You are more, you ARE a rockstar!
Over Memorial Day weekend I did something I think a lot of people in my life didn’t think I could do.
I traveled across the country by myself. I had a working vacation.
My vacation running a music stage for three days at a festival in Napa Valley.
I made sure the musicians got what they needed, got on and off the stage, all communication came through me. I knew one person. I had no car. It was a huge adventure.
The last trip I took my daughter was two and a half and was with my ex husband it was our five year anniversary trip to Jamaica. It was three months after we had started talking about splitting up.
Needless to say not a great trip.
After that my trips have been limited to family vacations. Work trips where there are always colleagues along. But nothing like this.
I think sometimes when you become a Mom people forget you are more than just a Mom.
It’s easy to assume because your life has changed maybe there are certain things you can’t handle.
People forget when you made the decision to leave you had to handle a whole lot.
That even now you handle a whole lot.
People sometimes assume because you don’t wear everything out on your sleeve, running around with rockstars is not something a Mom could do.
Some would say should do.
My biggest cheerleader was the one who got me the job. He has known me since I was in college. He has seen my ups and downs. He knows I’m not easily fazed. Also, as he put it since I work with children regularly and am a Mom this would be in my wheelhouse.
My point in all of this… you are more than the greatest job on the world. In fact because of that job let’s just be honest, you can handle a WHOLE lot.
Even a DJ’s assistant getting crabby because a band who had been going nonstop didn’t autograph a poster.
Or your daughter kicking you out of the bathroom mid hair dry.
You a superstars.
Let’s call it- you’re rockstars!
Much love Mommas
Can you get that for me?…
I was all set to write about my California adventures but something more important has happened.
My daughter is now taller than me.
I’m gonna need a moment.
Now granted I’m 5ft 2in so I am a small person, but she’s eleven.
I already feel like our lives go a million seconds a minute now this.
She of course is elated.
My heart is breaking.
She already doesn’t need me to tuck her in.
She will ask me if I’m going to leave when I go in her room after work to say hi.
Is this going to make her need me less?
I already have not the stage where things I do embarrass her. Although by virtue of who I am that feels like a challenge.
Also I am pretty sure the people in the car next to us at the stoplight DO enjoy my singing along loudly to Jump Around.
Even if she doesn’t.
I realize we are hitting those years and I am scared. I feel like I haven’t done enough. I’m not ready.
I’m not ready for her not to need me.
I’m not ready for her to be taller than me.
Or maybe I am.
Now I have someone who can get stuff off the shelf for me.
So there’s that.
She’s an amazing kid and I knew this day was coming- just maybe not this fast.
For now I’ll take solace in the fact tonight she still wanted a hug at bedtime.
We got this Mommas
Or at least we’re gonna pretend we do.
You got this mommas…
Every week late Sunday afternoon I curl up somewhere with a beverage, music, blanket, and my iPad and start to write a post that will appear here.
I always try to find something I hope that will resonate with someone. Maybe help. Make someone laugh. Feel better.
The irony that my maternal instincts kick in, even when dealing with something like a blog post isn’t lost on me.
As I write this – it’s Mother’s Day. I will share with you that while I was never a 100 percent about getting married I always knew I wanted to be a Mom.
I am far from a traditional Mom and my own daughter sometimes compares me to a teenager on occasion, but I have always and will always put her first.
I worry and overthink when it comes to her. I try not to Tiger Mom her too much. I maybe get too much joy out of singing loudly to a song she doesn’t like in our car rides together.
Meals can sometimes be more like snacks.
She definitely gets too much time on her iPad.
I let her have two swear words a day.
My heart hurts when she is at her Dad’s, even though when she’s home we are rarely in the same room.
I love being silly with her. That she is almost taller than me.
Being a Mom is the best thing, deciding to do it alone was one of the hardest decision I ever made. I still worry about it, but I also needed to be a healthy, happy Mom for G. I still have my moments…
I will never be a PTA Mom. I send gift cards and emails to school. I am thankful for her teachers and her grandparents who have helped me to raise such a beautiful, funny, smart and kind spirit.
I don’t look like the other Moms with my tattoos and piercings, but I look like her and when she asks me to I dress up or down – I do. I love that we both like Vans and fun t-shirts.
In all of this ramble this is my point… no one is the perfect Momma. She doesn’t exist. But what you are is a Momma who is doing amazing on her own terms with her whole heart and that’s what it’s all about.
At least I hope so.
You do got this Mommas
I get asked all the time how I do it. “It” referring to working full time, taking care of a household, and raising four boys each with a different personality. I used to struggle and question my parenting style; for example do I parent like I was raised or do I parent like society says I should parent.
Then not so long ago I had an ephiany. I realized I need to keep doing what I’m doing. When my two younger boys, ages 12 and 14, are at each other’s throats, I try and remain calm and ask them what happened. Most of the time they talk and yell over each other and in the end I’m the one yelling. That is okay because after some self reflection I tell myself I will try and do better the next time.
The truth is there is a combination of things that go into how I parent, work full time and take care of my household. First of all, I pray for patience, patience, and more patience. Second, I do my self care routine. My routine consists of putting my kids to bed and watching TV or getting on social media. I also like to go to the tanner or go for walks with friends. I realized long ago self care is not selfish. I know I cannot be there for my job or my kids if I’m a hot mess. Humor is also a very important piece of my daily routine. I laugh at myself several times a day. Like when I’m looking for my phone while it is in my hand or when I am shopping and jump when I see my reflection in a mirror and say excuse me thinking it was another person.
I have to remember I am human and I am not perfect. Mistakes are made daily and that is okay, because I am blessed beyond measure and I get to wake up every day and try again. If I can tell myself at the end of the day that I put everything I had into being the best that I can be I know my kids will turn out okay.
Anne Smith- A Working & Single Mother
I was sitting in my first counseling session with my anxiety at full peak. To be honest, I should have been sitting in this chair months ago. A pen could have dropped and I would have cried because I was, simply put, at my breaking point. My son was noticing how upset I seemed all the time, how something simple I would once laugh off gripped me at my core, and how our home was not as happy as it was before. The constant guilt of that would eat me alive.
I sobbed at that first appointment, the full hour appointment tears ran down my face. I cried about how I felt I had failed my son, how lonely this stage of life was, and how overwhelming life is when you are a single parent. It was as though once I opened those flood gates, which I’ve worked so hard to keep closed, I could no longer close them. They were stuck open, both in therapy and once I left. This was almost too much to bear, I thought. I cannot go back; this did not help me at all.
As I walked out of the office, I refused to make another appointment. I used the excuse, I’ll call when I have my calendar in front of me. However, as I was walking to my car, I noticed I mentally felt lighter. Almost as though I could take a deep breath and fully let it out without tensing up. My jaw was no longer clenched. A coping mechanism I often would resort to, to help hide my anxiety.
I took a hard look at myself in the mirror. My eyes were red and swollen, my makeup looked like a hot mess but I was smiling, I was relieved of my burdens. See after three more appointments, I’ve learned that a large portion my anxiety is because I have placed those unrealistic expectations on myself. Yes, now society has a standard, or pro-quo, but who the hell cares, right?
I was the root cause of my anxiety because I felt compelled to hold it in, conform to the standards of a husband and wife household, along with not ask for help because I didn’t want to fit the mold of the often misleading single mother label. Instead of taking care of myself and finding my triggers for my anxiety, I would hide, lash out, or cry. I would often times forget to breathe, I would find myself tense all the time, and the cycle would continue, day in and day out.
Today, I fully recognize myself in the mirror and it is all because I took one of the hardest steps of my life, reaching out for help.
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:
Nice trap. I was able to escape.
Better luck next year.
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.
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
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
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
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.”
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.