Tag Archives: mother

Moms Mess Up Too

Moms mess up too!

I’m writing this blog moments after boiling my youngest son’s pet fish alive. Yes you read right. I, supermom extraordinaire, just accidentally filled my son’s fish tank with hot water and killed his pet fish. His first pet at that.

If this had happened on any other week and any other day I think I’d be taking it in stride. But today is Wednesday, two days after the Leprechaun incident AND an early release day. What is the Leprechaun incident you ask? Welp here goes:

St. Patrick’s day was last Sunday. Leading up to St. Patrick’s day my youngest son (age 6) was convinced that this year he was going to catch a Leprechaun. He asked for my help. And in accordance with my new goal of not being a killjoy I agreed. I spent most of the weekend sort of putting off making a trap until Sunday afternoon came and it could no longer be avoided. My son looked me straight in the eyes and said “Mom, you said you would help me set up a Leprechaun trap and you haven’t done it yet. Let’s GO!” God I love that kid. He, like me has a pretty short tolerance for bullshit and once our threshold has been reached, we cut right through the fat and get to the meat of our needs.

So I took him outside and tied a rope to a log that held up one of the many leftover Amazon boxes living in the garage. We put 4 pennies under the box as bait and proceeded to wait for our Leprechaun to arrive. My son sat by the window and watched the trap for over an hour before it was time for dinner and then bed. The last thing he said to me before rolling over and falling asleep was “Tomorrow, that leprechaun is going to take me to his pot of gold and we will all be rich mom.”

Two questions stayed with me through the night: How the hell did I get this far into the lie and how the hell was I going to get out of it.

Disclaimer: If you are reading this blog post and can’t understand the motivation of this lie follow through, my apologies you are on the wrong blog. On this blog we occasionally lie to our children and sleep just fine doing it.

The next morning around 6:30am, after I returned home from dropping my eldest off at school, I still hadn’t come up with a plan for our leprechaun. I sat in my car for a few minutes trying to come up with something believable. And then it hit me, a note. I took out the notepad I keep in my purse and dug out a pink highlighter and wrote a note on behalf of dear old Mr. Leprechaun.

My son’s room is right above where the trap was set so I had to be down right stealth in my execution of this plan. Crouched down, tip toed and absolutely silent, I moved across the from yard to the trap (I’m pretty sure at least one of my neighbors has surveillance footage of me creeping around my front yard for one reason or another. Reindeer tracks, Easter eggs and now a leprechaun). I removed the pennies, pulled the log, lowered the box and slipped the note in place. BOOM! Mom-excellence.

An hour later my son was pacing at the front door as my daughter (age 11) and I were grabbing bags and sweaters trying to get out of the house and off to school. As soon as I opened to door my son sprang out like he had just heard a gun shot and was racing for gold. Ha! Racing for gold, like a pot of gold. Get it?

Anyhow, he found the note. As he got into the car and buckled his seatbelt he started to read it aloud:

Andrew*

Nice trap. I was able to escape.

Better luck next year.

-Lep

Oh My Gosh!!!! My son screamed. He was so excited. He couldn’t believe that his trap had worked and that the leprechaun had actually been to our house. As we pulled into his school he said that he would be showing the note to all his friends. He just knew they would be as excited as him. DOUBLE BOOM! I felt super proud that my quick thinking put a smile on my baby’s face and my partner (Andrew’s father) gave me mom kudos for saving the day which is always nice. I should tell you though that my daughter who is highly intelligent and intuitive told me all of this was a bad idea right from the get go. Special note: Middle children have amazing insight. Listen to them.

Later that day I received a message from Andrew’s teacher that basically said that Andrew had shown the note to his friends and classmates and basically they didn’t believe the authenticity of the note and pretty frankly told him that leprechauns don’t exist. He was devastated and subsequently had a pretty rough day afterwards. Tears and all.

Shhhhhiiiiiiiiiiiiiitttttttttt!

When I picked Andrew up from the school bus stop he had dried tears and snot traces all over his face. He looked defeated and heavy. I just wrapped my arms around him and took a moment to just hug him. I wanted to say “I’m sorry I set you up for disappointment” but I didn’t. Instead we took to the Peace Chair in my home office and sat eye to eye sipping juice and eating Hawaiian sweet bread dinner rolls and talked through the day. I explained that there are two types of truths: Kid truth and Adult truth. In kid truth, Santa, the Easter bunny, the tooth-fairy and leprechauns are alive and well. In adult truth, those characters aren’t real and we as parents work very hard to keep kid truth alive. I told him that some parents choose to share adult truth with their kids early and that is why his class mates and friends didn’t believe he had a real leprechaun note.

I must have been getting help from beyond (thanks Daddy) because that explanation flowed out of me and landed perfectly in the mind of my 6 year old. Later that night at dinner, Andrew told his father, big brother and sister (who already knew) about what had happened that day at school. For just a moment in his story he became really sad. I fought back tears. The guilt was killing me and it must have been hard to watch because at some point I raised my head from my plate and noticed both my kids and their father with the same pained look on their faces. I think we all felt burdened by my well intentioned lie.

I spoke to my mother after putting the kids to bed and as always she reassured me that I had done the right thing, better yet the mom thing and that I needed to let the guilt go. Thank God for mothers, right.

So we survived Tuesday and Wednesday started great but here we are now. Mid morning Wednesday and I am preparing another lie. I’ve just killed my son’s fish and because of back to back meetings I don’t have time to run out and get him another fish. My partner has agreed to go to Pets-mart and get a replacement. This whole thing is like a replay of that episode of Martin when Gina killed his momma’s bird Ruby. I now feel that anxiety on a very real level. My partner and I have agreed that if he can’t find a red betta then he will get something in a close shade and we will tell Andrew that the fish changed colors due to spring weather.

At this point I believe you are asking yourself: WHY NOT JUST TELL HIM THE FISH DIED? And that is a good question. But the history of Andrew and death is a long and sensitive story for me and I am not totally ready to blog about it yet. I promise though, when I do, I will remind you of this post so that you make the connection.

Anyhow the point is: I am not winning at momming this week. Meaty is still sitting in the sink. I couldn’t think standing above his tank of scalding hot water. But I feel better now. I feel like I have a plan. And now I need to go flush a fish.

Thanks for reading

-LT

When Mom Is Happy Everyone Is Happy

This post is really geared towards mom, but I suppose it could hit home for just about anyone. I want to talk about the importance of self-care and the feelings of guilt that come along with that care. How often do you do something for yourself…say go to the gym or get your hair or nails done, and then feel guilt for leaving your kids with a sitter, at daycare, or even with their other parent? If your answer to this is never, then please teach me your ways I beg of you!!

I’m currently sipping on a latte with color processing in my hair at my favorite salon, that I drive an hour to get to in Providence. I know you are probably thinking I am nuts, but I haven’t always driven to Providence. I’ve been seeing the same hair stylist for just over five years now and two years ago she headed to Providence to open her own salon so of course I followed her. I’m just trying to keep it real here…finding a stylist that just gets your hair is like finding a good babysitter!

Do I feel guilty for getting my hair done today? You bet your ass I do, but not just for leaving the girls but also for spending the money that I should be saving. I try to save as much as I can these days, going from two incomes to one is definitely an adjustment. Yes, there is child support so I’m one of the “lucky” single moms, but still an adjustment. I thought about cancelling my appointment on more than one occasion, but it had been booked for three months and it was honestly starting to become impossible to brush through my hair. See what I just did there?!? I made an excuse for myself to lessen that ever present guilt.

You must do things for yourself that make you feel good on the inside and on the outside. Maybe you want to hit the bag at the gym, get some eyelash extensions, or God forbid take a damn nap! You are entitled to do these things, enjoy these things while doing them and still be a good mom (or dad). Getting my hair done and going to the gym are things that I refuse to have to give up. They make me feel good about myself and when I feel good about myself I feel like I can take on the world. Let’s face it, sometimes being the parent of small children, you already feel like you are taking on the world. You might as well look good while doing it <3

 

Remember, hugs are always free!

xX Tamara xX

Single Motherhood…Our Own Version of Special Forces Training for Excellence

Special Forces training in any branch of the Military is well-known as some of the toughest training and conditioning that exists…you must be optimally fit, quick to respond, ready for anything, tougher than nails, able to react in a split second and have the ability to solve problems instantaneously…you also must be able to endure physical pain, emotional discomfort and you must never, ever give up—there is no escape, no turning back, no “I don’t want to”—you have a mission and you must complete it or die trying. Period.

If you have never enlisted in the Military yet you crave this kind of training for excellence you will be happy to know there is another way to receive it…become a single mother.  I promise you that being a single mother will give you the training for excellence that you crave.  The drill is similar to what I described above, however in this situation the training never stops—the classroom is your life and the lessons never ending…

When you are ultimately responsible for another human being there are a lot of behaviors that you can no longer entertain…there is no “I don’t feel like it”, no “I can’t do it”, no “someone else will take care of it”, no “it’s not my problem”.  You have TO DO EVERYTHING, it’s all your problem and nobody cares if you “feel” like it or not…none of that even shows up on the screen.

No matter if you are sick, tired, lazy, angry, or sad you still have to take care of another human being…you have to see that they are clean, fed, safe, stable, happy and well-adjusted—even if you are not…

You are not allowed the grace of going to bed and pulling the covers over your head when life is looking shitty because someone is coming in your room, looking under the covers and asking you where their dinner is…

You may only have complete emotional meltdowns after your child is asleep and then you may only do it QUIETLY…there will be no crying loudly or howling in despair and it is really best if you lock yourself in the bathroom just in case the child awakens…not a good plan for your small person to see their beloved mother on her knees weeping in the living room—this could cause nightmares…and that just means you won’t sleep either…

As a single mother whose ex-husband lives in another state (which was/is me), you will enjoy the fact that someone will be talking to you from 6am until approx. 8:30pm, on weekdays there will be a reprieve caused by school, however on the weekends (when my son was little) the talking was non-stop from sun-up to sun-down…and I was filled with glee each Saturday and Sunday morning when I was joined in my bed by my son, Otter, Bunny, Kitty and Blue Covers…further enthralled when I was informed that I was TAKING UP TOO MUCH ROOM in my OWN bed.

There is no escape, no break, no quitting…there is only putting one foot in front of the other and doing the same thing over and over and over again…laundry, cleaning—constant cleaning, feeding, cooking, listening, explaining, yelling, crying, bathing, paying bills, working, taking care of the car, emptying trash, buying clothes, food shopping, changing shower heads and toilet seats, changing air filters, putting together toys, solving problems, teaching things, disciplining, etc, etc, etc

The list is endless…trust me.  And all of it must be done with a cheerful heart because ultimately it is the path I chose.  I chose not to live in a circumstance that was sucking the life out of me, I chose not to take child support or alimony because I wanted to move to another state and I wanted my ex to have travel money, I chose to raise this child as I saw fit and I chose not to give up who I was just to have someone to lean on…all of it my choice.  My choice is difficult, it is a hard road to hoe…some days much more difficult than others; however I have no regrets, not one…never have.

This training and situation is not for everyone—certainly not for the faint of heart…and sometimes it is scary…

Like the Special Forces, the single mother must be ready for anything, able to act or react in a split second depending on the circumstance at hand.  You must be physically tough and emotionally non-reactive and you must be able to solve a wide variety of problems, some of them involving legos and superheroes.  You must be able to endure picking up bugs and worms and must not run screaming when you see blood, you must carry Kleenex and anti-bacterial wipes and have emergency snack foods in your car at all times…band-aids too—you need band-aids.

The ultimate good news here is that this training will enable you to do ANYTHING…people are constantly asking me “how do you do all that you do?”—  My answer…I JUST DO IT…If I stopped to think about how I can do what needs to be done, nothing would get accomplished…you just DO IT, it doesn’t matter if you are tired, sick, overwhelmed, cranky, mad, sad…you just do it. 

How I feel on any given day doesn’t matter—no one else is here to run this company, or parent my son, or when he was younger pack lunch,  make breakfast, and drive him to school…there was just me and I just DID it.

You have to create your life the way you want it, in every moment you have the choice to be enthusiastic or fowl, productive or lazy, angry or forgiving…there is no one else running your movie…it is just you, so make the best of it.

-have a great Sunday…just keep doing the next thing.  XO, Noelle

 

 

 

A Bunny Makes A Great Listener

As I am feeding fluids to my daughter’s new bunny with an eyedropper, I am abruptly reminded of my daughter’s first years where I had roughly the same fight each day. This bunny means so much to us and I tell him this. He needs to stick around.

There is no accurate way to describe the heavy, sick feeling of desperation and terror that accompanies having an infant who cannot breathe, who cannot nurse or easily drink. This bunny forces me to remember just how much I hate that feeling. “I can’t lose this one” should not be a mantra for your life yet it was mine for a very, very long time.

This little bunny reminds me of the painful past we both survived.

This little bunny reminds of all we do as Moms.

How we beat ourselves up, turn ourselves inside out, drag ourselves to work and back, power through a stomping child’s tantrums, emergency room visits and the landfill of toys that is your house.

This bunny reminds me of what I have done.

With complete certainty, I knew my daughter was meant for me. She was my Rory Gilmore. It was going to be rainbows and puppy dogs forever. We would hold hands and skip off into the sunset.

So why can’t we get out of our own way? Why can’t we just enjoy each other each day?

Sucked down in the muck of trudging to work (and school), the sadness of leaving them only to have your hopes dashed at the end of the day when, excited and happy to see your child, you get a possessed Linda Blair instead.

Why can’t I handle her moods better and create a warm-happy-daydream evening for us every day?

I dream of long vacations where there are no time constraints, no looming job over my head, no homework, no chores, no mess. When we do get a vacation every few years, it is bliss and flies by in a blink. So how do I create a vacation kind of bond with my child? How do I feed that tethered link of love and connection every day?

The answer I have is to listen.

Listen with my nose in my phone? Nope. I must listen with my whole being. Listening with all of my heart and my eyes wide open is like directing a beam of light shining down on her that says,
“I care. I give a crap. I want to know what you do, how you think, what you dream about.”

Obvious, right?

My challenge, see how long you can listen to your child without putting away groceries and turning away, without putting away clothes, cleaning up a mess. Just stop. Maybe it is not always feasible but the times you can, do it. Make it a habit. Research suggests it takes 21 days to form a habit so try for 21 days to take moments of the day to stop everything and listen.

I know. I am the only one that keeps us on a schedule too and in the morning I often say,
“You can tell me in the car.” ”You can tell me after we get home.”

Sometimes she just needs me to stop and I feel I have forgotten this.

This little bunny is part of my elaborate plan for everyday is a vacation, when you are doing what you love with the people you want to be with. This means mom-daughter bonding moments in the care and cuddling of bunnies and road trips to rabbit shows. We joined 4H, which means among other things, visits to farms, joining a rabbit club, holding and posing animals. “I recommend 4H for every child. There are limitless opportunities to grow and learn with 4H. Real world opportunities for kids to master their future. And for us, 4H is the vacation in everyday life that we get to repeat every week.

A lot rides on this little bunny. My daughter now has a little furry person of her own to worry about, to care for, love and cuddle. Who will hopefully drink.

Thank you little bunny. Good talk.

Bernae

Just a No-Bake Cookies Failure

I just inhaled three no-bake cookies that I had to scrape off the waxed paper with a spoon but I know you aren’t judging me. You get it.

I typed those two sentences nineteen times because my 10 year old is staring at me talking about megalodons and hunks of meat.  Honestly, this isn’t even weird.

The list of things that I can’t cook is very small. Sitting here now, I’m realizing that really the only things that I can’t cook are things that require patience.  The patience to watch things boil, to time it just right so that everything sets and melds and does whatever it’s supposed to do to turn out perfectly.  I didn’t get that gene.  I got the ‘you can always add enough butter, salt and bacon’ gene.  One gives you perfection and the other gives you something that’s a little bit different every time you eat it, but it’s always good.

Speaking of patience, lately I feel like the little bit that I did have is going fast.  I’m tired and more than being tired, I just don’t feel appreciated like basically every mother who ever mothered.  I’m exhausted.

Dad was in the hospital for over a week and he came home the day before the 4th of July.  On the 4th, I had a military retirement party for my ex.  Yes, I’ll go ahead and repeat that.  On the 4th, I had a military retirement party for my ex.  Moving on, that day I don’t think I sat down all day long.  I was tired- physically and mentally.  I was flaring and in pain- because fibromyalgia is like your least favorite relative who consistently visits at the worst possible time.  I was stressed- because… life.  But throughout the day, I was also the only one who could consistently be found, in the kitchen, just plodding away, getting it done.  It seemed like every time I looked for someone to ask them to do something, they were lying in bed.  I found myself wondering what I always wonder when I feel overworked and underpaid.  What would happen if I just laid down?

We know the answer to that, right?  I mean for starters, none of our guests would have been eating when they got here…

Moms, well women, keep the world turning.  We are the taxis, the nurses, the makers of makeshift critter enclosures.  We are the nurturers, the caregivers, the chicken soup makers.  We are the hunters and gatherers of backpacks, shin guards, lost permission slips…

We are supposed to do all of this without losing our shit.  When we repeat the same request 47 times and become unglued on the 48th repetition, they look at us like we are crazy and knocking on menopause’s door.  We are supposed to manage the home, a career, the children, the aging

parents, the extracurriculars, the bills and keep track of everyone’s everything so we can recall at a moment’s notice where you left your keys and we are supposed to do this with a pleasant disposition and a smile and no need to nap.

You really are the reason we drink.  Those Mother’s Day liquor store jokes aren’t really jokes.

Even though we do all of this and manage to keep everyone alive, clothed and mostly intact, for some reason, we are also masters of guilt.  Somedays we love every single moment of wiping noses, digging under the front seat for that super important Pokémon card that has turned up missing and cooking dinner that doesn’t get eaten because today you are a yogurtatarian.  Other days, we don’t.  We want to go on a week long vacation, BY OURSELVES, to a place where no one asks us for one mother-bleeping thing, where we can either sit by a pool guzzling fruity drinks until we forget we even have children, or lie in bed binge watching Netflix until check out time, as long as no one makes that decision but us.  And we feel guilty for wanting that.

I literally think women are broken.

On the 4th, I listened to my ex and my teenager do their typical, “Mom is so dramatic” schtick.  “I was just lying down for a minute, and Mom came in there about to have a breakdown.”  I take care of everyone.  Everyone.  Even my ex.  Who takes care of me?

That’s the lesson here, Ladies.  I take care of me.  I do.

STOP.  FEELING.  GUILTY.

Take the nap.  Take the trip.  Eat the no-bake cookies with a spoon because they taste just as good that way.  If stuff doesn’t get done, it doesn’t get done.  No one will die but maybe they will see how much Mom does to give them this life.  Maybe more than seeing how much Mom does they might actually see how much of us we give away.  We do it because we love them but we don’t have to be martyrs.  I need this lesson, too.

Let little Billy find his own Pokémon cards, but keep on kissing the boo-boos.

<3 LA

You can see more of LA at https://sweeterinthesouth.blog/

Recognition Of The Solitary Mamas

Ok Mamas, raise your hand if you are divorced? Everyone, keep your hands up. How many have been divorced more than one time? That would be me. Show me the ladies that are truly solo without a partner to share parenting. Girls, you have a special place in my heart for you. I can’t imagine. Now, look around. We are not alone. That is a good thing!

I am a mom that has been twice divorced. It is not a bragging right. Sometimes I hold it in high humor. You know, good old Helen did it how many times?

All and each of you are so bad-ass for taking this journey. Oh lord, it can suck out loud more times than none. Cleaning vomit in the middle of the night, a baby that is teething and crying, the never ending colic. With the realization of there isn’t anyone to blame about it, we carry on. We hold the children and just go with it. The laundry is piling up, the house is a mess. And yet, with while bathed in spit up, we managed to get it done. It may not be pretty but you certainly survived. Go you! Do you really think anyone else could pull it off? Absolutely not! That is why we are the blessed mamas. We rock this!

To each and every lady, thank you! We aren’t perfect, we are human. We try, we succeed. The job always gets done. Is there anyone else there to help? Nope. As usual, we are flying solo.

Again, thank you! We strive and work so hard. Our children are the reason why we have the job. The small wet kisses are so wonderful. The giggles and glee are just priceless. Be selfish here, who else gets these kinds of presents? Nobody! Case in point, when they get in front of the camera at college, the first thing we hear is, “Hi, Mom!”. We are special.

You will never be alone in your fight. When bad days happen, when the tears are flowing, remember that we are warriors and you are a rock star. Everyday, all day long and even twice on Sunday. Go You!

 

Striving for exceptional – Tristen Ahlsey

Single Moms Deserve Respect-From Ourselves

RESPECT. It’s not just a song that Aretha Franklin rocked in the ‘60s. It’s something all moms need — especially single moms.

In our society, a wedding ring is like a stamp of approval. Seriously. It says that you are respectable, you have good values, and if you have a child that you are a good mom. There may not be a scarlet “A” in our culture, but there is definitely a golden “M”. Marriage grants a halo effect to women, and it disappears the minute your divorce papers are filed. This is wrong. Plain wrong.

I felt the sting of my halo’s disappearance. When I was separated from my husband, a well meaning acquaintance expressed shock when she learned about my impending divorce. No doubt, she saw us as “that nice family”. How could she have seen anything else? We tried so hard to look good.

A dear friend of mine once told me not to compare my insides to other people’s outsides. I cannot express how much this has helped me. I often think of this when I am on social media or receive a holiday card with a “perfect” family photo. Yes, their son or daughter may have just been accepted to that ivy league college or received a full athletic scholarship to their alma mater. Yes, they may look like they are still honeymooners in that photo. Yes, their house may be decorated with exquisite taste.

I bet that if I curated and edited photos from my family before my divorce that you would think we lead a storybook life.

I still recall a girls’ night out that took place about four years before my divorce. I was married, miserable, and grappling with whether or not to even consider divorce. I also wasn’t telling anyone how I felt or about the problems I was facing in my marriage. Another woman who was at the girls’ night out was getting divorced. I remember her saying how lucky the rest of us were to be married and have both loving husbands and great sex lives. What she described was 180 degrees away from my reality at the time, and she had no idea.

So don’t compare your insides to anyone else’s outsides. Instead, rock that single mom status! ​Stand up straight. Speak your mind. Build that career. Hug those kids. Ask that handsome single man out for coffee. Know that you are wonderful and deserving of love and respect, just the way you are.

And if you happen to feel like belting out the song ​“Respect” along with Aretha Franklin while dancing in your living room, totally do it — and wave to the neighbors if they notice. They’re probably not having as much fun as you are.

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/

Happy Father’s Day As A Mother

Happy “Father’s” Day!(?)

I totally appreciate all the people over the years who have taken time out of their day to recognize that I am my son’s only parent. That was a choice I made at 24 when I left my son’s father to whom I was engaged,I couldn’t take the abuse any longer. I also had a plethora of male friends who promised to step up and be there for me and for him and a new boyfriend who decided to stick around even though I was pregnant with a child that was most definitely not his.

Fast forward 13 years, the boyfriend and I split up 7 years ago (probably 2 years too late), I moved for a better job opportunity and those friends all got married and had their own kids and couldn’t find their way across the Hudson River to visit us.

So that left me to do it all alone. My father had and has no interest in being a hands on grandfather, my younger brother is a typical millennial with the world spinning on his axis and my older brother wants to be involved again, but lives too far away. On this day, I think not of all the ways I’ve helped my son, but in all the ways I’ve failed him. He can’t ride a bike because I didn’t have the patience or skill to teach him. He never played baseball because I couldn’t deal with the baseball moms and honestly couldn’t afford the sport at the time it would have started. I didn’t push him to stick with soccer or swimming, even though he had skill with both. I’m not an athlete, struggling to keep fit and healthy as a good role model for him.

What I do know, and hold in my heart is that this different upbringing for him has made him one hell of a cook, laundry doer, cleaner and helper with all things. He doesn’t see anything as “women’s” work, but just things needing to be done to keep a clean house. He understands the importance of my career and that it keeps a roof over our heads, food on the table, clothes on our backs and vacations every couple of years. He also sees girls his age as his equals, yet knows to respect them and to care for those younger and smaller than him regardless of age. So today and everyday going forward, I’m going to try to forget about my shortcomings as a father, and celebrate my kick ass ability as a rocking single mother. I hope you all do too!

Electra

Advantages of a Perfectly Imperfect Mom

I am a perfectly imperfect mom. I come from a long line of women like this — women who do their best, women who make messes, women who clean up those messes. Women who KEEP GOING. ​There are advantages of having a perfectly imperfect mom. Here are a few of them:

Perfectly Imperfect moms turn their mistakes into valuable life lessons

Around the time of my divorce, I said some vile things about my estranged husband to my children. I deeply regret having done this. I was in a great deal of pain at the time, and used poor judgement. After beating myself up about this for a (long) while, I decided to take a healthier approach. I apologized to my children. I explained to them that I was very sad and angry and should not have said those things, and that I would do my best to make amends by not doing that in the future.

Not long ago, one of my daughters called someone a nasty name. I said, “You know how I feel about name calling. That is not an acceptable word in our family.” Her retort was, “You’ve called Dad that!” I took a deep breath and was able to say, “That’s true. I have called him that, and I apologized for it. I also have not called him that in over 5 years now.”

Will I win mother of the year for not choosing to call my ex names? No. But in the real world of making mistakes and striving to do better, I am proud of this one.

Perfectly Imperfect moms are funny

One day the toilet in my house overflowed. In the midst of grabbing towels and starting to clean up the mess, I yelled “Shit!” at the top of my lungs. My younger daughter immediately scolded me for saying a bad word. I pointed out to her that I was literally cleaning up poop when I yelled that word, therefore I was making an accurate observation.

She asked if she could yell that word, too. I thought this one over, and said that whenever a toilet overflowed in our house, it was okay for anyone to yell “shit”, but that was the only exception to the rule. My kids both laughed with me and have now explained to their friends that you are only allowed to say “shit” in our house if a toilet overflows.

This rule works for me. It also entertains our guests.

Perfectly Imperfect moms do the right thing (even if they don’t do it right away)

When my older daughter was 2 years old, I once sent her to daycare wearing a perfect outfit — adorable yellow overalls, a new floral top, perfectly coordinated socks and new shoes. She looked like she could have been a 2 year old model. I was ridiculously proud of my feat.

When I picked her up that afternoon, she came out with a painting in her hand and exclaimed that she had made it herself. In addition to the paint that was on the paper, there was paint on everything she was wearing, including the shoes. When I saw her beautiful face grinning with pride, I had the presence of mind to take a breath and exclaim, “Cool! Can you tell me about your picture?”

After that, I sent her to daycare in appropriate play clothes, and expected them to be played in. I also said nothing about the paint to the daycare lady who made my daughter’s days safe and fun so I could earn a living. We both had more important priorities.

So the next time you start to beat yourself up for not being a perfect mom, take a breath and realize that there are no perfect moms​. Think about the cool things that you and your children can both learn from your imperfections. Then hug the stuffing out of them (even if they are old enough to pretend that they don’t like it — because they really do).

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/

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/