Flying Dumbo at the fair, struck a chord of single parent terror in my, as of yet filled out, My Parent Can Read Me Like a Book, Workbook.
Perhaps Drs. Spock, Seuss, Phil, and Drew should have collaborated a sort of Generation X Cliff Notes for Parents, Years 0-PS3. If my baby can read at 9 months and psychoanalyze better than Woody Allen at the age of 4, of what use will I be once my son(s) realize that I have yet to complete all levels of Angry Birds because my female opposable thumbs are not as adept at math, science, spatial relations or aviary in need of anger management?
My name is Jessica Brooke Sharp Durden. “Hello Jessica.” Welcome to my 12-step single parenting program. Pass the “P-E-A-S” please.