- I'm the kind of person that wears all black...then complains about the heat.
- Due to my choice of wardrobe I always end up looking more like Morticia Addams then Carol Brady...even at the pool/beach.
- It's a scientific fact that it takes children about 6 minutes to get bored after the last day of school let's out.
- Summer time means going to the beach and the pool. Mom's love nothing more than getting sand in every nook and cranny of literally everything they own after a beach trip...well, maybe the idea of swimming in the public toilet, er, I mean, pool is just as thrilling.
- Summer Camp means labeling everything your child owns meticulously, buying new camp clothes and shoes, packing the healthiest lunches and slathering them in sunscreen as they walk out the door... only to end up with sunburnt and hungry kids with one of their shoes, someone else's somewhat moldy towel and a half eaten sandwich that you DIDN'T make in the bottom of their bag.
- Summer is just Mother Nature's way of reminding you of all of the places on your body that you didn't know were capable of sweating.
- To be honest, the only time I remember to reapply our sunblock is when I see some other Mom frantically chasing after her kid to spray him down and I think, "Oh shit, I should probably do that..."
- I am not ashamed of my bikini body. However, wearing a skimpy bathing suit while trying to play with your kids at the beach is literally close to impossible to do without exposing parts of myself that I would rather not have sunburnt, let alone have strangers at the beach see while attempting to build a sand castle. I choose practicality over making a politically correct statement.
- Fact: It is very rare to hear a child say they have to use the restroom at a public pool...we all know why. They are all just basically swimming in pee water for 6 hours while you hope to get them home tired at the end of the day. That's the type of sacrifices mothers learn to make when raising children.
- Summer Vacation in parenting world is more "let me spend money so my kids can go to camp and be someone else's responsibility for a few hours a day."
- They should have summer camp for parents. Sign me up for Spa Camp, Wine Tasting Camp, Nap Camp and Taco Appreciation Camp.
- Is it me, or does a day at the beach make you feel like an extra from The Walking Dead for about 48 hours? That shit is exhausting.
- I went to let the dog out yesterday and I think I heard her say, "oh, F*%# this" as she walked back in the house and sat on the couch.
- Summer injuries consist of the following: burning yourself with the first water that comes out of the hose, sunburns on places that haven't seen sun in 8 months, seat belt burns and burning your feet on hot asphalt. Basically you spend the next three or four months being a human french fry.
- Apparently my kid thinks nothing is more awesome than standing over the water jets at the splash pad for what seems to be an inappropriately long and now what has just become an uncomfortable amount of time with a goofy grin on his face while other Moms look at me like I should be stopping him. Thanks kid.
Trust. It's a key part of human interaction, but also one of the hardest parts about being a human. Do we trust? Will we trust? How does one trust? What happens when trust is betrayed? What qualifies someone as trustworthy? Trust surrounds us, engulfs us in her deceptive arms and lulls us into submission as time passes on. She makes us feel safe and secure and gives us emotional freedom when we embrace her whole-heartedly. She also shakes the shit out of us, can make us feel our most vulnerable, wakes us up from our slumber with a swift kick to the gut and destroys the dream, turning it rapidly into a nightmare. You see, trust...she's a fickle bitch.
I can sit here and write about the countless breeches in trust I have run into in my 37 years. Relationships, marriage, friendships, and so on and so forth. Here's the REAL reason I'm writing about trust. As a parent, I trusted people at a particular institution and that trust was torn apart. Without revealing too many personal and intricate details, I will say this: When it comes to our child ANY and ALL trust that we have given is with a degree of hesitation and uncertainty at first, but slowly earned and appreciated...but if it is ever broken, be prepared to feel our wrath.
Recently our family was faced with a situation that fragmented and splintered all of the trust we had given. Sending your child off into the world is hard enough, but when you have to do so knowing what an awful place it can be, it is even harder. We trusted his safety and security, we trusted his spirit and his heart would be protected, we trusted his mind would be unburdened of all the harshness of the world and that we would be given a chance to flourish and thrive. We noticed a pattern of behavior in our son that indicated stress and anxiety. We know him, we observed him and we TRUSTED him and his four-year-old communication and disclosures. Stories can sound outlandish, but are rooted in TRUTH. As a family we addressed issues that we all noticed, and in the end we believed that the villains in our story heard our concerns and heeded our warnings.
They DID NOT. They BROKE that trust into a million tiny pieces of anger and sadness.
Our heads spun. Our hearts sank. Or bodies wretched in utter disbelief. But never, not once, did we ever lose TRUST in OUR CHILD. That's the thing with raising kids in today's world, if you aren't listening to your own kid and blindly trusting adults, you've got a problem. In this particular instance we learned very quickly to shut up and listen. Listen to every word our son said to us and every word he muttered to himself in his room. To calm down and watch. Watch every expression on his face and every move he made. And we TRUST him. Trust that he's saying what he needs to say and exploring his environment how he needs to explore it in relation to his feelings and experiences. Those are his superhero powers. He may not be invincible, or be able to fly from building to building, but does have words and actions that give him capabilities beyond the scope of what we all can imagine. That is his way of telling HIS truth.
PARENTS: I cannot express this enough...without that we would have never known to battle his villains and to make the moves that we did to protect him from a potentially life changing event. Even though we can't possibly shield him from everyone and everything that intends do him harm in the future, it's today that we realized that placing trust in him and allowing the conversations between us be entrenched in sincere certainty that we are empowering him with the right to tell us anything without judgment or punishment, to allow him to communicate feelings that we will validate, and create an environment where he is free to express himself, has created a person who is not easily victimized or taken advantage of by someone he didn't trust. It's our opinion that he was able to stand up for himself and that power makes untrustworthy people uncomfortable.
This isn't a blog about advice. This isn't a blog about telling anyone how they should parent their own children. This isn't about me telling you that we do it all right and anyone else did anything all wrong. This is me telling you all that we trusted our child and it allowed us to take on a potentially threatening situation with confidence, even before we knew all of the underlying issues. We gave our child trust and we took away the trust of the adults in the situation. We took away the power from the adult and gave it to our son. It was HE who did the right thing and so did every child in the same situation, each in their own way. Every parent trusted their child and the children trusted the parents and in that trust a dangerous situation was addressed. These kids were the super heroes. They stood up to their villains and they are the ones that saved us all from certain doom. Behind every super hero is a parent that believed in them first, and it was then we realized we are actually doing something right.
1. My son turned 4 and he is moodier than our current President on a Twitter rant.
2. Getting him dressed in anything but his favorite red shorts is much like watching a scene out of The Exorcist. At one point it's quiet and we're smiling. I simply state "its time to get dressed." He starts flipping the F*&% out. I'm just staring at him waiting for pea soup to come spewing out of his face and his head to start rotating.
3. His behavior has become slightly...hmmm...how shall I put this without sounding like the worlds worst mother...Defiant. We will call him defiant for lack of a less offensive word. We will ask him not to do something (I,e. jump on the couch, chase the dog with a lightsaber, etc.) and he will, straight up, lock eyes with us and do said thing repeatedly and with no remorse until he is reprimanded. Then looks at us with a scowl and says "I don't like you anymore." As soon as he turns his back I find it very difficult not to flip him off.
4. What the hell is up with my child asking me a question, I answer the questions, then he promptly tells me I am wrong, answers his own question, then walks away? It's only after exchanges like that when I truly start to question my own sanity.
5. Is it just MY kid that HAS to be naked to poop? What is that about?
6. How can someone be so fearless and also need a nightlight?
7. There isn't any conversation that doesn't involve the mention of a fart or a poop.
8. If I had to relate Fournado someone without kids I would say it is similar to the impulse control of Lindsay Lohan crossed with Scott Stapp on meth with a side of KellyAnn Conway's logic.
9. At this point no one is a stranger...its makes the introvert in me FREAK THE F OUT! Mainly because when he talks to people then I HAVE TO TALK TO STRANGERS. I do not like talking to strangers. Hell, I don't even like talking to non-strangers.
10. I will say this about FOURNADO... It is the most inquisitive and thirsty for knowledge that my son has ever been. Example: Today he asked me to explain how a sound studio is turned into a set to make a movie look real...all before 7 AM and my first cup of coffee.
1. Is it me or is the Hotdog Dance song from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse causing a Pavlovian response to want to choke the life out of Goofy?
2. Thanks to Elmo for saying once (like 2 years ago) that broccoli is gross and now my kid refuses to even try it because "Elmo said its yucky." Frankly, I don't care if Elmo gets some kind of colo-rectal issue, but I'm over here trying to teach my kid how to eat to live in a world full of diseases from genetically modified food and the damn puppet is veggie-blocking me.
3. I'm not sure Little Einsteins is creating a culture of classical music officiandos as much as its just angering parents and care givers who must now explain that one cannot simply start a vehicle by clapping. If you have ever argued with your kids on these types of things you know that a root canal is preferable.
4. "Dog With A Blog" is a show where an actual dog has more blog followers than I do.
5. I have a hard "No Calliou" rule. It's legit whinier than our current administration.
6. Why in the world do children's movies allow the words "stupid" and "dumb"?! I have had to do damage control since Monsters, Inc. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Disney movies, but hearing the word 'stupid' coming out of your 2 year olds mouth is a bit disconcerting, to say the least. Honestly, I would rather he drop an F Bomb.
7. Have you seen these YouTube Kids reality shows? There are several. All they do is show videos of their everyday life, only in the MOST annoying way possible. Now my kid thinks sending a cute video to his grandparents should include the words "don't forget to subscribe and 'Like' this video at the link below..."
8. While I'm on a YouTube Kids rant...just the background music in the app hypnotizes my kid into some sort of stopper and he can't seem to pay attention anyone or anything else. Case in point: he walked into a wall the other day and bounced right up like something out of the Walking Dead.
9. What in the actual F*&% is going on with that SpongeBob Squarepants and his gang of weirdo cohorts? I mean, really. WTF??
10. I am totally annoyed that in most children's films the male characters is either a prince who is completely void of any depth and complexity, or a cad, a thief or a complete asshole. Why? Let's not even begin to discuss the gender roles and age issues of these movies but I mean, come on. Don't little boys deserve some sort of relatable protagonist that starts out a good person and makes good decisions and doesn't need a to be jerk to get the moral of the story conveyed to the audience? Just a thought.
What annoys you about whatever shows or movies your Little Rebels are geeking out over these days?
Hey Rebel Leaders and Domestic Warrior Princesses! I haven't done a Fave Rave since August because, well...I keep forgetting! Oops! Honestly, I have so many new products that I am totally obsessed with that I am feeling the need to share, but also just want to include some tips and tricks of how I get through some of the stuff we have planned for the next few weeks of crazy. February is my birthday month, annual family vacation to Key Largo, FL (a 6 hour road trip) and Valentine's Day...all of those either being really exciting or super depressing. I'm not sure which, yet. Here's an idea of what I am gathering up for all of this years festivities.
First of all, I am a huge fan of the "at home spa day." So as my 37th birthday (yes, I said my actual age) approaches I wanted to share some of the new products I have been tinkering with on the rare occasion that I get to indulge in some beautification between loads of laundry and packing lunches. I love all things Bliss for the best in DIY spa days with high quality products. Recently I have had all the feels for the Mask-A 'Peel' Radiance Rubberizing Mask! Just mix with water, slather on, let dry and peel. And before I get ready for vacation I like to use a Hot Salt Scrub and Self Tanner because literally no one wants to see my pasty legs without a little sun-kissed glow. When it comes to my hair, I have a serious crush on the Olaplex at home treatment. It's easy to use, you can get about 4 treatments per bottle (depending on the length of your hair) and it's legit a miracle for color treated tresses like mine. Can we say godsend?!
We all know I am single AF, but that doesn't mean I don't do a little Valentine's Day splurging. This year I am making a little gift basket for my son with some fun little surprises, like awesome bath bombs, a sweet new shirt to wear to school and my little man's FAVORITE candy. Don't judge, but may I report back after the most humiliating holiday of the year that I sent myself flowers...and carbs. Let's face it, I will probably eat a whole pizza that day. That being said, I'm also really into taking ownership and loving my own body this year. I am getting up there in years and have always battled with weigh issues. I have always worn a one piece bathing suit...but this year, NO WAY! I am learning to LOVE my body for Valentine's Day and letting it shine on our sunny vacay. This year I will be lounging poolside in a bikini and reading my new favorite book by Ashley Graham.
Also, it takes me a good month to plan for a 6 hour road trip down to the Keys, or anywhere for that matter, so this year I am preparing a few weeks in advance by getting the car super organized and making sure we pack light and save plenty of room for all of the ridiculously amazing road-side crap you can find in Southern Florida. One of the things I am pretty adamant about it not eating junk food along the way.. It's just not a good idea. Sour bellies and sugar cranked kiddos don't make for an easy coast down state. I try to pack healthy snacks, and meals for the backseat where B and passengers can grab something easily. When we make a pit stop I am fully prepared for the horror of public restrooms. Trust me and always have these items in your car at ALL times: Trash bag, Gallon ZipLoc Bag, Paper Towels, Toilet Paper. You never know when these will be needed and you DON'T want to be stuck roadside with no way to clean and contain messes or mishaps. This has happened to me and they only thing I can say is that if it weren't for my make-shift hazmat kit, I would have been totally screwed.
So, wish me luck. Another year closer to 40, another adventure, and another single Hallmark holiday to come and go. This year its about ME! Time to love myself, own my life and be grateful for every wrinkle, dimple, disaster and triumph.
1. I used to think that being a single parent and taking my kid anywhere was difficult...until I witnessed these couples with children at Disney. Mom is carrying everything but the kitchen sink, including an infant. Dad is trying to navigate a double stroller thru crowds...both arguing over where to go next and when to head to their lunch reservations. Disney should offer couples counseling in their vacation packages.
2. Strollers are the tools of Satan. No one can navigate one without being a total pain in the ass to themselves or everyone else around them. It's impossible.
3. Why are you still walking around Disney with the kids asleep in the stroller? Give up and go grab a drink! Disney now offers alcohol at certain locations for overstressed parents and busses for transportation. If your kid is taking a nap and you're wondering aimlessly trying to seek refuge from the relentlessly insipid background music digging it's way into your subconscious...please, do yourself a favor and find a place to sit and sip a cocktail or a coffee and relax for a few before the kiddos wake up and demand Mickey Mouse shaped junk food on a stick.
4. My son won't poop in public bathrooms, nor will he poop with clothes on (don't ask...I have no clue where this behavior came from...and we just kinda deal with it at this point.) He HAS to be naked to poop. Well, at Disney he had to go. The conversation with both of us in the stall went something like:
Me: No, I can't take your clothes off, we're in a public bathroom.
B: But I can't POOP with clothes on!! (He is very loud and VERY serious about this)
Me: Just try.
B: (tears streaming down his face) Stop looking at me! Take my shoes off! I cant poop like this!
Me: I will compromise and take your shirt off.
B: Ok, I'll try but I can't promise I can poop with you in here. I need privacy.
Me: I can't leave you alone and shirtless in a public Disney bathroom so I'll turn around and won't watch.
::15 minutes later:: B: Ok, I'm done. I'm never pooping like this in public again.
Me: Trust me, I don't think either one of us want to go through this ever again. (Entire Ladies Room erupts in laughter)
5. This Hippo expresses how I feel after eating anything at Disney:
6. I'm not sure "happiest place on Earth" is as appropriate as "parts of this is gonna suck, but eventually something super cute will happen (most likely when your phone or camera is in the bottom of your purse) and it will make it worth it."
7. If you're taking a bigger kid (say 4 year old, like my son) you probably want to make them walk. I mean, tell me why you wouldn't want your kid to be tired at bedtime? I'm never really sure what the motivation is the have a 10 year old in a stroller other than to drive yourself completely bonkers.
8. I took my son on the Dinosaur Ride at Animal Kingdom. It was terrifying and at one point I looked down at my son and he had his eye closed and he looked asleep. I asked him if he was OK he replied "No!" When the ride was done and we were exiting he yelled "F***! That was scary!" (Other parents either scowled or laughed...it was a 50/50 response to a 4 year old dropping the F Bomb.)
9. It doesn't matter how much you try to avoid it, your child will eventually put their mouth on something gross (like a window or a handrail or...a wall) while waiting in line. Or even better, drop something on the ground and then proceed to pick it up and EAT it.
10. When I asked my son what his favorite part of this Disney staycation was he answered with "Seeing a giraffe take a poop, riding the buses, and running around the hotel hallways." So...that just goes to show you it's not all about spending time and money trying to experience every ride and attraction, it's about memories.
1. 2016 has successfully killed off all of my childhood heroes. Bowie, Prince, Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), Debbie Reynolds, Mrs. Brady (Florence Henderson), Patty Duke, George Michael, Abe Vagoda, Doris Roberts, Gene Wilder, Gary Shandling, Muhammad Ali, The Half-Blood Prince (Alan Rickman), Lemmy and Vanity..so somebody better keep an eye on Betty White, Mark Hamill, Madonna, and Harrison Ford damnit...or I will spiral into a stress-eating depression like never before. 2. I feel like the biggest accomplishment this year is that my now fully potty trained kid no longer pisses all over me while co-sleeping in the family bed. The dog is happy about that too.
3. This year brought us a lot of attitude changes. Example: "Darth, Don't be a dick..." is often heard coming from the playroom.
4. Upon switching school this school year it has become apparent to me that all preschools struggle with the same problems: some parents are assholes, we say "no" to pretty much all birthday parties, and all kids share their bad habits with one another (i,e. My son's new-found bullshit attitude toward pretty much everything at the most inconvenient times.)
5. You know you're a parent of a small child when NYE plans consist of DVRing the ball-dropping and hoping you all fall asleep by 9pm.
6. New pajamas are the most exciting wardrobe additions of 2016.
7. I haven't seen Rogue One yet because I feel guilty that I can't take my kid.
8. Over the last year I have logged countless hours of sweat therapy either running or lift weights so that I can eat like a 4-year-old whenever the F I want!
9. During the holidays we can all use Santa as a way to get our kids to behave...but as soon as Christmas is over they act like they've never heard of his fat ass before and carry on acting like complete crazed animals.
10. One of these days I will actually read the September issue of my favorite magazine.
11. Watching my son play his first organized sport this year reminded me less of Olympic dream filled memories of other parent's childhood and more like the failures of my own childhood athletic career:
12. Not sure what's remember the day that your kid wiped his own ass and you were legit soooo proud...yeah, me neither.
13. When your 4 year old tells your conservative family member "Donald Trump is a bad guy" with no coaching from you and you're just relieved his didn't call him a "dick."
14. 75% of my year was spent telling my kid to "put some pants on..."
15. I would consider myself an expert at terrifying my son into behaving better. Example: Don't play with that...it's glass and if it broke your guts and blood would spill everywhere and you would have to go to the hospital. (The look on his face is always priceless.)
16. The package always says "bakes 12 chocolate chips cookies" but you only bake 6 because you ate half of the cookie dough.
17. School break is basically torture for your whole family...we should protest that shit in the streets.
18. The pastor gave my son a blessing at Christmas service...my son asked me if that meant he was good enough to leave early.
19. When planning any outing one must anticipate the following: No Restroom automatically means your child will have to poop. No food automatically means your child will act like a starving hyena.
20. The best part about starting a new year is knowing that you survived the last one...
- I'm a control freak. The older my son gets the more i realize the time with him is slipping away. I am so used to being "the one" and taking care of every detail. Recently I've started to delegate time from him to be with other people and for those people to do more because, well...it's just time. But I feel so emotional about it all, I just annoy myself to no end that I have such a hard time with change. I need to get over myself.
- My Facebook and Insta are total brag books that chronicle every cute, awful, or anything-in-between moment in my child's life. How do I still have friends?
- When socializing in a no-kid setting the conversation always diverts its way back to my kid or being a Mom. Like I have NOTHING else to offer! Again, not sure how I still have friends.
- I still harbor guilt over not breastfeeding my son for a year, or that he's had a happy meal, or that he is 4 and not playing the piano while speaking Mandarin. I second guess my decisions about all of that crap all of the time.
- I don't spend enough time being "extra." Elf on a Shelf? Nope. After school sports? Nope. Calendars filled with play dates? Nope. Between preschool, his Dad's house, and me trying to make the house perfect, exercise, and write this blog...I have given up on being extra. I mean, I have tried, but it just didn't work for me and it drives me crazy.
- I don't try to make new parent friends. I am actually quite introverted and shy and full of insecurities so making friends has NEVER been easy...but now the game has changed and I feel like I should have this whole village of Moms and Dads that I "hang out" with. I don't. Maybe I'm just an asshole.
- When I am in a fancy place, or someone else's home, or...you know, anywhere but OUR house...I constantly repeat my son's name over and over again. "B! Don't touch! B! Don't do this...don't do that!!!" How F%$#ing annoying is that?! SOmetimes I just leave thinking "I hate the sound of my own damn voice."
- If I get a classroom e-mail about anything from making sure the lunches are nut free or behavior issues in the class, I take that shit way personal. (Internal dialogue is something like: Oh my gosh, how could I have not researched every ingredient? Is he hitting, where did I go wrong?) It's all very, very dramatic and I admit...SUPER ANNOYING!
- My need for a clean and orderly (I told you...I'm a control freak) means I spend a lot of time asking B to clean up and less time just getting dirty with him or making a mess and enjoying myself with my own kid.
- I drive like a everyone on the road is drunk or crazy. I mean, I am the most defensive and crazy paranoid driver on the planet. I will admit that I am a total Nervous Nelly on the road with my kid in the car and that if it wasn't so cold or expensive I would gladly move back to New York so that I could use mass transportation and never drive again.
1. Thanks to Daylight Saving Time every parent I know is legitimately cursing our children's circadian rhythms and biological responses to light and dark throughout our country...at least that's the most unified message I've seen in a long time. 2. We wasted not ONE but TWO rolls of toilet paper this week because B decided to urinate directly ON TO the ENTIRE ROLL. What in the actual F%&$? How? And more importantly, WHY? He had no response to those questions.
3. There is no longer a transition from fall to winter. Christmas showed up right after Labor Day. The other day my son wanted to wear a Santa hat in a swimming pool.
4. My son calls the Care Bear with the rainbow on its tummy "Pride Bear." I don't correct him. I think it's cute.
5. Children balance life on a sliding scale from sweet, sleeping kitten to Negan...
6. I am not sure what the hell people are talking about when they say "terrible twos"...ages three and four are the worst. I feel like I'm living with a tiny used car salesman with menopausal mood swings.
7. It's totally OK to look back on your day and feel accomplished if your child had three kinds of snack foods and a smoothie as a "balanced dinner" and went to bed without a bath or shower, but was throughly wiped down with a baby wipe in all the right places...
8. Pick your battles: arguing with a three-year-old is better than discussing politics at this point in time.
9. Parenting Tip: If your newly potty trained children say they wiped their own butt...don't believe them and do it again anyways...trust me. Your couch will thank you.
10. The last time my car was clean or didn't smell weird was the day I drove it off the lot.
11. I daydream of someone rushing up to my door step and proclaiming "It's Treat Yo Self Day!"...That NEVER happens.
12. It is very difficult to say no with a straight face when your almost four-year-old suggests dressing like a turkey and telling people "EAT ME" for Thanksgiving.
13. My son is super into crafting lately...he brought me an unused tampon and asked if I could glue it to his "creation." Apparently everything can be used for art.
14. "No, you may not play outside until you have clothes on. The neighbors don't want to see your penis" is a sentence I say probably 4 times a day...everyday.
15. The only time its quiet at my house is when everyone is sleeping or when little man is taking a poop and watching Peppa Pig simultaneously.
16. Never trust that bath toys can't be rigged to create a fountain and spray water all over your bathroom.
17. I was legit excited when my son fell asleep and I could watch Finding Dory in peace.
18. One would think that I would go out and enjoy myself when kiddo goes to Dad's house. The first thing I do when I have alone time is some sort of beautification ritual...cause, you know, gotta look good before I fall asleep on the couch watching Westworld and eating ice cream.
19. Nothing says love like taking a punch to the boob or a kick to the crotch and not overreacting or killing someone.
20. After waking my son up from his nap and walking him out of the school the other day he proclaimed with pride "my penis is all big" in front of a room full of school administrators. Everyone looked like a deer in headlights, including me.
The last 18 months have been exhausting, emotional, eye-opening and at times, very frightening. Much to my disappointment in the outcome we now have a President-elect and it is time to focus and move forward. It's time to parent the hell out of this parenting game. As if it weren't already hard enough, now we have to deal with the big bag of crap we've just been handed. It is our job to teach our children to be better, choose better and try harder. To never give up on their dreams, to always stand up for what's right and to change the world with their light and love. I woke up from a daze yesterday and realized that it's time to step up and stay connected, even more than I thought I was in the past. As the initial depression fades I feel more awake than I ever have been (figuratively speaking...I mean, come on, I am still an exhausted single Mom surviving on caffeine and whatever's left of my morning runner's high.) I feel like this blog is a place for me to share my thoughts and feelings about what has transpired. I consider myself educated and in tune with the issues, but I will be honest, maybe I am out of touch. I was among the many that reacted with "shock and awe" at the outcome of the election. How did I not realize how divided our country is? Am I living in a dream world where everyone gets along? I AM! I have created a reality for my son that is one of inclusion, diversity, and acceptance. That's the nature of our family and community we surround ourselves with. My son goes to a very diverse school with both male and female teachers, both of color. A classroom filled with children of all races and religions. Our close friends and family represent all classes, races, religions, genders and sexual orientations. We don't spend our time with negative people or in situations that would feel divisive or against our core beliefs. I know that not all of the people in our lives have similar political views, but that has never really bothered me. We can cordially agree to disagree and I choose not to talk politics with other adults around my child. I believe in the choices we are presented in life and that no one should dictate our own patriotism. I'm now realizing I've created the bubble and it burst...and it scares the hell out of me.
People we love feel alone, frightened, isolated and unsure of their futures. As the days unfold we don't know what may happen. As it stands we have already seen senseless acts of bigotry, violence, hate and anger spill into streets and classrooms. IT'S DAY 1 and he isn't even in office yet. It is up to us all to come together, but I will be honest and (as always in this blog) raw and real with you: I am afraid. Not for me, but for my son. For his innocence, his kind heart, his loving spirit and his open mind. He doesn't know hate, but the world around us all is becoming more and more hateful. I'm terrified.
I can't change who we as a country have elected as president, but I can be part of positive change, and so can you. If I have learned anything from this election it is the enormous power of words. We have been bombarded with negative ads, explosive reactions, damaging language and hateful speech. Words that, even though we may not realize it, surround our children and the world they live in. You are the one who controls the narrative in your home. Choose your words wisely and with great consideration. Stop and breathe. Remember little ears hear everything. Little eyes see everything. And remember your kids know you better than you think. They see your reaction and they react. They emulate you. When they say "be the change you want to see in the world" that's this moment right now with your children and every moment moving forward. The change is you Mom and Dad. The other lesson I have learned in this process is the stop and listen. Hear your children. You are their anchor and their compass. No politician will ever be that for them. You are the INSPIRATION for GENERATIONS. Are they expressing concern or fear? My son is almost 4. It's our inner circle that is his guide. His father and I stand united in our love for him, our love of country and our commitment to teaching him positive values and ethics. No one can come into our homes and teach him otherwise. It is with a level head, an open heart, and a sincere respect for our jobs as parents that we will choose to teach our child compassion and caring for the community and how to be an involved and integral part of the positivity we represent as creatives, influencers and members of a global citizenship. He is us and we are him. We will hear him and be his advocate and voice for change. It won't be easy and we will and have been met with opposition in the past but its with real and true LOVE that we move forward as proud parents to someone who really can change the world. Believe me, this family of mine has been through some crazy times before and we have worked hard to overcome them, and we will not stop now.
As I write this tears are falling down my face. I know that today and for many more days people will be hurt and violated, degraded and dismissed. They will be met with hate and anger, with ignorance and with violence. I cry because that's someone's mother, son, daughter, sister and brother, friends and spouses. And I mourn the loss of my silly little bubble of a life that I thought was one of love and light and positivity. We don't live there any more. It's time for me to wake up, get focused, and move forward with strength, hope and optimism that for all of the bad we see in the world there is an equal good and that I can only try to be part of that movement.
I have no other words other than, as always...
W & B
Warning: This post contains real confessions from my parenting experience. Not all of them funny or the happiest moments of my life, but all of them real and raw and HONEST.
- I have been known to flip my son "the bird" behind his back if he's acting like a little monster.
- I will be honest, pregnancy was pretty easy for me. I didn't gain too much weight, or have weird cravings, or get hemorrhoids or stretch marks. I did, however, gain a new sense of anxiety that has never left me. At times the anxiety can be paralyzing. I don't like taking my son into crowds because too many people scare me. Driving has reached grandma level over-cautiousness. And anything like foods or medicines that don't meet some majorly overwhelming standard I have created in my head are outlawed. There are lists upon lists of things that I just can't even when it comes to my child. Am I weird? No. Is that normal? Yes. Does it feel like my fears are weird and abnormal? Completely.
- If my son gets a bad report from the teacher, I take it way too personally.
- Don't get me wrong...all kids are a blessing. That being said, I don't like all children. Some are creepy.
- I'm grateful to Steve Jobs and everyone at Apple for inventing the iPad...
- The first time my son spent the night with someone else while I wasn't there felt like someone ripped out my heart and split it in half. One half was happy and felt free, the other half felt lonely and empty and guilty. What is that about? He should be with the people who love him! But me? I just felt a deep sense of conflict and heartbreak. It has since healed a bit, but I don't think I'll ever feel 100% ok with not sleeping in the next room or right next to him all night, every night. I often cry when he's not there.
- As if I'm not conflicted about the above enough...I dream of taking a vacation...ALONE. I mean, I never will, but a girl can have a dream (or a whole secret Pinterest Board about it), amiright?
- I cannot stand the other parents at school sometimes...hence, the fact that I don't have many friends. Very few people annoy me these days.
- Once my son fell off of the bed and got a goose egg on his head... I almost had a heart attack. It took me months to feel like a good mom again. Months. It was awful.
- I would be happy if I never went back to work ever again and spent my days writing this blog and creating. Confession: I have a Master's Degree that I feel guilty for wasting.
- I have control issues when it comes to parenting and if everyone isn't doing everything my way I get seriously irritated. Not everyone can do what I do. Not everyone should. His Dad should do things his way, as long as we have a unified front and core values as a family. But, in the effort to be totally transparent, I feel like I have been the one doing the work for so long that everyone should do what I say. I hate that about me. It's annoying and unnecessary but it's completely honest and true. Do I express that often? No. I'm careful and I pick my battles.
- I spoil my kid. I buy him way too much. I pray I'm not creating a monster, but I like buying him things.
- Also, related to the above...toys are good bribery. Just sayin'.
- I took up running and the gym as a way to process my emotions, not to get healthy. I cry a lot at the gym.
- I have lost friends over parenting. If you're cool, but your kid is a total nightmare to be around...we can't be friends. Real Talk. Sorry.
- I have parked in the handicapped parking space at school when no other spaces are available for drop-off. I know...I'm a horrible person.
- I get excited when I don't have to make dinner for my son so someone else can stress over his nutrition and picky eating a few times a week.
- I forget to brush my sons teeth at night at least 2-3 times a week. Thank goodness these aren't permanent.
- I have never clipped my son's toenails. I can't explain it. I have literally never had to and its a mystery to me. I just go with it.
- People often say that they admire me for being a single mom, but that doesn't make me feel good. I didn't plan things this way. This is how it all played out. I made conscious decisions that led me to being a single parent. None of them easy. Some days I still feel the wounds that got our family here and it hurts. I am not a hero because I'm a single parent.
When you're elbows deep in cooking, dishes, feeding the dog, wiping up some strange mess, packing lunches and sorting the recycling then, your kiddo looks at you and asks "why" every five seconds. It seems easy to just simply retort "because I said so" or "I don't know." I get it. I feel like I live in this space constantly, but I decided a long time ago not to cheat him out of the answers he looking for just because either I'm overwhelmed or can literally say I just don't know the answer to the questions he's asking. He deserves more than that. Actually, we both do. "Why can't I jump off the roof?" Answer them honestly. "Why can't I eat candy at night?" Answer them honestly. These questions are about safety or respect and boundaries and we all have them and we all need to be answered honestly when we have questions. All of us. Now I'm not implying my son is some sort of prodigy or genius or any of that, but his "why" questions have gotten quite deep lately. I'm taking this opportunity to listen, to REALLY listen and to try my best to get where he's coming from. Do we really know who our children are? We think we know who they are. We created and raise them and so we think that gives us some automatic insight into who and what these tiny humans are all about...but are we right? DO WE REALLY KNOW? Or are we just assuming we know.
I was prepared to answer "why the boys have a penis and girls don't", or "why he can't use the F-Word at Target", or even "why Mommy bleeds when she pees sometimes."(Yup, I've been asked all of those at the most in opportune times...like in line at the movies, or just before hearing the specials at A niceish restaurant filled with people.) I wasn't prepared to answer questions I had never thought of before...like "Why did Tim Burton write Nightmare Before Christmas?" Or "Why George Lucas create Star Wars?" Or the best yet "Why do brains help me use my imagination? What makes brains work?" I'll be honest. It takes a while to explain things, and for the most part I have to google or ask Siri A LOT of questions. I'm totally OK with my child knowing that I don't know everything. It's the truth, its honest. If he knew that I knew everything he would stop trying to know things. He would assume it just all comes with growing up. IT DOESN'T! His search for knowledge is my search. His imagination is helping me use mine. His creativity is sparking my creativity. That's the journey here, folks. This is what all those "Whys" and "What does this do" questions are all about. Growing, learning, changing, testing their knowledge.
If they ask you a question try. I know that sometimes it's hard and we get busy and maybe the answer is complicated or difficult to explain, but answer them. If you need to, look it up. Some of my best memories growing up were looking up answers to things in the encyclopedias that lined the shelves in our room. There is something truly wonderful about what we learn outside of the classroom. Those questions are not just their way of figuring out the world, but as a way to relate to it and to YOU! They want to know who you are, what you like, what makes you happy. The never-ending questions are annoying and sometimes even just bad timing, but answer them. Put down the dishes or the recycling or work or whatever it is that seems like it can't wait and help them find what they're looking for...it may just be that little extra with you, talking to you, looking this and that up online or in a book with you that is really what they're seeking.
- Because telling my son "no" means that I love him. Often times B will say "mommy you're so mean" when I am telling him that he can't do something. That's because I want him to learn to be safe and be respectful. I love him. I want better for him. Telling him he cannot jump off of things or run around a restaurant is to teach him to be better and to act better. My love for him is more important than being easy on him or making my life easier by letting him run rampant like a wild animal.
- Because his behavior now can shape who he becomes in the future. I want my son to learn to love school, learn to love being in social situations, learn to make the right choices in these situations and learn to behave. I communicate with caretakers and teachers about his behavior daily and if he isn't behaving the way I expect him to (with regards to safety and respect) I have to reprimannd him. He has privileges taken away (like his iPad or whatever toy he's obsessing over at the time) as a consequence for poor behavior. I'm not asking for perfect. I'm asking for him to learn to make good choices. Progress not perfection. Kids will be kids.
- Because I am his compass and his anchor. As his parent my job is to guide him through life and to be the one who grounds him when he needs it. I don't mean ground him like punish him but to ground him as in giving him the basic knowledge about life. This is the task given to us as parents, and its one I don't take lightly.
- Because 99.9% of the time I get a huge return on my investment when it comes to discipline. He's a great kid. I do not have a lot of issues with him, but that being said it takes effort to get good results.
- Because being "cool mommy" isn't on my list of priorities when raising a strong-willed, intelligent, creative and curious young man. My priorities are to facilitate his best traits. I'm not concerned with B "liking" everything I say or do, I am concerned with the love we have for one another.
- Because I respect my son. I listen to him, I communicate with him, I try my best to recognize who he is as a person, but sometimes telling him "no" or "not right now" falls out of my mouth way too easily. I am responsible for recipricating respect when he is behaving well, and rewarding that with more autonomy and independence. Again, progress not perfection.
1. Listening to the recent Presidential Debate reminded me of conversations with my own "threenager." He talks over me, throws a tantrum at the first sign of my opposition, creates irrational explanations and flat-out lies to get what he wants...sound familiar? All kiddo is missing is an orange spray tan and a comb-over. 2. Having a child exacerbates all of my insecurities. I'm much more introverted than one would think. At any point in time your child can draw attention to you. It's a legit nightmare.
3. A few days ago I caught my son in the bathroom "washing" his Batman in the toilet. He said it was because it was a "Batman sized bathtub." Gross.
4. I have come to realize that I plan special outings not based solely on whether or not Boo will have fun or not (that's a given) but on whether or not it will make him tired enough to go to bed early. Is that terrible?
5. I absolutely hate Boo's soccer games. Its hot, he doesn't want to play. It dawned on us that he didn't realize that in a game its ok to take the ball away from the opposing team...that's the whole point of the game. So we told him that he could...instead he immediately went over and pushed some random kid on the soccer field and looked at us with a great big smile on his face... PARENT FAIL 3,259...oops.
6. I will make up any excuse and have even made up errands that needed to be run just to avoid getting out the Playdoh...because I have a brand new rug. Now, that's horrible.
7. My son asked me if he would ever get a brother or a sister...I told him to ask his Dad for that.
8. I saw a lady pushing triplet infants in a stroller and thought, "When they turn 3, she's F*&#ed."
9. While wearing workout clothes my son told me he could see my "bah-geen-ah" (which is what he calls a vagina)...I immediately ran to check and see if I had cameltoe. Like I said, kids heighten every insecurity you have times a million.
10. While reading a magazine at the checkout counter the other day I realized that my body type has literally gone out of style. "Butts are 'in' and 'boobs' are out." WTF? Really? What are they trying to do to women? Don't we have enough to worry about? How does an entire body shape that is dictated by genetics, miles logged on a treadmill and the amount of Oreos I may or may not have eaten simply go "out of style?" F that!
I will admit that recently I have made some major life changes. It was time. I'm 36, single, a mother, and I'm on a journey to find out what I can do for myself to be a happier person. That isn't to say I am or was totally depressed and dissatisfied with my life, but I knew something was missing. I was right. A lot of things were missing. So...I made some changes, and today I can say I am living a happier life. I thought I would share them with you. Maybe you can relate, maybe you want change in your life too, or maybe you'll just think I'm a total hippy dippy new-age weirdo. I'm not making any apologies for any of the following, because being a mother and an actual person, I deserve to be happy and so do you. 1. I changed my surrounding environment. I will acknowledge this isn't for everyone, but I moved. I needed to change my whole environment. My old house was holding some bad ju-ju and I could feel it all burdening me. You don't have to move, but you can change your environment. Lighten up the paint color, change the lighting, reorganize the closets, always keep fresh flowers for the house, buy yourself some new bedding. Little changes in your space can bring you large amounts of joy.
2. I accepted my body for what it was, then decided to love it. I have battled my weight for my whole life. As long as I can remember enjoying food, I've battled food. But food wasn't loving me back, it wasn't filling a void or making me happy. It was weighing me down! Emotionally and physically. I changed the way I fed my body...my awesome, curvatious, strong, beautiful and imperfectly perfect body. I started by leaving out carbs and adding more vegetables. Not because I want to be a Kardashian or anything, but because my body is what I rely on the wake me up in the morning and carry me through the day. I need a healthy body and a clear mind to take care of Boo. Once I nixed the crappy foods out of my daily diet (I use Sunday as a "cheat day") I started sleeping better, noticed my shape was changing, my hair grew faster, my mind was sharper, I didn't need coffee to feel awake, and my skin looked fabulous. Hello!?! Who doesn't want to feel better?
3. I started using exercise as a morning mediatation...and planning my world domination. Everyday (except Monday which is used for errands and appointments) I take the time to walk 2-5 miles, hit the gym and lift some weights, or swim for at least 30-45 minutes. I put on my workout clothes, lace up my shoes, pop on my headphones, crank up my hip-hop playlists and GO! While my body is sweating and working hard, my mind races. This is the time during the day that I collect my thoughts, I plan these blogs, I let my creative juices flow...and by the time I have finished I usually have a cohesive idea that I quickly jot down in iNotes. It's the most creative and emotionally productive time of day. By allowing myself to just be "in the zone" I allow myself to connect with a part of me that's often neglected while "momming." It's made me happier than I can ever really express into word, but I try during these posts.
4. I started letting Dad be Dad. I found myself in an overwhelmed and overly controlled mindset...and I had to stop!! It was driving me crazy. Admitting to myself that I can't be everyone and everything to Boo all of the time and that it was time to set some of that aside and allow Daddy to take over was a HUGE and I mean mountainous, gargantuan, colossal decision for me. It was time. Being a single parent is hard, but not allowing someone to help and be the other parent is like making life ten times harder, solely because I couldn't relinquish the control. It took a lot of communication (which is key) and some major trust building, and probably some very annoying instructional guidance for me to be ok with allowing someone else take over some of the responsibility but in the long run I am much happier and so is my child. With the new-found free time I've been able to reconnect with my own goals...and smash them left and right. Bonus!
5. I started walking with my head up. Don't look down. Just keep your chin level and your eyes on the horizon. Look at the world in front of you. I make eye contact with more people, smile and nod. Shoulders back, spine straight and check out what's going on. It's amazing how just looking up from my phone or from my feet has given me more confidence. No amount of Facebook "Likes" or Instagram ❤️ can replace a strangers smile or catching a precious moment between two people. This universe is a truly complex place and you're in it! Be part of it. Let go of what you think you're missing and be present in the thing you're actually in.
I think it's really important to not only have goals and ambitions in life to check off your ultimate bucket list, but also having a "parenting bucket list" for all of the things you hope to achieve with these little humans we're raising. Here's my list, some things have been checked off the list, some have not, and some are a constant work in progress. 1. Create a garden. I think it's important to teach Boo the importance of caring for living things and the circle of life through planting seeds and watching them grow. The opportunity to harvest the veggies, and ultimately eat them (I hope...crossing fingers) is a special lesson in how wonderful life really can be.
2. Watch him perform on stage. My insecurities have held me back a lot in my life from feeling fully free to be who I am. I want to see him be uninhabited by fear and really let his freak flag fly! I only wish I was that brave as a child.
3. Go camping. Because much of our life is controlling messes and chaos, I want to go just be out there in the world with him and the dirt and natures and not feel the need to constantly control his urge to get dirty and just be human and explore nature.
4. Travel somewhere exotic. I want to see things I have never seen with him, experience culture I've never experienced by his side and eat foods I never imagined existed while giggling with anticipation and a hint of hesitation. We see so many of their firsts, I guess I just don't want that feeling to ever go away.
5. Stand up for what we believe in together. When he finds a cause, I will champion it. When he finds a passion, I will support it, when he feels like someone is wronged and stands up for his convictions, I will stand beside him. I want him to know his values are my values and I believe in his heart and spirit.
6. Find a common interest and practice that together weekly. Maybe we both like painting, or cooking new recipes, fishing, or playing the ukulele...whatever it is that we both really love, I want to share that with him so he has those memories forever. That once a week we did "our thing."
7. Make a complete ass of myself for his own enjoyment. I want him to know that even though as adult we can be crazy insecure and create walls around themselves I am able to get passed those things just for him. Because that's how much I love him...I would be willing to make a complete spectacle of myself just so he laughed.
8. Make our own family traditions. Just because our family is different and small won't mean that it's lacking in traditions or customs. I want him to know the uniqueness of our lives together and how special that will be for him as he grows older.
9. Listen to him. I mean really listen and teach him to really listen to me, and others. Seems simple, but it's not. We are so busy most of the time that I have to ask myself, "am I really listening and hearing what he's saying to me?" I want him to know that I am, and I want to know that he hears me too. Every once in a blue moon I do have something profound so say.
10. Stay up all night and watch the sunrise. Everyday brings something new and I want him to know that I will be here for all of it. The good, the bad and the ugly. The dark times and the light.
As a huge 'fan girl' and a Mom of a 'little rebel' (see what I did there?) I must admit that a huge portion of my life revolves around Star Wars. I blame my older brother and my mom. They ruined me for life. The object of my geeky fan obsession grew into a model for how I would be handling motherhood. As I have grown into my own as a parent I have come to realize much of this life is about learning to be Jedi AF. Much like Master Yoda and Luke Skywalker, it doesn't matter how late you enter the game you will struggle, and that is how you will learn. The Force will be with you. Trust me.
Padawan Phase: This is the Jedi Parent in training. During that first year everyone goes through the ups and downs of learning what to actually do with your youngling. These are the times when everyday brings something new to learn and through those lessons you become more and more "force sensitive." Don't worry. You will get the hang of it, but in the moment it all seems like foreign territory. You'll be peed on, pooped on, and barfed on, and to make it really awesome, probably all of those at once while at Target or some really special family occasion. The first time this happens you will undoubtedly freak out. It's ok, we all do it. I know it seems like other parents have it all handled; they seem to have it all under control. Here's a secret, they didn't the first time. Real Talk: No one really has it all together, we are just more prepared now. We can sense the dark side because it's all too familiar at this point.
I had a Padawan moment pretty early on. I needed to go run some errands with him in tow. He seemed fussy, but I figured it was gas. I was told to rub his back and pat him gently if he had gas and constipation (which he did) so I rubbed, as instructed by some Jedi baby nurse...but she failed to tell me to beware of projectile poop. My beautiful little rebel shat all over me, the carrier, his baby blanket, and somehow it even ended up in the diaper bag. The only lucky thing about this situation was that it was in the parking lot of Whole Foods, not actually in the store. I was able to quickly change him and get him somewhat cleaned up...but I drove home with baby poop all over ME. Good times. I thought he had exploded like the Death Star, and we both smelled more like a dead Tan-Tan. Needless to say, I haven't left my house without a full change of clothing for both of us in the car for three and a half years!
These youglings don't just come to us with a handbook, nor does any really hand you a your child and say "I'll be here 24/7, just in case you need me, and I will teach you everything you need to know and hold your hand the entire time." Reality check! That doesn't happen!! This is, however, the point in your training to learn to rely on your Master-Padawan relationships and learn from your friends and family...cause they have been in the battle and they know their skills. Get to know other parents with older children, lean on family, and have a group that you can trade tips with, even online support like FB groups have helped me in the past.
Padawan Parents, you will be forced out of your comfort zone, made to endure things you never thought you would do. You will have to let down your guard and be willing to admit you need help. It's totally normal. None of us know what the hell we got ourselves into for the first year or so. (If someone tells you different, they're lying!!) Try to remember, this is also the parenting phase when all of the amazing firsts happen. First smile, first tooth, first awkward roll and clumsy crawl, first giggles and babbles will melt your heart. It's all a balance of wonderfully excellent, beautiful, terrifyingly awful and very, very gross...all in one.
There are levels to this whole deal. Just when you think you have Padawan phase on lock, you graduate to "Jedi" and then the struggle gets real...
Keep following me for the next in this series The Jedi Parent.
1. In the last two years I have not taken a shower without simultaneously repairing a toy in the process. Example: just a few weeks ago I was in the shower and my son lugged in the entire Hot Wheels racetrack for me to "fix" while I had shampoo running into my eyes and one leg in mid-shave....and to tell you the truth, I'm not sure I actually finished shaving the leg but the toy was "fixed." 2. I have recently asked an entire car load of adults if they have all gone "pee-pee" before we left an establishment.
3. I loath soccer games for my son. It's 100 degrees in the shade, my son is melting down every 7 minutes, by the time they start playing he's had a gallon of water to drink and has to pee, the uniform gave him a heat rash, and by the time it's all done I need a strong mimosa and a nap.
4. I recently discovered I own an overwhelming number of cups for my son...he uses two. These are legitimately the only two cups on the face of the earth that will do. Any mention of the other cups or suggestion to use the other cups creates mass hysteria...I avoid that drama at all cost.
5. I Pinterest a lot of hairstyles that I will never: 1) have the skill to accomplish or 2) have time to accomplish. #mombun
6. My son was in the bath the other day and I glanced over and saw him reaching for a small, brown, floating object. I went into panic mode. "No! Don't touch that! Is that a Poop?!?!".....it was a toy otter. He rolled his eyes at me. I almost stroked out, and let me just say, I threw the otter toy away. I'm too old for that kind of anxiety.
7. My current clothing size ranges somewhere between "I can't eat the rest of the day if I wear this" and "I'll have a third taco, please...no one will ever know."
8. The back seat of my car consists of: 3 empty sippy cups, 2 pairs of kid sized shoes, 3 socks (don't ask where the fourth is...I have no idea), 2 batmen, and a dozen used boogie wipes.
9. The other day I accidentally dozed off, only to be awoken by a nerf "bullet" straight to the boob.
10. I'm getting my hair done this week...Its the most exciting thing to happen to me since the last season of Game Of Thrones.
It sucks. Not because I am being stand-offish or rude, but because I don't know how to honestly answer the question without bursting into tears. It's a tough question to ask and a tougher one to answer. Having my son is the greatest and best thing that has ever happened to me, for me, or that I will ever be part of. No career or higher education, no relationship or marriage, no accomplishment however big or small makes me feel like being a mother does. All of that being said, people often feel the need to ask me if he is enough, and I am expected to come up with an answer to that isn't,"well, that's none of your damn business" because when they ask I think they genuinely want to know how I feel. I will try to answer to the best of my ability to all of you, and maybe you can relate...or at least maybe you'll think before you ask the loaded question at hand.
My road to motherhood wasn't paved with gold, that's for sure. Little known fact about me: I was previously married and tried to have children for years. During that time everything on the outside looked good. We looked happy. We had a great lake house, went on vacations, enjoyed the good life to the fullest and with all of that decided to try to start a family. People thought we had it all...but I was miserable. I was eating my feelings of sadness and loneliness, my husband drank his fears of never giving me a child or being a good partner, and eventually that marriage disintegrated into oblivion. I thought at that time that I would just never be the mother I envisioned myself being. Freeing myself from the heart-break of a failed marriage and failed attempts to have a family was enough drive me into a new relationship very quickly, and with that I found myself pursuing a higher education and reaching for goals that I never imagined before. I moved to Brooklyn and thought to myself," this is where you're meant to be, in a new life" and then...boom! Four months after moving I found myself pregnant, in a rocky relationship, and very, very overwhelmed. I have been a single mother since my son was four months old, and everyday has been a tough but joyous journey into my own personal ever-evolving story of parenting. Almost four years later I am in a good place with being a single mom, co-parenting, and living my own life. It took all of those struggles to find myself standing where I am today.
Understandably, friends and family ask if I want more children, if I ever want to be married again, and if I am planning on living the single-mom life forever. The short answer is, I just don't know. There are so many factors to answering, that sometimes I find myself welling up with tears and just avoiding the interrogation all together. I can't escape myself, though. I look in the mirror often and ask myself about this very topic.
I am single. I am not dating. This is a choice. Doesn't mean I couldn't have more children, but will I? It's not all about me. I have my son to consider. There isn't anything I enjoyed more about my childhood than having a big brother. He's my lifelong best friend and ally. I'm positive my son would be a fantastic big brother, but how would I explain that they have different fathers? Would an adopted child feel the void of a daddy? Would a new partner create drama between my son's father and I after all the years of struggling to get to positive place as it is? I have the greatest support system ever. My family is behind any decisions I make and have held my hand and wiped my tears countless times, and I imagine they would do that again in the future. So, I have that going for me.
I truly LOVED pregnancy. I was at my best. I felt strong and healthy...like a warrior! I could do that again, no problem! I can also see myself wanting to help a woman who is faced with the choice of taking on the world as a single mother or putting their child up for adoption. It's a difficult decision that I know many women face everyday. My heart is open and willing. I think I have enough love for a dozen children, if need be. But will I ever become a mother again?
See what I mean? It's such a hard question to answer. The infinite dreamer in me says "Yes! More babies...I want all the babies!" The hyper realist says "No, I have been given enough and this is all I can handle." I would like to say I am a blend of both of those things most of the time. Maybe one day whatever will be, will be and that will be good. I have learned to try to give all that up to a higher power and just pray that I can be content and happy with the life that I am working hard to create today, and that whatever tomorrow brings is welcome with open arms. With each passing birthday I know my chances are slimmer and slimmer that giving birth to another baby may not be my reality. And with each day my son grows older and more independent and I delve deeper into a career path the idea of having a new baby in the house seems like a distant memory, I face the mirror and ask, "Will this be enough?" In this moment my answer is "yes." This makes me whole. I have been given what I once never thought I would have, and I am completely OK with that. But tomorrow...well I just don't know.
Every time I pull into the preschool parking lot images of the movie Mad Max flood through my brain. I totally understand that people are in a rush or whatever but when we are dropping our kids off at school let's try to act like we've been somewhere before, am I right?Here's why driving in the school parking lot is killing me:
1. Why the hell are you looking at your phone and "driving" and in a parking lot filled with people? If you haven't noticed, you happen to be driving like a hive of bees has been let loose in your minivan! Whatever it is you're doing on that thing can wait.
2. Children are darting everywhere....hold on to them! I know it's hard to hold onto a toddler, push a stroller, balance the 47 items you have to bring into the school and look at your phone (again with the damn phone) but seriously I have had legit 3 mini heart attacks recently because I have seen a toddler running out in front of cars in the parking lot or behind a car that has its reverse lights on and it's rolling backward. I really can't handle being that terror-striven at 9 in the morning.
3. Everyone drives a tank. I get it, we have kids...BUT learn to park said tank into a regular parking space allotted without parking 4 inches from my passenger side. It seems like as soon as I pull into my space and put my car into park a tank pulls in next to me, leaving no room to get my kid out of the car. Ummm...OK, I am annoyed AF but not wanting to be the "rage mom" I try to pull my kid out from the drivers side...while a tank is waiting and has had the brass cojones to beep at me letting me know their trying to pull in to the available space on my driver's side. I'm trying people, you're leaving me literally no room to function.
4. You either can't follow the crossing guards directions or you don't care, but I saw three cars last week drive as if no one was helping other kids across the street. Don't be an ass. They're doing their job, now you do yours and drive like a decent human binge, please.
5. Your standing behind my car while chatting it up, lattes in hand, ready for the gym, and casually discussing your child's gluten-free-no-theme-themed-birth-anniversary party...or some other goofy shit. Please move. We're new here and I'm trying to not make a bad impression so when I ask you to move (in the politest voice I possibly have) please don't roll your eyes and judge me...
I'm usually sweating bullets when I leave the parking lot most mornings. I am totally convinced that preschool parking lots are the most terrifying places on earth. Way worse than the Wal-Mart parking lot, for sure.
What do you think?