Single Mom Week: a memoir.

Dear Diary, it’s day 3 (I think?) of being solo. The day we took Dading to the airport is the day I got a stomach bug. Since then we have done swimming lessons, and a zoo trip, errands and the day to day hustle.

And I have been struggling. Oh, how I have been struggling.

Today was also Therapy day, which was much needed. I told her how I felt like a failure- my single mom friends do this literally every day and they aren’t sucking like I feel like I am. Everything is thrown off. There is this big absence that even Biggie is struggling with. We all miss Daddy.

But she had a good point: co-parenting is OUR normal. It’s what we are used to. She told me if I’m going to judge it, judge it in the positive. We are a strong family unit, and we function better that way. I totally agree.

I know as parents, and especially moms, we always feel like we don’t measure up. So you can imagine how I feel being a hot fucking mess after 3 days of being on my own (2 were no school days they count for double right?) I feel like a failure. I should be rocking this, nbd. But I am so NOT doing that right now. I am exhausted from this stupid stomach bug. Exhausted from having a 4 year old that could argue a Supreme Court Justice into a homicidal rage.

I feel pathetic writing this, but I have to live my truth. We are a two-parent unit and that’s how we roll. I am not superwoman, and I am tired. And for now I just feel like I don’t measure up. It’s not a comforting feeling. I feel like if Dading was home he would be crushing it, and wouldn’t be losing his shit on the kids as much as me.

I thought I would enjoy the free time at night after the kids went to bed, and getting to work on some of my hobbies. But I did not factor in not feeling well, or how disruptive it is when your family has a major schedule change. We’ve been apart before, but never this far away or for this long. It permeates literally everything. And it’s upsetting to see how much it affects the kids.

I’m glad that this is not our normal. We are all very much looking forward to Friday when he comes home.

Adulting is hard, guys.

So as I have mentioned, I have been working on opening my own Etsy store. I have been building up inventory, designing things to sell, getting business cards and getting ready to promote my brand. This has been going on for a month or two. Last night I was working on some designs and I realized something-

I don’t want to open an Etsy store anymore. I realized there is totally something to a job vs a hobby. I love designing things and making things for people. I love planning all the decorations for the kid’s birthday parties. I love being able to create something instead of having to buy it at the store.

I was losing that excitement in the stress of trying to get the store open. So I’m going to forget about the store and go back to doing what I love instead. So if you need party decorations- hit me up!

Does this count as an adulting situation? Feels like being a grown up to me.

All the single moms…

So DadingWITHOUTanxiety is flying to Nashville on Sunday for work, and will be back on Friday. For those doing the math, that means I am going to be flying solo next week, and the adults in the house (ME!) will be outnumbered. See also: Monday is Memorial Day and school is closed, so I will not be able to ship the heathens off to school. Is this making you anxious just reading it yet?

I feel ridiculous when I think about my single mom friends, and how they #MomHustle all day every day. You guys are amazing, and I tell you all the time I have no idea how you do it. Sorcery, I imagine.

Dading deserves a vacation, even if it’s just for work. He works hard for our family, and has picked up my slack many, MANY times when I was down and out with anxiety. I want him to go have a good time. That doesn’t mean I am looking forward to having no backup with Biggie and Smalls. Part of me is excited to rise to the occasion, to show myself that I can survive with the boys on my own. The other part, possibly the more sane part, asks me what I’ve been smoking.

I may win the Favorite Parent award, because you guys know there’s going to be multiple nights of Chick-Fil-A and lots of screen time for Biggie. #SurvivalMode.

If Dading comes back and we still have two kids and I didn’t kill one, I’m putting that in the win pile. Thoughts and prayers and sage burning for me, guys. I need all the help I can get.

The struggle (with self-care) is real.

I have officially been overdoing it lately. Like, wayyy overdoing it. The kids have been going through various bouts of illness ( this shit always comes in waves as you know) and we are totally over it. I have picked up some freelance transcription work, some “take surveys for money” stuff, and have been pushing to get my inventory posted to my Etsy store so I can start telling people about it. The survey stuff is pennies and really annoying, but I try to use it as filler for dead time. The transcription work is really fun, because previous jobs and training have made me a speed typer so I figured why not get paid for it? However fun, it is time consuming and has to be done at night when I should be getting ready for bed.

Which brings me to the major issue- SLEEP. The phrase “you can sleep when you are dead” is actually a threat when you’re a parent. You actually spend time contemplating how little sleep it will take for your body to give you the finger and tap out. I went at these freelance jobs all at once and too hardcore. I was looking to spread my entrepreneur baby wings all at once, and didn’t pace myself. So for now I’m trying to put most of my efforts into the Etsy store to give my brain a little break.

I am totally not a perfect mom, so please don’t think because I have my hand in many different cookie jars right now that I am succeeding at life. I am paying for it, guys. I am TIRED. Like jealous of animals who eat their young tired. Like full Mommy Monster “I will unhinge my jaw and lose my shit” tired. My anxiety is starting to sniff around and my heart races. And I KNOW better! I know the vicious circle of stress-anxiety-sleep and still have not managed to grab sleep by the balls and make it my bitch yet.

Nor have I been eating right or exercising. I will never understand why moms of small children don’t have the bodies of Olympic athletes. Like literally ALL we do is run after small children. ALL. DAY. LONG. Someone needs to do a case study and explain to me the science behind this. I’m not the mom that finishes what her kids eat all the time, I’m the mom that just eats on the go, and that’s my downfall. Those 20 pounds I lost last year have come back, if not more.

And tonight is the Games of Thrones Finale so of course early bedtime isn’t going to happen today, either. If someone out there can help me figure out how to get to bed earlier I am totally open to suggestions. For all the #MomBoss #SuperMom #DoingtheBestTheyCanMoms out there- take care of yourselves. We are busy with just the kids alone, before we add on all the extra stuff we have to or want to do. So tomorrow I’m going to try to get to the gym for the first time in forever- send positive vibes!

Raising boys in 2019.

I have had this as a potential blog topic for quite a while, but it feels especially relevant now. The older I get the more I have opinions on women’s rights legislation, and politics in general. I don’t claim to be a feminist- I really just feel like a mama, trying to raise decent human beings in this ever increasingly hateful world I feel like we live in. I am anti-Trump, believe love is love and this world needs more of it, and I firmly believe no one has the right to tell a woman what to do with her body.

I am also an Atheist. I do not say this to exclude anyone from my blog, because this is a safe space for everyone and of every faith. I am trying to be as honest as I can on here, and my religious preferences shape how I live and raise my kids. I used to be a Christian, and struggled with my views on abortion. Now having kids of my own and having different religious views, I feel so much different. I also work in an industry where I see what happens to children born to parents who don’t love them, and this has also greatly altered my perceptions. If you totally disagree with my political and religious views, I ain’t even mad! We can all still come together under the common umbrella of “raising kids is hard AF” and voila!- we are back on the same page again ๐Ÿ™‚

No matter what views you have, raising boys in this era comes with a lot of challenges. Not including the normal “boys are less drama than girls but harder to keep alive” mantra, of course. If you have girls at home, please leave comments below on what unique challenges you face, I want to hear them!

How do you raise boys to be respectful of women in a world where women are fighting for equal rights, equal pay, and personal safety? Dading and I already know we have to teach the boys about consent- this is NOT something they just know on their own. That if you have to buy a girl a few drinks before she accepts your advances, that is NOT consent. That their bodies and that of their partners (boys or girls) are to be respected and treated as something of value.

I want to raise boys that hold open the door for a mama with a stroller. That help an elderly man that fell on the sidewalk. That don’t bully and give into peer pressure about what they should or should not have done with a girl yet. I want boys that LOVE hard and fearlessly and without prejudice. I want boys that are tolerant of all religious and spiritual beliefs, no matter their own preference. I want boys that will stand up for what is right, not give in to what is easy.

So how do we do this? In a nutshell- kids learn by example. Society doesn’t seem to be setting a good one, and that bar is set pretty low right now- so we have to work even harder. It doesn’t matter what parental units you have or don’t have at home- work with what you got.

Biggie and Smalls aren’t old enough yet to ask about politics, or understand gender pay gaps. But when we watch The Greatest Showman and Biggie asks why Zendaya’s and Zac Efron’s characters are sad, we have an amazing conversation about diversity and acceptance, and how the only thing that matters about a person is what’s on the inside, not the color they are. (Seriously this movie is an amazing teaching moment, watch it with your heathens).

So we lead by example. We weed out negative intolerant people from our children’s lives. We surround them with love and structure and boundaries. We encourage reaching out for help when it’s needed, and never to lash out in anger. If you ask Biggie what family does, he will automatically tell you “watch out for each other.” We ingrain in their heads that as brothers they are responsible for each other and will always have each other to rely on.

And when they are older, I look forward to their questions about politics and legislation. I hope by that time we have put in enough hard work that they can see for themselves where the issues are. I hope they fight to change them. The world isn’t ready for them ๐Ÿ™‚

Cool story, bro

I’ve been home all week with Biggie, who has MRSA on his leg. Today is the first day he’s been able to walk on it, and will be going back to school tomorrow. I’ve enjoyed this time with just the two of us, but the kid is also driving me nuts. It was also scary because it’s the first time one of them has had something like this, and I had to draw back on my vet tech days of abscess draining. If that grosses you out, you’re a wimp! ๐Ÿ™‚

So yesterday I’m doing wound care in the bathroom with Biggie while DadingWITHOUTanxiety has Smalls in the shower with him. When he took him out, he pooped on his towel. Then in the toilet (he’s started showing interest in the potty so we are looking forward to a #DiaperFree2020). Then ran out of the bathroom, where he pooped on the rug. And the couch. The dog had also peed on the floor during all this. Basically I’m saying it was a shitshow, literally and figuratively.

The impressive part was that Dading and I didn’t go full assault on each other in the chaos. Although over late night Taco Bell after the kids went to bed I did ask him why he let the baby shit on the floor. LMAO.

Life is crazy people, laugh or you will cry. Hope this helps some of you laugh through your mid week hustle.

Is 32 too early for an existential crisis? Asking for a friend.

Lies, I’m asking for myself. Lately I have been feeling so unsatisfied in my professional life. My personal life is great, my anxiety is taking a back seat and behaving itself lately, the kids are good and (mostly) not sick.

So of course per protocol this would be the time for me to be unhappy in my work life. I feel undervalued and unseen. I feel bored. There are so many things about myself I have learned lately- that I actually have hobbies and things I’m good at besides being a mom! We as working parents spend more time at work than at home, so to not feel like I’m getting much out of it is totally unacceptable. If I’m going to sacrifice time away from my babies and DadingWITHOUTanxiety, I want it to MEAN something. I want to feel seen and appreciated.

I think we all feel like that right? Because as parents we spend a lot of time being unseen, taking a backseat to the needs of the kids. However, I am finding it difficult to try and remedy this situation. Obviously the time for a career change is not when you have two kids under 5. So I’m doing my research and coming up with some side gigs in the meantime (Etsy store grand opening coming shortly!)

Burn some sage for me, guys. Cuz I’m way too young for a midlife crisis.

Mom Friends- the Unicorns of Parenting

Something that has come up more than once in therapy sessions is the topic of mom friends. My anxiety has been in check lately, hence why I haven’t been posting much about it, but this topic was one that caused anxiety.

I am a social person, and I also need mom friends. I know this about myself. Play dates and commiserating with fellow moms is so therapeutic for me. It allows me to spend time with my kids and other adults at the same time, and I enjoy finding new and fun places for us to go and see. For DadingWITHOUTanxiety and I, it is important for us that our little monster’s lives be full of playmates and experiences that help stimulate their little brain cells. (And hopefully don’t empty our bank accounts even more).

However, I have learned that it is REALLY hard to find your mom tribe! I thought it was me, like what is it about me that I can’t get anyone to put in some effort to get the kids together and do things? I felt like I was the common denominator, so I must be off-putting somehow. Everyone always says they don’t have time, that they are too busy to even text me back about plans. And I think to myself- we’re busy too! We have two kids, a puppy, two full time jobs and swimming lessons. If I can do it, why can’t everyone else?

And this is where KAT comes in (Kick Ass Therapist for those of you just joining in). She explained to me that not everyone has the same goals and priorities that I do. That not everyone can do it. And I sacrifice other things to make this a priority- down time and even more of my sanity. But it’s important to me, so I do it. Other moms have different priorities, and they sacrifice for those also.

Something else I’ve learned through talking to other moms is that it is OK that different parenting styles can make friendships very difficult. I felt so guilty about this, and I thought it was just me- but I know now that it is a common sentiment. It is really, really hard to bond with another mom, even a friend from before kids, when you have totally opposite parenting styles. It’s something that I have struggled to accept, but in the end it’s not something I can change so I’ve stopped fighting so hard.

Mom friends are unicorns. Mystical, magical, and are they even real? But I know now that when you find those that share your parenting style enough that you can parent your kids as a village when you are together, those that make efforts to spend time with you and your kids also, that you have found something real and important. It’s ok to be selective and wait for the right ones to come around. And it’s ok to let the others move to the background when they don’t. We as parents need all the support we can get. So go out and find your unicorn tribe, because they actually do exist. ๐Ÿ™‚

Perfection vs Happiness

I saw an Instagram post a week or so ago that really spoke to me.

“Kids don’t need a perfect mom, they need a happy one.”

I feel like this sums up a lot of what it is to be a mom. We strive to do everything right, to always GET it right, like I’ve talked about in my post about perfectionism. In our quest for perfection, I feel like we lose a lot of who we are along the way. For me, when I would yell at the kids, lose my temper, not do something with them because I was tired- I would get so stressed out about it. I’ve written before about my concerns about passing my anxiety on the Biggie, who is already prone to being an anxious child.

I am far from perfect. At anything. Except being a wife, obviously. (#trophywife- right DadingWITHOUTanxiety?) But in embracing my imperfect and anxious self, I have become truly happy. And THAT is what my boys will see- that I didn’t always get it right, but our life is a happy one. And I’m totally cool with that. Do whatever you have to to be happy, and know that you’re going to have to give up your ideals of perfection to get it done, and that’s ok too.

And I guess that means I need to take my own advice and realize my kids don’t care how much I weigh or what size clothes I wear. It’s more important for me to be happy for me AND for them. Who knew having a blog could be so self-reflective? ๐Ÿ™‚

The one thing I wish I could change about myself…

So I think everyone has at least one thing they struggle with, that they wish they could change and/or always strive to overcome. For me, you would think it was my anxiety- but it isn’t. Do I wish I didn’t have it? Yes and no, if I’m being honest. Like I’ve said before, working to overcome it has led me to find out who I really am. It is a journey I don’t take lightly, and I’m not sure I would be the same person if I didn’t carry this involuntary roommate around with me all the time.

The one thing I struggle with, that I have struggled with my adult life, is my weight. Since college, when I gained more than my fair share of the freshman fifteen, I have had weight issues. I have tried and failed at so many diets- Quick Weight Loss, South Beach, low carb/low fat, Keto…. I do great for a while and then go have pizza one night and look who fell off the wagon. Factor in a 9lb8oz Biggie and 9lb12oz Smalls within three years of each other and you can imagine the #MomBod I see in the mirror. (Yes, they were huge, please pity me internet, it was hard. I’ve already started making them feel guilty about it).

I read a lot of self help and inspirational quotes in general in my sagely 30’s about how our bodies are amazing to have created and carried life and I TOTALLY agree with this. We sacrifice 10 months of our lives as a host to a parasite, and our bodies are truly never the same afterwards. My body accommodated life twice, and came back together in totally different ways both times. I don’t give my body enough credit for the hard work and wonderful things it has done in 32 years of life.

My biggest hurdle, especially right now as I struggle to get back to some type of healthy eating schedule, is that our self worth is not defined by the number on the scale. Read that again: OUR SELF WORTH IS NOT DEFINED BY THE NUMBER ON THE SCALE! I am a great mother, wife and friend. Yet I think I am less of a person because of my outward appearance. That is a horrible way to feel, and a horrible way to think the world perceives me. I know if I struggle with it, tons of other moms do too. One thing I know is that I need to listen to my body, which is tired of all the carbs and sugar and is telling me to knock it the fuck off. So I’m going to listen, and try to do better. Because now that I think about it, this is just another way to show up for myself, which helps me take care of my family. Do something to take care of yourself today, and I will do the same.