Coming Clean

So, there is a reason why my posts have kind of fallen off the wagon. And no, it’s actually not due to moving.

I just started my own business!!!!

It’s about three weeks green, a couple sleepless nights and many “what if’s?”

I know, I know, I’m crazy.

A new mom in school every weekend and working full time + a start up = WTF.

But now that I have a better idea of where I’m going and what my company should be (a new take on the PR boutiques floating around D.C.), I want to come back to the community I love= you guys.

Seriously, I have gained so much inspiration from the blogs I follow. Everyone who has shared a little slice of their life has taught me invaluable lessons: namely, to go for it.

This will not be another blog hocking my wares. I want to keep my voice authentic and my face bitchy on here.

Happy to be back :-).

The Struggle Is Real: Mommy Exhaustion Sent Me To The ER!

I think to some degree, most mothers think their body is in alignment with their million+ checklists. I certainly did.

After a week of fitful sleep due to a crying toddler (probably 4 hours a night), incessant caffeine consumption, dehydration, a full time job, my weekend master’s program and a prickly sinus infection, I was standing in line at the grocery store last Thursday. As the cashier bagged my groceries, I searched my wallet for my credit card. In that moment, my vision started to narrow. I saw blotches of black and the lighting began to fade. I felt woozy, dizzy and  extremely lightheaded.

“Ma’am, are you alright?” I heard the attendant ask.

I was confused. I handed him my credit card instead of swiping it on the card reader.

“Ma’am? Do you need to sit down?”

I briefly looked up and nodded. I remember making a beeline to the wall, probably to sit down, stumbling and then crashing into the wall. My knee hit the wall, I saw a flicker of black as if the lights went off and then regained consciousness as my butt hit the tile floor.

I remember hearing the store go up in a mini uproar.

“She’s diabetic! Get her some Gatorade!”

“Look for a medical bracelet!”

“Call 911. She looks like she had a seizure!”

“I just called 911.”

I AM calling 911.”

Two cashiers swarmed, asking if I was pregnant, one asking if they could call someone. I feebly handed my cell phone to an attendant and said, “Call home.” I was unable to sit in the chair they provided.

My dad answered and the attendant tried to explain the situation. She handed the cell phone to me (which was on it’s last life) and I heard more frantic questions on the line.

“Where am I?” I asked the cashier. I knew it was a grocery store but I couldn’t articulate the name.

In a state of complete confusion, I couldn’t remember which street the grocery chain was located, so I gave the phone back to the cashier.

Before I knew it, fire fighters, EMTs and a police officer were all loading me onto a gurney asking similar questions. Drugs? No! Alcohol? No! Pregnancy? NO! Medical issues? Not that I know of.

The lovely EMTs ushered me into the ambulance, took my glucose levels (normal), vitals (rapid pulse), and hooked me up to an IV. We took a short ride to the hospital where I answered the same questions and paid my fee.

It took $125 and a few tests to tell me what I already knew: I was over taxed, exhausted, dehydrated and in need of a BREAK.

I’m okay now. I was able to complete my final during the weekend with an A+ and start work today. But I learned an invaluable lesson: Mommy exhaustion is real.

To all the single working mothers or mothers in general, take care of yourself first and foremost…

A big thanks to all emergency responders, doctors and nurses out there- you guys are true angels.

4 Truths You Must Accept When Your Ex (and Co-Parent) Finds New Love (Great Article)

It’s rare to find a Yahoo Parenting article that provides real-life co-parenting philosophy. The author takes this approach to co-parenting that I can get behind: It’s not about you!

https://www.yahoo.com/parenting/4-truths-you-must-accept-when-your-ex-and-118708041603.html

By Cris Gladly

These days, complaining about your ex-spouse is as common (and cliché) as married people making snarky comments about their “dreaded in-laws”.

Talk for five minutes with any divorced person and you’ll soon hear a gripe about their ex: “Can you believe what he/she did now?! What a self-serving assh*le!”

You likely have a few gripes of your own about YOUR ex, right?

Well, I’m in that camp, too. At least, I was.

Between skipped child support payments and his propensity for frequent, nasty, overly dramatic emails, it’s safe to say I’m not a fan of my ex. But I didn’t feel true outrage until he started a new relationship.

Was I jealous? Actually, no. Not in the least. He and I were not in love, so when we split, I felt pretty nonchalant about the idea of him meeting someone new. I truly wished him well in that department.

But, what I was NOT prepared for was how much my Mama Bear instincts would rear up and let out a primal ROAR when he introduced his new girlfriend (now wife) into our daughter’s life.

What’s crazy is that, at the start of our separation, my ex is the one who insisted on strict rules regarding how we could and could not introduce a new love interest to our daughter. Items on his “how to move on” list? Our daughter was not allowed to meet a new partner in either of our lives until we knew we were marrying that person (uhm, say what?!) and that (when that time came) the ex-spouse was to meet that “someone new” before our daughter ever did.

So, how ironic that despite all of his posturing about that agreement being necessary for the good of our daughter … my ex broke his own rules just three months after we separated when he started dating a kindergarten teacher at our daughter’s elementary school.

During the two and half years of their courtship, engagement, and subsequent marriage, I disapproved of just about EVERYTHING related to how my ex (and his new love) inserted their relationship into “my” daughter’s life.

From how I found out about them dating (the very drunk, very gossipy drama teacher ambushed me with the news at a social event in front of others). To him refusing to let me meet his girlfriend in person for a year and a half, yet allowing the girlfriend to spend time alone with our daughter (including driving our daughter around in her car). To the rather un-celebrated role our daughter played in their wedding.

And don’t even get me started on what happened to my daughter’s poor cat after my ex’s cat-allergic new bride moved in. (R.I.P. Maddie Cat.)

But, here’s the thing … even though I took HUGE issue with a lot about how my ex’s new relationship unfolded in our daughter’s life, I bit my tongue and kept quiet about 90 percent of it.

Why? Because, frustrating as it is, there are four harsh but vitally important truths we ALL must suck up and accept about handling life post-divorce:

1. If I don’t have legal grounds to complain, I need to shut up about it.

A very hard pill to swallow? Yes. But the truth is (as my lawyer explained) that unless our children are in clear physical danger (abuse, neglect, etc.) or either party “significantly or consistently” violates terms of our legal custody agreement (child support, visitation, information sharing, etc.) the court simply doesn’t give a f*ck about what upsets us personally. (Boo-hoo. Too bad. No one cares. Buh-bye!)

Our opinions and feelings on any matter outside of legally enforceable agreements are, in a word, irrelevant. So, even if I personally think my was wrong to let our daughter be alone with his girlfriend before I met her, I didn’t have one legal leg to stand on.

Like it or not, what my ex, or your ex, does and who they allows around our children during their visitation is his judgment call to make, just like the same is true when our kids are home with us. And that is perhaps the most terrifying reality a divorced parent must face. Is it not? No longer having full control over who is around our children anymore.

But the law is the law. So, if there is no legal recourse for addressing a matter that frustrates me, I’ve learned to think twice about picking a fight about it.

2. Not doing something my way does NOT make my ex wrong.

Oh, our big mommy and daddy egos — always so certain that the way we do something is the one and only right way. And, of course, our exes are vile villains if they dare to deviate from that way, right? I occasionally fall prey to this ego trip, too.

Uhm, newsflash: Our exes (and the people in their new life) don’t remotely care what we think.

So, if I think introducing a new relationship to our daughter should go differently, then the one and ONLY place I have a say in that, is in my own new love relationship. But I have no right to expect a say in my what ex does. He can court the new woman in his life, propose, and have a wedding ceremony any way he wants.

And getting over myself on this one allows wonderful benefits for our daughter. Because, as long as none of the “adults” on either side ruin it with unnecessary snarkiness, our daughter now gets to see multiple examples of how people choose to show up in relationships and show love.

3. How would I feel in his shoes?

Being a kind and gracious person is an important priority to me (yep, even when my Mama Bear temper is flaring up). So, one thing I make myself do every time I got annoyed at my ex and his new wife is imagine how I might feel in their shoes.

Sure, my ex made a big, ridiculous stink with the whole “good faith” new relationship rules that he immediately broke, but I’d like to think that occurred because he wasn’t in a new relationship yet. Our marriage was a very unhappy one. And I think when he suddenly did find new love, he just wanted to protect it. And while I certainly did not appreciate some of his choices, I understand his instinct to keep that new joy as safe as possible.

My ex has every right to move on and be happy on his own terms. Just like I have the right to do the same (and have happily done so). I mean, isn’t moving on the whole point of divorce?

4. My job is to worry about MY relationship with our daughter, not his.

What I want most in this world is for my daughter to feel valued, safe, and loved. Did some of the choices my ex made in his courtship, engagement, and new marriage negatively affect her, even if unintentionally? Yes. She says fairly often that she feels left out and less important to him.

I want that to not be so. But here’s the thing: ultimately, she is safe at her dad’s. Her dad loves her. And his new wife is actually a really nice person. Are there some kinks in their father-daughter dynamic? Yes. But, that’s his job to notice and work through. And lord knows when the teen years hit, my daughter and I will likely face kinks in our dynamic, too.

My job is to focus on making my own relationship with my daughter happy, strong, trust-filled, and wonderful. Part of doing that is teaching her the conflict resolution and communication skills she’ll need for success in any relationship in her life (with her dad and even in her relationship with me).

The bottom line is, whether I wish my ex harm or wish him well, nobody cares. My opinion of my ex and his new life just doesn’t matter. The only opinion that does actually matter is the one my daughter holds in her heart about her life and relationship with me.

So, is biting my tongue and letting ex-drama slide easy? No.

But there’s an amazing benefit of taking the high road first, as often and as consistently as you can. It sets a precedent that keeping the peace is possible and that, for everyone’s sake (but most especially for our daughter’s) the right thing to do is end the nit-picky opinionated b.s. so that we can ALL (him, me, and) our daughter) truly move on.

Dating Prospect Update: Sapiosexual Single Dad Postmortem

Dan arrived five minutes early and sat at the bar. It wasn’t too crowded at 8:00 pm. He looked a little older than his pictures, which I chalked up to him posting earlier pictures on the site.

He greeted me with a “Wow, you look great!” and a brief hug.

Although Dan is attractive, I still didn’t feel that instant chemistry. I had hoped that would change with time.

We grabbed Mexican-style drinks at the bar and moved to a table. Our conversation was slightly forced. His texting style was more verbose and fluid. Not what I was expecting.

After the idle chit chat about our kids and jobs we sat amused by a couple fighting at the bar. Newly engaged with a sparkling diamond on her ring finger, the girl was berating her drunk boyfriend about “having to deal with you.” His grand, drunken hand gestures only seemed to infuriate her more.

Dan and I decided to move to another bar and things became slightly more interesting. I remember discussions about our dreams and shared desire to not have more children. We also talked shop in our shared fields which was interesting.

Dan seemed to think our chemistry was in sync. I’m still not feeling it.

I’m willing to give it one last try. For all and intents and purposes, was a pretty banal date.

Online Dating Troll Of The Week: Douche McDoucherson

After talking to a pretty attractive guy for a few days, he asked me out this weekend. I was pretty strapped for time so I suggested next Friday. He came back saying he was going to a wedding next week. He hounded me for a coffee date all weekend (which I hate!) but promised it would be no longer than an hour.

Because he was pretty attractive in his pictures and my day plans with my mother were postponed, I agreed to meet for coffee at 11:00 a.m.

Online troll Douche

I woke up a little early to blow dry my hair and get ready. At 10:50 am, I was 5 minutes away from our location. I received a text from Douche McDoucherson stating he’d be there in 45. Not seconds. 45 MINUTES.

I had practically arrived and then immediately turned around.

Me: Ok. Afraid I don’t have the time, unfortunately.

Him: Ok. Yeah, sorry about that but I thought my car was at my place, but it’s at work.

Great. He was either hung over from the night before and forgot where he parked his car OR he was lying to see how long I’d wait (PUA/red pill tactic) OR a piss poor planner OR all of the above. I didn’t respond.

Who has time to wait 45 minutes for their date to show up?!

Since my free time is precious, I treat other people’s time as important too. Oh and did I mention the man is 36? He’s a little too old for this shit in my opinion (some arrested development going on). A precursor to why he’s still single?

I NEVER wait more than 15 minutes for my dates. If a guy doesn’t value your time enough to show up on the first date, marginally on time, it’s foreshadowing other dates to come. Since this guy and I never went out on a date, he’s now one of my lovely Online Dating Trolls Of The Week and deserves a big, fat NEXT–>.

Dating Prospect: Sapiosexual Single Dad

Taking a break from some of my more “intellectual” posts on society, this post is a nice segway to the date I have planned on Saturday. He’s a single dad I’ll call sapiosexual (someone attracted to intelligence) based on our common interests. We’ve been chatting for weeks but our hectic schedules have yet to align until this weekend.

Pros:

  • Probably smarter than me. He’s what I call an uber-intellectual because every text message is a psycho-analysis of our discussion. It’s clear he’s pretty self aware.
  • He does not look like a guy in his 30s. At first I thought he’d be too young at around 24 or 23. He has a lovely baby-face.
  • Tall and attractive. Oh how I hope this is true on Saturday.
  • Independent and lives alone. After my last boyfriend, I’m happy he’s not living with a mentally unhinged female roommate. No drama please.
  • Very committed to his family. He called me when he came back from upstate New York to care for his ailing mom.
  • Single dad. I love that he has 50/50 time with his child. He totally gets me.
  • Digital marketing specialist. We can talk shop!
  • He offered to get a babysitter since it’s his weekend. Oh gosh, I’m in love!
  • He works in the same area I work. Convenient.

Cons:

  • He lives an hour away. Dating logistics are not in our favor.
  • LONNNNGGG, lengthy text messages. I’m more of a logistics texter. His texts over share and ooze emotion.
  • I’m not immediately attracted to his pictures in an animal-esque way, but then again, I’m better in person too.

I’m also talking to another guy in his mid-30’s who is incredibly attractive but I’ve been kind of burned out on the dating scene and haven’t offered a time to meet.

This is one area in my life I don’t mind taking my time.

Granny Panties Making A Come Back… Are Bloomers Next?

The New York Times got a little frisky in it’s Fashion and Style section with the article:

Young Women Say No to Thongs

The New York Times

The New York Times

Data provided by the research company NPD Group back her up. Sales of thongs decreased 7 percent over the last year, while sales of fuller styles — briefs, boy shorts and high-waist briefs — have grown a collective 17 percent.

“I noticed that a lot of women would come in with a friend, and they’d be asking: ‘Do you like this? Do you think he will like it?’ ” said Ms. Simpkins, who previously worked as a counselor to young girls at McLean Hospital, a psychiatric hospital in Belmont, Mass. “They’d be thinking about everyone else but themselves,” an attitude she thought the store encouraged. She was also frustrated with how many trends, colors and frills the lingerie industry pushed each season.

“Most women just want something basic for every day that will make them look and feel good,” she said.

So, in December, Ms. Simpkins introduced an underwear line with just one design: a white cotton panty with an unusually high cut and narrow back. The name, Hello Beautiful, is meant as an affirmation. She already counts Chloë Sevigny, an arbiter of all things cool, as a fan.

Fuller styles are a welcome alternative for Myla Dalbesio, a size 10 underwear model. “The high-waisted and high-cut styles hark back to a time when different body shapes were in style,” she said, adding that many larger women find high-rise briefs flattering because they define the waist and cover areas a woman may be less comfortable with.

Ms. Dalbesio said she was hopeful that the greater diversity of offerings was a sign that the lingerie industry is beginning to recognize that “there is not one ‘ideal body,’ but a plethora of them.”

In the end, it is about options.

“There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be more traditionally sexy and wearing a thong; that doesn’t mean you’re not a feminist,” Ms. Toledano said. “This is a step toward embracing more variety in what’s offered.”

So ladies, I guess granny panties aren’t just for that time of the month anymore- they’re a fashion statement!

“Single Mom” Vocabulary: Harmful, Helpful Or Just Fact?

I started this blog with every intention on “owning” my single motherhood. I found it difficult (and still find it difficult) to label myself as a single mother because of all the social stigmas that say single mothers are women with the following attributes (some of which are based on credible and non-credible statistics, studies or outdated, but long-held beliefs):

  • Divorced (because they couldn’t keep a man), single mother-by-choice (because they couldn’t find a man during their fertile years) or unmarried/never married (because they were poor decision makers or couldn’t get the father to marry them).
  • Dependent on child support with other forms of government assistance.
  • Dependent on welfare and/or other forms of government assistance.
  • Lower socioeconomic status.
  • Uneducated, with the highest education level as some high school, a high school diploma, GED or some college credit.
  • At risk for chronic illnesses and diseases later in life.
  • Poor judge of character and poor decision makers.
  • Sufferers of mental illnesses, drug addictions or relationship addictions.
  • Chronically exhausted and prone to drama and instability.
  • Viewed as less desirable to date.
  • Other character flaws that have led to their current circumstances.
  • Contributors of the breakdown in traditional family values.
MTV's 16 & Pregnant Show- Jenelle

MTV’s 16 & Pregnant Show- Jenelle

If you Google “single mother” and click on the news element, some of the headlines look like:

  1. Single Mothers at Risk for Poorer Health Later in Life
  2. After East Village Fire, Internet Helps Single Mom Of 3 Who Lost Everything
  3. 7 Invaluable Love Lessons From Single Moms
  4. Single Mother Who Worked For Brink’s Says She Was Fired for Participating in ‘Fight for 15′ Protests
  5. Terminally Ill Single Mother From Santa Clarita Sues for Right to Die in California
  6. Single Motherhood, in Decline Over All, Rises for Women 35 and Older

I noticed a few trends:

1.) The distinction of “single mom” headlines versus the “mom” without marital status in the headlines were meant to elicit sympathy, empathy, pity, a call to action or a similar emotion.

2.) Personal stories/anecdotes of single mother’s in the news had a overcoming adversity, positive, strength-building or character-building tone.

3.) Personal stories/anecdotes of single mothers who opted to parent by choice were older, highly educated and of higher socioeconomic class and the tone was more neutral or positive than articles of single mothers by circumstance.

4.) Studies on single mothers had a subtle, negative tone that seem to reinforce social stigma. Authors make assumptions in the first article: “Single motherhood is associated with poverty in most societies, but more so in the USA than in Europe,” the authors explain. “This may lead to different mechanisms of selection into lone motherhood between countries. Particularly in Southern European countries, strong social and family networks may offset some negative effects of single motherhood.”

So here’s my conflict: Should we be talking about “motherhood” or “parenting” rather than “single motherhood”? There are obvious differences from a married mother and a single mother, but when it comes to the basic foundations of child rearing and parenting, why do we need to assign marital status?

Playing the devil’s advocate: Is it still relevant to use the term “single mother” so that we can connect with other like-minded individuals with similar experiences?

I’m not suggesting that one term is better than the others, but rather hoping other bloggers have some insights to the question:

“Single Mom” Vocabulary: Harmful, Helpful Or Just Fact?