Archive for the Parenting Category

Mother’s Day Approaches…

Posted in blended families, Mother's Day, Mothers, Parenting, parenting after divorce, raising daughters, single moms, single parenting with tags , , , , , , on May 5, 2016 by sexandthesinglesoccermom

Mother’s Day is Sunday and the retail circus is in full-court press when it comes to trying to increase sales. I, of course, start thinking about what I want to do for my own mother, as well as the other mothers in my life. How can I honor them?

That led to wishing I had a partner who would help the kids do something sweet for me…or buy me flowers…or take me out to lunch. Before I knew it, I’d gotten myself in a funk. I thought about the time when my kiddos asked me what special thing I was going to make for dinner and dessert to celebrate Mother’s Day (which is actually kind of funny), because they got the concept that Mother’s Day was about celebration, but they were too young to understand what that meant. I was always the person who planned celebrations, so why wouldn’t I be the one to make this special too?

So, on a PMS low and still smarting from some recent ugliness, I got in a feel-sorry-for-myself funk.

It lasted for about an hour, long enough for me to ask my other single and divorced mom friends if they ever had Mother’s Day sadness. Everyone who answered came back with “yes”. As usually happens when I talk to friends, not only did I feel supported, but it also allowed me to take a step back and see things a bit more clearly.

The truth is, I’m amazingly lucky. I’ve got two children who are healthy and gifted with so many wonderful things: Intelligence, creativity, humor, beauty. They have a father who wants to be a part of their life and who assists me financially. They have a stepmother who tries to be a meaningful, positive presence in their lives. I have a tribe of family and friends who are there for us when we need them. My own mother is still alive and healthy and a constant presence in my life.

Not everyone has these blessings.

There’s my friend who lost her firstborn to cancer when he was a very young boy. I know she has a constant ache in her heart that will never leave.

There’s my coworker who had two miscarriages within a year, who still grieves those losses. She’s still dreaming of the day when she’ll become a mother.

There’s my friend who is a divorced mother of three, two of whom were diagnosed with Autism. Not only does the father not provide any financial support, he also makes no effort to be a part of his children’s lives. This mother does whatever she has to do to support her kids and give them every advantage she can, while also being the one daily who cares for their needs. She’s stated before that she’d be grateful if her one child was even able to verbalize “I love you”.

There are the women who’ve lost their own mothers and every Mother’s Day is a remembrance of grief.

Then there’s me. Two living, healthy, amazing kids. An ex-partner who despite our many differences still supports his children and wants to be a good parent. A mother I get to talk to daily if I want. Yet I grieved for the breakfast in bed or flowers I wouldn’t get. I felt sorry for myself that Mother’s Day ends up feeling like every other day.

Perspective is a wonderful thing and I went from sad and feeling sorry for myself to grateful within a very short span of time. I’m blessed and I need to realize it every single day.

Being a mother is amazing…and hard…and very often a job where the recognition of all the effort put in can be scanty. A day that honors mothers is nice, but it’s only one day. It’s the unexpected look of gratitude and the soft “Thank you” that comes with a hug that recognizes me. It’s the surprise cards, poems, and acts of thoughtfulness that touch my heart. It’s the sincere, “I know you do so much for us and we appreciate it.” that I get once in awhile that gives honor to the effort I put in. Most importantly, it’s watching them grow and become lovely, strong, capable young women. It’s knowing that if I do my job well enough, they’ll get to a point where they can stand on their own.

To all the mothers out there putting their heart and soul into raising kids into healthy, happy, competent adults: You are amazing. You are worthy of breakfast in bed and flowers, gifts and cards; I hope you get them. You are worthy of honor, respect, and gratitude. No matter how you came into being a mother, you are special. So happy early Mother’s Day, Sunday and every other day of the year.

 

 

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Mean Girls and Motherhood

Posted in awakening, blended families, dealing with ex's, Mothers, Parenting, parenting after divorce, raising daughters, single moms, single parenting with tags , , , , , , on April 26, 2016 by sexandthesinglesoccermom

Tonight I got cyber-slapped and it stung.

Noticing my blog views were crazy, off-the-charts high, I wondered what was going on. So I opened up my app and looked at some of the referring websites. One in particular seemed strange to me, so I followed it. What I found was a nasty surprise.

Mean girl syndrome can, apparently, last into middle age. I won’t go into a lot of detail about what I found there, except to say that it was a nasty critique of my blog and even worse, what they perceived as my failings as a human being and as a mother. Followed by lots of others jumping on the bandwagon. The person who began this has a slanted, peripheral, yet weirdly connected view of my life. They also clearly have a lot of issues with me personally.

Ironically, you might even say I got the ball rolling in the mean girl cyber world. Approximately 4 years ago, I posted something in my blog that reflected my most petty thoughts. They definitely weren’t a reflection of my best self, nor the person I wanted to be. However, despite removing them as soon as I found out the subject of the blog had read it, the damage was done. The hurt could not be apologized away.

Today, I’m the recipient of petty thoughts and meanness and it feels bad. Yet…hard to cast stones when I had to learn that lesson myself. I can wish all day long it was different and that the individual hadn’t chosen to perpetuate the cycle. But in the end, the words we put out into the world move in ways we can’t always control and can sometimes have ramifications we can’t predict.

So today, rather than continue on with the she said/she said drama game, I would like to offer an apology again. That thinking my blog, years ago, was anonymous enough that she wouldn’t find out and it allowed me to post things I’m not proud of. N0 excuse for putting it out there, but it was a powerful lesson to relearn. Once we put it out there, we can’t control it anymore. I’m sorry for the pain it caused and for the ways in which it is still living today, despite removing it from cyberspace years ago. I’m not proud of it and I wish I hadn’t done it.

The truth is, I’m flawed and I’m continually trying to battle those flaws. As anyone who’s read this blog will clearly know. Those who know me and read it see such a fuller picture and so my flaws are forgiven by them.

They see a mom who has been honest about her struggles with depression and the ways in which heartbreak has sometimes triggered that. They also see a mom who never lets it prevent her from taking care of her kids. They see kids that can witness a mother struggle with depression and sadness, a mom who cries sometimes, and realize that it’s okay to struggle. The victory is in the ability to continue doing your best, day after day, and getting up to face the world. They’ll see a mother who never gives up, who is always there for them and who works through her feelings rather than stuffing them. Do I lean on my kids too much? Perhaps if you only know me through my blog, you might read about my wise twelve year old who says something profound about love and life and think she has to constantly care-take me. If you know ME and my children, you’ll absolutely know that I’m teaching them that empathy and compassion are vital in human relationships and that sometimes we need people and sometimes we are needed. Is my child giving me a hug or telling me I just haven’t found the right person wrong if she finds out a relationship ended? Is she care-taking and having to be the adult? Have I overshared if she knows I’ve been involved with someone and that it’s ended? As I found out tonight, clearly there are some who think so. That’s ok-they get to make those decisions for themselves and their kids. Or maybe they’ve not been single, with kids. Who knows?

I know I’ve never dragged men in and out of my children’s lives. I know that in eight years of being single, they’ve met one of my significant others that I was involved with for two years. My children are sacred and so is my time with them. When I have them, it’s their time. When I don’t, they have known that I date.

And yes, I perhaps talk about my feelings a lot in this blog. That’s sort of why I started it. 🙂 It was a place for me to process and be vulnerable about things I struggle with. Clearly, the problem with vulnerability is that it leave you…well…vulnerable.. That’s ok too. There’s been plenty of times when I read something vulnerable someone posted and felt so soothed, because I could say “Hey! We’re all human beings. We all go through shit sometimes.”

As a single mom, I don’t have all the answers. There are days that I feel like my girls and I could take the world by storm, because I feel like as a mother-daughter team, we’re invincible. There are other days I sit and cry at the end of it, because I’m scared I’m screwing it all up and I just wish I had some support.

That’s the thing: I don’t have all the answers. I don’t expect other mothers, birth or step, to have all the answers either. We’re in this because we have been granted the amazing, terrifying, exciting and sometimes heartbreaking privilege of guiding amazing human beings into adulthood. The most beautiful and difficult challenge one could ever take on. Whether you carried the child in your body for nine months or you fell in love with the child’s father and the child and became part of their lives later.

What would it be like if we actually supported each other? Instead of cutting each other down with petty criticisms designed to make one person superior and the other inferior. Everyone needs to vent sometimes. But maybe…just maybe…if you tried to see that person as a human being who is doing their best, instead of as an adversary you need to have others rally around you to tear down, we could do an even better job parenting these amazing kids we’ve managed to have brought into our lives.

So…I’m going to keep writing my blog. Which is scary, because I’m making myself vulnerable. By doing that, I know you may use the opportunity to try make me appear small or one-dimensional to others. You may use the chance to pick apart my flaws–trust me, you’ll find them. You may mock me and use it against me. I’m still going to keep writing my blog. I hope you don’t. I hope that perhaps we can just band together to work on behalf of the human beings in our lives, who love us both.

However, that is up to you. It’s up to all of you. Be the light or be the darkness…which, yes, one of my flaws is a tendency toward the melodramatic when I write. Sue me. 🙂 I was part of the cycle and I’m really hoping the cycle ends with me. Mothering is hard, whether the babies came from your body or not. Amazing…and hard. Why don’t we try building each other up?

To Those Who Let Me Go: A Post of Gratitude

Posted in Dating, intuition, love, objectifying women, Parenting, parenting after divorce, Relationships, self-esteem, self-improvement, single moms with tags , , , on May 29, 2014 by sexandthesinglesoccermom

Last night, as I was putting my youngest child to bed, she looked at me and said: “Mommy, I know why you haven’t found the right person yet. It’s because every man who has met you so far knows down deep he isn’t worthy of you, so he has to let you go. When you meet someone whose mind is open, who’s worthy of you, then it will be the right person and he won’t let you go. All those other guys were just saving you pain because they knew they weren’t worthy of your love.”

Sometimes my children humble me and I feel like the child listening to their wisdom.

After my last dating run-in, these were words I badly needed to hear and imprint upon my mind and heart. My former boss, with whom I am still good friends, recently said that he planned to give a memo to my new boss letting them know their highest priority needed to be building up my confidence…in all areas of my life. My first tendency, in almost everything, is to doubt myself. What did I do wrong? What could I have done to change things?

My last date did several things that were unacceptable. Despite having let him know I didn’t plan to sleep with him that night, he was super aggressive and at one point said, “Are you going to make me beg to fuck you?” When he stood from the couch and pulled me up with him, I gently and playfully said, “Sit back down.” To which he responded with barely concealed irritation: “Don’t tell me to sit. I’m not a dog.” Finally, trying to defuse what was becoming a tense situation while he attempted to move our physical relationship to the next level (despite my having said “No” several times), I informed him I was on my period and that it definitely wouldn’t be happening that night. He very seriously asked, “Well, haven’t you ever had sex on your period?”

As I documented in my last blog, I agreed to a third date (more on that later), which he then canceled within days, abruptly ,and with what would have been no explanation if I hadn’t asked outright. The man who had gone on and on about how intelligent, interesting, deep, funny, beautiful and sexy I was, abruptly lost interest after I wouldn’t sleep with him. Especially when he implied he’d found someone else who would by stating “I’ve gone on a date with someone else and I think I want to pursue that before you and I go further.” Complete and total 180, within 2 days.

First of all: I’m sad that I agreed to a third date. I’m sad that I’ve grown in so many ways, but have not yet grown into a woman who feels powerful enough to recognize when disrespect, rather than desire and devotion, is what’s being offered. I feel sad that the thought of being wanted, even by someone I’m not certain I want, still makes me feel like I am “more” than being alone. I once again have to look into my own personal mirror and realize that passiveness and desire to avoid confrontation is a problem that’s led to some heartbreaking situations; it’s still present, despite my efforts to rise up, speak my truths and stand my ground. I’ll fight for what I believe is right. I’ll fight for the sake of others. Apparently, fighting for myself is something I still need to master. I know that eventually my intuition and courage would have risen and I’d have listened to them enough to have not tolerated the situation indefinitely, but my first response is still one that honors the other person more than me. That absolutely has to change. It breaks my heart that my first internal question, after the boorish behavior of my date, was to wonder why he didn’t want me. My go-to feeling is one of shame and lack of worth, which creates a cycle in which I’m always grasping at someone else who can make me feel worthy, which means I’m then willing to accept things that SHOULD be unacceptable.

Second, my beautiful, precious child who loves me so much, has helped to inspire me toward a deeper awareness of all these thought patterns. This man didn’t cancel our date because I’m not enough; he canceled because he’s not. He’s not enough to inspire my trust or love and he’s not man enough to build my admiration. Instead of feeling like I’m unworthy, I need to feel grateful that he released me at a time when I didn’t see myself (or him) with enough clarity to make a decision that was in my best interest. I need to feel empowered to fight for myself, to love myself and to hold out for someone who really sees me. Not just someone who wants to “fuck” me, whether I am ready for that step or not, and who’ll leave for the first woman who doesn’t tell him no. I need to stay strong and realize that I am complete and worthy on my own.

So today, I’m trying to feel a sense of gratitude for all those men who released me from their lives, even when I didn’t understand why. Perhaps it is that on some level, they realized they couldn’t be the man I needed them to be, rather than it being an expression of my lack of worth. I’m going to try to have gratitude that in those moments when I felt lonely and weak and couldn’t reach clarity, something moved them to let me go. Because one day there will be a man who really sees me. He’ll see I’m often serious and introspective, but that I’m easily pulled into silly fun and I’m quick to laugh. He’ll recognize that my tranquility and ability to intellectualize situations masks strong and powerful emotions and he’ll think my passion is sexy. He’ll know that one of my greatest gifts and weaknesses is my ability give completely and deeply, but he won’t take advantage of it by always putting his own needs above mine. He’ll appreciate my sensuality, without feeling entitled to my sexuality unless I’m ready to share it. He won’t be perfect, because I’m certainly not. But he’ll be perfect for me.

I’m lonely, but I will work on believing in and trusting myself and not settling. I will choose to believe my daughter who holds my face in her hands and says, “Mommy, I don’t know why you’re not married again. It seems like every man in the world would be in love with you. You’re the most beautiful, wonderful, loving person I know and I love you so much.”

With someone like that on my side, how can I possibly lose hope?

In memory of a victorious, beautiful spirit: “To those who have given up on love: I say, “Trust life a little bit.” ~ Maya Angelous

The Ebb and Flow of Feelings

Posted in anxiety, depression, Parenting, Relationships, self-esteem, self-improvement on March 5, 2014 by sexandthesinglesoccermom

So, just a few weeks ago I posted this wonderful blog about how much better I’ve been doing and how many moments of pure joy I’ve experienced lately. I even waxed poetic…something about stringing together the moments of joy into a necklace to light my way into dark days. Or some nonsense like that.

I wish my necklace had a few more moments on it.

I am trying to keep in mind that life and emotions are an ebb and flow and it’s easy to get trapped into thinking “I feel like shit today, so my life must be shit”. Or thinking that things are so wonderful and beautiful we’re surprised when things change on what feels like  a whim. Life, and feelings, are so fluid and transitory. But boy, it sure doesn’t feel that way when the dark times hit.

The last two weeks have been a big, steaming pile of crap. There was crap before, but I was managing to handle it. The extra crap, on top of the normal crap, is starting to wear me down.

My ceiling still has a hole in it, although at least an insurance adjuster is finally going to come and see if I can get it fixed ($750 deductible out of pocket). My car has to go in for work ($1027 out of pocket). I’m now sleeping, hopefully very temporarily, in my children’s bedroom in a family bed. Every night. I love them, but it’s starting to get to me. I’m cold all the time and I’ve almost lost all motivation to live except for in front of my heater or under a blanket. The realization (prompted by my father) that I hadn’t changed my furnace filter in years may, hopefully, lead to a warmer house. I had a horrific stomach bug for a week, yet had to drag myself to work because of drama. I’ve had ongoing drama with THEY WHO SHALL NOT BE NAMED and it has really started to get old and wear on my spirit. I decided to get brave and ask someone out with whom there was a flirtation, only to be told that he had a “reputation” he had to uphold during his pending divorce and that he probably couldn’t be seen around town with me, but since I was cute he’d totally be up for a “make-out session” at his house. Hmmm…I think that only works if I hate myself. Since I don’t, I declined. I wondered if he might be a douchebag before I asked him out for a drink, but I didn’t expect such complete confirmation so quickly. My children have been at each other’s throats and my parenting has felt like it mainly consists of mediation lately. My workouts the last two weeks have been almost nonexistent and yesterday, when I worked out, I thought I might die. Today I’m so sore I can barely move.

And rolling around it all is the anger that is still percolating about my blog and the invasion that happened. I’ve had a lot of thoughts around ethics and what responsibility a writer has when discussing another person, even one whom they don’t specifically name. I’ll probably get around to that at a future date.  Yet I’m very much feeling like my blog is tainted, much as I did when D informed me he’d been reading it. Again, I can’t stop people from reading if I choose to publish it on the internet. But the strong feeling of ickiness and violation is persisting. I’ve had a promise the blog will never again be read by THEY WHO SHALL NOT BE NAMED, but I heard that just last week and had it proven to me very quickly it wasn’t true.

So, I’m trying to take some deep breaths and remember these emotions are transitory. Life could change within a few minutes. Breathe through the bad times and don’t get too comfortable in the great times. Change is inevitable and I have to look for the beauty in every moment and accept it when things suck. Life isn’t out to get me, it’s just the journey.

Breathing in, breathing out…trying to be mindful and in the present moment. Crying when I need to cry and laughing when I need to laugh. Waiting for the sunshine and warmth to return and lend some cheer to what has felt like the long, hard winter. Only a few weeks until spring…

 

A Slice of Motherhood On The “Holy” Day

Posted in Mother's Day, Mothers, Parenting with tags , , , on May 14, 2013 by sexandthesinglesoccermom

Sunday was Mother’s Day, which is celebrated in America as though it were  holy. Mothers are suddenly elevated to Christ-like status and cards, gifts and visits are all lined up to make sure the women who gave birth to us know how amazing we think they are. I got texts from people I barely know proclaiming: “Happy Mother’s Day!” This morning everyone is asking: “How was your Mother’s Day?”. Because, of course, I must have been in a swoon of maternal bliss all day long, right?

Well…

This past week I’ve felt amazed, grateful, horrified, amused, angry, touched, bewildered, bewitched and horrified by my children, sometimes all within the same hour. I’ve kissed them and told them how amazing they are, then the same day yelled at them and asked why they were being jerks. I’ve looked at both of them and wondered how they managed to grow up and become so mature, then wanted to toss them out the window a few hours later for fighting over who gets to sit on my lap first. Actually, I’ve wanted to toss them out the window multiple times. I missed them all the nights they were with their Dad, then wondered why I missed them when they were finally back with me.

Saturday morning I was in my car driving for an hour trying to get to my child’s volleyball game. When a huge traffic glitch made me miss the game (indeed, I never even made it to the game), I pulled over into a parking lot and cried for ten minutes at the thought of disappointing her. On Mother’s Day I ooohed and aaahed over the handmade gifts they made for me, then I made them lunch and helped mediate several small sibling skirmishes. I helped my oldest pack for a week-long field trip (the longest time away from home ever) and took her shopping for last-minute camping gear ($90 that I could ill-afford). I made a special dinner (last meal before the long trip!). When the break-and-bake cookies I purchased the day before as special treat could not be located (I’m sure I’ll find them rotting somewhere insane later), instead, we moved to a bag of Chips Ahoy cookies as a second-rate treat…then abandoned them when we discovered an ant infestation creating a home amidst the chocolate chips. Finally, scrounging, I dipped a scoop of only slightly freezer-burned vanilla ice cream and drizzled chocolate and chocolate chips over the top. It was pronounced mostly good and the dessert treat was saved.

Later that night, as I was cuddling them both (in my bed, as a special treat again) they bickered over who was touching more of my body. It was “stop making that noise!” and “You’re on my side!”. Finally, one of my children comments on how skinny she is and how she feels like a freak. I reply back with: “All bodies are different. You’re very thin and your sister is more rounded and you’re both beautiful.” This prompts my youngest to proclaim: “You’re saying I’m fat!”. I very emphatically deny this and let her know I am NOT saying she’s fat.

“Everyone thinks I’m fat.”

“That’s simply not true. What makes you say that?” I ask her gently. Her lip trembles and she finally says, *— called me a ‘big, fat pig’!” Turning toward her and holding her, I tell her firmly: “You are not a big, fat pig. You are a beautiful, smart, amazing girl and I love you. Anyone who says that is simply wrong and being very unkind. I’m so sorry they said that about you. I’ll bet that hurt your feelings, didn’t it?”

Her lip trembling dissolved into weeping and she buried her face in my neck. As I tried to talk to her about it, her sister tapped impatiently on the wall and made little, huffing noises of unhappiness. Finally, the oldest bursts out with: “This is SO boring. I’m so bored. Can we PLEASE stop talking about this? It makes me feel awkward.” Her sister continues to weep her pain and hurt into my neck…

…and I briefly wonder if I’m raising a child completely devoid of compassion, who will grow up to be a sociopath. A few more impatient words from her about boredom and I finally lose it and furiously tell her to leave the room if she’s so bored. Which she does. I mutter an exhausted and exasperated, “Jesus!”, to which my youngest begins to recite the 10 commandments to me (WTF???) and tells me I’m taking God’s name in vain (again…WTF???).  My frustration level growing, I snap at her, tell her sister to come and get in the bed, then turn off the light and leave the room. Thirty minutes later I pass by the room and hear my oldest daughter calling out to me.

“Mom…I’m sorry.” She says in a quiet voice. I hug her and we have a conversation about compassion and I tell her I love her. I kiss her sleeping sister’s forehead. I clean up the kitchen, start laundry and take care of last-minute details for the big field trip. Upon coming to bed and kissing my sleeping children again (because I’m sad that I snapped at them), I realize I am so heartsick about the “big, fat pig” comment that I can’t sleep. At midnight I get back up and do yoga, then finally fall into bed 30 minutes later. At 5 a.m. I’m awakened by my oldest, informing me her sister has peed in the bed. So I get back up, put dry towels under her butt and force her to get up and strip off the wet clothes. I lay there for 30 minutes, realizing my alarm will be going off at 6, then finally get up and start the day (which now includes stripping the bedding). I make them a great breakfast, for which they both hug and kiss me and say “thank you”.

And that’s motherhood.

Sometimes I am understanding and patient, knowing just the right thing to say. Sometimes I’m frustrated and lose my temper, yell, then have to go back and apologize. Sometimes I’m so on top of this parenting thing I amaze myself. Then other days I realize the shoebox I’ve given my child to carry her show-and-tell to school in has a half-naked pin-up girl on it. There are moments I’m driving down the road and we’re all singing at the top of our lungs and I see happy, rosy-cheeked kids and feel like a success. Then they open up the glovebox and discover breast-augmentation pads I tried as a lark one night, then felt ridiculous and pulled them out before I arrived at my destination. I’ve spent hours composing notes from fairies, sprinkling rose-petals in a trail for birthdays, baking birthday treats, giving massages and cuddles and kissing an infinite number of boo-boos (of the heart and the body). I’ve also (according to my little morality police daughters) said “Fuck” four times in front of them, once told them they had driven me to drinking, have yelled and called them little jerks and more nights than I’d like, watch tv with them instead of doing crafty things or baking. Because I’m exhausted and I just want us to all sit there and be drugged for awhile. I once attempted to drug my oldest with valerian root tea so she would just GO THE FUCK TO SLEEP. She was up for 3 and 1/2 hours. I’ve watched my youngest pull out stripper dance moves and wondered, horrified, if she somehow learned them from me.

That’s motherhood too.

I was a fully-formed human being before I had this awesome responsibility of being a mother. Guess what? I still am. The evolution of my being is a work in progress and so is my parenting. There are no saints in this world. I’m going to do amazing things and I’m going to do shitty things and at the end of the day, I’m going to pray the good outweighs the bad. I’m busting my ass to try to do my best, to raise these amazing little people into amazing adults. It’s hard work! Yes, I get paid in kisses and hugs and hand-made cards and that has a sweetness to it. Yet, let’s be honest. Parenting is the hardest work you’ll ever do for the least immediate compensation. Parenting is a garden; I’m spending hours preparing the beds, planting and tending the seeds, in the hope that one day I’ll have these healthy, breathtaking flowers. Yet I won’t get to see the full fruits of this labor all at once. This is something that will take years to fully blossom.

So…kudos to all the mother’s out there who are planting and tending, hoping their love and work infuse their children with the strength to stand on their own as healthy and happy adults who bring something beautiful to the world. I applaud you for the nights you crawl, exhausted, into bed after a day where you felt like Atlas with the weight of the heavens on your shoulders. I pray you have strength to carry on, to bear your burdens and your childrens, to wipe your tears and theirs away when you need to. I am right there with you as you cheer them on during volleyball and softball, cello recitals and school plays, times when they are hurting and there’s nothing you can do.  I’m also the one standing firm on “Go clean the bathroom like I told you to an hour ago, because you’re a member of this family and you’re going to help!” even when you know you could do a better job without them. Like you, there will be nights I remove privileges, knowing I’m going to get a miserable, hellish evening in return, because they have to know there are consequences in life. I’ll be the one saying “Eat your vegetables. Turn off the tv. Do your homework. Be nice to your sister. Clean your room. Don’t throw the ball in the house (CRASH!). BE NICE TO YOUR SISTER!!!”

And although the garden will be a slow process, with tiny flowers here and there and some blooms it might take years to see…it’s still worth it. Somehow, for all the back-breaking, exhausting work (mental and physical), the best words of praise you’ll ever get are tiny hands around your neck and “You’re the best mommy in the world and I love you.” That moment when you see the life lessons you’ve been trying to instill in them since birth, coming out in their day-to-day lives…yeah, that’s a “this is worth it” moment. Or when you watch your kid stand up to someone who’s in the wrong and she refuses to back down just because it’s scary and would be easier to just cave and be a follower. Well, it’s hard to beat that for reward. The hope that one day I’ll get to watch them as adults and know they might have pain, but they’ll be okay because I gave them the tools they need…

Maybe I’m starting to get Mother’s Day a little more. Not the media-hyped version, but the day where kids are reminded to say “Thanks” and our society takes a pause for recognition. The handmade birdhouses and mugs, the cards drawn with love, the beaming joy and pride on a kid’s face when they’re celebrating YOU and hoping it makes you feel cherished, love and appreciated.

Happy belated Mother’s Day, moms.

A Must Read for Parents of Boys!

Posted in Parenting, rape, Relationships, self-improvement, women's liberation with tags , , on March 21, 2013 by sexandthesinglesoccermom

Going hand-in-hand with my blog from yesterday is this article that I happened across: To End Rape We Must Raise Our Boys To Be Kind

In order to tackle a problem, we must recognize it and take some step toward a solution. This seems like one small step, amongst many that will be needed, toward a better world for our kids.

Who Is This Crazy Woman? Oh Wait…

Posted in Parenting, PMS, women's bodies with tags on January 23, 2013 by sexandthesinglesoccermom

So, I’m rabidly hormonal. Within the past few days I’ve felt homocidal rage, abject grief, joy and peace. The events of the last few weeks are not helping this situation.

Over the weekend I did my first training hike to prepare for the big May hike; we did 4 miles that went fairly well, except for the dizziness I experienced on the first incline. That could prove problematic! Still, I’m no wimp; I’ll just train harder!

I attended a birthday party thrown by the ex and his new partner. As it was made clear that this was THEIR party and I was only invited (and asked to make the birthday cake) by their good graces, it made for a bit of awkwardness. Mostly, it was fine. When the parents who are my friends asked what the timing/plans were for the party, I replied with a straight face: “I’m sorry, but I’m not sure. You’ll have to ask *****. It’s their party.” Any attempts at coparenting have been rejected by the father of my children with the statement “It’s just not worth it.” Of course, any desire by him to alter his scheduled  nights with our children results in an instant attempt to get me to rearrange my schedule. Apparently, “coparenting” is worth it to him if it involves a night out on the town. It’s only “not worth it” if it only involves his children’s welfare. Otherwise, he simply can’t be bothered. Do I sound bitter? Well…I’m working on my anger issues with him. He provides me with such wonderful challenge to evolve as a person.

My job is currently up-in-the-air. A raise promised to me 9 months ago, then retracted, left me struggling to cope with the financial changes in my life. I have spent the last two years proving myself in a new job role and taking on whatever is asked of me (even if it’s outside the scope of my actual job at times). To see people hired in off the street at only slightly less than I make (and several hired in at more) after 5 years of employment is leaving me resentful and frustrated–especially when I am living paycheck to paycheck. I’m torn, because this job is important to me and I WANT to stay in it. Yet, I also have to provide for my family. I’m trying to meditate on it before I make a decision. I’m definitely in the “see what is out there” stage right now though. It’s a daily stress that I’m battling, wondering if I’ll be having to find a new job soon.

Which brings me around to my original problem: I’m hormonal and crazy right now. Every challenge I’m facing feels harder. I know that in a few days I’ll feel more at peace, but right now I alternately feel like weeping or punching someone. I know I have to go home tonight and train for this hike and I just want to throw myself on the floor and scream: “I don’t wanna!!!” at the top of my lungs (while kicking the floor loudly). I want to go home and lie in a hot bath for about an hour, while sipping wine and reading a good book. Then I want to climb out and have someone waiting to stroke my hair and soothe me and offer comfort. Oh…and bring me ice cream. Or pie. Or brownies. There’s only one time of the month I want sweet stuff and dammit, I want it NOW! Then I want to sit in my chair, with my cozy blanket and watch mind-numbing tv. The thought of NOT being able to do all of those things infuriates me and makes me want to start sobbing at the same time. Instead, I’m going to go and get on my stupid elliptical, with the resistance cranked up. Then I’m going to walk the dog, followed by laundry and housework. Maybe the endorphins will help to negate the crazy swirl of chemicals flowing through my cramp-riddled, aching body. Maybe.

If not…look out world! I’m going to be playing some Death Cab for Cutie and Sarah McLachlan at full volume. I might NOT do laundry. I might even eat sugar! I’m like a woman possessed…all sorts of craziness might ensue. I might stomp around my house or even cry if I feel like it.

Sigh. Even my crazy is too tired to pack much ooomph.