Tag Archives: marriage

A Married Stay At Home Mom To A Working Single Mom

I never would’ve thought I’d be a single working mom if you’d asked me ten years ago. When I got married at the age 28, I thought I’d almost ridden out my “troubling 20’s” and was proud of myself for waiting until I was almost 30 to get married. I thought I had life pretty much figured out; I’d get married to this wonderful man, (13 years my senior), and he would make me happy……….boy was I wrong! 

We got married on Friday, October 13th, in the year 2000 on a cliff in Maui, Hawaii. Right as my dad started to walk me down the aisle, a gray storm cloud was overhead, and it started to drizzle rain. The preacher assured me that the rain meant we’d be fertile. Ironically, we went through IVF to conceive our twin girls in 2002! We made the decision that I would be a stay at home mom. It was a dream come true, or so I thought. 

In April 2003, my mother died after battling cancer since my wedding in 2000. I sank into a deep, dark hole of depression. We welcomed our third daughter on February 23, 2005. I had three beautiful daughters that I was so fortunate to get to stay home with, right? Wrong! With nowhere to be if I didn’t want to, I felt I had no purpose in life other than to care for my children. My marriage began to suffer around 8 years in. In hindsight though, it was never going to survive. Our marriage ended in 2012. 

I had gone back to work teaching preschool 16 hours a week, but I had no benefits and was making very little pay. My ex husband and I couldn’t afford to each buy a home so we lived together post divorce for about 4 months. I know it sounds crazy, but we had to do what we had to do. It was not a healthy thing to do, that is for sure. 

So here I was, a well educated woman with a college degree, but couldn’t find a job to save my life. Being out of the workforce for so many years left me unmarketable. I managed to get a job as a paraprofessional in the school system where I had benefits, but still very low income. I bought my own home as well. With my job plus child support, we were barely getting by, but we were making it!!!! I have since gotten a better paying job, but then got served papers for a modification of child support. Ugh.

Although I have a decent job, it’s not what I had in mind as far as fulfillment goes. I go through the motions, but still have a goal of doing more meaningful work.  I have a passion for helping single women, hence me writing this blog to The Working Single Mom. 

Single moms, you ROCK! 

Karen

Learning To Navigate The Steps

When I say steps, I don’t mean the kind you walk up, though this is an uphill climb too. I mean the kind that result from a new marriage. 

My kids gained a step-mother  in May of this year. They also gained a step-sister who lives with them when they are with their father and his new family, which is 50 percent of the time. 

I will not lie and tell you that this was hard for my children in the beginning, it was hard for me. It was hard for me because I was jealous. It was hard to watch him move on. It was hard because where my ex and I had communicated well before, even to the point that you could say we were friends, the communication was cut off. On their side of things, I could not definitively tell you the motivation for that. However, I will concede that it must be difficult being a new spouse and forming a new family when there are extra catalysts for discord. 

I wanted to be friends with my ex and his new wife and if we could not be that, I wanted to at least be friendly. This was never allowed. It was seen as an attack on their relationship when I bought a Father’s Day present for my children to give their father. Virtually every time I contacted them I got knots in my stomach because I knew it would be met with nastiness or ignored completely. It was painfully obvious that he was not able (allowed or otherwise) to respond to simple text messages about the children, without consulting her first. I understand being partners very well, and I think if the roles were reversed I would tell my husband about it, but I would not ask what I was allowed to say or do. The thought of asking permission makes my skin crawl. Though trying to see things through my partner’s eyes does not.

I have struggled and agonized over how to handle this situation. I ask myself over and over when contacting them if it is 100% necessary. I ask myself what is in the best interest of my children. I have gone so far as to consider going back to court to attempt to gain primary custody, though that is never what I wanted. I want my children to have a relationship with their father, a great one even. What I do not want is for them to have to play telephone between their father and me. That is not fair to them. It is not fair to them for people to not act like adults. My ex or myself. 

I am still learning. I am dodging minefields some days and not giving it another thought on others. But, the truth of the matter is that this is a real, raw, and nitty gritty part of divorce. I will keep doing what I feel is in the best interest of my children, and I will take it a day at a time. I will swallow my feelings and my pride to be what they need. And I hope if I am met with the situation my ex is in, I am stronger for my kids than he has been.

Stronger Than Yesterday, 

Alice

I Celebrated My Divorce

I celebrated my divorce. 

I have no shame in that. 

Not only did I celebrate it, I announced it on social media. I took a selfie slapped a clever caption including my reclaimed maiden named and posted it to all four of my social media accounts!

So I celebrated. I dressed up for court, put on a little too much make-up, and curled my hair. Not to shove it in the face of my ex but for me. To show myself  I had my life together and I was moving forward. I walked into the courthouse side by side with my ex, and I had the memory pop up of us going to pick up our marriage license just a few years prior and I will admit it caused a lump in my throat. We sat and we waited to be called and I realized I was excited. I was ready to close this chapter and open myself up to a new one. Im allowed to celebrate a milestone in my life even if that milestone is leaving a toxic marriage. 

I was tired of hiding in shame. It took months of therapy to get where I am in the rubble of what was left post separation and I have no shame in the way I chose to clean up the mess that was my life. There was a time in my life I never would of confirmed the rumors and I would’ve  hid the fact I was divorced, but I’m growing and I’m learning that there is no shame in doing what is best for you and especially what is best for your children. 

So I celebrated. I had dinner with close friends and enjoyed a margarita. I changed my last name on my social media accounts and in my phone, but the most important thing I did all day was high five my ex after court. We did it. We had finally come to an agreement. We both went into the divorce with no lawyers and decided to work it out among ourselves how this was going to go, and it wasn’t easy feelings were hurt along the way but at the end of the day we realized in the middle of this war we were raging on each other was an innocent little boy who just wanted his parents to get along. So we did. We met and we discussed everything at length and settled on all issues, and we walked out of the courthouse together and laughed and high fived. 

~Serendipity

Sometimes The Grass Is Greener

Lately I have heard several people say that “the grass isn’t always greener.” Some have implied that it is never greener, in fact. I know plenty of instances when this is true. We all know the anecdotes or have personal friends who have been involved in an affair. Affairs are most often great examples of this. Most who break up a marriage or long term relationship to be with someone else end up regretting the decision, or at the very least the way it came about. This is not at all to negate the byproduct relationship, maybe it is awesome, but sometimes the factors involved in breaking up the first relationship overshadow the love in the second. Examples of this are issues with children. They could be resentment, acting out, angst in general, astronomical child support, and honestly plain old logistics. If there are no kids involved it could just be alimony, separation of monetary and physical possessions, internal wounds on all three sides, and distrust and jealousy in the new relationship because of how it came about. With all of those things taken into account, it certainly does not sound greener. And when applied to these circumstances, I would argue that at least eighty percent of relationships broken up by a third party meet the criteria of the grass not being greener.

However, my experience is different. When I chose to end my 16 year marriage (17 by the time the divorce was final), it was not for a third party. It was to ensure there never was a third party. It was so that I would not be a cheater. It was so that I could avoid all of the things listed above. My thought process that I would not have to deal with some of those things was flawed, but I digress.

My marriage did not break up because we “fell out of love.” I firmly do not believe that to be a reason for divorce. If you do, I am not trying to offend, but that is not part of my belief system. I believe in the concept of limerence as outlined by Dorothy Tennov in 1979. Limerence can be summed up as the feeling of being “in love.” She proposes that the longest shelf life of limerence in people who have requited cohabitational love is two years. That is the maximum. I believe that. I also believe Joanne Woodward, who by the way was married to Paul Newman (who was smoking hot), her quote was, “Sexiness wears thin after a while and beauty fades, but to be married to a man who makes you laugh every day, ah, now that’s a real treat.” Another line from one of my favorite underrated movies, which coincidentally covers this same topic is from The Story of Us, it is spoken by Rob Reiner’s character, “Love is just lust in disguise, and lust fades, so you damn well better be with someone who can stand you.” I say all that to say, I was once possibly “in love” with my ex-husband. That feeling faded, and we were never able to get it back, but it was well within the beginning of our marriage, and was not at all the cause of our divorce.

People confuse limerence with actual love. I know I have a time or twelve. However, they are completely different things. What we see in fairy tales and romance novels, that is limerence. What we see in nursing homes or nurseries, that is love. This will sound cheesy, but the story The Notebook is a good example of both. When they were kids, they experienced limerence. When Noah built that house for Allie, it was arguably a work of love. There is some gray area about forbidden love when it comes to limerence, meaning it can elongate it. But when he returned to the nursing home every day to read their story to her over and over again, he was being self sacrificing, showing real love and devotion.

I cared for my ex. I truly did, but it was not limerence and it was not self sacrificing love. I did not love him with a fraction of what I felt for my children. I cared for him, but we were not partners. Love really had nothing to do with why our marriage ended. What my marriage had was a fundamental incompatibility that neither of us knew we had at the beginning.

We got married young. I had just turned nineteen. We had dated for exactly four months, lived together for probably three. As you sit there and shake your head, read that again, I was nineteen, enough said. And listen, if you are reading this and you got married young and you have made it work, I commend that. But you either put in some hellacious work, or you were very compatible. At that point in my life all I wanted was a return to the family life I left when I left home at seventeen. Psychologically, I was probably not ready to leave home at that point. I point that out just to say that I was not in a place I should have been making lifelong decisions. People tried to talk me out of it. Of course they did, as they should have. I used to tell people that your mindset when you got married was not the problem, but rather it was your mindset when you decided to get divorced that was the problem. That statement is not categorically untrue, but it is a very blanket statement and it shows my age in that it was very black and white. It is true that there are some things we enjoyed in common, unfortunately the things we did not share outweighed those.

When I made the decision to end my marriage, I felt like a failure. I know that is a sentiment many of you know well. I had such overwhelming guilt. It did not help that I was the only one who wanted the divorce. I found myself on the floor crying and praying so many times. The irony is that inside my marriage I never cried. I never cried though I was deeply wounded, I just did not realize it. The pain manifested in other ways. I was truly a failure then, honestly. The failing did not happen in the leaving.

So back to the topic at hand, “the grass is not always greener,” is an expression I have become intolerant of. I always took this to mean that it wasn’t greener in another relationship. I never considered that it could mean in being alone. Honestly, when people say it to me, I think they most often mean in another relationship. And you know what, my grass is greener now, alone. My daughter has told me that I never seemed as happy as I do now when I was married. My friends are telling me that I seem relaxed and happy. I was so afraid that I was a person incapable of happiness. It turns out, I just was not capable of being happy in that situation.

So, now I water my grass the way I know it needs it. I fertilize it with the right kind of fertilizer for that particular grass. I have learned how to do this through trial and error, and sometimes it is more error than anything, but I came out the other side. It took time, but my lawn is the healthiest it has ever been. And bonus, I proved some people wrong in the process.

Stronger Than Yesterday,

Alice

Is It Too Soon For A Relationship?

After I got divorced the first thing I did was look for a relationship.  I thought that was what I should do.  I did not realize that I should have taken the time to learn about myself and what I needed.  I did not take the time to learn what I wanted.

There were so many things that I did not realize at the time.   I was recently divorce and thought that I knew what I wanted.  I went on an online dating site and met someone within months of being divorced.  At the time, I thought I wanted a serious relationship.  I mean, what else do you do after divorce but find someone else….

We dated for over a year and it was a roller coaster of emotions.   At the time, I thought this is what I should be doing. I got divorced and now I should meet someone else.  Our relationship started out great, but soon faded.  We each had kids and with our schedules it was hard to find time together. In addition, as we got more involved in our relationship I wanted our kids to spend time together.  I quickly learned how hard it was to date someone with kids when you both have different schedules.  Dating with kids is hard.  I was trying to make him into something he was not and I was also doing things that I did not want, just to make him happy.

Besides thinking that we should each spend time together, I also thought that our kids should spend time together.  They were all different ages and did not all want to spend time together.  I wanted us to do things together as a family.    When I did not have my kids, I would spend time with him and his kids. I would help him with running them to their activities or whatever they needed.  And I did not have any time to myself or learn about my own life after divorce.  I thought this is what I should be doing.

Our relationship was very toxic at the end.  We would fight, said unforgivable things, and make up so many times.  I was scared to be alone and didn’t know what I would do without him.  We ended up breaking up.  Our facebook status couldn’t keep up with all the changes, it was a daily status update.  I  soon realized that our relationship was so wrong.  I was trying to go from a marriage of 13 years to a serious relationship with someone else before knowing exactly what I wanted.

I did not know what I wanted in a partner or even my own life.  I have now had the time to learn about myself and what I love. I have time finally do the things that I love.  While we were dating, I would spend my time doing the things he loved.  I did not take time to do what I wanted.  I love to workout, hike, and be outside.

I  would put those things aside and not do them because I felt they were not that important.   I have now learned that those things are a priority to me and I put them first.

It took me a long time to be ok with not being with someone else, not spending every moment with a date or a boyfriend.  It’s so important to know what you want and what you like before rushing into a relationship.   I learned that it is important to not settle, just to be with someone.  And I am pretty sure I have learned over the last year what I do not want..haha.  I had to learn about what I truly valued in life and in a person that would be spending time with me and eventually my children.  I had to learn what I wanted from someone in a relationship and how serious of a relationship that I was looking for right now.

During my relationship, I thought I was ready for this.  I can now look back on it and I know that I  should have taken the time to learn about myself, what I want in a relationship, and what’s important to me

Snarky divorced gal

www.snarkydivorcedgal.com

What’s In A Name?

I am always telling you guys that what you call a thing it becomes and often I will say change the way that you are framing something and change what you are calling it and that will give you a different experience.  Such as calling a historic event either a problem or a blessing.  Today I am pondering what it would mean for me to change my name…I have kept this pretty private…after 18 years of being single, I am getting married…

Yes, you read that correctly.

The kiddo is almost 19 and it is time now for me to start the next act —- my husband to be I have known for 20 years and someday soon I will share the whole Hallmark story in a blog post…for now I am going to stay focused on this name thing.

So…at first thought I was not changing my last name because of my work etc and that was totally OK with him and it still is.  Except now, I have been quietly pondering it all and I am wondering what it would be like to shed my former name and have the opportunity to become a different version of myself—which, honestly I am doing by getting married after being single for the last 18 years!

I am kind of thinking that I would have the opportunity to create myself in a different way, an opportunity to put the past to rest where it belongs…because the way I see it is every time I would sign or see my new name I would have to acknowledge to myself that there had been a shift…a BIG one…and that shift gives me the opportunity to be a better version of myself.

My current last name is my Mother’s maiden name—our family name and it means a lot to me, it always will—however it also represents a lot of history and experiences that were hard and sad and difficult—my childhood was rough, raising Antonio alone was rough and although there are a lot of triumphs and so much strength and grace there are also moments and pieces of time that I definitely wish that I had done differently.  Probably like all of you there are versions of myself that I am not fond of…with age comes the wisdom of seeing where you could have done it different…and although I have forgiven myself, it might be very interesting to start a new chapter with a new name.  When I was married before I added that last name at the end of my own, so never in my life have I just simply assumed a completely different name.

I was always so busy feeling like I had something to prove by keeping my name—showing everyone how independent I was.  Now I understand that my independence and abilities are not tied to a name—they are a part of who I am and always will be.

The new workbook came out last Tuesday and on last Sunday’s live we started talking about ‘changing the game’— I feel like for me changing the game for 2020 could encompass taking on a new name and with that getting better at being disciplined in the places where I am still lacking…you know the ones, I have shared them with you in blogs before.  The daily TO DO list, the workouts, being better about what I am eating, keeping my closet cleaner, really working with my manifestation list etc

I am pretty disciplined, however these places where I am lacking have been the same for the past 7 to 8 years—-in coaching you all to change the game it is time for me also to up the ante in changing my game.  I feel like by changing my name I have the opportunity to choose a better version of myself in every new moment and that could be a powerful thing.

I am still thinking through all this and I will keep you posted, in the meantime grab yourself a copy of the new workbook and tune in this Sunday to the FB live at 10am EST to start walking through the process collectively.

See you then.

XO, Noelle

The Hardest Month….October

I dread October. As a person who loves warm weather I let my Fall loving friends believe it’s because I’m not a fan of the:

Weather

Pumpkin Spice

Fall/Halloween Decorations

There’s a bit of truth to that, but really it’s because October and this week actually marks when my divorce was final. I was the one that made the choice to leave my marriage, but it doesn’t mean it hurts any less.

I never dreamed of a big wedding. Or even being married. Being a Mom yes. Always, but I never believed someone would love me enough to be with me in a partnership. That I would get the dress and cake and honeymoon. I think my family was just as surprised as I was when it happened.

I was proposed to during a fight. Which could have been a cute story, except he later admitted he was trying to make me stop crying.

We had a destination wedding and rumor was- on the flight over my ex sister-in law tried to talk my ex husband out of it among other things. Our best man wore shorts.

So many flags. Those are the ones I’m ok sharing. But when something happens you never thought would, you hold on, you fight for it.

Even when maybe you shouldn’t.

If you read my blogs you already know why my marriage ended. Sometimes you marry the wrong person because at the time they seem like the right person. Even when everything and everyone says that’s not the case.

As I’ve mentioned before I come from parents who are still married. Both sets of grandparents married until someone passed. I saw partnerships and loving your best friend. So much love. Even now. I wanted that. I still do.

Mr. Rogers said “ there isn’t anyone you couldn’t learn to Love once you’ve heard their story.” Except my ex husband. He heard my story and wanted to change it and me. So rather than grow together- we grew apart.

I tried. Counseling. Time apart. Time together. More counseling. But when someone has excuses for everything, who can’t say they’re sorry, who meets your tears with anger.

You can stay.

Or you can go.

I had a little person and I needed to show her what I knew. A marriage can be an amazing, love filled partnership between two best friends.

My heart still hurts I don’t have that.

This week is hard for me.

Especially October 12th.

That’s the day.

I became a single Mom with a two and half year old. I went from a little house with a big yard we loved to an apartment with a deck. We made it work. We created traditions. Like celebrating Halloween at our local Y. G is twelve now and costume planning has already started.

October is a hard month. If I tell you it’s because of my distaste for Pumpkin Spice Lattes that’s true, but it’s more than that. Now you know.

But as I always tell you Mommas and will remind you and myself… we are magical, strong, and amazing. I mean we’re Moms!

 

<3 Caprise

The Day That Will Never Be The Same

There used to be a certain day in my life that was even more important to me than my Birthday. I might even go as far as to rank it higher than Christmas. It was a day that I gave myself in front of God, our closest friends and family to the man that I thought I would spend the rest of my life with. When that day came around once a year it was always a day of celebration. It was romantic candlelight dinners, beautiful flowers, night of dancing to our favorite bands or just spending an evening at home without the kids. It was a day to honor our love and commitment to each other. Something we did for 19 consecutive years. We were just 4 months away from hitting the 20 year mark when that date just became another day on the calendar.

How does one day lose the meaning it once held? To just becoming another day on the calendar?

When this day came around last year for the first time since the divorce I found myself being surrounded by closest members of my tribe. They took me to dinner and a funny movie. I chose that day to honor me and the woman I was becoming after our divorce.

This year today I find myself sitting in a hospital room at my daughter’s beside supporting and loving on her. She had a craniotomy yesterday. She is doing great. Fast forward a few hours and now that she has been released and tucked into her own bed at my house, her father and his girlfriend are currently at her bedside. I could say a lot more about that, but that is for another story on a different day. For now I am swallowing my pride and doing what is best for my daughter.

Today on what would be our 21st anniversary, I find myself numb to feelings and with lots of questions that will never be truthfully answered by a man I thought I would be with till death do us part.

The one thing I have learned in the last several years of seeking my soul and climbing out of the depression that I found myself in is that there is a reason for everything. I now know it’s ok to have a Plan B-Z. Not everything in life goes as we have planned. It’s how we pick ourselves back up that matters.

So for me today I will vow to myself to Love & honor myself even in my worst days. To not shrink for anyone. I will no longer allow anyone to steal my joy. Today I will live for my kids and myself. Until my knight in shining armor arrives.

 

-Jeanna

Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda

I am a person who unfortunately does not sleep much. That means while the rest of my house is sleeping blissfully at 3 AM, I am on Pinterest, social media or You Tube.

There are a few vloggers I follow regularly and they are celebrating marriages and babies and lives together and taking me along for the ride.

While I recognize some of these shares are beautifully edited the emotion is there and definitely gets me emotional.

I feel like I have been carrying around this suitcase of memories from my life before my divorce and I need to throw it away.

I didn’t realize how raw those hurts still were until I started watching those videos.

We all have an idea in our head of how things will be. Our wedding, children, marriage and you either work as a team,meet in the middle, or you don’t.

I also think you forgive a lot because you think it will change.

Once the baby is here.

Once she sleeps through the night.

Once we have been apart a year we’ll get along better.

My biggest red flag was me all wired up having contractions after being in labor for almost a day and my Dad never leaving my side. My ex husband however, not only leaving several times but when he was in the room he was on his computer the whole time. Not once did he comfort me.

Yet I chalked it up to nerves.

No

There would be things later that would show me it had nothing to do with nerves.

I can dwell in regret and compare or I can celebrate the fact I have G. Remember some of the funny moments from that time in my life.

I can be determined to make sure I speak up now with my person and if it feels like a red flag it probably is.

It is incredibly easy for many of us who have been hurt to not let it go. To let it lead us. I have done an absolutely fantastic job of building a very tall wall around myself.

But maybe the tape in our heads instead of coulda,woulda,shoulda should be:

I’m here

I’m badass

I’m a Momma and that makes me magical.

I say it a lot. Being a Mom is magical. We grew people!!!

When that suitcase feels like it needs to be unpacked, kick it back under the bed and remember who you are.

You are a Momma

Much love Mommas

<3 Caprise

How Do I Pick Out Curtains?

Who knew of all the different types of curtains that are available these days… seriously.. .All I know is that now I am picking out these things all by myself. I had rented a house with a million windows and all I needed was curtains. ughh… seems easy doesn’t it.

I spent months in the divorce process and then its final. Where do you start? What do you do with your life now? So many questions running through your head.. For months I had lived in a bubble, just getting through the day and not thinking anything else. What do you do first after your divorce? Many you have never worked or even lived by yourself, but now at age 40 you are on your own. You get to pick out your own curtains or your own furniture. You don’t have to ask anyone’s opinion, which can be exciting and scary at the same time. Or the other side is now you have no one to ask the easy questions too.. I did not know of all the small decisions I would need to make by myself.

I had lived in a bubble for so long. Going through all the emotions and then when the divorce process starts It takes over your life. And once its final, you have to stop and think what do I do now. I think we all get ahead of ourselves and want to build this new life so fast. I think the best advice I can give anyone that is starting over after divorce is to take it slow and learn about yourself. It’s hard for me to remember the days or months right after my divorce, I think I was in such a bubble or daze throughout the process that it’s hard to remember all the changes. It was being on constant autopilot and no time to process the changes that I was going through. We all want to put our kids first and make sure they are happy, however its so important that we are learning to be happy also.

Take time to really learn about what you now want. Some days will really suck, you learn you need to do things all by yourself. You might have never picked out your own curtains, so this is new to you you and it might take you a day to make that decision or it might take you months…either way, it doesn’t matter because you did it. Some days you might want to lay in your robe until 2pm and do nothing, and you can… You can take the time and do what you need. Start figuring out what you want in your life for you.

You might make one decision by yourself and you should celebrate. Something that seems so small might be your biggest accomplishment. Take the wins!!

Snarkydivorcedgal (www.snarkydivorcedgal.com)