Tag Archives: decisions

Asking For My Children’s Input

Yesterday I was painting our living room finally, it’s been a 2 month project at minimum.  Once I was almost completed, I thought maybe we should change the furniture around, so I asked my daughter to come help and get her input.  Of course, she was more than excited on moving things around and putting in her own style.

Then it hit me… This is why our family works….I actually ask my kids their opinion. I ask them for their input.  I do not just make decisions on our lives without getting their input.  Over the last 5 years, I have learned to really ask my kids and listen to what they have to say. And I have learned that sometimes they are actually right.   They can see things in a different way that I can.

Maybe it’s different for me because I am single and divorced, so I like to get another person’s opinion on home improvements, dinner choices, movie selections, vacations, etc.  But I realized that this had made our family so much more enjoyable.  My kids have learned that I value what they say and I listen to them.

In the middle  of the week, I usually ask them if there is anything they want to do on the weekend.  Of course, I will usually run down the list of activities we have scheduled due to sports, but then I will actually ask “what do you guys want to do?”.  I love to get their opinions and input.   They are now 15. 12. and 9 so there is a lot of discrepancy on what is suggested.  Sometimes it’s as easy as all they want to do is go starbucks and target..without asking I would not have known that is all they want to do.  And really… I can handle Starbuck’s and target. That is kinda like a dream date.  Other times, I get can we go to a waterpark.

I do not just tell them what is going to happen or what we are going to do, I ask them what they would like to do on the weekends, I ask them if they need anything for school the next week, I ask them for dinner ideas, I ask them if there are any movies they want to see….. I think I have realized that by asking them their opinions I have learned so much more from them.  I do not just say “no” to say no.

Last year, we started our “ you pick dinner Thursdays’ which means that each week a different kid gets to pick where we eat dinner.  Thursdays are our busy sports nights so dinner is always late or rushed, this helps with us still getting to eat together.  Don’t get me wrong, there are some complaints from the others usually, but they get over it fast.   They are excited about being the one to pick the dinner place and the others are always curious on where they are going to pick.

On Sundays, we normally go to church and I have learned that by asking them the time that they want to go, makes them not complain about going.  They actually will get up and go.  Sometimes they pick the earlier time because they want to do something fun that day and other days they will want to sleep in and we will go later.

But the end result is the same, we all go to church together.  And since I asked them on the time, I think they actually feel that they made the decision.

And in return, they have learned that I actually listen to them. They feel comfortable coming to me and asking to have a sleepover, or how to use a tampon, or go to a dance with a boy, or that they have a boyfriend.   They feel that I actually value them and treat them with respect.  They have learned that I am not just going to tell them what to do. I make them think about things a little bit.  I might say no to what they are asking, but what is most important is that they feel comfortable actually asking me.

 

-Snarky

www.snarkydivorcedgal.com/blog

Why Do We Need Our Friends?

Growing up I had my friends.. I did everything with the same people throughout my high school years. Sleepovers, football games, decorating yards with rolls of toilet paper each weekend….  In college it continued.. I was never overly popular, but I had my true friends.  It  has continued through my life…

I now watch my teenage daughter, now almost fifteen now  sit and laugh with her friends.  It is 5 pm on a Friday and its USA theme and the football game… her and her friend are frantically searching around the house for USA apparel and face paint. I just laugh… I love listening to the laughter and shrieking.  The many Friday nights, I am awaken out of a deep sleep by the sound of popcorn popping at 1 am.  They spend hours face-timing each other on their new school clothes and the outfits they are going to wear for the next week.   All of these things I love that she is experiencing….

I did not realize how important my friends were until I was well into my forties.  Its crazy how you meet those people in high school or college or at your kids soccer games and these are the people going to trust with everything in your life.  The friends you can’t get thru a day without.  They understand you more than most people in your life.

These are the friends that show up at 2 pm with a six  pack, just for fun.  (Yes, we live in Wisconsin and we drink beer)

Not until my divorce did I ever ask for help.  My friends never knew when I was suffering or drowning in life.. and then It changed.  I was the friend that held it together for everything.  Then I realized to survive through my divorce, I needed to ask for help.   Through my marriage, I handled everything from parenting to finances to vacations..I handled it all.  The summer of my divorce I was a mess.. I was happy one minute and crying the next.  I remember going to a country concert drinking two gingers and crying thru all of the fun.  One of my not so great moments.. but without those friends I would have not survived.

My friends would drag me out of the house and listen to me talk endlessly about the process of going through a divorce.  All of the nitty gritty details of the financial details, custody, splitting of your favorite memories, or how much you miss your kids.  They would ask me to go for a hike or walk many nights just because they knew I needed it.  I am a pretty independent person, so showing my friends that I needed help was very hard for me.  I know years later that I’m so grateful for them.  To many people am sure I looked like I had it together, but the truth is I needed my friends. I needed them to be my sound board. I needed to them to give me advice and encouragement to get through my divorce.

They push you…. My friends push me to do the things that I think I can not.. maybe it starts in the high school by asking your crush out and then continues later in life..now it’s  pushing you to try dating again age 45. They push you out of you comfort zone and get you to believe in yourself.  They help you text a guy back at age 45 and wait frantically for his response.  I would not have accomplished half the things I have done since my divorce without them.

They comfort you…Most of the time my friends are the first place I turn when I’m feeling lonely from missing my kids, when I’m stressed over fighting with my ex, or when just can’t concentrate on anything. These girls are the ones that can pull me out of my funk.  Having friends that you can trust and confide in has got me through most of my last 5 years.  We all have those nights or days that we just feel like crying.. sometimes it’s for no reason at all.  The moments when you burst into tears and maybe have no idea why… You need those people in your life to get you through it.  The days you wake up and feel like a bloated whale for no reason and you text your friends with crying emojis and they tell you how beautiful and funny you are…

They will be honest with you….The good friends will be straight with you. They will not just agree with your opinions and thoughts, they will tell you when you are being a little crazy…I’m a laid back person and i like to trust many people. I was very inexperienced and naive when I went thru my divorce, I did not have a lot of divorced friends and I thought I could trust my ex and I could be vague in our decree. Fast forward 5 years, my friends now tell me when I’m being to vulnerable with my ex. They tell me when I need to stand up for myself and get it documented. They will remind me of what has happened in the past and how to protect myself.  I need those friends in my life.  They always have my back.   They will also be the ones that see things differently and tell me when to get my head out of my ass.

Why do we need our friends?  We need them to get thru life.. mine have helped me with so many decisions.  The are the ones that push us when we need it.  It takes me a long time to get comfortable with people, so I cherish the friends that I can be myself with and tell them everything… these are the friends that we need.  These are the ones I love…

 

Snarky

www.snarkydivorcedgal.com/blog

Father’s Day is a Tough One

Father’s Day is a challenge for me. Every year. I am, however, getting better at it. In my family, I am the 24 x 7 single mom of two teens. My children’s dad moved out of state during the divorce process. This is a long story best shared with a close friend — perhaps over a glass of red wine and some dark chocolate … but I digress. For my dear blog readers, I would like to share how I have coped with Father’s Day, and the blessings that have come from this.

For the first few years after the divorce, I made a big deal out of talking to my daughters about Father’s Day for a couple of weeks in advance. I would tell them that their dad loved them, and ask what types of handmade gifts they would like to make for him that year. Then we would go craft shopping, create personalized gifts and cards, put together a care package, and mail it off to him.

The problem with this is that I was not only telling my daughters what they should do, I was also telling them how they should feel. My daughters are different people with different life experiences and different developmental levels. Some years they both wanted to make gifts. Other years one would want to make or buy a gift, and the other one would find any excuse to avoid the whole thing.

Now that they are 13 years old and 16 years old, I wait for them to bring up Father’s Day. I think this is healthy. If either of them wants to get him a gift, I always support that and pay for it. Now that they have their own phones, they are welcome to communicate with their dad on any day however they choose, but I don’t dictate this. I no longer answer the phone and call out, “Your father loves you and wants to talk to you!” I am less stressed out, and so are they. In an attempt to be a “good mom”, I was not always authentic. I whitewashed things, and they knew it.

I’m not sure what each of them will choose to do for Father’s Day this year. My guess is that my younger daughter will want to buy her dad a carefully chosen gift from Amazon and my older daughter will take a pass. Whatever they choose is okay. Their relationships with their dad are theirs, not mine. Respecting this is a lesson that took me a long time to learn, but it has helped to make our lives better.

I will be extra sensitive to my daughters’ needs on Father’s Day, knowing that most of their friends will get to spend Father’s Day with their perfectly imperfect dads. I will also hug the stuffing out of them. I like to do this on the other 364 days out of the year, too.

I wish you and your children a happy and peaceful Father’s Day.

I would love to hear your comments on this post.

Liz Possible ​is a Writer and Single Mom Extraordinaire. She lives in Minnesota with her two teenage daughters and their cats, Beau and Phoebe. “Possible” is her attitude, not her legal name — but then you knew that. Follow Liz at her blog at www.lizpossible.com and her FaceBook page at https://www.facebook.com/MySingleMomLife/

Correcting Karma…

Continuing the countdown to 50 and the soul searching that goes with it…

I put a post up yesterday on FB, asking if you could give yourself advice 20 years ago what would it be?   My answer was “take better care of people’s hearts and your own.  Some damage you can’t undo.”

My God– the damage that we can do to other people when we are broken and don’t know any better.  I am famous for saying that people do the best they can for who they are in that moment and I believe that even when it’s me making the mess.  I don’t make messes anymore –of people’s hearts or my own, at 50 I am smarter, wiser and more understanding of what is actually possible and what is not.  However, I was young and stupid once and broken and bouncing off walls and making messes of people’s hearts and my own.  Those were darker times…when I was broken and didn’t even understand that…my childhood was more something to ‘survive’ than something to ‘celebrate’ and that left its mark which wasn’t something I recognized until so many years later…

By the Grace of God many of the people that walked with me during those times are still my friends…I have a good collection of ‘lifers’ in my mix…and without them I would not even be here typing this to you.  They steadied me when I was floundering, they took me in, they loved me, they tried to direct me, they stood with me in my crazy and they never judged…

When I had my son I stopped the crazy train, I made a decision that I was not going to wrap him up in my dysfunctionalism and so I took him at 2 years old and moved away from everything and everyone that I had known for 36 years…we went South to TN and there I learned how to be stable and solid…I didn’t take child support, I had no family around me…just me and GOD and the friends that I made into family…and there we resided for 12 years until 2015 when I came back to New England, but that is a story for another day.

Last week I had the privilege of apologizing to someone that I devastated almost 20 years ago…by the Grace of GOD we are still close, yet I had never really had the opportunity to say how sorry I was for the way that I had left for no good reason…except that I was impatient, young, stupid, careless and broken.  This person has always taken care of me, protected me and helped me to be a better person…he certainly did not deserve the havoc I wreaked on his life all those years ago…to his credit he has never held it against me.  Yet I have never forgotten it and funnily enough (because karma never loses an address even when it is mine) a few years ago someone did the exact same thing to me in the exact same way and when it happened I knew it was karma coming to say “hey”…and so I took that hit as gracefully as I could and it taught me that there are some things you just cannot take back…

What I did learn, in all this, is that if you are blessed enough to be given a chance to repair karma, take it…that is a rare opportunity and I believe that it creates an immense amount of goodwill.  It takes a very self-aware person to realize when they have done damage to another human and then to apologize for it.  I think that it creates healing for both people and good things always come from a place of healing.

 

 

 

“What If?”, Doesn’t Change Anything

I don’t like to think about the “What-If’s?”, it doesn’t change anything. ..not saying I don’t think about them, I just don’t like to get too caught up in them. I use to spend a lot of time wondering and thinking “What If?”…What if I stayed married to my daughter’s dad…What if I continued my education immediately after high school….What if I had never met him…what if my dad never used….and then I realize that with all those decisions I did make the best moments and things of my life would never of happened. I have learned and realized worrying about the What-if’s do cost a lot of energy.

So do those “What if’s?” matter? Are they worth the time worrying about something I cannot change? I occasionally finding myself rolling those around in my thoughts and have trained myself to counter those what if’s by thinking of the things I have to be grateful for. Which is many.

In the end dwelling on the past doesn’t change a damn thing, whether it’s a good or bad. You can waste a lot of time worrying about what could have been, I would much rather enjoy the moments I am.

 

Love to All-Kim

 

 

Choice Is Yours

The phone rang yesterday morning and it was a friend of mine…her mother had died unexpectedly in the middle of the night…I just kept saying over and over “Oh my God” and then I started to cry.  My friend said she loved me for that…she has a hard time with emotions and it is difficult for her to ask for help or support…my greatest gift to her has always been to express whatever is there…

I talked with her for a long time and I told her that people would say a lot of different things to her over the next days and weeks…most of it kind but meaningless as the majority of folks can’t handle death and they will do whatever they can to avoid it…those are the people that say things like, “she is in a better place now”.  Those of us that have experienced death and not run away from it will tell her the truth…it is horrible, there is nothing more awful, you will have some very dark days and then the shock will fade some and the tears will come less frequently and you will get up and move through your days…you will laugh again and you will be less sad, however there will not be one day that you don’t miss the person you have lost and there will be some days where it seems again unbearable.

In the midst of it all if you are a fully functioning person there will be laughter mixed with your tears, there will be some anger at the loss, some “this isn’t fair” conversations in your head, some doubt of God’s plan…however those of us that have faith in something bigger than ourselves trust that life has a natural order to it and that things happen as they should even if we don’t agree.

Mostly people suffer greatly from a death when they are incomplete with the person that died…when they are still holding a grudge or the last words they had were in anger or they didn’t say that “I love you”…or they didn’t call enough or visit enough…or take time enough to tell people what a gift they are.  Those are the undelivered communications that bring you to your knees when someone leaves in an untimely and unexpected fashion.  Undelivered communications are what guilt and remorse are made of, I don’t recommend them.  I was taught at an early age to be complete in every moment…for some people close to me that means an “I love you” almost every time we speak…I think they tire of that, but I don’t care much because I know that if anything out of the ordinary happens I have delivered my message.

Walking my friend through her initial shock jerked me back to when my grandfather died…that is another reason people don’t deal well with the news of death because it causes them to momentarily relive whatever loss they have experienced and for some folks that is an unbearable thought.  People do strange things with death…which is funny because we are all going to leave this planet one day, one way or another…so it seems like there should be less fear and more acceptance.

People might leave this place, however the people that we love are never, ever gone…they are as alive as we make them.  My grandfather’s pictures are on my bedroom wall, in my hallway and on my desk…I think of him every day and often I can hear his voice in my head still advising me…and I am confident that he has sent certain people into my life to keep his watch…there are pieces of advice that he gave me that continue to shape my life…so for me he is still very much present.

Granted there are several people that I feel like I couldn’t live without, yet I don’t live in fear of them dying…life has a way of taking care of us if we let it…however we have to let it, which means a certain amount of trust in the process must be present…for many of us this isn’t the case.

Fear comes from thinking thoughts that scare you…you always have a choice…you can choose to think about things that keep you moving forward or you can choose to think about things that stop you.

I highly encourage you to choose to deliver your undelivered communications—unfinished business is bad mojo especially when people die unexpectedly…

Tell people how important they are to you all the time…tell them how they have contributed to you…tell them that you love them…forgive people for whatever harm you think they caused you, walking around holding grudges will only make you sick and depressed…that kind of stuff will suck the life right out of you.

 

Like it or not folks we are just here for a visit…seems to me we should be filled with gratitude for lives well lived and make the best of it and we should make it our business to make the best of it for other people too…it is always better to give…