Friday, December 28, 2012

Get a Hobby!

I think it is very important for everyone to have a hobby. For those who are single/only parents... it is a must! Play a sport, do something artistic, take a class, play video games, run, cook... do something that makes you happy and makes you feel accomplished.

I play soccer with my siblings, but I also have an artistic outlet. I recently started painting with watercolors. I like to paint birds and taught myself by watching youtube video tutorials.

Here a a few samples:


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Thursday, December 27, 2012

I dreamed a dream..

I saw Les Miserable on Christmas. I felt so many memories temporarily resurface, it was powerful for me. When Ann Hathaway sang "I Dreamed a Dream" I cried and felt my heart tighten. I actually felt the sob catch in the back of my throat, the sobs that I once could not hold back. The feeling of loss and hopelessness that was once lost in myself. Now I was never actually on the street, but I know what it is to see my dream die.... I am thankful every day for my new dreams. I made it through, but I will never forget being in that state. The words below are ones I can identify with:

There was a time when men were kind

When their voices were soft
And their words inviting
There was a time when love was blind
And the world was a song
And the song was exciting
There was a time
Then it all went wrong

I dreamed a dream in time gone by
When hope was high
And life worth living
I dreamed that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving

Then I was young and unafraid
And dreams were made and used and wasted
There was no ransom to be paid
No song unsung, no wine untasted

But the tigers come at night
With their voices soft as thunder
As they tear your hope apart
As they turn your dream to shame

He slept a summer by my side
He filled my days with endless wonder
He took my childhood in his stride
But he was gone when autumn came

And still I dream he'll come to me
That we will live the years together
But there are dreams that cannot be
And there are storms we cannot weather

I had a dream my life would be
So different from this hell I'm living
So different now from what it seemed
Now life has killed the dream I dreamed.



The Third Christmas!

This is my third Christmas with Nugget, as an only parent and it was wonderful! She is now at the age where she understand (to an extent) who Santa is and Baby Jesus and why we give/get presents on this holiday. We spent time together reading books, watching Christmas movies, baking cookies and making Christmas crafts. I have to admit I gave in to peer pressure and bought us our very own Elf on a Shelf… Our elf is named Hattie, and while Nugget LOVED her I have to say our elf seemed to be a little less creative than other elves out there. I guess she will have to up her game next year!




Being a single or only parent does not mean there is something missing at Christmas (or whatever Holiday you may celebrate). There is more than enough love and light in our households to make children feel the magic. This is true for any holiday at any time of year. If you are at the beginning of your journey or just stuck in a rut I think it is important to make a list of activities that you can do together as a family, or even by yourself to bring back a little magic and happiness. Feeling like you are having a blue Christmas? Maybe you just need to make a popcorn chain or take a drive around the neighborhood and look at the lights.



I know this may not help now that Christmas is over, but keep it in mind for the next holiday or extend Christmas and enjoy the spirit a little bit longer! The New year is coming and I think I will start by making a post about how to make you small family feel whole… so stay tuned!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Letter to Nugget: Loving you

Dear Nugget,

I tell you every day, multiple times a day that I love you. I want it to to be heard often and sink deep into your soul where it will stay forever. You are my child, my daughter, my greatest creation. Right now at the age of two your memory is not too long, I want to make sure that should anything ever happen to me you always know how much I care about you, but more importantly I want you to feel it.

My biggest fear is losing you, but the second is not being there for you. I would NEVER willingly leave you. I would NEVER choose to be away from you. I want to be your cheerleader, I want to teach you to be your own champion and I want to enjoy you and your amazing light for as long as I possibly can, but sometimes God has other plans.

Don't worry I am not sick! There is currently no reason why we should not be together for around 70ish more years! The women in our family tend to hold up nicely ;) You had 3 great great Grandmothers that lived into their late 90's (one was even 100!!). I just hate to think should there ever be an reason for my early departure, you may not remember all of the times I hugged you, kissed you, snuggle you, comforted you and laughed with you.

So here is my own words I am telling you that you are amazing! You have so much spark and I have no doubt you will have a wonderful and full life. I love you. I always will, even if I do not agree with you. This letter will also be a good reminder fo both of us when you hit your teens and we battle it out on a daily basis. I still love you.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Things could be worse

After the events that took place in CT on Friday I am reminded that things in my life could always be worse.

When I see sick children in the hospital...

A house foreclosed on...

A child starving...

A mother abused...

It can always be worse.

The images of those beautiful babies who will not be able to brighten the world with their smiles hurts my heart and soul. I have been praying for them and their families and will continue to do so. I have been through a rough patch, but I have my baby and I will cherish every moment we have together.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Up for grabs!

Often my social life comes up in conversation. I am a single woman in her late 20’s of course so I know people are going to ask if I am seeing someone in a casual conversation. I am not. I am not dating, I have not been asked out on date in over a year. I do not know if I will ever feel ready to date, but maybe I need to start opening up a little. I don’t believe I NEED to date or force myself back into the game because I am perfectly happy being single, but I need to stopped being so closed off.
In truth I know a man that dates me is lucky for so many reasons… some of which I will list:

1. I am funny. No, seriously I am hilarious.

2. I am pretty. Sounds a little narcissistic, but it is true. I will be even better looking in a few months when I make my weight loss goal.

3. You will never have to wonder how I will look after having children. What you see is what you get! A couple pounds up, but still in great condition ;)

4. I make cute babies. Unless you are really freakish looking there is a good chance your future child with me will be adorable, and even if you are freakish I may have enough genetic gusto to combat the uggos.

5. I am loyal. I am too smart, caring and honestly too tired to whore it up around town.

6. I can cook. I am not Paula Dean or Giada, but I can get the job done and my brother gives my meals the guy seal of approval.

7. Ever wonder what your fun and fancy free woman will be like when she has a family, is settled down, lacking sleep and stressed? Again what you see is what you get. The good news here is I will actually be less stressed when I get married and get a little help with my everyday duties. I know how hard it is to do it on your own and I will truly appreciate a partners help. I can almost guarantee I will be less likely to go off on you and sweat the small stuff. I love my fellow females out there, but I hear all of my friends complaining about stuff that really doesn’t matter.

8. Despite going through hell I am surprisingly not carrying a lot of baggage. I learned a lot and worked through it. I am not perfect, but I have a good head on shoulders.

9. I am smart.

10. Fun. I am a fun lady and I can find fun in almost any activity.

11. In an effort to keep this PG rated I will just say I am a good kisser… plus more ;)

12. I am a great mom and I have had the opportunity to practice my sweet mommy skills.

13. Some man out there gets the amazing opportunity to be a dad to an amazing little girl. Having bragging rights to me is awesome, being able to say you are Nugget’s Dad is the most coveted position title up for grabs in the world today.



What more do you need to know!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Saving Cash

I thought it might be helpful to list way I save money. Many things you may already know, but hey this helps just a little then yay!

- Shop at Aldi, Costco/Sam's, and the grocery store.
I go to Aldi for some produce, baking needs (flour, sugar, salt, milk) and anything where "brand" doesn't matter. Costco is where I score most non-food items like; toilet paper, paper towels, diapers, cleaning supplies... I also get a lot of meat and cheese there. I have a frezer full of ground turkey, chicken breasts and STEAK that I bought at the begining of the month and I will not need to buy more for a coupl more weeks :) I go to the grocery store for anything else. In my opinion certain items can not be bought generic, so I try to get a coupon for them and always use my shoppers card so I can earn fuel discounts.

-Get gas with a shoppers card from your favorite grocery store. Giant Eagle and Kroger (I am from Ohio so these are the stores I am familiar with, but I am sure the deals are similar across the U.S.) both have fuel saving programs. I prefer Giant Eagle's since you can save up for free gas, but Kroger is right on my route home in both directions so I use them, and I usually get 4 fill ups with a discount from  .10 - .30 depending on promotions.

-I shuttle to work. I use to pay $60 a month to park right next to my building. I now pay $15 and park about a mile away and take the shuttle. You may be able to find a bus that will work for you or a car pool.

-My work wardrobe consists of black pants, skirts and scrubs. Black pants go with almost everything and most people can't tell certain paris apart. So having 3 pairs of black pants is perfect for me. I always have a clean pair and can throw them on with almost any shirt in my closet without thinking. Saves time and money.

- Look at your bills. I mean LOOK at your bills. I do this when I feel the urge to make a purchase that may not be needed. "OMG that is so cool! I want one!" ::pause and look at bills:: " Ok, maybe that infomercial item is not great as it seems anyway...

-Thrift store first. I go to the thrift store first before the mall/outlet. It is a tough journey to pick through the stuff, but it can pay off. I got 2 J. Crew sweaters and a great pair of pants for $10. My mom told me that $10 for 3 items at a thrift store was a lot of money, but what does a J. Crew sweater retail for? EXACTLY! It was a steal!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Another Letter From Prison

The last communication I have had directly to or from my X (not involving divorce lawyers as an in-between) was in April of 2011. Unfortunately the streak of silence has ended.

This weekend encountered a letter with a stamped return address from the minimum security facility where X is living until 2018. My first thought was to send it back unopened... but I remember my lawyer telling me to keep everything in case he ever threatens me or incriminates himself. So, I opened it. My biggest fear was that he was going to mention taking me to court for one reason or another. I am still paying off debt from the first round in court.

My fear was for nothing. Inside the envelope was a thre page, hand written letter and nowhere did it mention lawyers, custody, visitation or anything like that. In fact the first 1.5 pages was all about how he has been doing. How is played softball this summer and is now in a basketball league. How he is taking online courses and earning another degree... blah blah blah! THEN he finally get around to apologizing AGAIN for hurting me.

All of that build up eventually led to him asking for infomation about Nugget. "What is her favorite toy/outfit/book? Does she talk alot? Can you send me pictures?" Yes folks, the pedophile with a preference for young girls asked me to send him pictures of my daughter.

The best part of the letter is when he tells me "I am not mad at you."

Readers you can now rest easy! He is not mad at me! When I think of all tha I did to HIM it is a miracle. ::sarcasm:: ::eye roll::

This letter ultimately tells me that he has not changed and he thinks being nice to me now will make me forget dragging me through hell and him being cruel and nasty during the divorce. It will not. I will not forget. I will never let him into our life.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Trick or Treat!

Nugget and I had a great Halloween despite Hurricane Sandy and her cold rain! Nugget was dressed as a monkey and had fun going door to door. Truth be told she had more fun seeing all the other costumes than she did getting the candy.



Halloween is also what I think of as the beginning of the holiday season. For the next 3 months there will be at least 1 major holiday to get ready for and enjoy. It is a given that even while surrounded by happy families a person may have a moment of two where they wish for "the perfect family", the mom, dad and child/children that we see in books, on TV or in real life at the local park. As happy as I am I still have times like this. IT IS OK!

As single parents it is possible to want a significant other and feel that longing a little more intensely around the holidays. Let yourself have a moment, acknowledge your feelings, and then let them go and embrace the wonderful things that are real in your life right now. It is not “wanting” that can be damaging to a soul it is “dwelling”. Do not dwell on what you do not have. Do not say "Things would be better if...." Focus on the magic in your life.

When Nugget was getting ready for Halloween she had her mom, aunt, two uncles and her grandparents by her side. She had a dedicated mother holding her hand when she was scared to go up to the porches by herself. Her Mimi sewed up her costume when it needed a little alteration. Nugget had a blast and I know she felt special. That is what is important.

Not having a male in her life with the label of "Dad" did not affect her attitude on this holiday and I am sure it will not be a factor in the ones to come, so I will not let it affect my holiday season either.



Sunday, October 21, 2012

Musical Inspiration

Over the last 2 years I have found a lot of truth and strength in music. I wanted to share some lines with you and why I respond so much to them. Current songs and past... 

"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger
Stand a little taller
Doesn't mean I'm lonely when I'm alone
What doesn't kill you makes you fighter
Footsteps even lighter
Doesn't mean I'm over 'cause you're gone" -Kelly Clarkson, Stronger

This one is kind of a no-brainer. A woman should always know that she is better on her own than she is in a bad relationship. No man should be your everything (and the same goes for you all boys!) Finding true love is amazing and I believe in it, but I know I love myself enough to be happy  should I never find it.

"My heart is breaking for my sister and the con that she called "love"
But when I look into my nephew's eyes,
Man you wouldn't believe, the most amazing things, that can come from,
Some terrible lies" - FUN, Some Nights

I remember the first time I heard this song. When the above lyrics were sung I immediately identified with them. As a rational woman I would have never been with my X had I any idea what he was doing... but then of course I would not have my daughter. It is strange to think this way and I know there are teenage girls out there that think being with an a-hole is worth it if they can have a  baby... GOOD LORD PLEASE DO NOT READ THE LYRICS THIS WAY!!! 

"I wont give up on us
Even if the shy gets rough
I'm giving you all my love
I still looking up" -Jason Mraz, I Wont Give Up

This Jason Mraz song basically reminds me of my relationship with Nugget. I will never give on on us. We are a team. I will do everything in my power to keep us happy, healthy and safe. Single parents out there this should always be your focus. It seems like common sense, but we all know that some people choose to think of their personal life first. 

I have many more songs/lyrics I want to share, but of course my mind is blanking!! So I will make this a series of posts over time when they come to me. :)

Friday, October 12, 2012

My Happy Child

Motherhood started out rough for me. I was still recovering from the shock of finding out my X's secret life, going through the criminal court process, the divorce process, having a baby with colic and the financial hardship of all of it. My therapist got an earful every week! The stress and sleep deprivation made it hard to really enjoy even the good moments. I wish I could say that motherhood was magical in so many ways. That I felt this deep spiritual awakening... I just didn't.


When I held my child for the first time I was happy and I felt at peace. The first few days really were magical... then I went home from the hospital. The hospital was this magical bubble that kept the reality of my situation from sinking in. I had help in the nurses, the cooks, the lactation consultant and even a cleaning crew. When I went back to my parents’ house most of my help was gone and I had to face dealing with my divorce. I want to say right now that my parents really did help me a lot, but they were also still dealing with everything AND some of my parenting decisions were hard for them to swallow. Basically I think I scared my mom for life when I had trouble breast feeding and supplemented with formula. So things were not always relaxing.

Nugget was a gassy baby that stopped sleeping longer than two hours at a time at the age of 4 months and did not start again until she was almost a year old. She didn't sleep through the night on a consistent basis until closer to 18 months. Anyway if you have read my blog for a while you may know all of this already! Sorry if this is a big repeat.

The point of all this backstory is to show how far we have come. Nugget sleeps 9-10 hours a night every night and will lie quietly in bed with me while I wake up. EVERY SINGLE MORNING I open my eyes and see her beautiful blue eyes looking back at me. She then says, a little too loudly because the child only has one volume level, "Hi Mommy!" This ladies and gentlemen is the magic. She is always smiling and happy. She sings for no reason. She tells me she loves me and proudly tells strangers in the grocery store that I am her mommy. All of those emotions I expected to feel instantly at her birth have grown slowly over time. The love was always there along with the urge to protect her... but the all-encompassing need to be with her seemed to sneak up on me.

This child amazes me. The fact that after all we have been through and knowing how disappointed I was with my performance as a mother for the first year...

-Breastfeeding for 6 months: FAIL
-Making my own baby food: FAIL
-Not letting her sleep in my bed past 6 months: FAIL
-Keeping the house clean: FAIL
-Being infinitely patient: FAIL

-Not using the TV for a distraction: FAIL...despite all my perceived "failures" my child loves me and is enjoying her life. My attempt to be positive may have actually worked. We are having so much fun together and I know there is almost no way I could be happier right now


Someday I do wish to have another child. Someday I would love to meet and amazing man and marry him. However THIS day I am happy. My love for my daughter is more than enough to content me.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Guest Post for a Friend...

I was asked to contribute to a series of guest posts on the blog of a friend and fellow survivor of marriage to a pedophile.


I am proud to know her and wanted to link the post and her blog in general to my readers. Read and learn... Thank you!



http://www.lifeturnedupsidedown.com/

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Remember the feeling


Memories come in lots of different packaging. Most of the time we see them with our inner eye, they are a visual experience. According to science the sense of smell is the most powerful in regard to conjuring up memories. The smell of a person, a certain food or a certain environment can take you back to one powerful moment in time or help you relive a whole childhood. It is amazing how our mind works.

I sometimes use this to my advantage. My favorite way to travel to my happy place is to open a bottle of Coppertone Baby Sun Screen and take in a few deep breathes. Instantly I am transported to The Jersey Shore, surrounded by my family, cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. I loved/love it there. I never remember being sad in that place, which is why I choose it as my memory of choice when I need a pick me up.

This weekend I had a dream. In it I was with a man, nobody to me in real life, just a dream guy. I can’t quite remember what was going on in the dream, just one moment when the man came over to me, wrapped a blanket over my shoulders and hugged me. Then I was wrapped in no just a blanket, but a familiar feeling, and emotion I had almost forgotten. It was love, the feeling of being loved. I felt it so clearly. It has been a long time since that sensation has come over me. A distant memory that I now can’t ever even say was totally and completely genuine. The man I loved the most in this world was just a cover for a sicko, but my emotions were always real. Yes, I dated a great guy after my divorce and I loved him, but it wasn’t the same. I still don’t know if this was because he was the wrong guy or if I was, maybe still am, damaged.

All I know is, I keep thinking about that dream. How it felt when the man’s arms went around me. How easy, calming and natural it all was. This memory came from my heart. It was a reminder that love can be a beautiful thing. That it doesn’t have to be complicated. Remembering this is important, and it took more than words or visuals to really drive this point home for me. I had to feel it. The memory that came wrapped in a blanket.



Wednesday, September 19, 2012

How To... Pack a Car

This post will hopefully be helpful to any new parents or even some veterans! I have realized that over the past 2 years I have learned to be prepared. I was reminded of this yesterday when I had to pick Nugget up from school because she was sick.


I will take this opportunity to go over how I pack my car. Now my car can be quite a dumping ground… I know some parents know how this can happen, BUT there is a method to at least SOME of my madness.

Every person, parent or not should have an emergency kit in their car:
-Flares
-Reflectors
-Emergency blanket
-First aid kit (remember to include a dose of any medications you or your child may need)
-Flashlight
-Whistle
-Gas Card (I think it is a good idea to have at least a $10 gas card on hand IN my glove compartment because I have left home without my wallet and an almost empty tank)
-I also have a tiny one use jumper box, given to me as a Christmas gift. It fits in the glove box and plugs into the cigarette lighter. Pretty cool, huh?? I will share an image below.



Emergency food:
-For everyday circumstances you should carry some basic snacks for you and your child. A long day running errands or just a spontaneous case of the munchies can make anyone cranky. Remember to consider the weather. You don’t want your applesauce to freeze or your cheese snacks to melt. Here are some ideas:
-Granola
-Trail mix
-Cheerios
-String cheese
-Crackers
-Fruit/dried fruit
-Water

I am also a fan of keeping at least a small “emergency” store of food, food that you can use if you for any reason become stranded away from expedient help. Maybe I watch too much Survivor Man, but you never know!! This stuff doesn’t spoil easily or often.
-Beef Jerky
-Meal replacement bars (i.e. - Cliff or Luna)
-Water
-Nuts



Clothing:
Most parents carry an extra outfit for small children. I think it is best to always have a seasonally appropriate outfit for any child you have in your car regularly AND yourself. Remember socks, shoes and undergarments! You may never need them, but there may come a day when you get caught by the rain/snow/mud/mother nature ::wink:: and you will be SOOOO thankful for that stuff! Another example: I was at work and wearing cute, but uncomfortable work clothing when my grandpa was admitted to the hospital. It was a blessing to have some casual and comfortable clothing to change into as we sat in the hospital waiting room.
-I suggest an older or cheaper pair of jeans (Old navy or Target have decent jeans under $20)
-T-shirt (I recommend a plain, solid color)
-1 piece of outerwear (jacket, fleece, hoodie)
-Socks
-Old sneakers or other comfortable flats
-Cheap gloves (for winter)
-1 full outfit for your child (Wal-mart and Target have cheap and cute baby/toddler clothing for about $5 a piece. They even have cheap sneakers for under $10)

Toiletry kit:
For some of the same reasons listed above you should carry a travel size grooming kit.
-Toothpaste
-Toothbrush
-Floss/flosser
-Deodorant
-Cleansing wipes
-Hair ties
-Bobby pins

Basic make up. Single ladies, we are human! Sometimes, especially on a Friday, we may actually be invited out with friends or ::gasp:: on a date! Never be caught without at least the basics. This is also good for those days when we are running late and may forget to finish our beauty routine before heading to work:
-Concealer
-Lip color
-Mascara
-Subtle/neutral eye shadow

Baby Basics:
-Diapers (5 of them in the car somewhere) For those times when you open your diaper bag away from home to find it without any diapers.
-Wipes
-Toys (Keep it to a minimum, 2-3 items, and try to make at least 1 item something like a etch-a-sketch or magnadoodle)
-Books (again 2-3)
-Plastic shopping bags (for dirty diapers or soiled clothing)
-Re-usable shopping bags for the random stuff that accumulates (children’s toys, books, artwork..) having a bag on hand can help you get everything into the house in one trip.

I hope this has been at least a little helpful! Getting my car packed in a way I am now happy with took a lot of trial and error. I am very happy to have these things on hand now and I feel a lot more prepared for almost any situation.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Loving myself on the outside

I love myself more today than I ever have in the past. From the day in 5th grade when I realized that I had start wearing a bra, much to my chagrin, all the way through high school and college when I wished for those once hated boobs to grow and thought I was fat. I was never completely at home in my own skin. I was also uncomfortable with my personality. I filled silences with jokes or funny stories. Yes, I love being funny and enjoy my ability to make people laugh, but I admit it was mostly a way to try to get people to like me… I wanted them to like me in a way I could not bring myself to. Maybe in their eyes, smiles and enthusiastic laughter I would see a Becca that I could love. These insecurities lead to a life as a people pleaser. I would say yes, when other friends would say no, I would listen when others would cut a person off and I would stay when a more confident person would walk away. I thank my lucky stars that I was smart enough not to fall for come-ons from sleazy guys who only wanted one thing… BUT though I had few boyfriends I found it hard to see the end of a relationship. I wanted to hold on to the love I had felt from them. I let them get away with not calling me for days, name calling, ignoring me and other things that should have been red flags. Well, that time in my life is over.

After everything that happened with my X I found strength in myself that I could truly be proud of. I was proud of myself and respected myself. I spent time in therapy working through my old issues and getting a better grasp on who I really was. I rejoined my soccer team, took a new class and spent time with my family and friends. The whole time I was me and much to my surprise people still liked me even when I didn’t fill the silences, even when I wasn’t joking around. Over the past 2 years I have built up my self-confidence. They always tell you it is what on the inside that counts and so that was my focus.

It was successful. I love myself on the inside. I respect myself and I feel comfortable being Becca. The one area that I am still lacking is love for my physical appearance. I am still 10 lbs heavier than I was pre-baby and 15 lbs heavier than my “happy” weight. Beyond that my body is just not the same. There are stretch marks, scars, dimples and discolorations where they once did not exist. I see my hips stretched out and slightly hanging over my size 12 pants and I long for the days of milky white, smooth skin, unmarked by the pull of a pregnant belly. How could I have thought I was fat before? I would die to be my old size 10. Only one size away, but my body was tight, toned and even. No muffin top. No need for spanx or complicated shapers. I have to learn to accept what I cannot change and find the strength to work on the things that I do have power over. I can eat better. I can exercise more. That I can do.

Ladies, I know I am not alone. We give over our whole self, physical appearance included to bring our children into this world. The problem is we usually look at ourselves through the eyes of others. We see our scars with the perception we believe others will have. My goal is to see my body through nobody’s eyes but my own. I will appreciate and honor my health. I will look in the mirror and see the beauty before me. I will praise myself for being strong enough to be a mother. I will dress my body in clothing that will highlight my majesty rather than a bunch of material that will hide me flaws. I will take pride in myself, even if I am wear sweatpants after a long day I will try to radiate the confidence that I feel inside. I hope all of my followers will do the same.

As this journey continues I will keep you all updated. Hopefully this will end up being a love story about how I fell head over heels for myself.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Free time: WTF

When parents find themselves with free time it can be a great thing. When a single/only parent finds themselves with free time it can be confusing and kind of scary. It comes so rarely that we feel guilty about embracing it because we could be cleaning, cooking, playing with our children, catching up with friends or organizing bills. There is always something to do. I am here to tell all of you that you should have a night where you stay home and do nothing!

Going out with friends is fun, but you usually stay up too late and possibly drink too much. I know many parents who get a night off and spend it making up for lost time… this will only leave you more tired than you were before and possibly physically ill. It is fun to party hard once in a blue moon, but my suggestion is to keep yourself in check and restore yourself instead.

This past weekend I had a “night off”. My parents took Nugget for a full 24 hours! I didn’t know what to do with myself! I did spend the morning cleaning and organizing, because damn my house needed it. Cleaning without a child hanging on your leg or messing things up in the next room was actually relaxing. Around 3pm I made an executive decision not to do anything else that day. I got myself some take out, revved up my DVR and busted out my bubble bath. After relaxing in a sweet smelling, hot tub I snuggled in for a veg session. I have not been able to watch tv uninterrupted in this fashion for almost 2 years. I went to bed at a decent hour and SLEPT IN!!! Yes, it was only 8:30am when I woke up, but that is 3 hours of extra sleep in my world. I was thankful for it.

So, my suggestion for all of you parents out there, especially you ONLY PARENTS is to find a night that some family can take your little angel and do nothing but relax. It is so tempting to do chores or go out and hit the town… DON’T!!! For God’s sake get some sleep and enjoy the quiet. That is an order.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Embrace the FREEDOM

I think it is time to highlight the perks of being Single and a Single/Only Parent. I have done similar post, but it is always good to reiterate the positive!


You see this bed? That is my bed (or at least my sheet set!). There are many like it, but this is mine! All mine… I can sleep in the middle, diagonally, curled up in the middle, flailed out or any which way I please. I am ALWAYS on my side and do not have to worry about waking anyone up when I roll over. I am no longer in danger of being accidentally kicked of hit in the middle of the night by a renegade appendage. No snoring will keep me awake and nobody else will be setting alarm clocks on my night stand. Damn it feels good to be gansta! Am I right? I own that little peaceful rectangle of comfort and I make the rules! Another great thing is that I no longer have to worry about stinky man sheets. I still wash my sheets on the regular of course, but they never actually STINK. The last and final benefit of having my very own bed is not having to worry about being awaken late at night or in the very, very early hours to the advances of some dude who wants to get frisky. Don’t get me wrong once upon a time this might have been fun from time to time, but as a mother and someone who gets up at 5:30am every morning… well let’s just say I am not interested, like ever.

In a nutshell, I love my bed. I put girlie sheet sets on it and sleep in whatever position pleases me. It is a beautiful thing.

My schedule:
I no longer have to worry about keeping another adult’s schedule (as a minor I do not count Nugget cause I can technically make choices for her.) I do not have to align my free time to match another’s or schedule what time we eat based on when we are all home from work. Only one family (mostly) so there is never the “Who’s house for Christmas/Thanksgiving/Easter?” debacle. No shuffling around! Face it Holidays can be stressful enough, I am happy to go to one place and then head home.

I shave my legs when I want.
I wear make-up when I want.
I dress up when I want and I chill in my jammies when I want.
What’s for dinner? Whatever the HELL I want bitch! BAM!!

Embrace your freedom. Enjoy it and cherish it. Once a week serve yourself a fancy dinner on your nice china or get expensive take out and eat it out of a plastic container. It’s your world baby!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Why is a raven like a writing desk?

Why is a raven like a writing desk?


I don’t have the slightest idea! Like Alice wondering through wonderland I tend to have times where I feel like I have no grasp on reality or what I am doing. It is still strange to me that I am a mother sometimes. I crave alone time, yet miss the Nugget when she is gone. This tiny person who is now walking, talking and asking questions is relying on me to make the beginning of her life as happy and fruitful as possible.

Nugget is happy. That is what is important. The fact that I almost never even attempt to put on make-up or wear clothing beyond the same 3 pairs of shorts and 5 shirts has yet to be noticed be my daughter. I will worry about embarrassing her when she is older. I PROMISE to try harder before she is in middle school! Until then 10 mins of sleep is more valuable to both of us than my mascara. At that point I won’t be paying for daycare (not that I won’t have other expenses like sports/activities…) and maybe I will be able to afford some nicer clothing. One thing I know for sure is I will at least be able to use the restroom alone!

I have all of these grand ideas of how I will do the laundry when I get home and workout during the 23 minutes the clothes will be running through the cycle. HAHA! Silly Becca! I get home, make or serve dinner, get Nugget in bed only to realize I have no energy left. I mean NONE! I fall asleep after forcing myself to clear the dishes from dinner and showering. It is beyond me how some of these women do it. ::slow clap for the super moms who clean and workout every single day:: The weekend is the time I use to deep clean, organize and other misc. errands. I am lucky to get this done too, because as we all know there is always something that can come up, and of course we HAVE to make time for our children  Poor Nugget deserves some time with me where I am not scrubbing, folding or cooking.
Anyway! I know this post may be somewhat deja vu and disjointed… but as I said in the beginning there are days where I do not know what I am doing and I am just lucky to make it through without forget anything major!!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Keeping up

Keeping up with life can sometimes be taxing. Married, single, mother or not, most people have a full schedule. Trying to make things work can be a struggle.

My week has been a whirlwind. I am working on a new research study that has some crazy hours from time to time. This week was one of those times. Fifteen hours straight, 3 hour break, 1 more hour at work, 5 hours of sleep then back to the office....

I thank God for my awesome support system. My parents who kept Nugget overnight when I was running around the hospital, my sister who picked her up from daycare and my brother for moving in and being at home while Nugget slept and I came back into work to do a 6 hour check on my patient.

It takes a village, right? Maybe not, it just takes a family. A family of blood or of friends, big or small. The only thing that matters is willingness to help. I just wanted to give a big "Thank you!" to MY village.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Some Changes

This week has brought about some changes in our household. My older brother has moved in to the In-Law Suite I have in the basement of my condo. I was original going to sell the place, but the market is so bad here I would lose too much money. My needed a place to move and I needed financial help. It turns out he is helping in ways I never really thought about.

He has given me more independence by watching Nugget or even just being in the house while she sleeps so I can go running or run a quick errand. I am no longer a complete slave to Nugget's schedule. He also loves to cook so I have the relief of two dinners a week being taken off my shoulders. He is a rare male that is organized and pretty cleanly! BEST OF ALL? My brother is an amazing role model for my daughter. She gets to see how respectful, caring and supportive a man should be. His even temper is a calming presence in our home.

We all have our own space when we need alone time and our work schedules are very compatible. In short, so far, so good!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Random single mom problems

When your child falls asleep in the car and they are now to big and heavy to gracefully carry them to bed. Instead they wake up and think they have been asleep for 10 hours already...

You try to convince yourself that you are a strong independent woman... except you fall prey to the cliche pickle jar problem.

If you don't do it, it doesn't get done. PERIOD! (and PS I do not want to hear married women complain about this. If your partner isn't helping then that is partly your fault for standing for it. This may sound harsh but it is true is 99% of the time, baring a partner with physical disabilities that make it impossible for them to do ANYTHING)

I am just so tired today. All I want to do is take a long nap. I can't though, cause there is so much to do and only a short time to do it without a small person attached to my side.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Nugget's 2nd Birthday

This Friday my daughter will be 2 years old. In those two years she has been more than she will ever remember. I have been the one to bear all the burdens. It has been me who has made sure her life was as happy as possible. She made it much easier because who would not be happy around Nugget, especially on a good day.

I have arranged time this coming Sunday for my X-ILs to see Nugget and celebrate her Birthday. We will spend a couple hours with her grandparents and my X-SIL/BIL (M & R). I really like M and R. They have always had my back even saying they would stand behind me in court if ever needed, but though my ILs have made a good effort to always follow my rules I find myself uncomfortable around them. I KNOW they will bring a gift "from" X. I will say thank you and set it aside.

Why? You may ask? Because my therapist and other mental health professionals have told me that someday it will be better for Nugget to know that her biological father did not forget her. Every person wants to know where they come from even if just for informational purposes. She most likely will not ever want anything other than information and I will have to honor that. I refuse to give her any communication (not that he has sent any) until she is 18. When she is an adult and I feel she truly understands how dangerous he is I will let her read the notes he wrote to me before going into prison. I honestly think it will show her how sick he really is. For now she is 2. She is a happy toddler and I will put up with my ILs becuase they do care about Nugget and they ARE following my rules.

Anyway... The love of my life will turn 2 on Friday. I remember her birth like it was yesterday. Maybe I will re-post her birth story this week. I miss my baby sometimes, but I love my little lady. Everyday my only wish is that she knows how much I love her and how dedicated I am to her having the best life possible.

Happy Birthday Nugget!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Patience

I have to find my patience again. I want so badly to be the zen, centered, peaceful mother I see on TV or read about in blogs. The one who never raises her voice or feels exhausted.

Alas, I am human and not supernatural. I get angry and sometimes I yell. I send my kid to time out about 20 times a day and we both take two minutes to chill, because you see my child has a temper like me as well. Don't get me wrong, we don't freak out or get violent... just frustrated and hard headed.

I would venture to guess that the wish of most single mom is to never worry about money ever again. Yes there are some single parents out there who have plenty of money, whether they work hard for it or not... Good for them and I mean that sincerely. I want nothing more than to see my counter parts succeed! BUT I am not going to lie I am jealous. I KNOW money doesn't buy happiness. I am happy, but my stress level is high due to bills being DUE.

I have to let it go... Let it go... Do what I can, then let it go...

Friday, June 15, 2012

Ready for love?

I am getting that feeling again, though it is different than it has been in the past. That little pang in my chest that signals the desire for human intimacy. It is not lust, desperation or jealousy... just the need for intimate closeness from a person of the opposite sex.

I miss being held. I miss being missed. I miss having a person speak sweetly to me, express love verbally and physically. I dream of it. I dream about having a partner that looks into my eyes and tells me I am beautiful. I can feel their devotion to me and we may kiss, but that is where the dream ends.

My void is that of being in love and having a man in my life that is in love with me.

All of this being said I am still in no hurry. I will not attach myself to someone just to feel needed or loved. I deserve for it to be genuine.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Angels

My life is filled with many angels. Some are here on earth supporting me and my daughter with every step we take. Others are looking down on us from heaven or wherever you may believe souls go after death. I know this… I know because too many things in my life have been timed a little too perfectly. Of course my life has been far from perfect, some might question how I could possibly think this when I have faced such hardship, well I believe it because I have seen those who have been through worse and not survived. There are people who may not have been directly lost by tragedy, but who fade away over time or lose all of their inner light. It is the most common outcome from those who have been shaken like I have.

When I was 17 I went to my high school gym for a free physical. In that noisy gym surrounded by my peers, a young medical student heard an extremely soft murmur. Up to that point in my life I had had a physical at least once a year (usually twice) and no doctor, young or old, had ever heard anything when listening to my heart. The next day I was being examined by a cardiologist and it was discovered that I had a hole in my atrium the size of a silver dollar. My heart was swollen three times the normal size. Had I gone to my soccer conditioning camp the next day in the summer heat… I could have collapse dead on the field. I was instead saved by an angel and against all odds I was able to recover from open heart surgery in only 3 weeks. I was cleared to resume all of my normal activities, stronger than ever.

When my X was arrested I was 8 months pregnant with a daughter. A daughter that would have been trusted to him had I remained in the dark to his secret life. A daughter that may have been abused and violated at worst or shamed and humiliated at best. He may have been able to establish a relationship with her that the courts would have felt compelled to continue. His arrest made sure that she was protected. Any meeting she ever had with this man was closely monitored and eventually cut off all together. She was/is protected. I found the strength to leave even though I was lost for a while. I was able to fix what had been broken. My strength is not just my own, it is that of my family and friends watching over me.

This past weekend my family went to a cemetery near town to find the grave of my great-great-grandmother. In a cemetery about 1 square mile in size, filled with two hundred years of souls we were having a lot of trouble finding the final resting place of our family members. We did not have a map we were winging it. My dad drove around for almost 30 minutes at a crawl looking and looking. When Nugget started to throw a tantrum. She wanted to go outside and run. He stopped the car and we set Caroline free to run for a few minutes while we sat under a tree….

“Look Pop Pop! Looky! I jump, jump, jump!”

Nugget was jumping off of a small tombstone that was flat on top. There were 10 other similar headstones surrounding it including 3-4 that were closer to our bench, but she chose that one. Out of respect my father got up to make her stop jumping on the grave… when he got to her Nugget was now sitting on the stone… the stone of my great-great-grandmother. She had found it. She had told us to stop the car and ran right to the spot we had been looking for.

It is stories like these and others that remind me that there are people looking out for us.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Thrive

A thought for all of the ladies and gentlemen who may be going through a drastic change in their life. Maybe a devastating loss.

Survive... then thrive.

Do what you need to do (as long as it is legal) to get through the worst days. Survive. Then move towards the future. Work on yourself and get to a place where you are happy. genuinely happy again. A place where you are a BETTER version of yourself. All the lessons you have learned and the new confidence you found within yourself and the battle you have fought.

Survive, then thrive.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wordless Wednesday


Poop

I have two poop stories... they really are not that gross, but I wanted to make sure you all knew what you were walking into ::wink wink::

I will start with the not so happy, yet funny story....

Last night I was getting Nugget ready for her bath. I cleaned up a poopy diaper and let her hang out in her birthday suit while I got the bath water ready. She decided to use her little stool to reach up to the light switch and flip them on an off repeatedly. After a minute of our little light switch rave she says "Mess!" and starts to whimper/whine. I look down to see she is simultaneausly pooping and jumping off of her stool.. into her "stool".
I was not mad, but I couldn't help but say "OH NO!!". She contiued to say "Mess" while whining. She was not very happy with what was happening. After a small laugh and a not-so-deep breathe I wiped her down with my flushable wipes and got her in the tub while I wiped down the floor and the stool.
It really is quite funny. I mean as a parent our lives practically revolve around poop. It has just never been directly dropped on my floor. On a good note I think this may have been good for Nugget. She recognized that she made a mess with her poop and what it feels like to go #2 without a diaper on. Maybe potty training will not be far off!

My second story is AMAZING!! At least in my eyes and the eyes of other moms with young toddlers. Nugget and I were playing when I had a quick and sudden urge to go to the bathroom. Upon finishing my business I realized there was only 1 sheet of toilet paper! The spare TP was not under the sink... AHHHH!! My only two options were to waddle into the hall with a dirty bumto get some more toilet paper, or ask the Nugget for help. I call Nugget over and told her that mommy needed wipes. Looking her in the eyes I said :
"Get mommy's wipes out of the closet, PLEASE!"
She responded "OK mommy."

I could hear her running out of the room and onto the wood floor of the hallway. I was not expecting much, just thought it was worth a try. Can you believe it? SHE DID IT! She came running back with a roll of toilet paper! I was amazed and thankful. When she saw my reaction she started clapping. That little girl is so awesome.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Random single parent thoughts

- I bought myself a new mattress. I got a queen size even though I almost always sleep alone and when I do share space it is with my mini me. An investment in a queen size bed may have been my subconscious's way of keeping faith, that someday... Before this mattress is put out to pasture... There will be partner next to me, fighting me for the covers.

- There is always going to be that feeling when you see a dad who is really good with his child. It will start as sadness, move on to jealousy and park itself as a short breathe of longing. Then you will exhale and move on. It doesn't mean you are not happy.

- Almost nothing sucks more than having a flash of a happy memory with your X and then realizing it was a sick lie. Feeling ashamed or disgusted by your past happiness is something I wouldn't wish upon my worst enemy.

- When you think you are brave enough to pee alone with the door closed... Think twice! A toddler only needs 1.2 seconds to destroy something!

- Unlike some non-custodial parents I don't get to decide not to pay child support. I can't complain supporting my child is a punishment and honestly these thoughts would have never entered my mind! How on earth can and man or woman EVER think that way? Would a person be able to look in their child's eyes and tell them they just don't feel like buying them food or essential clothing? "Sorry son, no doctors appointments. Your mom is spoiling you. Besides, what if your mom uses it to buy a new purse?! I better just go ahead and spend it on a brand new fully loaded truck or a vacation or designer jeans for myself."

- If I had no divorce debt I would have been able to pay off my student loans this year. Instead I paid off creditors. I barely kept myself out of bankruptcy. Of course I would do it again to protect my child... But it still pisses me off that I had to go in the hole to get rid of my X.

- when my baby crawls into my bed and kisses my cheek and says "snuggle mommy" might be the most amazing thing in the world.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

My Mother's Day Request

This month is a very special month indeed. I turned 28 on the 7th and I am not the only on with a birthday this and every May. My mother and my brother also have birthday and another special angel named Tripp. We also celebrate Mother’s Day… and it is honor of one particular mother (and her son) that I write this post.


Her name is Courtney (Courtney & Tripp’s Story). She is around my age. She is a mother that every mother can and should look up to. Her strength and courage are something to be acknowledged, admired and honored. Courtney does not know me. We have never met, but I hope she knows that she is one of my heroes and her son is as well. If she does read this I hope she hears my “thank you” woven into every word and my prayers that rise from my thoughts to reach her son in heaven. I thank her for sharing her struggles and for being the AMAZING mother that Tripp deserved.

To support Courtney this mother’s day and her precious boy Tripp on his 3rd birthday please find it in your hearts to give to The Butterfly Fund to help with EB research and family support for those battling the disease.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Out of order

Just dropping in quick to let you all know my computer is being sent in for repairs... So it may be a little while till I can make a legit post.

I will be back!!!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Not Right Now

It is funny how even other mothers don't seem to understand, sometimes even the other single mothers I know seem ignorant to what my life is like. I get asked often about going out or joining friends for dinner and most of the time I turn the invitations down. Why? Because I am a single mother who is tired.

I love my life right now. I am happy. I feel content to work, and come home to my beautiful child. We spend a couple hours together before she heads to bed and I get an hour or two to myself before I also turn in. Our bedtimes are 7:30pm and 9pm (give or take) and we rise at 5:30am.

There is no every other weekend. There is no extra income and very little child support. I do all the laundry, every dish is washed by my hands (and my trusty whirlpool), I wipe every surface, vacuum every carpet, prepare/provide every meal, deal with every tantrum, sing every lullaby and kiss every boo boo.

So... No. I can't go to dinner at 7pm on a Thursday. I am sorry, but I can't stay for the "After party" to drink a few beers. I respectively turn down invites left and right, BUT I do accept a few because I know it is important to be with my friends and I do have fun with them. I appreciate that they think of me and make offers, but I still have to explain why sometimes... why I can't go or stay... Why I can't afford a trip or a concert or sometimes even the movies... It is what it is.

I am still happy. I am very much content to snuggle with my Nugget and watch Yo Gabba Gabba on a Friday night and kiss her forehead as she goes to bed.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Baby #2: An Open Letter

Dear baby #2,


For my whole life I never doubted that I would have at least two children. The bonds I had/have with my siblings are some that I cherish most in my life, especially after going through the last two years. Even after my split I imagined finding a wonderful man to marry and create you with. Then I became at peace with the fact that I may not find another man. Happily I went on with my life, enjoying my beautiful DD and ignoring the thought of you. I told myself I might be able to have another on my own in a few years. For some reason I just couldn't imagine not having you in my life.

Now it is approaching Nugget's 2nd birthday and I am suddenly being realistic about the fact that you are not a guarantee. I need to let you go. I promise I am not ready to give up on you completely, there is still plenty of time for things to sway in your favor, but I need to be at peace with the fact that we may never meet.

I am sorry baby #2. I am lucky to even have you as a future possibility. It doesn't matter if you ever become a reality, I have loved you anyway. In a perfect world I will hold you in my arms, kiss your tiny nose and feel your small finger wrapped around mine. I hope for those moments, but I am tucking the thoughts away for now... I am putting a 2 year hold on all thoughts of you. Again, I am sorry, but your sister deserves all of my love and attention and I can't feel weighed down by the image of you anymore. You are now my butterfly. I am letting you go and if we were meant to be you will find your way to me someday.

Sincerely,
Mommy

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Darker Moments

At night things are always worse and I could not stand the silence. The first two nights were the worst. I was like small child with nightmares, only my nightmares were real. When I felt like the walls were closing in on me I would call for my mother. She would sit with me until I was all cried out. The littlest things would set me off. Waking up in a twin bed, alone or washing the baby clothes meant for my unborn child. I once had to run out of my office at work and spend an hour in the parking garage crying because I couldn’t even calm down enough to drive. This period lasted about a week before I started to force myself to get it together. I had more than just myself to think about.

I couldn’t watch the news or even the local stations because his mug shot was all over the news and the commercials leading up to the broadcasts. “Local High School Coach Arrested for Sex Crimes”. My TV was tuned into the Nick at Night channel almost 24/7. It was the only channel that did not have news broadcasts or any Law and Order type shows that were now a little too real for me to watch. I would wake up from a nightmare and see Steve Urkel, in his suspenders, looking back at me. In a weird way it would bring me back from darkness, fear and confusion that now lived in my dreams. The studio audience laughing and the wacky antics were enough to lull me back to sleep eventually. It was one of my crutches, Nick at Night.

The shower was where I let myself have my moments. Outside of therapy, the shower was my place to purge my emotions. I cried and choked on my misery. I talked to myself sometimes. I would rattle off the facts. “X was arrested. He tried to meet a 15 year old in order to have sex with her. He has been downloading child pornography. He admitted to everything. He is sick and not the man I thought he was.” Other times I would just barely cough out the word “Why?” And then I would talk to my child. Rub my very pregnant belly and tell her that I will protect her. That I will try my best to make sure she is happy and that her life is as normal as possible. I will always try. I would then wash all of the sorrow down the drain. After leaving the bathroom I would feel lighter. The equivalent of an athlete “leaving it on the field.” the rest of day I stay focused on tiny goals. Do my work, eat my food, clear my mind. Over time I would have happy moments and it continued to get better.

These were some of my darkest moments. A lot of the time nobody saw this. I didn’t want people to think I was losing it. The funny thing is… after a while… the robotic state I was in for a while, as I pretended to be strong, faded and became real… like I forced it upon myself, my own type of conditioning.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Stiff Upper Lip

I have gotten a lot of compliments on how strong I have been. I have also been told I can be a bit harsh when offering support to others. That maybe I should sugar coat things more or be gentler with some of the “broken women” I have been in contact with. You see I am a regular on a couple forums for those going through divorce or starting out as single parents. I hear a variety of stories from mutual separations to dramatic ones much like my own. From bitter battles to civil adult interactions, I have heard them all.

A lot of the other regular posters know me and understand me. They often agree with me or will offer similar if not the same advice. I love those women. At one point they helped to knock sense into me. It is not that we do not think a person doesn’t have the right to a bad day or a grieving period… but at some point you need to pull yourself back up. Push forward and not give into the darkness anymore. Especially when you are a parent, you can’t let it affect your livelihood. Providing for your family is of the upmost importance.

So, when a woman (most of the people on the boards are female) tells me that she is going back to her emotionally abusive X, that her work is suffering, that she has done nothing but cry for days, that she doesn’t have the energy to fight her X for custody/child support, up all night stressing or worse trying to “stick it” to their X by not agreeing to perfectly reasonable requests… well… it bothers me. Ok, some of it bothers me and some of it makes me sad. I want all of the people I speak with to understand that strength is not always automatic. It is a decision you make and work towards. WORK. There is a difference between venting and wallowing in misery. You can’t fool a person who has been through a trauma like mine. I can tell when a person loses control of their grief.

When I give advice, I give advice that has worked. For me or others who have been through a divorce/separation/family court battle and more. It is not that I do have sympathy for you, but sympathy gets you almost nowhere, inner strength and hope on the other hand can move mountains. I will not celebrate the nasty worded email that you sent your X even if it made you feel so much better to “show him how much you don’t need him..” because you just told that man that you still care what he thinks and you gave him evidence that he can show in court about how you are not cooperative or even threatening. When I hear that you have been in bed for a few days I will tell you to get in the shower and call your therapist.

I operate like a trainer or sports coach. We all have the ability to get through our sorrow if we decide to work on our strength. Our hearts are muscles after all. If you do not push yourself it becomes weak, whereas if you fight through the pain you gain power. It is because I care that I do not baby you. Of course I feel for you. I think it is good and necessary to mourn and cry. Emotions are very powerful and healthy as long as you do not get lost in them. Contrary to popular belief “following your heart” can be deadly advice in some cases. I prefer to listen to my heart, trust my gut and ALWAYS use my head.

In a nutshell I built my strength up over time. I worked hard for it. I listened to those who were further along in the grieving process than I was and I used my brain. That is how I got to where I am. I trust myself, love myself, love my life and feel more secure than I ever have. So, my advice may not always be filled with puppies and rainbows, but neither is life.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Tinkerbell

If you believe in true love then clap your hands... because sadly I think I may like being alone a little too much. I don't see how a man would ever fit into our lives. It is so hard to explain, but my loss of belief makes me sad...

...the fact that I just do not think my heart has the capability for romantic love anymore.

I love people and I am happy. That is enough for me.

I just do not see myself falling in love again.

Clap if you believe.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Organized Choas

This is my life. I have a very set routine with madness intertwined. In the morning it starts at 5:30am. We wake up, eat, get dressed, I primp while Nugget watches Yo Gabba Gabba then we strap on our shoes and head out the door. It sounds simple enough, but really in between each item on the list there is a bit of discord.


• 5:30 wakeup call

    o Nugget jumps up with an obnoxiously cute “Hi mommy!” then screams “Up! Up! Up!” until I get her out of bed. Anyone who knows what a toddler voice sounds like can relate… God love them, it is so high pitched and piercing that despite the cuteness it can make you cringe first thing in the morning.

• Eat

    o This means NUGGET eats and I make her food and clean up her mess. I try to give her oatmeal every weekday. It is healthy and filling while still coming in yummy flavors… BUT the tradeoff is that she WILL get at least a little in her hair, on her face and hands. So, after she is finished I wipe her down then the placemat and seat.

• Get dressed

    o Nugget is learning to dress herself. This is actually entertaining! I love watching her focus so hard on this task. Bless her heart she fails at least once, but never gives up. That’s my girl! The only issue here is that the process takes a long time. However, I want her to be independent and she LOVES doing it herself, so unless we are really behind I let her do her thing.

• Primping and Puppets

    o At this point I put on our crazy, acid trip of a favorite show “Yo Gabba Gabba”. Those crazy characters do the best job of occupying Nugget while I take 10-15mins to fix my bedhead and throw on minimal makeup. During this time it is par for the course that Nug will pull out all of her toys and books and spread them around the living room. I spend the remaining 10ish mins of the episode “helping” her clean things up.

• Shoes and leave

    o For some reason this takes at least 5 mins when it should take less than 1! One of my favorite blogs, Rants from Mommyland, refers to this phenomenon as “Herding Turtles”. It is just a slow process. Nugget gets her shoes out. I put one on and then she pulls her other sock off.. I replace the sock and put the other shoe on. By the time I grab my purse she is asking for juice or a banana or has run off into the living room to dance to imaginary music. I still have to get her in her jacket and out the door…

Remember the days when you could wake up and be out of the house in less than 15 mins if you HAD to? At the most you would need 30 mins to get ready? Well, those days are gone! At times it can be frustrating, even maddening, but it really is worth it. Every time she pulls her pants on by herself I feel warm and fuzzy inside and when I am on the brink of internally freaking because we are running late she hugs me, laughs or does something so cute I forget why I was worried.

The evenings are pretty similar, BUT at least we are not rushing. We can enjoy dancing together or playing a game without worrying about being late. All parents can relate on some level, but the single, working parents I know will feel me on this post! The precious time in the morning is mostly spent trying to stay on schedule so we can spend at least 8 hours apart from our little ones. I am trying not to focus on “the schedule” and focus one “The little person”. I want to enjoy my morning with her instead of feel stressed and behind. Why am I in such a hurry to leave? Oh yeah, I have a job that I NEED to provide for that amazing little person. So, we shuffle through. Nugget is a trooper and a happy child. She helps me stay focused on the big picture, almost as focused as she is on getting her tiny little pants on… one leg at a time.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Response

I wrote a response to a blog post I just read on Single Dad Laughing. It was about sinlge Dads and Moms and I did enjoy it... thoughI found myself a little jealous of those who have a a dedicated father  for their children, even if the are no longer your mate. Anyway, here is my response and a link to the post:

Single Dads (and Single Moms)


I am a single mother who spends her most of her waking hours trying to stay one step ahead. Trying to get everything done in the 3 waking hours I get with my child during the day while also attempting to make this short span "quality time" as well. Making dinner while nuturing my child's creativity. Doing dishes, bathtime and setting out tomorrow's outfits all while kissing boo boos reading stories and calming tantrums.At the end of the day I pat myself on the back. I thank myself for pushing a little bit further and I scold myself for losing my temper from time to time. When a mom/dad has a committed partner/co-parent their relationship with eachother becomes the model for which their children base their future relationships with their mates... As single parents we are molding our child's relationship with themself. They need to see us struggle a little and overcome challenges. Witness how we treat ourselves and the strength and security a person should have on their own. I am a happy single parent. I refer to myself as an "only parent" since my ex is not involved at all. As a happy single parent I am sure that I will find love again someday, but until that day arrives I am content to work my butt off in order to provide all I can for my child. Thanks for the article. I enjoyed reading your take on this.

Friday, March 30, 2012

New, new, new

When I look around my condo I see a mishmash of items that have been handed down, borrowed and won in the divorce. Very few items are things that I was a present for at the time of purchase. This has not really bothered me because I honestly have not had the time or energy to even notice. I had what I needed to get by and that was fine.

Well... recently I have been given the opportunity (new job, paid off lawyer) to upgrade somethings in my life. I am going to start phasing out everything that was my X's. I am keeping the living room furniture and washer/dryer because I picked those out and helped pay for them, but the dishes, cookware and mattress are gone! I sold our good mattress 2 years ago to a friend cause it was brand new, but too big for my mom's house. The dishes are very "bachelor". They don't match and are of poor quality. Most of my spoons were damaged (by X) in the garbage disposal and the pots and pans are old and pretty much suck at life.

I am going to buy what I want! Make my home my own. I couldn't be more excited about it :) I got Nugget some new toy bins, book holders and a bet set for her big girl bed.

The best part? My grandfather was kind enough to leave me a small amount of money that will allow me to upgrade my tiny, 10 year old vehicle. I am in a very happy place right now. Shopping is fun again, instead of stressful and disappointing.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Institutionalized

I think I have become the single parent equivalent to "institutionalized". The term used to describe a prisoner or patient that has been in a facility so long that they do not know how to live on the outside. The routines have become so ingrained, so comfortable that they just do not know how to function without them.

So you may be asking how can a woman with so much freedom feel any form of this? Well, I will explain!

Every single parent/only parent knows their routine:

 Wake up
Get child ready
Get self ready
Get child to school/daycare
Get yourself to work
Leave work
Pick up child
Dinner
Household duties
Kids bedtime routine
More household duties
Your bedtime routine

Of course there are a million variations of this routine, this is a basic version of mine. When I stray to far from this schedule I wake up the feel lost or confused. On days with small deviations I tend to forget little things like my lunch in the fridge or my phone on the charger. If I stay up more than a hour past my 9pm bedtime I feel hungover the next day. And what if I decide to go out on a night when my mom and dad take Nugget for the night? Forget it! I have one drink and go to bed at midnight and wake up feeling like I did in college after closing out the bar. Mostly I am just worn out and I feel it more when I stray from my regular path.

This also carries over to my dating/love life. Which as of now is non-existent. I am happy being single, I really am. Honestly, the thought of being in a relationship makes me feel sleepy. I broke up with my most recent ex-BF for a few reasons, but one of them was that he was too needy for me. In his defense overall he wasn't that bad, for other women with less on their plates he will probably be perfect. I just did/do not have the energy to spend the one precious hour of quiet time I have at the end of the day trying to make a man feel special. I know this sounds sad, but it is the truth. I bust my butt all day at work, then work at home, spend emotional quality time with my awesome child (which at the end of a long day can take a lot out of you even if you are having a good time with the little angel... now on a day when they are a little devil, FORGET IT!) do housework and then I have a man telling me that he wants to talk/cuddle/watch a movie/have sex. It is hard to explain, but I just want to sit in silence, maybe watch one of MY tv shows or read.

In other words I am just not in place in my life to have my routine intertwined with another person and their routine. Don't even get me started on co-parenting. After 6 months together I tried to take a baby step towards letting my ex-BF have a little responsibility  with Nugget. Nothing big, just talking to him about stuff in regards to discipline and getting opinions... (he never made any decisions regarding her, just gave opinions). I realized our parenting styles were similar, but still different. I do not negotiate on my parenting style. I can't imagine having to run my decision past another person when it comes to Nugget... I have total control and my system seems to be working beautifully so far, why change?

So ladies and gentleman that is where I am. Set firmly in my ways. Maybe it seems selfish, stubborn or sad, but the thing is I am not sad in the least.I feel like I am finally doing exactly what I want. I research what is best for my little family and go with what feels right. I am not cynical. I believe in love. Someday I hope to find the person who will fit into my routine or who helps me find a new normal. I will never count it out. For now I am comfortable and content.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Home Sweet Home

I have my condo to myself once again. I own it. I own the furniture. I own the car parked in the garage. All mine.

Less than two years after having the bottom drop from under me I am able to fully support myself and my daughter without the help of my awesome friends and family (financially). Of course they still support my emotionally and always will, but I am paying my own way 100%.  One tiny step at a time I put my life back together. There is still a ways to go. I aim for one or two goals at a time. Here is what my goal-line looked like.

- Focus on my mental/emotional health and being a great mom to a new baby. ::check::
- Block all visitation and communication between X and my Nugget. (He fought the divorce in court, but I got what I asked for) ::check::
- Pass my certification test. ::check::
- Live on my own (small apt) ::check::
- Get a better job ::check::
- Pay off my lawyer ::check::
- Live on my own in my condo. ::check::
- Pay off remaining debt from divorce
- Get a better car
- Sell the condo
- Buy a place closer to work and my parents

Staying focused, asking for help, pushing myself and letting myself move forward. That is what has worked for me. I hope all of the single moms and dads out there in similar circumstances may be able to see that anything is possible. I am not rich and I sure as hell am not perfect, but I try my hardest and I don't waste a lot of time feeling sorry for myself and complaining... Though I do allow the occasional short pity party,usually about once a month ;)

I know this blog is a huge deal and there may not be many people who read it consistently (can't blame you! I am not a real writer!), but if there is someone out there that feels like they have hit a wall you can always feel free to email me. Maybe just writing the email will help or maybe I can share some of my experiences. Whatever! Just letting you all know I am here.

myattemptblog@gmail.com

Friday, March 16, 2012

50 Questions (stolen from a friend)

1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE?


My middle name was taken from a great Aunt.


2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED?

It actually has been a long time (for me) I think it was when I broke things off with my BF in January.


3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING?

Sometimes, when I am not rushed.


4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT?

Turkey


5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS?

Yes, Nugget 20 months.



6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON, WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU?

Yes. I am a very good friend, promise :)


7. DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT?

All.the.time.


8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS?

Yes



9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP?

I don't know. Maybe. I probably could be talked into it.


10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL?

Kix or Cheerios


11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF?

No. I only tie my cleats tight... all other shoes are loose enough to slip on.


12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG?

I am one of the strongest people I know. I may sound conceded, but it is true.


13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM?

Mint Chocolate chip or Chocolate


14. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE?

Teeth/smile


15. RED OR PINK?

Probably pink, though red is close behind.


16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF?

That I have a crappy metabolism. I really need to watch what I eat all the time.


17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST?

My friend Jason. He and I are not clse anymore, but I loved when we were.


18. WHAT IS THE PAUL MCKENNA TECHNIQUE THAT YOU NEED TO WORK ON THE MOST?

Don't know what this is???



19. WHAT COLOR SHOES ARE YOU WEARING?

White and green sneakers


20. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE?

Turkey ona Sesame Bagle with garlic/herb cream cheese.



21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?

Cosmo Radio, Wake up! with Taylor


22. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE?

blue/green


23. FAVORITE SMELLS?

I love the smell of tropical fruit.


24. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE?

My mom


25. MOUNTAIN HIDEAWAY OR BEACH HOUSE?

BEACH!!!


26. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH?

Soccer. Football.


27. HAIR COLOR?

Blonde


28. EYE COLOR?

blue



29. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS?

Nope. No glasses either


30. FAVORITE FOOD?

Thanksgiving day meal


31. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS?

Happy endings



32. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED?

Umm.... I actually do not remember.


33. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING?

Navy Blue


34. SUMMER OR WINTER?

Summer!


35. HUGS OR KISSES?

Hugs


36. FAVORITE DESSERT?

Warm apple pie with Vanilla Ice Cream.


37. STRENGTH TRAINING OR CARDIO?

ummm I guess cardio... but I mostly get in shape by playing sports.


38. COMPUTER OR TELEVISION?

I do the computer all day at work, when I want to decompress I watch mindless reality tv. (I second this answer! Though my friend is the one that wrote it.)



39. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW?

Starting to read The Hunger Games


40. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD?

A map of the Medical Center where I work.


42. FAVORITE SOUND?

The ocean.


43. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES?

Beatles



44. WHAT IS THE FARTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME?

Spain


45. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT?

Sports...


46. WHERE WERE YOU BORN?

Philly, PA



47. WHERE ARE YOU LIVING NOW?

Ohio


48. WHAT COLOR IS YOUR HOUSE?

Tan, with brown trim


49. WHAT COLOR IS YOUR CAR?

silver



50. DO YOU LIKE ANSWERING 50 QUESTIONS?

Eh... whatever

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

“You are doing a good job.”

Today Nugget and I went in for a well-baby check and I left with an unexpected lift in spirits. As usual she was running around saying “Hi!” and “Bye!” to everyone in the waiting room. After getting her weight and height the nurse showed us to our room. I could tell that Nugget was getting a little nervous. For the first time she was becoming aware of what it meant to be in a doctor’s office… and she was not having it!

I spent a few minutes calming her and distracting her with toys until the doctor walked in. I love our doctor and she actually is OUR doctor. She was my doctor first and is board certified in pediatrics as well. It was the natural choice for me to have her care for my daughter. Dr. L is always up on the latest research, has a child close to Nugget’s age and has really taken the time to get to know us and listens closely to all I have to say.

We started by going over the milestone checklist for children Nugget’s age, which she passed with flying colors. Then we went over a short Autism screening (standard of care at the office), again Nugget passed. Dr. L and I chatted about how things were going at home and our routines. During this time Nugget got more comfortable with Dr. L and began to talk to her.

Nugget - ::Points to my shoe:: “That’s Mommy’s shoe.”
Dr. L – “Very Good! Where is your shoe?”
Nugget - ::points to her Hello Kitty sneaker::
Dr. L- “Wow, what a smart girl!”
Nugget – “I like Gabba. Foofa, Pex, Yance. Gabba” (Foofa, Plex and (DJ) Lance from the Show “Yo Gabba Gabba”)
Dr. L – “Cool.”

At this point I explain that she may have gotten more than the usual screen time during her illness… (Oops!) But I am assured that Nugget will live and her brain will not explode from the extended TV time. I felt kind of guilty about it, but she was sick and not in the mood to play. When I was sick I was allowed to be lazy and I gave Nugget the same free pass. Dr. L kind of laughed and told me that Nugget had wonderful language skills for her age. Her enunciation was extremely impressive and her use of sentences was great. She was a very healthy, happy and smart child. Then Dr. L said:

“You are doing a good job. I agree with all of your decisions and I think you are doing a great job, mom.”

She then said goodbye to Nugget and left the room. I sat there for a second and let the last words sink in. I am doing a good job. I have known that I am a good mom, and my close friends and family say it from time to time… but to hear it from someone on the outside of my daily life, a professional no less… well it made me feel really good. She might say it to all or most of the moms in her office, but today she said it to me and it gave my spirits a lift after a really hard week.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Single Parent Situation: Sick baby/child

This past week I got into a situation that all single parents dread… My child got sick. Not just a cold, but a mucus filled, coughing, crying, feverish haze of misery. You know? When your child wants to do nothing except lay in your lap and watch Yo Gabba Gabba (or your toddler show of choice)? That was my life for a week. Nugget was diagnosed with RSV. Of course this means no daycare, and in turn that mommy needs to figure out how to care for a child 24/7 when she only has 10 hours of sick time at work and she can’t afford to take unpaid time…

Other single parents (especially “Only parents”) can relate. You want nothing more than to be there for your little trooper, but duty calls. You are the person in charge of paying the bills and without the job you don’t have insurance. My particular problem comes from the fact that I have only been at my new job for two months, so I do not have a lot of sick time yet. By the time cold season comes around again this situation will not be a problem.

Thank the lord for my mom, my sister and my foster sister. They really helped me out a lot last week when I couldn’t be at home. The first night Nugget had a bad fever and slept in bed with me. I set my alarm to go off every 4 hours so I could administer Tylenol and Benadryl (the only meds my doc said I could give her at the time). Not only did she snore, but she insisted on sleeping ON me. We were cheek to cheek for hours. That Nugget was so hot and snotty, I can’t say it was a pleasurable experience. I couldn’t sleep, not just because she was on my face snoring, but because I was paranoid she would choke on her mucus. Hey you can laugh, but it can happen!

If you read the above paragraph you can probably put one and one together and figure out that within 24 hours of Nugget getting sick, I too was infected. Being an adult made it a bit easier to tolerate. I took some Dayquil and sucked a cough drop to get through work the first day. By day 2 I had to give in and use my one sick day. I work in a hospital and it was just not safe for me to come in the way I was. My mom had to keep Nugget because I was down for the count. I slept for most of the day and sipped tea. The next morning I felt 80% better and my doctor said it was ok to go to work (I would wear a mask just around patients just to be safe and wash my hands every 2 mins). I was at my desk all day and was liberal with the Lysol.

Long story short: Nugget got sick, then I got sick, then I got better, then Nugget got better and today we are both still slightly congested, but in a much better mood.

Thank you again to all who helped out during this plague! We are very lucky to have you all!

Stay tuned later this week to hear about our upcoming move… Back to our condo!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Always be Alert!

Where do I begin?


Recently I encountered a possible sicko at the mall play area. Is this real life? I could barely believe this was happening to me again, though in a much different way. I will say that I have no solid proof that this man was a pedophile, so I thought I would put that out there… innocent until proven guilty and all, whatever.

I took Nugget to the mall to get her some new shoes with a gift card we had received from friend. Normally I avoid the mall like the plague, but free shoes are free shoes! After checking out we headed over to the play area to let Nugget run off some energy before naptime. My sister (Punkin), her fiancé (Booboo) and I watched on as Nugget ran, jumped and played happily. At one point Booboo decided to check out the video game store nearby and Punkin went with him. Fifteen minutes later I started herding my child over to get her shoes on. She was not happy so I took her outside the area to calm her down. That is when I saw him.

A man in a black puffy ski coat and a small black camera in his hands stood up against the outside of the play area wall. He had the camera “hidden” in the fake plant that lined the top of the wall and he was snapping pictures, possibly taking video. I moved closer in order to follow his gaze, maybe I was being overly sensitive and his kids were out there. He was not focused on one child… or two… he was taking pictures across the whole area. The camera remained covered by the plant the whole time. At one point he looked up at me and I know I was staring, maybe even glaring at him. He seemed startled, put the camera in his pocket and walked away. Internally I was freaking out. I couldn’t bring myself to speak the words I want to say. “Do you have a child out there?” or “what are you taking pictures of?” ANYTHING!!! Instead I got my child in her shoes and called Punkin and told her to get back ASAP.

I had every intention of going to security, and then I noticed the man came back! To the other side of the area! I walked over and stood right by him and called mall security, again he walked away. At this point I was having a full blown panic attack. I walked over to the security desk and gave the description to the guard: A man in his late 20s or early 30s, tan/dark possibly Middle Eastern/Indian or Hispanic, black puffy coat, black camera, short hair.

I do not know if they caught him. I do not know for sure if he wanted pictures for inappropriate reasons, but I do know he gave me the chills and his behavior seemed very shady. I would rather report it and be wrong then say nothing. If he is innocent then he has nothing to worry about… but if he was completely innocent why hide your camera inside of the plants? Why stand outside of the play area? Why leave and comeback? Why take pictures of other people’s children?
My gut said creeper. I went with my gut.

I wish Booboo was there at that moment. I wish one of the dads would have approached this guy. I wish I would have done more. In the end I did act, I did report and I encourage all of you to be vigilant at all times.