Wednesday, June 11, 2014

I will be your resident divorcée

Amongst my friends - I'm the only one that has really gone through the Big D. This makes me happy because I wouldn't wish it upon anyone but can also be a bit awkward sometimes. No one in my "inner circle" really understands what I have been through. I feel weird offering relationship or marriage advice. Truth be told, no one really comes to me for it anyway. My advice should basically be "don't do what I did..." but that's not fair to anyone either.

What do people come to me for advice on though? Divorce. Not usually their own, but when one of their other friends is struggling through one they want to know the right thing to say to comfort them so they ask me. Truth is, I don't know! I was in such a fog in the beginning of mine I can't really remember a single piece of advice that was given beyond "it'll be okay." And you know what, in reality, that's enough! They were right. Sure, it's a canned answer but it's enough. "It'll be okay and I'm here for you". If you haven't been through a divorce yourself, you can't really offer advice, just support. I think this may be why I don't remember getting a lot of advice - my amazing family and friends were just there to offer support anyway they could while I figured things out on my own.

Now, if someone was to come to me that was going through a divorce, and there have been a few, this is the advice that I would offer them.
Your divorce will not define you! You have so much more to offer the world than just being someone whose marriage didn’t work out. Hold your head high.
It’s okay to be scared and sad. Don’t feel like you have to fake a smile if you don’t want to. You need to grieve. Take the time to do so. (Note: If you have children, you WILL have to fake a smile for them sometimes. They will need you now more than ever. Try not to let them see you hurt. I know this is hard, but it’s important)
Don’t let your fear of loneliness lead you to make poor decisions. There is no need to start your profile before divorce papers are final. Yes, it’s scary to be alone, especially if you haven’t been in a very long time but rushing into something before you truly have a grasp on who you are can be a recipe for disaster.
If you have kids – they need to be your #1 priority! As I said earlier, they need you now more than ever. Watching your kids go through this with you is gut wrenching at times but you need to keep their best interests at heart. Regardless of my own true feelings, I want my kids to grow up thinking their dad hung the moon. He’s their dad! Every kid deserves to think both of their parents are amazing. I’m fortunate enough that our divorce was based on decisions we made as adults and we handle them as adults. There was never any violence or any reason for my kids to think less of their father, especially not at this age so why try to make them? Does my ex drive me crazy to this day? Yes! But do my kids need to know that? Absolutely not!

This advice isn’t all inclusive and will not apply to everyone in the same way but these are just a few of the things that I think of when I look back at how I “crawled through a river of shit and came out clean on the other side”. (Name that movie!!)

So if you find yourself faced with a situation where one of your friends is going through something like this, here is what I would suggest you do.
Be there! One of the toughest parts of a divorce or separation is the loneliness that comes with it. Suddenly you are not coming home from work to someone every night. It’s weird. It’s quiet. It sucks. Especially if they are sharing custody and they suddenly find themselves with nights with no kids, no spouse, and no plans. Sometimes they will need nights like this to just cry but sometimes they really just need someone to distract them from the quiet. That’s where you come in!
Listen. Sometimes they just need someone to listen to what they are saying. You may not be able to relate but just letting them get it all out is enough. A shoulder to cry on never hurt anyone!
Choose your words. Don’t immediately set out to say awful things about the person’s spouse or ex. I could rant for days about my ex but still get a tiny tinge of guilt when one of my friends does it. Avoid saying things like “I never liked him anyway” if possible. Your friend made the choice to marry that person and hearing things like that can actually feel like a shot at their own character or life choices.

Wow, that was a lot of stuff! Sorry for the long winded post but I just felt like putting it out there today. So if you’re struggling with what to say to a friend that’s going through this, you could always offer support and send them here if they need a little proof that a divorce doesn’t mean the end of the world.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The little men in my life

So I thought since I was getting back into this whole blogging thing, I would catch you up a little on the two most important men in my life, H & B. (Side note: I don’t call them H & B on here just to keep their names a secret, that’s actually how I refer to them in most communications. H will actually answer to being called H. B, notsomuch.)

Let’s start with the H-Dog

H is my big, bad 5 year old. He’s a great kid all around. I have a hard time coming to grips with the fact he’ll be starting kindergarten in the fall but he couldn’t be more excited. He asks about it all the time.

H is going to be my athlete, I think. He loves playing sports. He shoots a basketball better than most people I know. He just got his first set of real golf clubs for his birthday and cannot wait to hit the links. He’s starting t-ball this spring too. He also loves to play Wii Sports and can beat me at Wii bowling with his eyes closed.

H is also a very sweet soul. He loves to cuddle and be close to me at all times. He loves to give kisses and hugs and I eat that up!! He’s also a great big brother and leads by example for his little buddy. I could not be more proud of him.

Then there’s B-Dizzle

This kid, oh this kid! This three and a half year old might be the death of me! He’s about as crazy as they come sometimes. He doesn’t believe in just sitting down and being calm. He’s my runner – the reason they invented leashes for children. I’m not ashamed to admit that we used on one him at Disney last May. I thought it was a joke when my mom bought them but after he wiggled free at the airport and ran through the terminal and then did the same thing while we waited for the bus after a long day at Magic Kingdom he spent the next three days either strapped to his stroller or wearing that backpack harness. Judge away! I’d rather risk looking like a crappy parent for putting him in one than planning a funeral or putting up Missing Child posters. Thankfully, I think our leash days are over.

B’s #1 obsession is stuffed animals. He’s got more than any child should have but it will never be enough. Every night before bed I have to help him line them all up just perfect on his bed so he can sleep with them. It can be a chore, especially when one goes missing but there is really nothing cuter than watching him cuddle them.

B is the baby and he knows it! That’s my fault. I have been coached by his father that I need to keep referring to him as such. Apparently when he is whining his dad will say “Stop being a baby” to which B likes to respond “But I’m my mommy’s baby.” Yes you are, kid. And you always will be.

So, that’s a little high level overview of my little loves. I cannot begin to tell you how truly blessed I am to get to be their mom. Every night, before I go to bed, I sneak into their room and kiss them on the foreheads and thank God for giving me the best gift on the planet in those two little knuckleheads.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

About me! An attempt to start blogging again.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about getting into this blogging thing again. I mean, I still read blogs every day and want to use it as a tool to document my life and my learnings and my adorable children but then I stall out and never write anything. Let’s be honest, there’s a chance that after this blog, it may be another year before there is another post. My guess is that post is going to begin a lot like this one. Kind of the way that this one sounds a lot like the beginning of the one post I made last year.

It is so weird to think about where I was when I started this blog to where I am now.

This blog started just over 5 years ago when I was pregnant with my now 5 YEAR OLD (wth?) H-Dog. We were living on the other side of the state and I thought maybe this blog would help me stay in touch with people at home. Seven days after H was born, we moved back to my hometown and there really wasn’t a need to blog anymore but I kind of kept it up. I was never very consistent.

Then life happened.

I finally got a job I had wanted for years and started my “career” when I was 7 months pregnant with baby #2 – now the maniacal 3 and a half year old, B-Dizzle.

Life was good. Then life wasn’t so good.

Shortly after B’s first birthday their dad, my then husband moved out. We weren’t happy. It was a trial separation. I really thought we would work everything out and be better on the other side.

After 6 months he moved back in. We began to work on things.

2 months later he was gone again; this time for good.

Then my “new life” started happening.

I spent the next few months trying to pick up the pieces of my existence while simultaneously being strong for my kids. If I keep this blogging thing up, maybe I’ll talk about my divorce more someday. It’s actually one of the things that I feel like I could “share” with the world because it wasn’t nasty. No dirty laundry aired. But I stand as proof that there is life afterward.

Throughout it all, I developed a pretty sweet anxiety disorder which, among other things, completely eliminated my appetite. Some people eat their feelings, I preferred to starve mine.

I moved into an apartment I could barely afford because I wanted my kids to have something “nice”. The complex also had a gym. Due to our custody arrangement, I had more free time than I knew what to do with. I decided that eventually my appetite would come back but I didn’t want the pounds to come back too so I started working out. My appetite DID come back but by then working out had become habit so I stuck with it.

In about 12 months I lost almost 80 pounds. 30 pounds in tears and 50 in sweat – I like to say. The last year has been spent trying to lose another 15 but basically I’m just lucky maintain.

Early last year I also met a wonderful guy. I will have to spend an entire post talking about that relationship. Let’s just say that I carry a lot of scars from my past and he’s got to be some kind of saint to actually put up with some of it.

I have a lot of big ideas of things that I want to share about my current journey:
• How my ex and I co-parent successfully (for the most part)
• How weight loss has truly effected my life – good and bad
• Having a good relationship after a not so good one
• Surviving single parenting
• Rebuilding my life
• Plus a whole bunch of pure mom blog posts about how fantastic H-Dog and B-Dizzle really are!

So that’s me! That’s my life. I’m a divorced mama to two amazing little guys, girlfriend to one pretty awesome big guy, doing a job that I love, pretending to know anything at all about fitness, and proving that there is life after the big D and sometimes, just sometimes, Act Two is even better than Act One.