Needs

*A commenter threw out some words of alarm at my last post.  I wanted to form an explanation, because I know what I wrote sounded a little irresponsible to someone who may not have read my entire history of single motherhood.

A few months ago, I got involved in a little debate over sex and motherhood.  Oddly enough, I came to a single mom’s defense over her sexual rights, and I wasn’t even having sex. This was before Young Buck, before I had every other weekend to myself, before I had my self-esteem epiphany.

All of this discussion, realization & action triggered something new in my life: Hope for my future as a desirable human being, the end of my sentence for life-long celibacy. I was someone somebody might want to be with, and that alone was enough to lift my gaze from the pavement and see the potential out there.

Did I really have a game plan for finding this person? No, but I’m a Pisces, that’s not my style. I’m the type who floats down the river, basking in the sun until I hit the whitewater. Is this responsible? Perhaps not, but its a learning process. What mother has everything figured out from the day of conception?

For those of us who are single mothers, we have the added complication of finding a sexual outlet (just like we all have creative outlets, stress-relief outlets, physical outlets, intellectual outlets) as apposed to married moms, who have the sexual stamp of approval.

The commenter said that “Sex is not like oxygen, food or water.. you don’t need it, you WANT it.”File:Maslow's hierarchy of needs.svg

I understand her point. Your body will not perish without orgasmic bliss. However, we are humans, and our needs reach a higher level than a plant who only thrives on sunshine and water. Emotional well-being is just as important and physical well-being.

I didn’t major in psychology, but even in the parenting classes I’ve attended, they all create a similar diagram as Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs.

In my parenting classes, at the bottom of the scale, they didn’t even put food, water and shelter, that is a given. Your kids can’t be happy unless their physical needs are taken care of. At the bottom of the pyramid is love, acknowledgement, respect and security.

See what’s at the bottom of our adult pyramid? The basic physical necessities.  Oh,  AND SEX.

As far as mommyhood, there’s a lot of guilt out there, and yes, a lot of fear. I have both. Obviously, the commenter has both. Believe me, this is not an easy thing to think about. Its scary. There’s a thousand things that could go wrong in a relationship, and when you have a kid, its almost enough for you to say “F*** it, its not worth the risk.”

I’m trying to find the middle ground, where I can make decisions that are safe for my daughter and myself, but not live ife in fear and guilt. 

Its proving to be a monstrous task, but I think I can get there. At least I’ve started the process.

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12 thoughts on “Needs

  1. You go! And I love that you added Maslow’s Hierarchy.

    We have to take care of ourselves too. Do people forget the airplane/oxygen mask analogy?

    Or this: “If Momma ain’t happy, ain’t NOBODY happy.”

    It’s not selfish. It is us taking care of ourselves so that we can be better parents. Sure, maybe it looks selfish because we have to be single too. I’ve always said that the term “Single mom” is an oxymoron. They are simply two different states of being to me.

    Maybe one day, they will merge. Maybe that “right guy” will help me with some needs and be a good partner/role model for my kids.

    Until then, Momma’s gonna work on being happy so that Momma can be a good Momma.

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  2. (I noticed that redtube.com is one of your top clicked links. Obviously, single mommas still have desires!!! :-D)

    It is SO hard to live up to what we feel we need to be (or portray) as mothers… especially mothers with a “strike” against them already (the single variety).

    Sex is good. You’re not hurting LB. Of COURSE you WANT sex. And you should have it. You should take care of yourself just as well as you take care of that beautiful little girl.

    Rock on, Momma.

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  3. I am copying this and putting it on my refrigerator for my mother to see when she comes over.

    Typically the ones who claim sex isn’t a need are married or at least single women who have a situation where they know they can get it whenever they want.

    As a fellow Pisces, I am right there floating with ya.

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  4. It’s just sad to me that there’s this debate at all. I admire you for being so open and honest about what you’re doing and how (or should I say whom :). And let me just add that it’s simplistic (and dangerous) to assume that you’ll handle sex in your life the same way when LB is 10 as you are now. That’s like saying you’ll never change LB’s bedtime!

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  5. Such an AWESOME post! I love how you put Maslows hierarchy of needs on here. Who needs a psychology degree to understand that sex is one of the basic healthy functions of our body, a need that we shouldn’t feel ashamed of. I get so fed up with this idea that for whatever reason, single mom’s should not be having sex and if they are it somehow makes them a bad mom. It doesn’t make you a bad mother, it makes you human. We can still be single women and single mothers. We take care of our children and should take care of ourselves too. Rock on sistah, floating along that river with you and Amy.

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  6. And I agree with April’s comment; why is this even an issue? But it is, alas, and I admire your ability to be honest about what you want AND need.

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  7. Great post Hanna and I completely agree. Really can’t add anything that hasn’t already been said but I did see a couple great quotes the other day:

    “Sex is like air; it’s not important unless you aren’t getting any.”

    (I think it’s ALWAYS imporatant but even more so when you aren’t getting any)

    And:

    “Those who restrain their desires do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained” ~ William Blake

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  8. You know what’s great about all of this? You’re CONCERNED about it. You are determined to figure out how to balance everything in the best way possible so that you are satisfied and LB is as happy and healthy as can be.

    Because everyone’s opinion is different, there will always be plenty of people who will disagree about your decisions (whether or not they’re related to sex). You just have to know in your heart that you’re making the right decision for your situation 🙂

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  9. I didn’t think my comment would elicit a whole new post, but I’m glad there’s discussion about it. I’d like to reinforce that I never said you should not have sex.. that is *crazy*. My point was, when it’s not a long term serious relationship with someone your daughter really knows, why not save it for the times that your daughter is not home? I’m not judging you. I truly do understand the loneliness and how difficult it is to put your desires last at times. I was widowed at 33 with a 3 yr old and an almost 1 yr old and it was few years before I even felt like dating. But when I did, I kept it to the nights that the kids were visiting my brother and sister in law or their grandparents. I wanted privacy and my kids were older at that point and I couldn’t slip anything past them. Trust me, I took advantage of my opportunities! When I met my fiance and I knew it was going to get serious, he joined us for dinners, grocery shopping, outtings, etc, for maybe 9 months before he EVER spent the night while the kids were home. Was it difficult to send him home sometimes? Excruciating! My daughter is especially close to him and cried many times when he left, but I insisted and I don’t regret it. He didn’t push it and himself didn’t feel comfortable with it until last Christmas Eve when the kids begged him to go to midnight mass with us and then be with them to open presents early in the morning. When I said I didn’t know if he’d get any sleep doing that, my son said ‘just stay here!’ So.. that took care of that 🙂 Anyway, what I’m trying to say is, my situation was different, but similar.. and I have no regrets. When you sent Chiv Man home it was probably a lonely night for you, but I doubt you’ll ever regret making that choice. Like another poster mentioned, kids remember things they don’t fully understand. Why expose your daughter to men you may not see again? (or the sights and sounds of ‘coupling’) Why ‘get over’ being freaked out about that? How much more secure would your daughter feel when it’s someone who knows and LOVES your daughter and wants to stick around.. not just hit it with you and leave? If you feel that is living life in fear and guilt, so be it. But I felt I was making the best decision for my kids and myself.

    Sorry for the long reply. I just wanted you to know I’m coming from a place of understanding and concern, not judgment. I appreciate your writing and the thought you put into how you live your life and also the difficult choices we make as single moms.

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  10. I agree there shouldn’t be a debate and I also have nothing to add at this point except a little experience of my own. You know what’s best for you and your daughter and you did already mention your concern so I guess I’m a little lost as to why there’s even any issue. A choice you make now when she is barely three is not going to make her a certain way when she’s older. Now if she were 8 or 9 I would have a different opinion. I’m also pretty sure that it wouldn’t have happened had she been older. We as parents (single or not) learn to adapt and it’s ridiculous to think you’ll keep doing the same things year after year.I used to hear my mom with her boyfriend when I was ten. I actually wished they weren’t serious and she would kick him to the curb b/c he was a loser but she kept him around. I would just turn the music up and that was that. I know I don’t want J to hear me b/c I hated hearing her but I am not traumatized. It is a natural part of life (as I would later learn in Psychology)

    It is good that you are concerned but you and LB will be fine in IMHO. 🙂

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