Tag Archives: parenting

The Muscles We Don’t See

When I look at mothers, I value the muscles you can’t see…

If we are fortunate, we have friends or family members that tell us how strong we are. I have someone in my life that champions me. And, I appreciate that. But those on the outside looking in only get a glimpse. Because until you are a mom, you are not able to comprehend what it takes to survive.

Moms have the endurance of long-distance runners. Every day is a marathon. It feels like a sprint but it is a marathon. As soon as she is out of bed – actually, before that…as soon as she is awake – she is going. There is so much to do and life demands a consistent pace if there is to be any hope of getting even a portion of it completed. If this marathoner appears to be breaking stride or shortening the distance, don’t be fooled. This woman is always moving swiftly – thinking, planning, preparing, and plotting the entire time.

Mothers are incredible jugglers. You have not seen someone multi-task until you’ve seen her handle a day. Yes, we all know what studies say about multi-tasking but she proves them wrong and takes it to a new level. Making dinner, while correcting homework, starting the laundry, answering a teacher’s email, signing a permission slip and answering the phone, all while asking the kids about their day and while still wearing her work clothes. And, dinner makes it to the table on time, and the kids feel none of the effects of this whirlwind because her focus is seemingly only on them. Now that is impressive, and it is only one hour of her day. That juggle is nonstop and requires incredible muscle.

Mothers are tremendous containment specialists. When there is no one at home to confide in, to share the burden of decision making, advocating and disciplining, she needs to contain that frustration, struggle and self-doubt and put it aside as best she can.  Mom has grit. There is not enough time or energy to let that doubt and fear creep in. But it is there. It is always there. So, she shoves it down or back or into a box and moves ahead with her head high, knowing (or at least hoping that) she is doing the best she can.

No one sees all of this. And, yet, it takes a more strength than most can imagine. Not even the mom’s closest confidant truly sees the triumphs and tears, the disappointments and the dance parties, the hard days and harder nights. But in all of those moments, the real muscles are formed and refined and flexed. Mom doesn’t worry about who sees. She isn’t looking for sympathy. She doesn’t have time for that. She might need a little understanding and a little grace, or just a knowing smile from a fellow mom. She might not know where the strength she needs comes from. But it is there. Quietly growing and building, depleting and then building again.

It is those muscles, the ones no one sees, that help moms push through, carry on and strive for more.

 

Samantha

I Wanna Hold Your Hand

I want to hold her hand…forever.

The love of my life has been twelve for not quite a month and in that short time and especially lately, I have been taught some hard lessons.

Like I am pretty sure I need her more than she needs me.

At least that is the vibe she is sending me.

She recently was away with her Dad for a week. I texted her everyday. Her answers back were short. Meanwhile, I’m at home practically begging the dog to hang out with me. It’s not that I don’t want her to have fun, but can she miss me. A little?

She definitely laments when I feel compelled to sing loudly to music in the car, but I feel that is actually a rule for tweens.

She has remarked once or twice I dress like a teenager. But again, I feel that’s a requirement.

The punch to the guts are being asked why I am in her room. Do I plan on staying. Tucking herself in and now not even really saying goodnight to me.

Maybe I get a good morning.

If… I’m lucky.

However, the one that stung the hardest was a recent Saturday we spent together.

G & I make sure every Saturday we make plans. It can be as simple as watching a movie to as complex as a road trip, but with her fast approaching her teen years I want time with her. It’s our time to put everything away and just be.

We went and grabbed lunch and as we were getting ready to leave I asked her if she wanted to go anywhere else.

She said the mall.

I think I almost spit out my tea. My sweet girl is not a shopper. The only way she will go to Target is if I feed her and stick to a list. If we do go shopping once she is done. She is DONE.

I asked her again just so I was sure.

She said yes.

She wanted to go to Hot Topic.

There it was!

Hot Topic is her place. My free spirit loves anime and t-shirts and plushies (that’s tween for stuffed animals).

Hot Topic carries all her favorite shows and movies in some form of backpack, shirt or pin.

I sighed and said fine.

She smiled – huge.

I have always been the Mom who holds my child’s hand. Because I love her and I’m a bit overprotective.

We walk into the mall I hold my hand out which is code for grab my hand. My dutiful daughter does but also lets out a huge sigh.

I say quietly while we are walking “if it’s uncool to hold my hand I get it. You don’t have to hold my hand.”

She drops my hand and says “I’m letting go because you said I could, but yes it’s not cool.”

Mommas(!)

She must have noticed my face.

“Mom I love you, this is great. I will walk next to you.”

“Thanks, ok.” I squeak back.

We shop.

I spend WAY too much money on a t-shirt for her.

When we got home she thanked me and quickly retreated to her room.

I found her a bit later.

Asleep.

I laid next to her… she grabbed my hand and held it.

G and I continue to enter uncharted territory and it’s rough sometimes.

But this is what I know, I will be 100 and she will always be my baby, my sun, my moon, my stars, the reason I try to be better.

Even if she won’t hold my hand at the stupid mall.

Much love Mommas

<3 Caprise

How Do You Do It All?

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.

 

Yours Truly,

Anne Smith- A Working & Single Mother

Motherhood & Anxiety

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.

 

-Heather

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

Divorce For Grown-Ups

Divorce for Grown-Ups: 5 Tips on Achieving Your Best New Normal

None of us is immune to divorce and I’m here to prove it.  Though I was trained and practiced as a marriage and family therapist, I have had my fair share of moments where it didn’t matter.  It didn’t save me from the ick.  And I’m grateful, because those experiences have taught me the most.

My ex-husband and I met in a doctoral program in Social Work. We waited to marry (we were 30).  We planned long enough to have a child that I was labeled a geriatric mother (I was 35).   And yet today, I am still the divorced mother of a twelve year old child.  What-are-ya-gonna-do?

Alas, there are no guarantees in life. And although divorce is difficult and challenges will always remain, I personally discovered you can make your journey to the new normal easier on you and your kids, with no Ph.D. required:

 

  • Respect Survival Mode. A friend introduced the idea of “Survival Mode” to me during my separation when I was (yet, again) revisiting the facts, feelings and current state of our marital dissolution…I was deep in my feelings and in my head. She stopped me and said, “You know, you don’t have to do this to yourself.  You’re in Survival Mode.  Let’s save the therapeutic analysis for when you are not trying to just put one foot in front of the other and be a good mom.”  Wait? What? I don’t have to do this to myself?

When someone is trying to survive in the desert, they don’t spend a lot of energy and brainpower on how they ended up there and how unfair it is.  Instead, they focus on getting out – on surviving.  It was a very freeing for an over-analytical person like me to give myself the gift of giving myself a freaking break—and just get through now, this moment, today. There will be time for the post-mortem—later.  And I did it, when I had the bandwidth to do it.

 

  • Take off your spouse hat. Stop viewing the world (including your ex’s actions) through the perspective of being that person’s spouse. You’re not anymore, so stop. When your ex does anything – the more view that action as their spouse, the more likely it will do a number on you.

The only hat you are allowed to wear is your parent hat. Period.  You will be amazed by how much you can take off your plate once you make this one adjustment to your perspective.  It is not your job to make your ex a better person, or at least not a jerk, in your eyes.  You’re done.  Not your problem.  Off the hook.  You only ask: How does this directly impact my kid and their relationship? And don’t try to warp the issue into being about your kid, when it’s really just about the spouse hat you’re still sporting. Hat off.  And see how much better you breathe.

And bonus: the moment you stop acting like something bothers you is the moment it may stop happening, so stop taking the bait. A little secret I discovered…

 

  • Don’t wait for the karma train. You feel wronged.  Treated badly. Undeservedly so. Yep. That sucks.  Not fair.  Stop screaming at the sky and demanding the karma train to hurry up and get’em.  Because each day that you focus on thinking your ex is “getting away with it” or has “won” is another day you have wasted not getting your best life.  Focus on you, your life. Things have a way of working out, but you are not in charge of the timeline.  So deal.  Go back to figuring out your new normal and living well.

 

  • Social media lives forever. Don’t Vaguebook about your ex. Don’t outright hash it out publicly on social media.  Your kids and lawyer will thank you.  Stop.  It’s a bad look and your friends are cringing for you.

 

  • You are a teaching tool. Remember, your kids are watching and learning important life lessons from you at this moment about how to be resilient, face disappointment (and reality), and conquer challenge—all needed life skills. It’s ok to show vulnerability though—they should also know perfection isn’t a realistic goal. Just be human with superhuman tendencies.

~Dr.L~

 

Dr. L is divorced mom with a global consultancy based out of North Carolina. 

Practical Changes

Below is my piece, Practical Changes, from 2007 when I was a contributing columnist to The Southern Ledger newspaper with my Practical Changes column, the night before my son’s birthday…as you all know my son graduated from High School early and will be 18 this coming May.  I wanted to share this old blog because it speaks to parenting and how it was for me back in those days where many of you are now…enjoy and hope everyone had a great holiday season.

XO, Noelle

WOW…I am writing a night early…Mr. Southern Ledger will surely fall out of his chair from shock tomorrow morning when he sits down to write that ‘friendly little reminder’ to the bloggers and notices that my column is already posted…HA

Six years ago tonight I was in a hospital in Plymouth, MA in the midst of 30 hours of HARD labor waiting for my son to make his first appearance…tomorrow he turns six and we have been counting down the days since Christmas…everything he sees goes under the ‘ I want this for my birthday’ category.  Those of you that know me well are now saying to yourselves, “just like his mother” and I can hear you.

In retrospect, I believe that was the hardest night of my life…I won’t bore you with the scenario of 30 hours, but trust me when I say it was FAR from pleasant…it taught me that if I could do that and endure that, then I could certainly do anything…what a good, smart, handsome little boy he is and funny and stubborn…sometimes I feel like the kid got a raw deal, all I do is work and it seems like some days I am always yelling…I have two modes loud and louder…it runs in my Italian family, we talk too much and most everything is loud.  Then there is that whole emotionally unkempt thing, which runs in my family too.

Sometimes I feel like I am doing such a bad job at all this…I think I should be nicer and more patient, yet someone or something is always pulling at me and I just have to keep moving because I don’t see anyone else around here paying for anything…granted this was my choice, to get a divorce rather than live in a situation that I was finished with just for the sake of security…I’m pretty sure the kid is normal, whatever that means anymore…I mean he goes to private school and has the best of everything and he is with me all the time…I have a great staff that helps a lot and without whom I would fail to function.

I think that no matter how smart we are there are always those times when we are second guessing ourselves, wondering if we are good enough or if we are doing it ‘right’…we must be doing okay around here though because we are starting year number six and that feels like a huge accomplishment.

As I sit here tonight I think back to who I was six years ago and I realize that so much has changed…I think that I am gaining some insight and wisdom as I go along…that’s a good thing…I am learning how to let things go, how to let someone else have the last word, how to walk away instead of react when someone is unpleasant, how to trust God and not be so scared all the time about everything turning out ok…I am learning how to take deep breaths and learning to remember that it will all still be there tomorrow.

I have also learned that I am too old to be blond anymore.  Recently, I had my hair highlighted and a lot of blond put in—it has been that way for about two and a half weeks and I have felt off the whole time—I kept looking at myself in the mirror and thinking how not like myself I looked, too washed out, too old and then finally this morning I wondered why I had done it, what was I hoping to prove?  In my other life I could carry blond, this life requires dark hair and ‘on purpose’ behavior—tonight my hair has been returned to a darker state and I recognize the chick I see in the mirror…  She has a messy desk, is emotionally unkempt, is a workaholic, is probably starting to wrinkle and sag, drinks too much coffee, shops too much and is not currently working out as much as she needs to, however, she knows how to get stuff done, she has a great kid, she has incredible friends, she is generous beyond measure, she knows how to laugh at herself and she understands that life is really about who we are and not what we have…I like that chick, she has dark hair and she’s not afraid to tell it like it is.

It’s good to mark time, to look back and see how far you have come…it makes us grateful for progress, grateful for all the gifts that we have been given…most everyone is always rushing through birthdays, Christmas Days, Mother’s Days, Father’s Days…how many times do we stop and remember the years past, how much do we acknowledge how far we have come?

We should you know, we should make a practice of acknowledging how much advancement we have gained over the years.  It is virtually impossible not to gain wisdom as time passes…life itself is such a profound teacher.

I will take my leave of you now as I have gifts to wrap in Spiderman paper and tomorrow there is a trip to Chuck E. Cheese in my future…I know y’all are jealous.

Every Mom Is A Warrior

Every mom is a warrior. We push ourselves through physical exhaustion ,financial instability and constant juggling .Who amongst us has not arrived at work with a with a mega To-Do list to tackle in your breaks , on the last of the weeks fuel but still presenting a veneer of control and competency. Every Mom is a hardworking star however for the single Mom it’s a race because at the end of the day its just you.

Our identity revolves around our children.The guilt of thinking that you have somehow let your babies down, by not being able to provide a stable second parent .That flash of jealousy when you see a happy, two parent family in the park . The loneliness of a Father’s Day stall at school when you don’t have a Dad . A single parent takes all this and tries in return to fix it all.

We must beware however not to make the mistake of disappearing as a person . It is easy to give your all, to throw yourself into the all encompassing chores of single Parenting . Instead of feeling even more guilt for taking me time we need to look at the bigger picture. The life story not the chapter.

There is another life waiting . One day these precious children will be backing out your driveway ready to embrace new adventures and you will be left standing there , no longer the keeper of lunchboxes , school timetables and sport socks . Your Wifi will finally be free but you find yourself wondering what you even watch.

The Single parent should strive against this ,challenging, I grant you, but try do something for yourself . Painting , sport , an online course , anything to build your own personal identity . It is not selfish . It is single parenting en pointe”.Give your adult children the gift of not feeling guilty to leave you behind , gift them with the feeling that you are happy . Be the parent of whose life their child is proud of .It may not be an easy life but it can be an empowering one , your chance to break the mold and be a warrior.

Toni.

The Joy Of No Responsibility

Freedom!

For the past three years, I have been sending my son to sleep away camp. Started after 4th grade for a week at the beginning of the summer and two weeks at the beginning of August. I’ll never forget how much I cried (wailed and dry heaved is more accurate) when I dropped him off that first time, feeling like I had my heart ripped out from my chest. What if something happened to him? What if I couldn’t “protect” him? I had no idea what to do with myself and my newfound freedom. As an only parent without family nearby, my son and I were/are each other’s everything for a long time. This first parting was the scariest thing on the planet for me. (Mind you, I am the anti-helicopter parent and firmly believe that I am raising a future adult.) I went to the city to walk around and people watch, eating my first meal fully alone and feeling very Carrie Bradshaw about it. It was hell.

Now, on our third year at camp, he’s going for six straight weeks. I can see him every other Sunday and plan to do so, but the chance for a real mental parenting break and lack of responsibilities for someone other than myself for a bit is truly refreshing. I’ve packed my schedule with work trips and popcorn ceiling scraping and wallpaper removing so I can make the house I am buying into a home and continue to be able to pay for it. It’s a special feeling to be able to create a magical place for us to build a lifetime of memories in a place that is completely our own. I cried on my drive home today with joy of the future to come.

I recognize that I am fortunate to be in a financial position to be able to do all of this, but for those of you that say you can’t relate, I wasn’t always where I am now. Those memories are painful and will be the subject of a future post when I can bring myself to unearth them. “Ad astra per aspera”

Electra

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