The Half-Brothers I Never Really Knew And The Power Of “No”

My half-brothers are in town visiting my dad. After I pick up Andrew, the plan is to go have dinner with the family.

A difficult question bubbled up from my mom on Friday. She wanted me to spend the weekend with everyone after my Saturday class. She asked, “Why don’t you make you dad happy and spend some time with the guys after your class?”

I had already agreed to Sunday dinner. And to be clear, I don’t really have a relationship with my half-brothers. We don’t call on each others birthdays and we never grew up together. In fact, for ten years, my brother’s were virtually estranged from my family.

Now that I am an adult and a single mother, working full time and attending graduate school, I have very FEW moments to myself. I cherish the time I do have every other weekend to take care of my soul and pursue the things that make me happy within the 48 hours twice a month- even if it is as simple as an hour at the gym and a moment to write or decompress from the week at the nail salon. Between guilt and perceived family “obligations,” I am unapologetic with “me” time. If my brothers had picked a weekend when I had Andrew, I’m sure I would be writing a very different post.

The point I’m trying to make is that mothers, single or not, who dedicate their precious free time to make others happy or comfortable are doing a disservice to themselves. Our culture encourages the ideal that once you are a mother, you must sacrifice, sacrifice and sacrifice almost all of your time for the “good” of your children. I believe quality time, not the quantity of time is what’s important.

Sometimes, we need to embrace the power of saying “No” and make our mental and emotional well-being a priority.

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A New Day and A New Date

I believe that what you push out to the universe is what you get back- a kind of, “you reap what you sow,” mentality.

Tomorrow I have a rebound date. No, no, no, I’m not talking about anything NSFW. Once you get off the dating path, the best idea is to get back on the horse.

How many cliches do you think I can squeeze out of a rock today?

So, in that same vein, I’m going on a date with a guy who is VERY funny, but definitely someone who won’t go the long haul. All I’m looking for right now is a couple of laughs over a brew and glass of wine. Nothing more and nothing less.

So, wish me luck that it’s not a complete wash or dating dud.

P.S. I counted 7 cliches. I’m on a roll! Oops that’s eight…

Would You Like More Eggs & Bacon With That Waffle [ing]?

There’s this big shake up happening with my group of girl friends lately. It’s the called the “waffling” man. Most of us are now newly single after quick flirtations with relationships.

The waffling man makes a great politician. He makes these large pronouncements and espouses his ideology of how things will be under his care. Cue evil laughter once he has secured your vote.

How do you know if he’s a waffle? Well, in short order (no pun intended):

1. He’s interested in immediate intimacy (3I’s).

Like that alliteration? I just made it up. It’s the old bait before the switch. It’s like a lure, bobbing above the surface, right before it ensnares you for a fresh gutting.

2. He operates like a broken faucet.

His emotional faucet only operates on two settings- scalding hot or icy cold. One minute he’s sending you selfies and cute kitty pictures to brighten up your afternoon. The next minute, he’s cold ghosting you for days.

3. He loves the “I’m busy” excuse.

Not like I’m posting from experience or anything…but when you need to vent or celebrate, his unavailability is because “I’m busy.” He uses this excuse like a well-worn pair of undies, because how can you argue “busy?” You’d be crazy to.

4. His neediness is endearing. Yours is crazy.

Women are clearly irrational. Any hint of vulnerability is a bumpy ride to the local insane asylum. Guys who express neediness are just “living in the moment” or “getting caught up in it.” Accept and learn to love these double standards- they will never change.

5. He wants to take it slow after a month of rushing to get you off dating apps.

This one is my favorite. Beware the man who excitedly wants you off the market. Chances are his profile is still active and suffering from a serious case of WOBO- Waiting On Better Opportunities. A waffler is the definition of WOBO.

Hey, now that I have my waffle, where’s that side of bacon and eggs?

How To Break-Up Like A Boss

After my birthday dinner, my best friend and I got on the topic of break-ups. By sheer happenstance, we were both undergoing simultaneous break-ups with very similar personality types- selfish and emotionally immature- older men (35+). The emotional fortitude of Shelia is something that I admire the longer I know her. She is truly unbreakable.

I’ve probably been in about 10 short and long-term relationships in my life. As I take my life’s inventory, the broken relationships I rebounded relatively quickly from involved one action and two words:

“NO CONTACT.”

Here are some tips I’ve learned on how to reduce the amount of emotional energy spent on a break-up.

How To Break-Up Like A Boss:

1. Pedicure (indulgence) + dating app (validation) = Happiness.

No matter what I’m doing, I take some mommy maintenance time right after a break-up. I schedule it as soon as I have a free moment and allow myself to be pampered. I also remind myself that I am still desirable and have plenty of prospects by perusing my dating app visitors and messages. It’s okay to feel a little vulnerable right now.

2. Clean house.

I mean this figuratively of course. No one likes to fucking clean their house. I go through my text messages and delete the ex’s sweet nothings and mean ramblings. I delete his messages and block him from the dating app. I also permanently delete his number from my phone. There will be no desperate texts from this chick at 1:00 a.m.!

3. Exercise!

The best revenge is living well. Feeling fit and getting a nice rush of endorphins to improve your mood is invaluable.

4. Getting lost in the moment.

For me it’s writing and reading. For others it might be gardening or home improvement. Getting lost in activities that nurture the mind and body is how you let go of fear and loss.

5. NO CONTACT.

No matter what he/she says, it’s broken. It won’t be fixed. It’s probably not worth saving. Don’t. Respond.

6. Letting go.

The most important tip. Only you have control of how you respond or don’t respond to your break up. Good relationships should be effortless. Spending time trying to fix the same issues is energy better channeled elsewhere. Take a deep breath. Succumb to what isn’t and what will never be. Stop over thinking. Let go. Move on.

A Few Safety Tips Before You Ride The Emotional Roller Coaster: How The Hot Hipster Became A Hot Mess

The reason I love blogging so much is that it records the promises you keep to yourself. This post is a perfect example of learning, maturing, refusing to make the same mistakes and never settling for less than you deserve.

So before I take you on my emotional roller coaster ride of the last month, here are some safety tips:

  1. Keep all emotion and confusion inside the ride at all times.
  2. Make sure your “vulnerability” safety harness is secured before the ride begins.
  3. Please note that there will be several high drops.
  4. Enjoy the ride while it lasts, but know that we have very few repeat riders.

So, now that we understand the safety procedures, here we go:

Before we began our exclusive relationship, Hipster literally wined and dined me. He brought me flowers on our lunch date, he cooked me a wonderful dinner, he made large pronouncements such as calling me “love,” “future life partner,” “stunning” and that we would be a “power couple.” I even helped him think of ideas for promoting his catering business. It all seemed idyllic, even with the red flags of living with a slightly unhinged female roommate and the weird relationship with his ex wife, who he said was still “waiting for him.”

After we became “official,” I noticed the romancing started to fade. It seemed that because he had “won” my affections, the charade of wooing was no longer as important. Questions about my life and inquiries  about my dreams and life experiences faded into the background and were replaced by his obsession over his business and interests in wealth accumulation. Every conversation began and ended with his stories, frustrations and feelings. It was a one-sided start to a once promising relationship.

Then came the insistence on unsafe sex- something I was definitely opposed to. I was made to feel guilty about not taking birth control (the pill reeks havoc on my body). I also didn’t want an IUD because of the horror stories I’ve heard from friends. Hipster was frustrated that I preferred condoms because his sexual experience was more important than being safe.

The next disagreement ensued last Friday. He refused to talk about my feelings on birth control, but I eventually agreed to go to the doctor for a prescription. He also let me in on the fact that while he was married, his wife gave him a “hall pass” to “improve their relationship,” which he used and wasn’t opposed to repeating in future relationships. I nearly walked out on him until he stopped me to say “I was just joking.” When I left early Saturday morning, I thought we were on the same footing. I clearly was wrong. For four days he ghosted me, citing that he was too busy. Fine. Last night I sent him a text asking for us to talk about a few concerns. He called me on his way to an event. The conversation went something like this:

Hipster: So what do you want to talk about? When you send a message that you “want to talk,” it’s never good.

Me: Well, I just feel like you’ve been so scalding hot and then so icy cold these past few days and I want to understand what’s been going on.

Hipster: I’m busy! I can’t just text you every hour on the hour when I’m working. When I’m not working, I’m freer to text.

Me: Okay. I just feel like there’s been a sharp atmospheric change between us.

Hipster: I have to say, that for lack of a better term, you’re just trying to nag me and frankly it’s off putting.

Me: I’m just trying to tell you how I feel. If that’s nagging to you than you’re misusing the term.

Hipster: I’m on my way to an event and my energy has now completely changed, so thanks.

Me: If you’re energy has changed, that’s about you, not me wanting to talk.

Hipster. Well, I guess we both need to do some pondering “about us” and what we want. I need to go. You have a nice night, Penny.” [Click].

Yes, he hung up on me. Just like that.

So I pondered. And pondered. Not only was Hipster a poor communicator (kind of a non-starter in my relationships) he was also selfish. I decided I didn’t need to be with someone who wouldn’t be able to stick through the tough times or disagreements. As you’ve probably gathered from my blog, I’m no waif. I am strong and independent and have no time for men who treat their women with disregard and disrespect. Been there, done that.

So I decided to end it with this:

Text Part 1

Text Part 1

Text Part 2

Text Part 2

I never received a response, and I’m okay with that. I allowed myself about 12 hours to feel upset and disappointed. I then deleted his number and information. I want it to be a clean break, even if the shelf life was for one month.

I leave you all feeling optimistic. In my heart, I know I did the right thing for me. In the end, all I can do is love and protect myself and Andrew. I owe it to him to be with a partner who will respect his mother.

5 Life Lessons From Judge Judy

I’m a BIG fan of Judge Judy Scheindlin. She holds everyone accountable for their actions and while others may waffle, she’s black and white on issues. Furthermore, no one gets away with their dumbass explanations and she’s not afraid to expose the fool. We should all take a page from her book, even if our delivery is a bit…nicer…

Lessons I’ve Learned From Judge Judy:

1. Don’t rest on your laurels or beauty. Get educated!

http://www.aol.com/article/2015/04/24/why-judge-judy-wears-a-lace-collar-in-the-courtroom/21176061/?icid=maing-grid7|main5|dl9|sec1_lnk2%26pLid%3D-1583432631

aol.com

http://www.aol.com/article/2015/04/24/why-judge-judy-wears-a-lace-collar-in-the-courtroom/21176061/?icid=maing-grid7|main5|dl9|sec1_lnk2%26pLid%3D-1583432631

aol.com

2. Do I look like I was born yesterday? If it sounds and smells like shit, it’s shit, so don’t bury your head in it.

knowyourmeme.com

knowyourmeme.com

3. Are you listening or just waiting for your turn to talk? If you’re just waiting to talk, you’re probably going to sound like an idiot.

pinterest.com

pinterest.com

4. Liars are easy to spot.

judgejudyfan.com

judgejudyfan.com

5. Laugh at fools.

collegecandy.com

collegecandy.com

Kimberly Allers Forgives Almost $40K in Child Support: I Have One Huge Problem With Her Argument!

New York Times Photo Credit

New York Times Photo Credit

For all interested in the issue of child support, I recommend reading this article the New York Times showcased “Forgiving $38,750 in Child Support, for My Kids’ Sake.”

There are many things that I agree and disagree with Ms. Aller’s article.

Things I Agree With:

  • “We have too often reduced nonresidential fathers to being weighed and judged by a financial transaction. If you don’t pay, you’re a “dead beat.” End of one story, beginning of a new one, one that can mean suspended drivers’ licenses and professional licenses, seized bank deposits and tax refunds, and the very real risk of jail time.” I agree that financial support is one facet of the value of fathers, however the law does not deal in subjectivity and intangibles. This is a weakness of the legal system and social services.
  • “Studies prove that school-age children of involved fathers have better academic success, higher grade point averages and go on to have higher levels of economic and educational achievement. We focus on money, when “child support” also means emotional support, academic support and the supportive power of a male influence in a child’s life. Negating that value is dangerous to our children. Regardless of what I think of him, my children love their father and doing my part to keep that feeling alive is priceless to me.” Again, I agree with this premise. Children do far better when they feel love and spend time with both parents. Plenty of visitation time between fathers and their children should be the norm, not the exception. Parents who engage in parental alienation by trying to circumvent visitation should be punished harshly.
  • “In the seven years since my divorce, my ex-husband (or “wasband” as I like to call him) has always given our children his time, whether he had money or not. He currently makes payments to me directly when he is able.”  I think that’s great, however this woman should have established a parenting plan with a low, base amount with direct payment to the mother and allowed the judge to sign it, rather than getting Child Support Enforcement (CSE) involved. CSE only gets involved when you submit a case. In many states, this is a viable option.

Things I Disagree With:

  • “I’m financially stable now. I’m lucky to be able to forgive the arrears, but it is money I would likely never see anyway. Hanging onto that debt is like hanging onto other things that went wrong for us, and it gets in the way of what’s best for our children. It will have been three hours and $38,750 well spent.” This is the crux of my disagreement in Ms. Aller’s argument: that this woman is “lucky to be able to forgive arrears, but it is money I would likely never see anyway.” This money DOES NOT BELONG TO THE HER. By definition, child support is for the children, where the custodial parent acts as a responsible party to help pay for things that are in the best interest of the child. The woman who writes this article fails to realize that her spouse bilked almost $40,000 from his child, not his ex wife. That’s a pretty nice chunk of change that could go to a college education.

All other arguments were mostly concrete until I read that the judge actually agreed to forgiving her child’s much needed support. The decision is for her to make as the responsible party, however I don’t think she acted in the best interest of her child, even though her intentions sound honorable. She misunderstood the entire premise of child support- better named “the child’s support.”

I don’t believe criminalizing men who are unable to pay versus unwilling to pay is the answer, however the law deals with compliance and fairness, not emotions, for a reason. Asking the judge if they could create a parenting plan that includes setting a low amount for a college trust fund would have been a better, more responsible answer to this divisive issue.

At the end of the day, child support is the CHILD’S SUPPORT and not the parent’s support. When we acknowledge and educate individuals on the difference, I hope our legal and social services will create more supportive services to custodial and noncustodial parents to favor parenting plans over Child Support Enforcement and legal battles, provided an amicable divorce/child custody arrangement.

I previously wrote about this topic here: Recalibrating The Term “Child Custody Battle”:Lessons And Tips I’ve Learned

Bad Habit #345: I Overreact

I can’t help it. I mean I can, if I work on it, but the impulse is so hard to control.

I’d like to say that I am an impassioned person to justify my impulse to react, but that’s not fair.

memecreator.com

memecreator.org

I got into it with the new boyfriend over a topic near and dear to my heart- using contraceptives. I’m for, he’s against. Regardless of where you stand on the issue, I did get mad at his stubbornness and failure to see why my point of view (i.e. my accidental mom status has forever shaped my perceptions) makes me a little bit of a tyrant on the issue.

I kind of became a bit of a drama queen. I need to check that. It’s a new relationship, so I need to temper my expectations.

What Are Your Top Posts?

I believe in a little self improvement and agonize over my traffic- the posts that were read, but not commented; the posts that had more comments than readers; the old posts that warrant more revisits; and etc.

Help a girl out and post in the comments section what your top blog posts were. I’d love to see what types of content people are REALLY interested in reading.

Thanks!

Slut Shaming

Listening to some of my guy friends talk about the pantheon of girls they slayed in the past month, I thought to myself, how many guys would call a girl a slut if they overheard this conversation? Oblivious to the double standard, my guy friends did the proverbial back slap and complimented each other’s conquest.

The Myth:

Women who live a “free love” lifestyles are sluts while men who do the same are masculine and virile.

If we refuse to scrub the word “slut” out of our vocabularies, then it needs to be an equal opportunity slur. In fact, I think I called a few of my guy friends sluts while they shot back a nonplussed glance my way. I chose not to say “male slut” because I am treating this word as agnostic of gender or sex.

Until we erase this word completely, my promiscuous male counterparts, I will mercilessly slut shame the fuck out of you.

#Foodforthought