#prayforparkland

I have no idea how this post is going to be accepted…I may lose followers…I may lose friends…but I just feel a need to post.

I feel a need to post because the tragedy that occurred on February 14, 2018, in one of Florida’s safest cities is heart-wrenching. And I feel that I need to say something because it is weighing heavy on my heart. I know that this school shooting will become a hot topic for political pundits and lawmakers, arguing the stance of gun rights and the role of mental health – both for the right and the left, yet I feel that there is so much more that could be looked at – like the role of the family unit.

But here goes, love me or hate me, I hope you just appreciate a view that is the same as yours or if it’s different than yours, you’ll appreciate the fact that we live in the greatest nation in the world and have freedom of speech.

Columbine

In 1999, the massacre at Columbine High School happened. I was in college, had just recently moved out of my parents home and my little sister was still in high school. I tend to get fixated on certain news-making events…this school shooting was one of them. I became obsessed. It was all that I watched on TV. One of the Vice Principal’s of my sister’s high school worked out at the gym where I worked and I quizzed her about whether or not my sister would be safe going back to school. Later there were bomb threats at my old high school, so I quizzed this same Vice Principal some more. I had to force myself to stop watching news about the tragedy so that I could get sleep. I just didn’t understand why someone would do something so horrific.

I didn’t understand who would hate people so much to want to do this. How could life be so miserable for someone that they would want to end lives – people they were barely friends with and some they didn’t even know??

Parkland

Fast forward to 2/14/18, and I’m asking myself if I should discuss homeschooling with my ex-husband. And this is coming from a mother that knows that she would have to say prayers to the good lord above every hour in order to get through each school day because while I love my children more than my own life, I also know my limitations, and teaching them is not my strongest attribute…but I also know what I’m willing to sacrifice in order to keep my kids safe.

But then the conservative (really more of a libertarian), gun owning, side of me pokes her head out and says, “why would I allow idiots to scare me into taking my kids away from teachers much more qualified than I am to educate my three beautiful souls?”

It’s because I’m a mom and it scares the living daylights out of me that one day I’ll get the call that 17 parents in Parkland received today.

So much will be made of gun rights and mental illness in the next few days and weeks, yet nothing will change…nothing.

(this is where you may start disagreeing with me…)

Nothing will ever change. I stand behind those backing the second amendment and I also see some of the points made arguing the opposing stance and then I ALSO see the point of view arguing that it’s irresponsible gun owners that cause these issues or the lack of certain types of background checks. But nothing will ever change, regarding gun laws, because each of these views have valid points that can stand alone. We are a nation of great minds and hearts…these things won’t change – and in my personal opinion – this is what makes America great – the ability to have such a debate without one side being able to dictate to the other what will happen.

Then the debate about mental health will be raised. And yet, no one will have a perfect solution for this either. After witnessing and living in environments with people that are affected by mental health issues, I can tell you, firsthand, that one person, that I knew and loved, that was severely affected by bi-polar disease, was the most careful and educated and cautious, multiple gun-owning conservatist that I’ve ever met. My kids weren’t even allowed in the room where the guns were kept in massive safes, each with their own combination. And this was a man that knew his disease and was treating it.

Yet, what if you don’t know if you have a mental illness? How do you diagnose a mental illness, when a mental illness hasn’t been recognized?

Consider…

Maybe no one realizes that someone is experiencing depression because this is the first person in their family that is experiencing it and the rest of the family doesn’t recognize the symptoms. Maybe the family brushes it under the rug as puberty and the emotional changes that go along with being 16 and feeling rejected by classmates. I had an amazing experience in high school but I wasn’t always accepted by the peers I wanted to be accepted by and I didn’t even think that the solution would be to kill a soul, so what would make someone snap and want to make this type of decision? Is there a sure-fire way to know what the trigger would be or what the danger signs are for every person?

The parents of this 19-year-old Parkland shooter will likely be in hiding for years to come…and can you blame them? (and maybe they’ll be different than previous school shooter’s parents and be terrible parents that handed him the guns, ammunition and bomb making schematics – only time will tell.) The parents of the Columbine mastermind only just recently spoke within the past couple of years about that horrific day. The guilt that must lay on their hearts, the record that they keep replaying in their heads of what they could have changed or what they could have done differently as parents has to be unimaginable and terrifying on a daily basis.

But this is the thing, or at least my view – when someone isn’t allowed to purchase a gun for one reason or another, yet they desire to do so, they will find a way. So focusing solely on mental illness as a way to cure America of these types of senseless tragedies is a weak strategy…in my humble opinion. And the only hope that this strategy would be successful is that a person would clearly declare that they are mentally unstable when purchasing a weapon. There may be ways that gun purchases could be regulated differently through a checks and balances system with multiple organizations to check for mental health, but think about it this way – if a person is mentally ill enough to want to harm people, don’t you think that they will be able to find a crazy way (pun intended) to make gun purchases happen anyway?

We always want a reason. We always want an explanation. We always want to be able to look at the situation and say ‘this is why this happened.’ I think that sometimes, there just isn’t a reason. There is just evil. Maybe we’ll find out that Cruz had this planned because he was bullied (and that’s a whole other issue), maybe we’ll find out that he lost his marbles and stole his parents weapons and decided to act out a video game that he played after being expelled from school, or maybe we’ll just find out that he wanted to be glorified on the news and receive attention, albeit bad attention. Whatever the reason ends up being, nothing will explain this tragedy to the 17 families now facing funeral arrangements for children.

Look within instead??

What if we take this and look at our own families…with the blinders off (as much as possible)? Would we be able to recognize a 12 yr old that is struggling to make friends? Would we show them how to make friends and cultivate friendships through our own example or would we tease them for being different? Would we tease them in front of their friends about how skinny they are and that they need to put some weight on if they are ever going to be able to play a sport? Or could we teach them how to be confident in their own skin because they’ve seen our example? Would we go out for drinks with our buddies, ignoring the fact that our kid asked us to help with a major project for school? Or would we teach our kid that their needs come before our own and then reschedule the guys-night for the next week?

I think sometimes the questions should be asked, “Are we serving our own needs before our kids or are we listening to them, watching them, spending time with them, relating to them, showing them that we care, disciplining correctly, talking WITH them not at them? Are we remembering that they didn’t make the choice for us to be their parent – WE made the choice to have a child and it is our responsibility to raise them in a safe, secure, and sound environment?”

There is COMPLETELY a time and a place for alone time, as an adult, parent, spouse, etc. but the kids should come first. They’ve never been 13 before – we have…teach them, guide them, respect them, love them. If you do the hard work first, invest the time and love in your kids first, then hopefully, if there are mental health issues, the issues will be clear, recognizable, and addressed early on…not ignored until they are 19 and the issue is so humongous that no one knows how to deal with it and the kids get ignored until they need attention so badly that they end the lives of children and educators.

I guess my point in ticking so many of you off with my viewpoints, is that I wish, in addition to the arguments about guns and mental health, there were more discussions about the family; about how ‘the family’ can cope, deal, learn from and become stronger after these tragedies so that other horrific events like Parkland were prevented because the family unit has been so closely knit that mental illness would come to the forefront faster. And that there was an accountability and love that was so strong that the desire to harm another human heart didn’t exist. Focusing on the family could be fun, cheaper, and could make this country stronger than it already is. I feel so fortunate to have come from a solid family and let me tell you – I wouldn’t have my sanity, after divorce #2, had it not been for my family and closest friends.

This morning when I saw my mom, I was very focused on confirming some appointments on my phone. My mom paid attention to my body language and felt as though I was sad and checked in on me a little later, when in reality I was fine – actually great – just super focused. But the pure fact that she cared enough to check on me meant a lot AND the fact that she’s active in my life enough to know my moods, sets me up for strength during one of the toughest moments in my life. It’s not just teenagers that need support sometimes.

Regardless of what side of the arguments you are on, there are families in South Florida tonight that are feeling the tremendous loss of a loved one, likely a child, that had their whole future taken from them in the blink of an eye. Their pain must be so great. Please keep #Parkland in your prayers.

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all i want for christmas is my divorce

I have a unique perspective with this divorce because I’ve been through this before. While I’m on the other side of the table this time, and never wanted this divorce and even took a cheating husband back, I still know what is involved emotionally, financially and legally through this process. I absolutely HATE that I know all of this, but this is my reality.

My husband is making very poor choices through this divorce process and is being ill-advised, and where ever that advice is coming from, this process has been made doubly difficult because of it, simply because he won’t just stand behind his own feelings and he relies too often on everyone else’s opinions.

Whereas you would think that I would be the one making things challenging, he is the one that can’t turn anything in on time (literally months behind me) and continues to fight agreeing to a timesharing agreement for my daughter all because he refuses to not drink for four days per month.

I just don’t get it.

You would think that he was the one fighting the divorce rather than the one that started this process based on the issues that he is drawing into this. He was the one that cheated, he was the one that left bruises, he was the one that ran away, he was the one that filed for divorce.

With that said, I’ve written an open-ended letter to my soon-to-be-ex, not necessarily hoping that he’ll read it, but rather that others that are going through a divorce or considering divorce, won’t make the same mistakes that he is making.

Dear You-Know-Who,

I loved you with everything that I had. I even loved you after I found out that you had ‘fallen deeply in love’ with a woman that has no issue joining in to ruin a family and even after you did things to me that I have yet to be able to utter to another soul. I should have seen your character in choosing such a person to be with, but I didn’t, because I was blinded by my love for you.

Now though, I have seen another side, a nasty, disgusting side that saddens me.

I can’t believe that I ever fell for you. If I knew then what I know now, I probably wouldn’t have stayed very long. How you only care about money and how much everyone else can give to you without you having to work hard for it, is sad and I really hope that our daughter learns her work ethic from me and not your family. Trying to find a shortcut does nothing but prolong the inevitable of having to really work hard for what you have.

Which brings me to the point of this letter.

You were the one that wanted this divorce…do you remember? Do you remember me asking for more counseling and you laughing at me? Do you remember being so cold and heartless? I remember every word you said, every action you took, every heartless thing you’ve done.

After some of the things that you’ve chosen to do, say or participate in, I’ve lost all respect for you, and to me, that is so much worse than if I only hated you.

I just want you to stand on your own two feet…to follow through with the things that we talk about when it’s just us talking. But then your family, throws their bad advice in the mix and you back out of what you had previously agreed to – and the things that we had agreed upon were in the best interests of our daughter and it would have ended this bitterness so much faster.

For some reason, you can’t see how selfish your family is being. They don’t want the best for you – they want the best for them.

Stand up for what YOU know is right…stand up for what YOU think is worth it…stand up for what YOU know will end this battle. Stop letting others influence your decisions. YOU are the only one that has to live with me in your life for at least the next 16 years. YOU are the only one that can stop the madness. YOU are the only one that can lead this to a calm resolution because YOU are the one that started this process.

Your family only wants you for themselves – all for what you can do for them, the things you can fix, the business that you started that they can take over and tell you how to run, to share the daughter that we are raising. And you fail to see that they are so selfish that they continue to feed your delusions of right and wrong, so that you can maintain the ‘victim’ mentality, when you were the one that made all of these poor decisions.

And now…now you want the courts to feel sorry for you too. You’ve painted such a sad picture of your life and financial outlook yet we both know that I’ll be able to poke tons of holes through all of it.

I have advice for you and I hope you listen, because I’ve been through this before. You seem to be using a ton of energy on things that don’t matter. Every decision that you make needs to be something that you want, not that someone else is advising you that you should want. The anger that you expend each time that you don’t hear what you want to hear isn’t worth it and in the end will be for nothing.

Zero-Emotion Divorce: Thanks Florida.

The divorce process in Florida has become so clinical that you really need to have every T crossed and every I dotted if you want to claim something that I paid for four years ago (aka my vehicle, amongst other things), should be half yours. I recommend that you really ask yourself if it’s worth it to argue that the things that I paid for prior to our marriage should be yours.

If you notice, I skipped all of that nonsense, because it’s not worth it. I just want out of this marriage at this point, with each of us getting what we walked in with, splitting the marital assets, and what we decide is financially fair considering I left a 17-year career to support you less than 12 months before you walked out on me, and I just want to know that my daughter will be safe when she is with you.

And that’s it. If we could come to a conclusion on those things, it could be over. It’s all I want for Christmas.

You were the one that wanted out but you’re fighting so much for stuff that I paid for…is that all I was to you – a dollar sign? You’re very unlikely to win so the fact that you are fighting so hard for ‘things’ is beyond me. Use this energy for building your business instead of going after things that you’ve never had the right to claim as yours.

Work with me to end this, not against me. It seems that your pride is getting in the way and you are letting others influence your decisions instead of just standing on your own two feet and making a decision that will end this quickly and in the best interest of our daughter.

You’re wanting to battle over the most ridiculous things…harder than fighting for your daughter or building your business/finding a job that would provide you with a schedule that would allow you to spend more time with her. But instead you want to do everything you can to try to hurt me. Well, in case you didn’t know, you’ve already achieved that…you can stop trying now because you are now irrelevant to my life.

I’ve moved on with my life and just want this done. Clear your head and really ask yourself if this battle, that you are creating, is really worth it. Will it do anything but prolong what you’ve wanted all along? Will it do anything to build our relationship as adults that are trying to raise a daughter together? Will you be setting an example that you’ll be proud of your daughter watching?

More advice is just to do what’s right from the beginning. It will cost A LOT less and end A LOT sooner, if you can put aside your emotion, pride and greed and seek out a resolution instead of causing more issues each week.

The reason that I can offer all of this advice is because I’ve been in your shoes before. Although, I wasn’t fighting to take money from the man that I was divorcing. I wasn’t lying about my income or assets that I had. In the end, my ex and I came to an agreement on both our ‘stuff’ and our parenting plan because we both just put aside our anger and we put it all out there and came to an agreement that best suited the boys and settled the issues with our ‘stuff’.

And if I had done that sooner, the divorce decree could have been signed sooner.

Pride gets in the way so often, but, you can make the choice to set it aside and realize that divorce is a horrible thing and no one will get exactly what they want but there has to be some kind of resolution. If both parties can be honest and calm and make decisions that are ethical and fair, the process can fly by much faster and MUCH cheaper.

So with that said, you may take my advice, and you may not, but just know I’ve done this before and I can offer advice based on what I did wrong so that both of us can walk away sooner from this disaster of a marriage.

Clear your head, have a cup of coffee instead of a beer and then get to work asking yourself, ‘is it really worth it to fight for the shell of a Jeep in the garage that she paid for?”.  Life really can be that simple as soon as you realize that ‘stuff’ doesn’t matter, only souls, and our daughters’ is magical and pure and doesn’t need to be put through all of the ‘garbage’.

Please note that this post and most of the posts on my website/blog may contain affiliate links. Should you decide to click on one of these ads and purchase something through this link, I will get a commission from it (the pricing is no different for you than going directly to their website)(I do not get commissions from sites where you donate money or things). Not all items recommended on this site are affiliate links. I only recommend items that I feel are amazing because I’ve used and tried them. Thank you for your trust and viewership!

she’s my Brandi

I have an amazing friend that I wish I could clone for everyone to have. She’s just so cool, honest, silly, and funny and can make anyone’s day brighter. I wouldn’t know what life would be like without this woman.

She was the room mom for my oldest son’s three year old preschool class and she was the queen of all room mom’s. I attempted to be as amazing as she was, at being room mom, a few years later but didn’t even come close. She has a teachers heart and a special love for kids that is inspiring.

When I met her, I had just given birth to my second son and was slowly falling into the world of losing who “Staci” was and becoming only a ‘mom’. Not that it is a bad thing at all to love motherhood, but life can become overwhelming and draining if you don’t take a break to really focus on who you are as a person without the kids and without the spouse. She helped me redefine what being a great mother was.

She showed me that we can love and support our kids 100% of the time but give ourselves a break to be a friend, an adult every once in a while. Taking time to be silly and catching up on things other than Power Rangers and super heroes is okay to do. And I love her for this because it’s so easy to lose your identity once you become a mom. You can easily find yourself being called the “cutest little red-head’s” mom, instead of simply being identified by your first name.

Judgie-Moms

Recently I was told that I should focus on my kids instead of blogging about my divorce. It stung, a lot, because it came from another hockey mom that I had once respected, and was stated as if I don’t focus on my kids which is sooo far from the truth.

My blog is my avenue to avoid costly therapy…and that’s okay because this is how I cope – this is what works for me. I share something and then move on…that’s it. There’s no further discussion about it after that. For someone to think that my kids aren’t getting the attention that they need and deserve is such a shortsighted judgement that is insulting. Everything I do is for my kids. Everything I fight for is for my kids. Everything that I push myself to achieve is for my kids. I’m doing an amazing job at motherhood.

But I have to admit…had I never been through a divorce I probably would have the same judgement. That’s one thing that I’ve learned through divorce is that you truly have no clue what is going on in someone’s home life, marriage, or relationships until you live it. Social media skews the truth so much, yet so many of us buy into what we see online as the complete truth about a situation.

This is the exact reason why I use this forum to be (almost) completely transparent about what I’m dealing with…because it’s not easy to admit any of this to anyone because people judge. And they’re mean, because they have no clue exactly what you’ve gone through. To admit that two marriages have failed, no matter who is at fault, is tough, but I’ve done it because when I went through my first divorce, I didn’t have anyone that truly knew or understood what I was going through. Many people sympathized, but no one really knew…which is why I blog – to make others feel not so alone.

I’ve chosen to leave some of the really bad choices that my soon-to-be-ex has made, out of the blog, in case my daughter should ever see these. Only I, and those closest to me, fully know the extent of hell that I’ve been put through. I don’t need to explain myself to anyone and those that question my decisions should also choose another path of ‘entertainment’ other than reading about how I’m coping with my current situation.

And for the strength to be able to say that, I owe it all to my silly, dinosaur costume wearing, scary movie watching, dance party hosting, best friend that has helped me to see who I really am as Staci…not just ‘mom’.

My Brandi

The funny thing is that in all of the world you won’t find two more people alike in the fact that we are HUGE people pleasers. If we’ve upset someone, we are nauseous about it, we stress about it, and focus on it waaay more than it deserves…but that’s who we are. She’s given me so much strength to be okay with who I am, flaws and all, and do my best to not care what other people and other moms think because she’s focusing on it too in her own life – she’s just a few steps ahead of me.

She’s my Brandi and I’m her Stephanie (#RHOD reference) – we can sit for hours and laugh until our stomachs hurt, tell each other the honest truth about what is going on in our lives – even the stuff we don’t want to fully admit to ourselves, tell each other the truth and be honest about if we think the other person should suck it up or belly-ache some more, then laugh some more, sing 90’s songs to the kids until we annoy them, and still want to do it all over again the next week. I’m so thankful that I have her in my life and I hope that everyone can have a ‘Brandi’ in their lives.

The key though is complete honesty with those that are closest to you. Those that truly care about you won’t judge you. If they do, walk away from them. You can’t have deep, meaningful relationships if you aren’t completely “You”.

brandi blog post 2

I wouldn’t love having her in my life if I didn’t feel like she loved me for who I was, down deep. If I had to put up a façade with her, it would be like so many other acquaintances that I have…and I have enough of those. I’m thankful that I have a friend like her in my corner that will shake me into reality when I’m throwing myself a pity party yet at the same time talk about our kids most recent bathroom issue, over a hurricane app that apparently everyone in Central Florida had downloaded and could hear us being silly on, during Hurricane Irma. (true story)

My challenge to you – be honest with those that are closest to you and grow those relationships and try your hardest to smile and be kind to those that have negative things to say, regardless of what their poorly based opinions may be. Only you have to be accountable for your actions – if you’re proud of them, then own them…if not, then change them.

Please note that this post and most of the posts on my website/blog may contain affiliate links. Should you decide to click on one of these ads and purchase something through this link, I will get a commission from it (the pricing is no different for you than going directly to their website)(I do not get commissions from sites where you donate money or things). Not all items recommended on this site are affiliate links. I only recommend items that I feel are amazing because I’ve used and tried them. Thank you for your trust and viewership!

the first flirt

Recently someone called me insecure. I am insecure, most women are about something or at some point in their lives. Heck, I think everyone is at some point. The love of my life left and, through his actions, showed me that he felt that I and our family weren’t good enough for him. I felt rejected. I felt not good enough. I felt less than enough for someone that had pledged his life to me and our family, our daughter.

It’s sad and I’m working through it mentally but I know it’s for the best. He has so many mental and emotional issues to deal with apparently (because who thinks it’s more fun to go through a divorce, destroy a family, hurt a woman, hurt children, than work through a couple of problems that he never even shared that he felt we had), that I’ve come to realize that it’s not my fault he made some really poor choices. I just now have to remind myself constantly that it’s not my fault that he’s a jerk. And I know that my self esteem will rebuild and bounce back after the blow he took to it, it will just take time.

The Flirt.

And then you have days like a couple of weeks ago. Someone flirted with this insecure woman (me). And not just with a silly come-on…with real intention. Like phone calls and text follow up after running into each other, type of flirting.

And it felt so darn amazing!

It felt like I had almost forgotten how to even realize what it was because my soon-to-be-ex will try to flirt with me every now and then and I want to throw up in my mouth a little each time, so I’ve learned to ignore it.

But this…this was fun to hear. To be pursued, even casually, was fun.

I’m not ready for this though…I have soo much to do on my own first. So much to cope with, accept, move through and past; so much to conquer, take on, and achieve…that I don’t have the time or emotional capacity to even consider having someone in my life. So for now, I have another friend on my journey.

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire.

I found out some interesting news the other day…my soon-to-be-ex, Erik, struck up a friendship with my ex-husband and had this secret friendship the ENTIRE time that my soon-to-be-ex and I were together. Who does that??

It made me nauseous to find out because those were EVEN MORE lies that he told me. Every once in a while, my ex-husband would know something that only Erik could have told him (because I know I wouldn’t have done that) and instead of simply being honest, Erik would lie over and over. Erik even went as far as to completely trash my ex-husband and his character to other people frequently…and then he would go and have a beer with my ex-husband. You can tell a person’s character by these types of things and apparently I found the King of the Liars.

It’s just absurd to think that I would be completely out of place for not wanting my current love to befriend my ex-husband that had done so much damage to my life. But then again, that’s who I’m finding out is what my soon-to-be-ex is all about – leading a double life.

Thanks for the Laugh.

One of the funniest things that I found out that Erik shared with my ex-husband is that he was convinced that if he and I ever split up that I’d go running back to my ex-husband. I laughed harder than I’d laughed in months. My ex-husband and I are in a much better place today than before but there is no way in H E double hockey sticks that I’d ever go running back to him.

Apparently, when Erik said this it was aimed at trying to say that I need a man in my life in order to function. While I will admit that it was a fast turn around, for me, between my ex-husband and Erik, it was because I was completely in love with him. Not because I needed a man.

So while I do love being in love, I have zero desire at this moment to be in love with anyone but my kids, my life and myself. I have too much to do and to add another person right now would take the emotional capacity that I just don’t have.

But I do love a good flirt. So I’m so thankful for my new friend.

If you’re in the middle of a divorce, I promise ‘the flirt’ will happen to you too when you least expect it. Enjoy it.

“Happy girls are the prettiest.” ~Audrey Hepburn

Please note that this post and most of the posts on my website/blog may contain affiliate links. Should you decide to click on one of these ads and purchase something through this link, I will get a commission from it (the pricing is no different for you than going directly to their website)(I do not get commissions from sites where you donate money or things). Not all items recommended on this site are affiliate links. I only recommend items that I feel are amazing because I’ve used and tried them. Thank you for your trust and viewership!

the strength of a woman

Women can be intimidating. Women can be soft. Women can be hard. Women can be strong. Women can be funny. Women can be the center of a family. Women can be emotional. Women can be the breadwinner. Women can be the reason that no one forgets lunch and has clean clothes. Women can be the CEO of a company. Women can be the CEO of a household. Women are the backbone of the family. Women are the center of the world.

That’s at least what I think.

Without Us…With Us…

Without us, there’s no future. We create life. We create hope. We create generations that will create more life and more memories and more leaders and more mothers and more fathers and more teachers and more laborers and more garbage truck drivers and more hockey players and more inventors and more scientists…and so much more than that. We create memories. We create history.

All because we are women. We run this world.

Just quieter then men, yet stronger than men, sometimes.

And believe it or not, there are a lot of men that are afraid of us…afraid that we might ‘take their glory’ or ‘take their spotlight’…and because they are afraid of us, they try to take us down and hit us where they think it will hurt the most – our hearts, because ours are larger (emotionally) than theirs, sometimes.

My Thoughts.

If you disagree with me, just know that I feel the way that I feel because I’m a little jaded thanks to the two men that I have been married to.

My first husband was really into politics, specifically republican politics, and when I was at an event with him, I wanted to share my thoughts on females in politics and he shushed me. Can you believe it?? I was shushed! (among other things in our marriage)

Then my second husband told me that he was so excited that I was leaving work because he wanted to be the breadwinner…he wanted to support us…that he was looking forward to having that pressure on his shoulders. Well, you want to know what happened when that pressure landed there – he bolted…he couldn’t handle it. He couldn’t handle that pressure for even a year and yet I had been the breadwinner for at least 14 years knowing that if I left work that my family wouldn’t have insurance, including, at the time, my uninsurable 1st husband because of a pre-existing condition. And yet my Irish Idiot couldn’t last 12 months…he barely lasted 10 months while I was still paying a majority of the bills with my savings.

Sometimes I feel like an idiot for being the one that was stable, that was responsible, that was successful…but I wouldn’t have done it any other way then how my career happened. (I would, though, redo my relationships differently, but that’s a different story.) I have a story, I have experience…I just need to figure out what to do with all of the knowledge I’ve learned…and thankfully, I think I’ve figured it out. I’ll let you know if I have, in the future.

One thing that I’ve fallen in love with when I blog, is when I positively affect people that I’ve never met or spoken to but they’ve read something that I’ve written and had some sort of inspiration from it. To me, it means that the struggles that I’ve endured are paying off in some way, shape or form. It has inspired me to keep going, keep writing, keep sharing my real life with whoever will listen. I just want to make a difference for someone, somewhere.

Strength.

A couple of weeks ago someone asked me how I’ve been so strong, and in all honesty, I don’t view myself that way at all. I only remember every time that I’ve been snippy with my ex’s or cried because I was overwhelmed. So to the person that called me ‘strong’, you made my whole day.

There have been soo many women, mothers, friends, wives, female strangers, sisters, cousins, female leaders, female business owners, female anything…that have inspired me in life. And I think that’s key. We can be so hard on ourselves – always thinking that we’re not good enough (mothers, sisters, daughters, friends, employees, etc. and etc.) that if we can find mentors or just someone to model our lives after, we will keep the faith alive.

It gives us strength and passion to be like our mentors or create our own self identity based with the inspiration of someone special. It keeps us going…because our mentor keeps going. And that’s a great thing because you know what?? That will inspire the next generation because the same habits will be repeated. Someone will look at you and me and think, “I want to be like them one day”, and we need to realize that we aren’t only making an impact for ourselves but for future generations.

Something as small as getting a mammogram done every year can encourage self awareness and self care or something like running a marathon to raise money for a well deserved organization, or something like donating your spare time to a local women’s shelter…these things drive home our importance and our impact to the world. We are needed…we are important…we set the tone…we run the world.

I can’t end this post without telling you about a few of my mentors (and in reality I have a TON). I’ve told you about my hero (my mom), my best friend that is incredible (my runner and stability), my friend that hired me and helped me find my career, my new friend and sister-in-law, and a friend that is helping me stay accountable in health but I have soo many others that have affected me in such positive and amazing ways. (and if you’re not listed here, I promise in the future you are probably getting a spotlight 🙂 .)

Some of my mentors:

In case you didn’t know that you had made an impact, thank you to:

1. My cousin

Strength is giving birth to your first child the day before your father’s birthday, god rest his soul.

My cousin had the most amazing father and she lost him in her early teenage years. My uncle had a big personality and I gravitated to him from an early age. I loved him dearly and looked forward to every minute that I was able to spend with him and I also knew that I held a special place in his heart. When he passed away, the world lost a man with a big smile and large laugh, and one of my favorite people. My cousins lost their dad and my Aunt lost her husband.

My cousin was just becoming a teenager, the most difficult age for many girls, when her dad passed away. Not that my Aunt couldn’t raise her on her own, but it’s hard to be both dad and mom to a teenager. I can only imagine trying to give all of the advice that both parents would give via one person is very difficult and some key things are bound to get challenging.

I don’t think that my cousin will ever know how much she meant to her father because she was so young when he passed away, but she was the apple of his eye. I know she misses him so much but I think that a little bit of my Uncle now lives in my cousins little girl…plus she can make some of the same facial expressions that he used to. There are actually a lot of things that my daughter and my cousin’s daughter do that remind me of my Uncle.

So even though my cousin didn’t get to grow up with her father she’ll still get to see a little bit of his spark in her daughter every day.

I can’t even begin to imagine what it means to have lost your father at age 13. She’s strong and raising a daughter with his personality. 🙂 Memories can fade but instinct can help you remember the small things. #heintroducedmetocandycorn #hissmilewasamazing #christywashisangel

2. Shortly before I got pregnant with my #2 little man, I was out running errands and I received a phone call letting me know that a friend of mine had lost her little boy when she was 27 weeks pregnant. It shook me to my core. Thinking through what she and her husband and son went through emotionally and physically, to me, is unimaginable. My heart was broken into a thousand pieces for them – I could only imagine what they were experiencing.

I look now at where they are and am inspired at how their strength has grown their lives, their marriage and their careers. They now have a second beautiful little one that they adopted. And she’s adorable and beautiful and I want to have an arranged marriage for her and my #2 little man. 🙂

The most inspiring part is that she is now a NICU nurse. I will never forget that she told me that the nurses that were in the hospital when everything happened with her son, were amazing. She went back to school, graduated faster than expected, and went to work in the same hospital where she experienced some of her toughest moments in life and made a difference in many, many lives, including cuddling my nephew when he was in the NICU.

I look up to this woman. She has inspired me and encouraged me without even doing anything more than accomplishing ‘amazing feats’ in her own life. The strength that she has found in order to accomplish these amazing things is astounding.

If she can do what she’s been able to do, I can do anything. Love you E!

3. My girl…my researcher…my intelligent Mama. This woman is one of the smartest women that I’ve ever met.

I’ve known her for soo many years but the two things that I can depend on from her are:

1. She will research the heck out of a topic and by the time that she’s done you’ll know that even the FBI couldn’t disagree with her.

2. She will forever stand up for the people in her life that she believes in.

With that said, I should be saying thank you to her over and over, each week. She inspires me to push myself to limits that make me uncomfortable. She challenges me without even realizing that she’s challenging me. She sees
‘Staci’ for who I really am…or at least who I was when I was 17…and sometimes, those young ages really show our likes, dislikes, missions in life, and etc.

She remembers me from way back when and she reminds me.

Also, she’s shown me how to be strong when you have every right and every ability to say ‘I told you so’ or ‘I knew this would backfire’, when it comes to dealing with kids.

She’s shown me how to bite my lip and how biting my lip will encourage a better relationship with my son’s father. She tells me that she knows it’s not easy but has shown me the reason that it is a necessity.

She stands up for injustices when it’s not cool; when it’s controversial; when her daughter needs her to. She’s shown me how to support a teenager when you completely disagree but need to agree so that your daughter isn’t the only one standing alone. Love you S!

4. There is a woman in my life that is just stinking happy all of the darn time!! And it’s legit. She really is. (You’re awesome D!)

And she has THREE boys…plus a husband that (god love him), is kind of a fourth child. And I’m only saying that because I think that he would agree with this.

She leapt into her own business and went balls-to-the-wall (forgive the phrase D) but seriously, there was no stopping her. She owned it, tried it, loved it, sold it and has varied since then, but she exposed herself on social media, in a way that unless you’ve done it, you’ll never understand. And she was great at it!

She actually has inspired me to start a new section of my blog – the new adventures of ME! I’ve never focused on me like I have recently and one of the ways is being open to everything, including pampering my face and skin.

A friend contacted me a few weeks ago and she wanted to send me a few samples of her facial products to test and host a virtual party. I keep putting her off because, well…life, but I can honestly say that I love sooo much of what she sent to me. I’m hosting an online party soon – click here to get more info (all you have to do is log on) but I have to tell you that my two favorite things are the mascara (which is key)and the moisturizer. Click here to join the party! It’s worth it!! (Plus it supports a mompreneur.)

D – I’m proud of you for doing it and going all in. It takes guts and you have lots! Thanks for your inspiration!

5. Strength is any mother that tells another mother that they are awesome!

I was at the hockey rink the other day and a mom walked up to me and told me how wonderful she thought my boys were. I didn’t know what to say so of course I responded with the traditional, “well, if you were at my house, you wouldn’t think the same thing” quote…but what I should have said was simply, “Thank you”!

Women are so competitive. Especially when it comes to who is the better mother. Big time! So when another mom walks up just to tell you that you’re doing a good job, unfortunately, not all of us know how to act.

It should be natural to simply say, “Thank you” and not wonder what hidden agenda that mother has, but that’s what today’s society has taught us. That we’re never good enough and other’s need to be put down in order for us to be made to feel better.

But this woman that came up to me to say this was only looking for one response, “Thank you”. Her kids are also wonderful and super polite and I complimented her on this in return for her compliment and she had a weird look on her face as if saying, “ok, but I hope you know that I really think you’re doing a great job as a mom.”

That takes courage in today’s environment of over-commitment and pushing kids to excel in order to prove our worthiness as parents.

Acknowledging that we’re all just trying to figure this thing called parenthood and life out and that by the time we all figure it out, it’s probably too late, is reality.

BUT, when women pat each other on the back for no other reason than ‘just because’, that’s strength, that’s confidence, that’s wonderful. There have been more times that I’ve found strength from other women than even from my own family. When it comes from a stranger, or from someone that ‘isn’t supposed to give us support’ (aka family and close friends) it means A LOT!

So dish it out…if you see someone doing something simple but great as a mom, tell them…if they keep their cool with their unruly child in the middle of a grocery store then tell them how impressed you are…if they were early to practice with three other kids in tow and you don’t know how they do it then tell them that you think that they are amazing….tell them.

You’d be amazed at how a few words can make an impact on another person’s life. What is it going to hurt – nothing but boost someone else’s ego…and that’s a great thing!

(And L, you made my weekend a lot less tough that weekend – thank you for acknowledging my parenting!)

Be strong Mama’s – let’s be strong together!

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