Category Archives: Relationships

Good Intentions Gone Bad

Note from Noelle: Tribe, Terese will be sharing more of her story that is not often talked about— mental illness and suicide— my job is to give a VOICE to things that are difficult in a POSITIVE and uplifting way— this post does just that, it is the story of a Mother’s triumph over unexpected circumstances that life dealt her. She is truly a WARRIOR of the highest degree and I hope that you will be blessed by reading her words. I was.

XO, N.

I recently had a conversation on Instagram with someone who had commented on a meme I read. The meme posed the question, “Don’t you hate having flashbacks of things you wish you could forget?” My mind automatically went to my husband’s suicide. Flashbacks happen to me, often. They’re very real which is why my daughter’s and I moved out of my marital home after he died. Flashbacks, nightmares, my girls dreaming he was going to walk through the front door, were all very real things. With my good intentions, I posted a comment, which I rarely do, saying “Yes, I do hate those flashbacks. It’s very painful.” My phone immediately sounded a ding with a response that said, “Deal with it, move on. It’s that simple. ” I had to digest that for a few minutes because I couldn’t believe someone could give such a simple response. I’m not one to give knee jerk reactions but I had to respond explaining that it’s suicide trauma that I suffer. It’s kind of hard to just deal with, and move on. It’s really not that simple. She quickly apologized for my loss and wished me well. Thanking her, I recognized the good intentions, but the comment lacked a little depth and consideration for what people might have gone through. Both sides, both points, well taken. We moved on.

I have found suicide is not a comfortable subject. It’s one of those things that is often taboo to speak about. People don’t know how to respond or have a conversation about it. Most of the time people don’t think I’m widowed. Although sadly, I see more young widows, with pressures of society being too much stress for a husband to handle. I’m a single mom with two kids and it’s very often assumed I’m divorced. Being divorced and widowed are entirely different.  My children are often given something to give to their Dad. I still get mail addressed to “us”. I’ve had questions about my divorce schedule only to find out I have my kids 24/7. There is no break. I’ve had people say nothing to me at all because it was awkward, and they didn’t know what to say. I’ve been told, “you may find someone, you may not.” All good intentions, gone bad. I’ve learned to accept that people just don’t know what to do or say sometimes. They say the wrong thing, unintentionally, or they say nothing at all. It’s my job to be comfortable in my own situation so I can put others at ease. I can easily say my husband committed suicide, and after the gasp and, “I’m SO sorry”, I say thank you and we move on. It’s exhausting though sometimes. I recently had someone ask me a question about my husband in front of my girls and they cringed. It’s funny the presumptions we make.

Thinking about the initial post about flashbacks, fears, etc, the amount of stress a widowed parent holds on their shoulders is immense. I am NOT negating the fact that we ALL have stress, but I have fears that divorcees may not have. If something happens to me that’s it. There is no going to live with Daddy. I am the sole breadwinner. My every move will affect my girls and I have to make sure nothing happens to me. Of course I can’t live in a bubble, but I’ve tried to which is even more stressful. Covid hasn’t made it easier.

Comments I’ve gotten have really made me be more aware of the people around me. I try being careful not to blurt something out of my mouth. I try not to assume, ask personal questions, or make judgements by what I simply see. We really don’t know what people are going through and at the risk of sounding cliché, we haven’t walked a day in their footsteps. I’m here to tell you, If you don’t know what to say, you can just say, I’m sorry for what you’ve been through. I believe at the core, most people have good intentions. If we live by the general rule of being kind and thinking of others, maybe we won’t make as many slip ups with our mouths. Being kind is the number one rule in our home. If you’ve been offended or hurt by others regarding your situation, whatever that may be, remember that good intentions gone bad are still good intentions! I’ve learned to let go of a lot, and not have expectations that everyone knows what I go through. That way I’m not disappointed. We all slip up, but I believe for the most part, people mean well. I don’t let social media bring me down. I keep it to rainbows and unicorns.

Use it to better each other, uplift, and learn from other’s experiences! We can make it through another day!

~Terese

You can see the start of Terese’s story here:
https://theworkingsinglemom.com/suicide/

Some Relationships Need Caution Tape

Sometimes we do not see the signs in relationships that might need caution tape…  We are blinded by the chocolates, the flowers, and the balloons on your birthday… sometimes we can not see around all of the hoopla to see if this relationship is right for you…

The caution signs that our friends and family can see but we can not…

The making plans and then breaking them last minute…let’s have a happy hour on Thursday and then breaks them because he’s too tired.

The excuses to not make committed plans but can make plans with others…not sure if i can see you on Friday and then sneaks off to a buddies cabin…

The manipulation of making you feel like you did something wrong when you didn’t… ohh I really wanted to see you last night but you had plans with your friends…

You are in a rocky patch with your boyfriend and so he says he made a surprise getaway with you next weekend.. knowing you would never be able to go since you have your kids all weekend… He gets upset because you can’t go and then you find out after the fact that he never made the plans.. he just wanted you to believe that he was trying…

The poor me statements… “you don’t understand me”… can we just get together and I can explain.  When you get together nothing is accomplished.. many compliments are given but no concrete plans are discussed to make changes.

The “ohh ok then have a good life text” and then 10 minutes later you get a 3 page text on everything you did wrong on in the relationship.

Sometimes we do not see signs of caution in our own relationships to know its not working .. its like a constant roller coaster.. the highs and lows.. The highs feel great, but then its not too long and the lows start again.

You want to believe that things will change.. you want to believe the roller coaster will end.

I feel like many times I was holding on to hope that the relationships would change.  The reality is.. if he really wants the relationship he will send the good morning text.. he will follow thru with happy hour.. he will make the effort to meet your friends..and he will plan a weekend when you can go…

I was in a relationship in the past, where I would actually count the good days or I would say to my friends, “things have been good for 4 days”.   I should have ended that relationship a lot sooner than I did.  Relationships are hard, they all have ups and downs, however I am pretty sure that counting good days is never a positive gauge of a relationship.

Sometimes its hard to just do nothing but it can be the best test….to have patience to see if he reaches out, if he follows through with his plans, and if he shows you that you are important.

It is hard to sit back and wait for any of those actions.   Giving the relationships some space, may make things clearer to you.  Many times in my life, I wanted to rush everything along, but its important to sit back and observe.

I have been the friend that had to point out the signs and all the lows of your relationship.  I have been the friend that reminded you of how disappointed you have been.  I have been the friend that reminded you of how you had to cook your own birthday dinner last year.

I have also been the friend that needed to be reminded that I needed to use caution tape.  I needed the reminders of how I felt after all the cancelled plans over and over again.  It is about taking the time to notice the behaviors and using caution… having the patience to see what is best for you.

 

-Snarky

 

www.snarkydivorcedgal.com

The Guarded Mom

The guarded mom….

Normally I write these and tell you about the song I am listening to and what I am drinking. No music but milk tea. Lots of milk tea. It’s my new favorite thing.

There are quotes all over Pinterest about guarded women. I would take it a step further and say I’m a guarded Mom.

I realized this a long time ago but this weekend it came front and center. My daughter was trying to get in touch with her Dad to tell him about her grades. Her texts kept bouncing back. I found this out when I heard her crying in her room. I got my phone and put him on speaker. When I started to explain to him what happened he started to get defensive as he does. My daughter gave me a look. I was able to diffuse the situation and she was able to tell her Dad about her grades.

I want to tell you I haven’t spent the last eleven years diffusing everything but if you read what I write. You know that’s not true. And it’s exhausting. I have to think about everything I say. Everything I post. Even writing these blogs I worry sometimes.

My constant diffusing has meant I also keep certain parts of me to myself. I have only taken one vacation by myself. My daughter has only met one person that I have dated.  Up until I started writing and doing radio again all my social media was private and most of it, still is.

I worry when I do go out somehow my ex husband will turn it around on me.  That worry has made me say no. That worry has made me put things in place so my daughter will always have someone when it can’t be me. That worry has made me appear anti social. To some like I don’t care. That I’m closed off.

The thing is I care with my whole heart. I made a promise to my daughter the first time her Dad broke her heart I would be as she calls me- her knightress.

Sometimes a Knight has to guard her heart, but it doesn’t mean she doesn’t have one. She’s just keeping it safe for battle.

Being a Mom is the best thing, the hardest thing and my favorite thing.

Be safe.

Love you Mommas

G’s Knightress

Caprise

Parenting Post Divorce During A Pandemic

Parenting post divorce AND during a pandemic sucks…In the immediate aftermath of divorce (which is raw, grueling, and painful enough in its natural state let alone during a worldwide pandemic), your mind and even your heart can play a lot of mean tricks on you. To say that the past month has been an emotional roller coaster would be a vast understatement, as some realities of my new (yet not exactly new) status of being a 99.9 percent of the time, full-time single mother has more often than not been anxiety-ridden and even downright debilitating some days, as this parenting during pandemic stuff is surely meant for people much more patient, resilient, and otherwise stronger than I am or have ever been. Admittedly, I have locked myself in the bathroom and cried more times than I care to acknowledge, I have screamed at my children to the point of being ashamed of said behavior, and I have even gone so far in the darker moments to wish for another life because this is not the one for which I signed up. Yes, I know—good and devoted mothers aren’t supposed to feel or say such things out loud. But if we’re to be honest with ourselves, all of us have been there whether we openly admit that or not. Truly, if turning 40 has taught me nothing else, it’s that living and speaking your truth is soul-cleansing and necessary because if you take a moment and really look at the grand scheme of it all, we don’t have that much time left to make amends to ourselves for the overwhelming silence of the first half of our lives.

Yesterday, I took these three amazing and beautiful children pictured here (though now the significantly more grown-up versions of themselves) to meet their father for the first visitation they’ve had with him in almost four months and the actual first visitation they’ve had with him post-divorce, and my emotions were fairly well all over the place for a multitude of reasons too numerous to mention unless I want to write a script for a Lifetime movie, but I digress. The void in my heart as to all things concerning my former husband and marriage and all that entails is deep, and I now fully understand why all of my friends who had previously gone through a divorce told me that it is far worse than experiencing the death of someone you love BECAUSE IT IS. Yes! It’s a big, gaping, proverbial death of all the aspirations and incantations of love and what that former love created (which so happens to be the three awesome human beings you see here). While they are no doubt the three best things that ever happened to either me or their father, they are also the three things that make this whole divorce phenomenon exponentially harder, especially when you harbor a deep resentment for the person who also took part in their creation, though was not ever and is not now exceptionally present for their becoming (but you’re not ever, ever, no, not ever supposed to let them know that). That, my friends, is a rather large and bitter pill to swallow. Indeed, sometimes it feels like it may poison and subsequently kill me, but I begrudgingly and resentfully do it, all the while smiling through gritted and gnashed teeth. Not for him, but for them, as they, too, will have to surmise their own truths in their own time, and of all the things I don’t concede on where he is concerned, I concede this, as that will never be a burden I want to bear or want them to bear. No, never. Not ever.

In speaking my truth of this deep, emotional void and also of the pain of all things divorce (and how said pain often has nowhere productive to go so it seemingly takes up permanent residence in every synapse and space and memory we possess), the reason I am including this picture in this post is because this wall, until late last night, had been empty for almost a year. Several months back when he moved some things out of our home, he also took these beloved canvasses of our children’s first birthday photos without my knowledge or consent and told me at the time he did it because he knew it would crush me (these being my most cherished photos of my babies ever). Long story short, I didn’t ask for anything else material during our divorce proceedings except for him to return these to me (and to my surprise yesterday, he actually did). So, last night, after returning home to the resounding silence and stillness that is my home without my children’s presence, I had the ceremonial privilege to return them to their proper place, hanging on the dining room wall where they belong and have always belonged. As I stood there marveling at these images of my three precious kids in their most innocent form, I cried tears consisting of at least 1,000 different emotions I have felt over these past two years, otherwise letting go of some of that anguish and bitterness that has consumed me for far too long. I allowed myself to sit in that formerly blank, but now occupied space and let all of that energy—whether good, bad, or indifferent—out. It was cathartic and oh-so desperately needed, and it’s given me the long overdue permission to more genuinely go on about the work of continuing to rebuild both myself and my life and my children’s lives, and not because it’s often glamorous or fun (no, of course, it’s not), but rather BECAUSE I HAVE TO and BECAUSE I WANT TO.

By sharing this story during what is undoubtedly an uncertain and scary time for many of us even under the best of circumstances, it is my greatest hope that we all remember in the midst of what may very well be some of our darkest and most trying times, that this void—this seemingly endless and vapid space—it won’t last or stay empty forever. Of course, it may hang over us and it may consume and subsist on our energy for a certain period of time, but it will inevitably fill up and runneth over again, so to speak. However, this will only happen when we’re ready, and today, I am ready to begin the often excruciating, yet simultaneously healing work of moving on with my life and continuing to open my heart to both things and people who are actually worthy of my love, my time, and my attention. In this ebb and flow of life and all its contents, it’s no secret that it has taken me an exceptionally long time to arrive at this critical juncture. But here I am, detours and delays and breakdowns and all, finally ready to begin again and it feels amazing and right and real. Of course, I am not so naive as to think there won’t be some setbacks along the way, but I will take them as they come—moment by moment, day by day. Yes, in learning to speak my own truth, I realize that I may not know much if anything else, but I KNOW THIS MUCH IS TRUE.

 

“Here’s to finding the courage to speak your truth, whatever that may be.”

Ashley

Lord Help Me Become

Lord help me….I’m sure you’ve seen the bumper sticker that reads, “Lord please help me to become the person my dog thinks I am.” Yea, that too, but I’d rather be the person my 7 year old son believes I am.

I could never be the “World’s Best Mother”. I couldn’t if I tried. Motherhood has got to be the most rewarding, fulfilling, but incredibly and insanely difficult job ever imagined! There are so many thinks to take into consideration. This is my chance to make the world a better place, to donate the best adult I can to this world. Each night I go into his room to check on him after he goes to sleep and each night I pray I can do justice to God’s Precious Gift to Me. I pray I can be what he needs me to be, and the strength to follow through to be a better mother. But to my son, he thinks I’m the World’s Best Mom simply because we went to Taco Bell.

I’ve also been told I “rock”. I’m not entirely sure what that means, but I’m guessing that’s a good thing… Last night at his Boy Scout Meeting, they had “Paper Airplane Derbies”. If you haven’t been to a Boy Scout Meeting, it’s predominately a “guy thing”. At most of his Boy Scout functions, I’m a bit out of my element. Take the camping trip a couple weeks ago: 8 little guys, 7 grown ones, and me. The only girl. But I go, have fun, go hiking, and sleep on the ground, even though I prefer “Camp Marriott” or “Camp Holiday Inn”. I’m learning how fathers and sons interact, and am taking notes you see, I’m a single mother. It can be tough to be a single mother. But you know what? Apparently, I’m doing OK! All it took for my son to say, “Mom, you rock!” was knowing how to fold a great paper airplane. Who knew? He lost, but you know what? I rocked!

He tells me I’m the “World’s Best Cooker”. I’ve made my mom’s recipe of Mac and Cheese accompanied by Bar-Be-Que Weenies…one of his favorites. I almost have it – never being quite as good my mother’s, of course. I’ve tried several ways to fry chicken, finally have a way that’s almost as good as KFC’s – almost. I’ve read cookbooks, made pastries, fresh biscuits, and fresh pasta with only flour, eggs, mild, and a rolling pin. Yet to become the “World’s Best Cooker”, all it takes is a cheap box of mac and cheese and an even cheaper can of hot dog sauce. Necessity is the mother of invention: I call it Chili Mac, and it costs about $1.00 to make.

But when I look in the mirror, I don’t see the “World’s Best Mom”, or “The World’s Best Cooker”. I see an aging single women who never reached her full potential. I see every mistake I made, re-live every bad choice I ever made, and feel my heart ache for that one great guy I pushed away. I see all the choices made leading to the fact I’m a single mother.

I see my former classmates conquering the world, setting out to do the very things they dreamed and said they would do. I know in my heart of was capable of the same accomplishments, but I’m here struggling with meal planning on $1.00. My choices and were different. Maybe I should have done this, maybe I should have done that…and I would be able to provide better for my son. However, I woke up one day almost 40 years old, graying hair, never married, no house of my own, no new car, no savings account…and every goal I set for myself unfinished. I re-live some mistakes and bad choices, and see the lost opportunities. Mistake after mistake after mistake. I see a person who loves her son dearly, but could’ve done a better job of providing if only…

“Mamma”, my son asks, “did you ever do anything wrong?”

How does he see an entirely different person? How does that happen?

If I could just be the person my son believes I am…

Not a day goes by that I don’t love my son more and more. Last night when his paper airplane didn’t win, he was upset. I explained good sportsmanship, sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. He was still upset, a mix of being mad and crying. I tried to get him to laugh. He said he wanted to stay mad and didn’t want to laugh. Well, he started laughing. He looks up at me, immediately smiles, and gives me the BIGGEST hug and says, “Mom, we sure have some good times, don’t we?”

I wouldn’t change my life for anything.

 

Something Positive For A Change,

Karen

The View From Here, A Maine Focus

 

I wrote this 18 years ago, and my son is now 24 years old. He paid his way through college with no debt, bought and paid for his car that is nicer and newer than anything I have ever owned. He is preparing to move into his brand new and freshly built home with his girlfriend with a balcony view of the ocean. I was a proud mom then, and an even prouder mom now! 

The Awkward Keyboard

The awkward keyboard…

It is the Sunday of a long weekend. The days are blurring a bit. Today’s song: Chicago is So Two Years Ago by Fall Out Boy.

The lyrics: my heart on my sleeve, my badge of weakness.

My favorite four legged animal and majestic doodle is at my feet.

I am revisiting this week. I have said since March that this is a time to show people who you are. Conversely people will show you who they are.

I have done a pretty good job of ignoring most of what I see on social media. I have done an even better job of not commenting on things I disagree with.

I know who I am.

I know what I believe and if you know me well you do too.

But… I broke the cardinal sin and commented on a friend’s post. We from day one have disagreed about everything, but I know her heart and just scroll.

However, this person posted about health and I commented. I didn’t argue, just said maybe focus on the positives. Obviously I’m paraphrasing. Another person commented. Then their very not nice comment was liked several times even by my friend.

I have always said it’s ok to disagree but do so with kindness.

This was not that. Not by a mile. Not by a football field.

And it stung. I know, I know, don’t put your toe in the pool if you can’t handle the temperature. But when it comes from a friend or even family.

Yikes.

I am by no means a perfect human but I also feel really strongly computer screens and a keyboard have given us courage to say things we normally wouldn’t.

I would even say to be people we normally aren’t.

Whole personas.

As a person who wears their heart on their sleeve and quotes Mr. Rogers, social media can be rough.

You could say” well Caprise- get off it then”. Except right now, especially right now, it has become a thorny lifeline. AND a tool I use for things I love.

So here I am.

Trying to understand something, maybe there is no understanding.

I still believe in the kindness of people. I still meet everyone with it until they give me a reason not. I will never not be that person. It’s just sometimes disappointing when people you care about show you their true colors.

Be safe and as always Mommas much love,

Caprise

Slow Your Roll On Dating

Slowing your roll on dating….

Omg Janet I can’t t believe he hasn’t texted me back.. I texted him at 8:30 am and its 8:45 am.. ughh I know he doesn’t like me.  I shouldn’t have texted him… Yes I know I’m being a little over dramatic but its true.  All I can say is “Slow Your Roll” in dating.     

I think most of us experience these thoughts running through our head from time to time.  The insecure thoughts that take over our mind as we enter the world of dating.  The thoughts that we need to get past to become more confident and patient.   I still have those thoughts go through my head… It is really hard to overcome especially if you have had failed relationships in the past.  

I think the best advice I can give is to slow down in dating… “Slow Your Roll” as I say to my friends.  I think that the world of on line dating and texting has hurried up the entire process.  If someone doesn’t respond, we move on to the next.  If they do not respond within the time frame we set, we get upset.  Or we send another text….before they have time to respond.  

When I first started dating after my divorce, I was very insecure, plus I had not dated in about 13 years.  I would constantly think if I wasn’t texting someone or have a date planned for the week, they didn’t want to see me.  Obviously I forgot that people have lives and are sometimes busy.    Crazy, I know…I can not hide it at times.

  Everything just needs to slow down… they do not need to respond within minutes, there doesn’t need to be a next date set right, and you do not need to see each other every day.  When we start to rush and think this way, that is when my insecurities would kick in.  

Slow your roll… we can all take a minute to breathe in dating.  Take the time, have the patience, and enjoy the fun of dating.   I continuously remind myself of this over and over again.  When I start to ease back into my old way of thinking, I remember that there is no rush.   I have to take a minute to remember to slow down in my thoughts and actions.  

Slow your roll… I know some of us are looking for that ultimate soul mate and others are looking for companionship, either way, take the time.  Be patient.   There is nothing wrong with easing into the dating.  There doesn’t always need to be a plan for the next date, just day by day.  

I will be honest and maybe I am different than most, but I like time alone.  I do not want always want to spend my next free moment with someone.    So, I will say no to a date if I want a night to myself and it doesnt mean I do not want to date that person.  I just get very few moments to do nothing and sometimes I like that…

Be patient with each other.  Learn to listen to that person…I have learned to listen to what  they are saying…  If they say, they are just looking for something casual, then they are probably not going to give you as much time as you are expecting.   If they mention they have a big project next week, then they might not have time to see you.   I have just really tried to listen to what the person is saying instead of letting my insecurities set in.  

Take a breathe.  Let them take the time to respond.  Give yourself time to respond.  Do not rush into making the next plan.   I have just learned  that having patience is really the key when getting to know someone.  You also learn more about yourself and what you want in dating.  The more patience that I have, the more I learn about that person and myself.   So, slow your roll, dating is not a race.  

 

-Snarky

 

https://www.snarkydivorcedgirl.com/

When Life Gets Messy

When life gets messy with relationships and dating… how do you take time the time to figure it out?

When life gets messy…I used to just move on to the next thing and stay constantly busy. I would make plans every night. I would plan my weeks out way in advance. I would make sure to not have a free moment to myself. I would basically try and cover it all up, sweep it under the rug, and move on.

I was continuing to fall into the same pattern with my relationships. Mostly because I would not take the time to figure out what what went wrong or what I really wanted. You date someone for a few weeks, you break up, then you keep yourself continuously busy until the next person comes along that peaks your interest. I found this to be very true for me. I know that is what dating is about, but after a consistent pattern of failed relationships, I had to do some soul searching.

I have had to do a lot of self reflection on my relationships over the last five years, some were long term and others were short lived. At first, I just thought I wanted a relationship. I did not take the time to really think about what type.

Could I fit this person into my life?

Did I have time to meet what they needed?

Did I want a serious commitment?

Could they fit me into their life or their schedule?

Did they want a casual or serious commitment?

Did I need someone that would make plans with me weeks in advance?

I had to think was I too needy for them or not needy enough?


I needed to think about all of these things… and also think about what I was ok with in a relationship.

No one is going to do everything that you want. I think many times in the past, I have talked myself into dating this person longer than I have should have… I thought we might eventually like the same interests, I thought he might eventually show me more attention, I thought eventually he might do what I wanted…haha… I am kidding.

Many times I would say to my friends, “ ohh he is really nice”. Many people are nice, but I should not be dating them because they are nice. I would spend way to much time devoted to someone that was never going to fit with me, when I should have ended it.

Many times after the relationship failed, I was like how come I didn’t end it sooner. I mean there were huge red flags, but I just kept on with it and didn’t pay attention. If I would have just stopped, done some honest thinking with myself, I probably would have saved myself the heartache.

Besides trying to figure out why it didn’t work, I had to figure out what I wanted. If all the signs were there that it wasn’t working, why was I still determined to try… was it because I was afraid of being alone or just wanted the companionship.

I stopped keeping myself continuously busy, instead I slowed my life down. I stopped looking for the next relationship. I had to think about what was important to me. I asked myself all those questions over and over again. I had to realize that what I thought I wanted or was told I should want, was not really what I wanted. I was spending time going after the wrong relationships. I had to constantly remind myself of this when I began dating or a new relationship.

Because life in relationships gets messy… I had to continue to be very honest with myself.

-Snarky

https://www.snarkydivorcedgirl.com/

The Mom Rollercoaster

The mom rollercoaster…….

It is Sunday. As I do music in my ears.. Coffee in my mug. Writing. Today’s. Song is David Gray “This Year’s Love.”  It’s a beautiful lament about someone he loves and the hope it sticks. Not really relevant to this blog but I would be lying if I didn’t say it is definitely hitting some things for me.

Maybe a blog for another time. Today is about my daughter. This extra time while what we both needed has also given us time to have some deep conversations.

Hard conversations.

Painful conversations.

About her Dad and I.

I naturally assumed she was too little to remember the constant fights. I wrongly assumed that even after we left because they weren’t as frequent that would make it easier on her.

I naturally assumed because we didn’t do it in front of her she didn’t notice.

Since I used the word assumed several times. If you are assuming I was wrong you are correct.

My daughter writes. Tons of stories. Her characters are off shoots of her friends and herself. Bits and pieces. Some truths, some exaggerations. Like all storytellers do.

Last night she was telling me about one of her new characters and it opened up a conversation about how much her Dad and I fought.

She point blank asked me why I never shut  him down. It goes without saying I started to cry. 

I asked her if she thought I enjoyed arguing in general. She said no you are incredibly kind Mom.

I said right. I asked if she had ever heard of the path of least resistance.

She said no.

I explained to her. Sometimes it is easier to just let things go then fight back. Other times you have to yell to be heard. For me there felt like there was never a right way.

I can’t tell her – your Dad was emotionally abusive. I can’t tell her I would start to have panic attacks at 4pm everyday because that is when he came home.

I can’t tell her how I had to ask him permission to even change the color of our living room curtains.

Instead…

I told her she is my favorite person. I love her more than anything. I am not perfect, I mess up and I am sorry that she was ever made to feel anyway by seeing her Dad and I fight. But not to feel she couldn’t continue to ask me about things. To not feel we couldn’t continue to talk about things. She needs to know she may not always like the answers and I may not give them to her.

I am not going to lie to you Mommas my heart hurts a little from this. I tried really hard to bubble wrap her from some of this and it appears I forgot the tape.

All I can do is keep talking.

 Keep telling her I love her.

 Keep on keeping on.

This Mom thing is quite the ride,a rollercoaster, but it’s my favorite of all of them.

Be safe

Much love Mommas

<3 Caprise

Split Decision

Split Decision…

**Disclaimer – I am very much aware of how fabulous most dance dads can be, often shouldering burdens (literally and figuratively) to lighten the load on their families.  I love watching them get dressed in studio gear, enthusiastically embracing the role of their child’s loudest cheerleader.  I also acknowledge that the situation can be reversed (Mom is just not into it), although I myself have not encountered that situation often. This is written based on my own personal experience of being a divorced dance mom, nothing more.  Kudos to all of the engaged, supportive dance dads (and moms!) for all they do!

B. C. (Before Children)

When I was pregnant with my twin daughters, I had their dance studio picked out before I had chosen a name for Baby A (true story).  When my girls were in utero, I actually visited the dance studio where they would take their first class less than three years later.  On the “About Us” page on my website, I explain how I was once a coach/choreographer for a couple of dance teams, and that studio was where a few of my dancers had gone.  Before I became pregnant with my girls, I was taking adult classes there.  I just knew that my daughters would at least try dancing at some point, so it made sense that I would enroll them in the studio I was most familiar with.

A. D. (After Divorce)

My husband (at the time, let’s call him “Morty”) knew that dance was a huge part of my life; it had been before I even met him, and our first real trip together was to Orlando for the Pop Warner National Cheer and Dance Championships (my team wound up winning 1st place for the third year in a row that December, so he knew I was heavily involved in it).  When talk of extracurricular activities came up during my first pregnancy, Morty firmly proclaimed, “No dance!” We had a split decision. His cousin’s daughter was heavily involved in competition dance at the time, and Morty was, well, mortified at how much traveling, time, effort, and money had to be invested to sustain that lifestyle.  He relented when the girls were about two and a half, allowing them to take three years of preschool classes and one year of competition.  After their third recital, he said, “You can really see how confident and strong the older girls (in the company) are.  I want our girls to be like that.”  He also noted how his cousin’s daughter never got into any real trouble; she barely returned the boys’ attention because they just weren’t important enough to warrant her time.  Although he was never thrilled with their involvement, he at least developed a begrudging acceptance of it.

Then we split.  Life goes on, and I wanted my kids’ lives to remain as unchanged as possible, so they continued with their respective activities.  Naturally, the girls’ commitment to dance grew over the years, and Morty grew more resentful and angry towards their passion.  He reversed course, claiming that he never wanted them to be involved with dance in the first place; this theme reared its ugly head during our lengthy, contentious divorce (which spanned many more years than I would have liked).

Even now, he continues to lecture them about how they are wasting precious time and money because they shouldn’t make a career of dance.  He goes as far as to suggest (directly to them) that they are not talented enough to truly be standouts in the field, and that they should quit to pursue other activities.  Awhile back, he showed them graphic pictures of a young woman that broke her spine during a gymnastics event, emphasizing that she will most likely never walk again, and warning them that they could meet a similar fate because of all of the tumbling, leaping, and jumping they do.  They were petrified, but didn’t tell me because they didn’t want me to get upset about what he had done (I just learned about it a couple of months ago, and am still furious over it).  He does not always bring them to class on his parenting time, and has gotten into verbal altercations with the studio staff.  Last year, he did not come to a single competition (despite all of them being within an hour’s drive from his residence).  My girls are understandably angry and disappointed, and often cry out of desperation and frustration.  There is so much more, but I’m already tearing up.  

We’re Not Alone (Unfortunately)

I know we’re not the only family that deals with this dynamic.  In competition dance chat groups, I often read comments from moms that are fretting over how their husbands or partners will react to the dance bill, relating complaints from their children’s father about how much they have to travel or that he needs to watch siblings while Mom and the dancer are away, and other issues.  Some of these concerns are valid, of course, but clearly mom and dad are on different pages when it comes to the role that competition dance plays in their family.  If the child senses this discord (and they often do), it can shatter an already fragile sense of self-esteem and self-confidence.

The Importance of Self-Reliance

If you are facing a similar situation, the best advice I can offer is this:  Encourage your children to dance for no one but themselves.  They need to learn how to find intrinsic motivation within their own hearts and souls so their passion is real and genuine, driving them to overcome obstacles and face challenges with confidence and strength.  Relying on external validation is putting their self-worth in the hands of others, which is a dangerous strategy to use on the path to becoming strong adults.  I teach my girls to expect disappointment in life, but not to seek it out purposely.  Expecting support from their father on their dance endeavors is a fool’s errand, and at the age of eleven, they are coming to terms with it.  It still upsets them, and of course it always will (it would be unrealistic to expect otherwise).  But teaching them to protect their hearts and minds through self-reliance is like giving them a suit of armor to shield them from the onslaught of negativity they are sure to face from the outside world.

Being identical twins, I pray my girls will always have the other’s love and support.  Each is a built-in best friend to her sister, and they draw on the other’s strength and affection to get them through tough times.  My wish is that they continue to remain this close throughout their lives, encouraging each other to find her inner spark when they can rely on no one else.  But if that isn’t possible, my hope for all my kids is that they can find everything they will ever need within themselves.

~Work Hard & Have Fun,

The Dancing Mom

http://thedancingdancemom.com/