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7 Things I don’t give a $#!T about since becoming a single mom

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I recently threw out the white plastic Pampers wipe box that I’ve had for the 4 ½ years I’ve been a mother. I had my last laugh about that stupid thing. See, when I was pregnant and getting Helena’s nursery together, I searched far and wide for the least visibly offensive wipe box. After all, the changing station – atop a midcentury birch Heywood-Wakefield dresser – was visible from our apartment’s front door. It was important that the view upon entering was stylish.

Today? I could give a shit.

That dresser is in the same spot, and as I type it is covered with a mess of once-worn and mismatched pajamas, that weird turtle nightlight that casts stars on the ceiling, Baby Vicks VapoRub and an array of sippy cups half-full of stale water. Letting go of the notion of a décor-correct home has made the difference between neurosis and sanity. This is just one item on a growing list of things that makes me so much happier now that I no longer care about them.

Here is my list of seven things I no longer give a shit about since becoming a single mom:

  1. What my husband does for a living. I used to love bragging about my now ex’s job. It was a really, really cool job, and he was really, really good at it. But he doesn’t have that job any more. And he isn’t my husband any more. Plus, I have a pretty cool job myself.
  2. Where I vacationed. Before I had kids–and even after my daughter was born–I used to travel all over, all the time. Europe, Cuba, Brazil, Laos – not to mention sundry domestic locales. Now, I feel fortunate that I can fly to see my family in Illinois a couple of times a year, and that a friend and I rented a lake house a couple hours away last summer.
  3. How my kids are dressed (This is true only most of the time. Let’s get real. The holidays are school pictures are coming up!). Good mothers pick their battles. Even though the dress code at preschool is rather strict – standard-issue plaid jumper and white blouse, black tights and shoes – Helena and her strong fashion opinions often go to class wearing a getup like the above. Which I think is awesome.
  4. Planning every detail of my future. Until my life unraveled a few years ago, I loved to plan and scheme. I think it gave me some sense of control to map out my life. Plus, it’s just fun to brainstorm where we might live, the kind of house we would buy (and decorate!), the career feats I could accomplish. Today I find more meaning in working hard, enjoying everyday things as they come, and being open to surprises.
  5. That people don’t get what I do. When I first started telling people that I was a freelance writer, friends and strangers would often say rude things like, “Oh! It must be so HARD to make a living!” And I would get defensive and think of nasty things to say while I stewed. Then I stopped giving a shit. And you know what happened? At the exact same time I let that go, people stopped saying snotty things on the subject. Life lesson learned.
  6. That you like my shoes. Or my haircut, or my couch. Because really (and I’m talking to women only here – you know how we are with complimenting each other!), if the only opener you can muster is about my belt or my eyeliner, we have nothing in common. Say all the nice things you want, but I really don’t give a shit about you.
  7. What people think. Now, if you tell me you don’t care what anyone thinks, I’d say you’re a sociopath. There are a handful of people whose opinion I hold highly – and if they call me out on stuff, I listen. But the rest of the time I don’t give a shit what you think. Really, I don’t. Because I’m old and wise enough to believe that I’m really doing my best to be a decent person. Maybe you should stop giving a shit, too.
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  1. Monica
    Monica11-12-2012

    funniest mommy blog ever but oh so true! thanks for the mention!!

  2. Amy Cirbus
    Amy Cirbus11-12-2012

    The most accurate comment on being a mom I’ve read in a very long time – single or married. I wish there were only these 7 things I don’t give a shit about! Awesome.

  3. Emma
    Emma11-12-2012

    Amy and Monica – please share yours!

  4. Honoree Corder
    Honoree Corder11-12-2012

    I LOVE this. Emma! Like you, I used to care a lot about what people thought, and now I only care about the opinions of a very few, select people. It’s so freeing to let that all go.

    Blessings, Honoree

  5. Toni South
    Toni South11-12-2012

    So true…I used to be meticulous about the holiday decorations and had a decorator do my daughter’s bedroom before she was born. It was beautiful and perfect and it makes me laugh hysterically thinking about that silly perfection. As I sit here in my cozy 750 square foot condo with artwork taped all over the walls haphazardly and a kitchen table covered in Barbies, I couldn’t give a shit about perfect decor. I love this crazy mess:)

  6. Laura Vanderkam
    Laura Vanderkam11-13-2012

    I have a slight gap between my two front teeth. Before kids, I looked into getting it fixed. After kids I stopped noticing it. My vanity really stopped being a driving motivation for much.

  7. Terri Trespicio
    Terri Trespicio11-21-2012

    I f*$ng LOVE YOU. And I’m not even a mommy. Can’t wait to talk! -Terri.

  8. Lori
    Lori11-28-2012

    Emma, I’m so freakin happy I stumbled across your blog! Love, love this post in all of its glory! I’ve been lucky enough to give a shit less long before my divorce, but I embrace it and own it even more now. Keep it up, sista! ~Lori

  9. Pamlet
    Pamlet07-18-2013

    Oh, how I loved this! I don’t think I could stop at 7…so many things I’ve learned as a single mom but not giving a shit has got to be numbers 1, 2 & 3.

    • Emma
      Emma07-21-2013

      Pam – Pray tell, what would you add?

  10. Trish Sammer Johnston
    Trish Sammer Johnston07-19-2013

    I just stumbled onto your website for the first time today. I think you are now my new imaginary single momma best friend. I hope that’s OK with you.

    I’m on Twitter @singlemommaTSJ. You should follow me back so we can cement our hypothetical friendship.

    • Emma
      Emma07-21-2013

      Ha Trish! I checked your blog, too, and I think we are imaginary soul mates. Let’s stay in touch!

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