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!

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 power of a word

If I’ve ever talked to you in detail about my blog, one of the things that I’ve told you is that I try to write my posts as much in advance as possible. I may edit it later, a little, based on any new events that have occurred but for the most part I try to have them written in advance so that I’m able to focus on as many other things as possible.

One of the other things that I do, when I have them written in advance, is read them and reread them and mull over whether or not to have them go live. I think through the weight of every word that I type over and over and sometimes I feel that I’ve been too rough on my ex and his family and sometimes I don’t.

My intent behind this blog is to be ‘real’ about what I’m going through, or have gone through, with the hope that something will strike a cord with someone or something will be helpful or motivational.

The thing that really stinks is that I’m sharing a lot of deep, emotional moments that, in reality, are much worse…I’ve just decided not to take it as far as I could.

Putting it all out there

Social media can be your best friend or your #1 enemy. To cope with the garbage that I’m being put through, I’ve decided to be as transparent as possible via social media/my blog. Some may see it as me airing my dirty laundry; some may see it as pathetic; some may see it as a cry for attention; or some may see it as a source of strength because they don’t feel so alone in their journey.

So far, I’ve received nothing but positive feedback, except from my soon-to-be-ex because in his family, you hide the ‘crazy’ which is how his mother has been able to hide all of the faults that these boys have. They aren’t used to this thing called the internet and the freedom of speech. I’ve never once lied about anything in my posts and the posts generally focus on how I’m feeling, which is a very personal thing.

I don’t know how they feel when they read my blog and it probably doesn’t feel good…it probably hurts to read how their actions have caused another person to be in emotional pain. But then again, I’ve blocked them and all of their family from every avenue of social media that I’m on so if they are reading my blog, it means that they are actively seeking out my words…the words that my ex says hurts. If it bothers them, they can just avoid reading it. It’s as simple as that.

The one thing that I’ve done is avoid making fun of physical traits or making false statements about them, knowing that one – it could be challenged in court and two – my kids may read this one day. I want them to see that I was able to pull myself out of a very painful place and was able to replace desperation with confidence and joy. I’m not perfect, I know this, and you may be able to think of one of my particular posts off of the top of your head when you think I didn’t hit this goal, but I’m trying really hard.

Recently though, I was shown the down side to being so public with my feelings. I was told that I was a ‘fat ass’ by someone that makes her living off of training women to get into shape. In addition, I was told that I was pathetic, insecure and a bad mom. And I’ve never met this woman. And this woman is dating my husband, or so I believe (in other words, she hasn’t denied it and he denied he even knew her at first).

Now I have to be honest, I did take a stab. I’m not proud of it. I’ve lost the love of my life. I walked away from a career that paid for everything, including my husband’s life (which she also made fun of). I AM insecure sometimes because I am not where I thought I would be in life. I would like to lose weight. And I would like to have not taken the first shot. But I did and then the ‘crazy’ came out.

What I intended to be as a warning to another mother about the dangers of having a child (that my kids play hockey with) in my ex’s family’s presence and about what she was getting herself into, which I shouldn’t have done, spiraled into a woman that enjoyed body-shaming and ability-shaming another mother that does a darn good job being an awesome mom to three kids. She was so intense with her attacks on me, I had to block her from one social media outlet, so she jumped to another and I had to block her there too. I can’t even read what she wrote because the first two that I read were vicious and she went to a whole new level of bizarre.

This is all while I’m laying next to my daughter that is sick and she kept sitting up listening to the dinging from the notifications on my phone that didn’t stop until after midnight (and it continued even when I ignored it).

I should have kept my mouth shut. I didn’t need to say a word. Yet what ensued could have been enough to push someone over the edge. She was brutal.

The Silver Lining

It dawned on me tonight, that someone that had friend requested me a few weeks ago, was this woman in disguise. She apparently is so enamored with my husband that she friend requested me from an account that was a little fishy to begin with. This person’s request came to me with a request to talk about her tough divorce which pulled on my heart strings. I just wanted to help.

But now, because of the fact that I had to go to every social media outlet that I’m connected to in order to block her, I put two and two together, who this person really was. I’m not sure if I’m disgusted more by her or by him.

The interesting part is that I really haven’t hidden anything from anyone. If you’ve read more than two of my blog posts, you’ve figured out that I’m pretty open with my life and how I’m feeling and if I run into you, you’ll find out that you can ask me anything and it won’t bother me. I don’t think there’s much more to my personal social media than my public social media.

Lesson Learned

Some lessons I’ve learned from this:

* Shut your mouth. The new love in their lives believes every lie that they ever told you and that you believed. There’s no changing their thoughts and they just want to be in love.

* Your ex will repeat every darn mistake he/she ever made with you, unless they’ve done some really amazing soul searching. Just sit back and wait. They may seem ‘in love’ now but you’ll be able to smirk one day when old habits shine through.

* Be careful with your words. For every handful of kind people that you run across on social media, there will always be that one that will hit you to your core. Be prepared for this ahead of time and either have something motivational to read or a friend to contact like I was able to do. Talk yourself through it and rise above it.

* Be prepared that five days out of seven, you’ll feel on top of the world. You’ll feel that you’ve moved past the pain. And then something will trigger a memory that will make you sad, long for the past, or angry. You’ll get through this moment, this memory. Focus on the reasons that you’re glad that your life has taken this new turn. Focus on the terrible things that your ex has done and why you’re glad you don’t have to deal with it anymore. Exercise, sing, dance, call a friend, just don’t sit and stew in it.

* Don’t beat yourself up for not being who other people think you should be or where other people feel you should be in your coping process. Cope cleanly, not quickly. Cope in your time, just make sure that you are putting one foot in front of the other. If you cope too quickly, you may not have enough time to fully process the ‘death of your marriage’.

* If someone makes fun of you or digs deep to try to hurt you, it’s obvious that they have just as many issues that they are working through. In my case, I saw that she was just as insecure as I am when she couldn’t stand not having the last word…she apparently needed to know that she had stung me in order to feel better about herself because of all of the attempts that she made to seek out trying to contact me after I kept shutting her down each time.

This realization makes me sad because she could potentially be in my daughter’s life…someone that thinks its fun to destroy a woman in every obvious soft area – our parenting skills (we’re all paranoid that we’re not doing it right), our appearance, and our careers. It breaks my heart that she’s around women struggling with some of these same issues on a daily basis at the gym she works at – I really hope she’s not destroying them too. But I know that this relationship won’t last either and I have to hold on to that.

And finally, I just want to repeat again…just shut up. Don’t open your mouth and take that dig that you probably have the perfect opportunity to take. It won’t feel good afterward and you never know what the response will be. It’s just not worth it. Weigh out every word that you share unless you want to tell me how wonderful I am – feel free to dish that out. 🙂

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!

my mother is my hero

Each year, months are designated to support different types of cancer to raise awareness and funding for research.

My two favorites are September and October.

September focuses on Childhood Cancers, some of the most underfunded cancers that need more attention and financial support. October focuses on Breast Cancer awareness, which receives a ton of attention and millions and billions of dollars in funding. It hasn’t always been that way and I’m hoping that with the increased attention that Childhood Cancer has been getting in recent years that one day we can say that Childhood Cancer and Breast Cancer BOTH receive millions and billions of dollars in funding each year.

Until then I’ll keep promoting both.

It’s Personal.

What I CAN say is that Breast Cancer is a personal issue for me…really for my mother.

I will never forget getting the phone call from my dad to tell me that my mom had been diagnosed with breast cancer. It wasn’t something readily discussed 17 years ago so it was not only a shock to my emotions but also to my brain. What was this? What caused this? What will this mean for my mom? For my parents? Will she live? How are the different stages defined? What kind of breast cancer is this? What will my mom go through? What will my dad go through? Will my sister and I get this too? There’s how many types of breast cancer??

A lot to digest. A lot to understand. But I wasn’t the one that went through this. My mother was. She was the one that had to fight this disease and beat it.

When I heard.

I had just turned 20. I had just moved out and was living in my first apartment. Life was fun and carefree…life didn’t have speedbumps…but my mom’s life was getting ready to. My dad, my sister and my mom lived this every day and I have struggled with a touch of guilt for not being there for my parents and my sister every day like I would have been if I had been living at home. I know though, that there’s nothing that I could have done differently had I been living at home as well.

It was my mom’s battle to fight. Not mine. Not my dad’s. Not my sister’s. And I know we would have each taken it on so that she wouldn’t have to fight it, but we couldn’t. We could be there for her to make her laugh or show her that we needed her to hang around a lot longer or to show her that life keeps moving and she had to be the referee for the rest of her life, between my sister and I (politics + family + different views = mom’s refereeing). We couldn’t take the pain away and as much as we wanted to help, we didn’t have a clue what she was going through.

The fact that my mom can’t eat red jello to this day just shows how powerful a memory can be. The red in the chemo pumped into her each month took away something as small, yet as normal as being able to eat what she wanted, when she wanted. And it’s not that she loved red jello…or red koolaid…or red anything…it’s just that this disease that she didn’t invite into her body by recklessly smoking or drinking or anything else, caused her to reject even simple things, red things, reminders of the taste that the chemo leaves in your mouth or the weakness that it causes.

She was robbed of the small things and the big things.

Things like feeling like a woman, a wife, a mom. Things like her hair…and in case you ever wanted to know (lol), Dennis women have fabulous hair and skin. We don’t even have to really take care of it much more than the once a day wash and rinse and it turns out fabulous…because of my mother’s (and grandmother’s) gene’s.

Yet, my mother had to face the fact that she had to shave her head. She had to lose her hair. But thankfully, her loving husband, my father, was there with her when she discovered that it was coming out, on vacation, and he shaved it for her so that she could wear some amazing wigs that she searched for, researched about, paid top dollar for, and had cut similar to her hair style.

One of my favorite memories of my mom at that time, is that one day she informed us that she had been told that many times when hair grows back after falling out from chemo, it will come back in completely different than before.

And so the prophecy was fulfilled. Her hair came back in kinky curly…the same hair that she had wanted my sister and I to have for our entire childhood (and the perms that just went bad…really bad), she received. I was kind of excited that what she had always wanted for us, she received (and not for payback, I promise :)).

And as always, she made the best of every situation…she was super excited about the curly hair and she swore that she was going to go ‘au naturale’ and not ever dye her hair again.

Six weeks later (and she’ll probably tell me I’m wrong on the length of time), she died her hair back to her ‘natural color’ (aka – the color she really liked at the time). And it was fabulous because I saw a spark in her again because she, then, really felt like she was ‘herself’ again.

Fast forward six months…just six months…and she found out that she had another form of cancer that had been caused by the follow up drugs used to help keep her breast cancer at bay. How hypocritical is that?? We’ll treat your chemo and keep it away by giving you drugs that may cause more cancer in a different part of your body??

So more surgery but luckily no more chemo.

Then regular visits to her doctors to see if everything was gone. Every six months, she kept her Dr. appointments and would sit with baited breath to make sure that the cancer was still absent from her body.

And it stayed like that for a long time!!

Strength.

Fast forward years, and years, and breast cancer walks, and more breast cancer walks and fundraisers, and then more years…and then they found more in the other breast.

This is strength. She defined strength in this moment.

She barely told a soul. She accepted it quickly and quietly and made decisions swiftly and with a confidence that I hadn’t seen the first time. She went in, had the other breast removed; had reconstruction done; recovered; worked through her recovery; held my daughter through her recovery…and showed me what strength is. Showed her granddaughter what strength is. Showed everyone how tough and amazing she really is.

Doing what you need to do, to get things done that you want to get done, for the people that you live for…that’s strength…that’s my mom…a Breast Cancer fighter and survivor.

She gives me strength like no other woman ever could. I hope to set the same kind of example for my daughter one day (except I’ll pray to skip the cancer part :)).

Love you Mom!

Donate to something today…My favorites are:

Chicago Marathon Fundraiser for Camp Sunshine – Rachel N. Jones

Camp Sunshine – Benefitting Family with children with life threatening diseases

Breast Cancer Fundraising – Susan G. Komen

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!

if nothing else, be nice

Don’t tell my ex-husband, but I owe him a huge apology. I was mean, I was persistent, and I was the one that wanted the divorce. I made the decision to divorce because of some poor decisions that he had made and I then was bitter about the fact that I felt I had been backed into a corner, forced to make a decision to keep my kids safe, but yet at the same time, made to completely uproot and change their lives.

So I was mad that I had to divorce him. And I made sure that he knew that I wasn’t going to just be simply cordial with him during each of our interactions. I was upset that he had changed my future, changed their future, made me the bad guy.

Yet, by the time I had made the decision to divorce, I had already come to grips with it and with what my future had to hold.

He hadn’t.

And that’s what I should apologize for. Because I expected him to ‘grieve’ the loss of our marriage as well as accept his mistakes at the same time and all within months.

I’ve now been on the other side.

The only difference is that I’ve done nothing to cause divorce #2. I was even told by my soon-to-be-ex that I was an amazing wife and I did nothing to deserve the divorce.

Yet, he still seems to be mad at me, all of the time, for things not just having to deal with my little redhead; or at least he treats me as though this divorce is all my fault and the consequences of his uttering “I want a divorce” all fall on me.

He has no idea what leaving our family has done to the kids and the fun memories that they had. For example, the other night, we were leaving hockey practice and we started talking about things that were fun that happened during our day. My #2 little man then took it one step further and said that one of his favorite days was when I took him down a big water slide and Erik took my little man #1 down a big water slide and how much fun he had and how he thought that was the best day ever and he wanted to do that again soon.

The sting that I felt from that memory and the fact that it was his favorite memory caused me to have to choke back tears.

…This is reality. This is divorce. This is what I didn’t want but Erik did because he thinks that the grass is greener on the other side…(aka the mommy-side, the McDonnell side).

Yet, the lack of compassion that he has shown for any of the kids, let alone me is astounding.

I don’t get it. I at least cared about what the boys were feeling after I made the decision to divorce their dad. In fact, the boys and I grew closer than ever. Yet, Erik has barely made the choice to ask specific questions about how the boys were dealing with the divorce and what new things the little redhead was accomplishing, let alone actually talk to the kids about the divorce or express empathy or sympathy or any kind of emotion to show that he cares about what they are going through.

Part of me thinks that it’s guilt that he can’t deal with but then again, what human being with REAL human emotions can watch two little boys struggle with ‘desertion’ by someone that they love and not feel anything. I’m probably hoping for something that is completely unrealistic but I am saddened more and more every time I have to talk to Erik. He makes me realize that, unfortunately, the divorce may be the best thing that could happen to me.

So, with that said, I have some advice for those that may be the one making the decision to divorce, that should, hopefully, help you understand the pain that the other person is going through.

11 Things to remember if you are the person filing for divorce:

1. Your spouse never thought that this would actually happen.

The big “D” word had been thrown around during arguments but the day after showed that the issue had been resolved. Everyone always apologized for ‘taking it there’ after the big “D” word had been thrown out.

And because the word ‘divorce’ had been thrown around before, it really won’t sink in that you are serious until the day that your spouse is served. Your spouse will think that you just need to cool off and clear your head. So expect a breakdown the day that they are served with divorce papers.

2. They loved you with all of their hearts…and still do.

Don’t toy with it. Don’t feed their egos. Don’t be friends.

Just walk away…like you ‘say’ you really want to do.

Don’t hurt them more than you’ve already done.

3. They really want to hate you but can’t.

If you said, today, that you wanted to fix the marriage, you would have just handed them the biggest Christmas present ever…until they realize that you were just patronizing them into prolonging the divorce process. Only commit to the reconciliation process if you really want it. We don’t want to ‘fake it till we make it’ at this point.

Be understanding if they go from being ‘soft’ to ‘hard’ in a matter of minutes. They are having a hard time knowing how to read you now. They thought they could before but they figured out quickly that they didn’t really understand who you were because they never thought that you would put another woman ahead of them or actually file for divorce.

4. They still can’t grasp why they weren’t good enough.

We internalize why the marriage failed and we are likely to place blame on ourselves.

We fill our days, nights, and free time with ways that will make us feel like we aren’t insane for ____XYZ____ reason because the second that our time frees up, we start running through every scenario to try to figure out where everything went wrong.

The only thing that you could do to help the situation, for this, is to attempt counseling – not to reconcile – but to help them understand why you won’t put any effort into repairing your marriage and that it’s not necessarily anything that they have done (I know that sometimes it is), but that it’s something that YOU can’t deal with or work through.

5. Try empathy and softness, before you decide to be irritated that they ‘can’t move on’ within 6 weeks.

Try to understand their point of view and where they may be coming from, more than where you think they should be in life. They are in so much emotional pain and every time you get mad at them for still being in love with you is one more form of rejection and the knife is dug even deeper.

Be kind in your words, gentle in your actions, and patient with the time they need to cope with the end of something they thought would last the rest of their life because of the vows that you made.

6. Be gentle – they are hurt and want to hurt back sometimes. To them, you’ve already hurt back – you are divorcing them.

Using the term ‘hurt’ honestly doesn’t even describe how they’re feeling. They are feeling rejected and destroyed by the one person that they thought would always protect them and never let another soul hurt them. And the person that was supposed to protect them and be their support system is the one that has hurt them more than anyone else ever could.

A natural reaction is to strike back. Refer to #5 when this happens. Try to diffuse the situation with kind words or words of gentleness instead of biting back. You made this choice – you’ve already done the hurting…stop hurting them even more.

7. Remember – you wanted this divorce…not us. Should you really want the bedroom set, fix the marriage or walk away and buy a new bed.

We didn’t want to have to divide our belongings. We thought that everything we had would be ours, together, until the day we died. The memories are the priceless artifacts – not ‘things’ and when you fight for these types of things, we get confused. Why would you want something that was so intimate to our marriage, our relationship, to us??

You chose the divorce – the kind thing to do would be to let us choose the ‘stuff’.

8. Don’t flirt with us.

It’s confusing and then the rejection cycle happens all over again when we confront you about it and you deny that you flirted.

Don’t send funny texts; don’t call to reminisce with us; don’t hug us; don’t ask us to dinner to talk through the divorce; don’t share things about what is new in your personal life or with your family.

We are trying our best to cut our feelings off and when you flirt with us, it opens Pandora’s box and then we have to work even harder to shut the box afterward.

9. Have an understanding that it will kill them emotionally to see you with another person.

If they seem strong, just know that it’s killing them inside – so be gentle. Consider preparing them before they witness the relationship up-close-and-personal. Don’t expect them to like the other person and be ready to hear everything that is wrong with the ‘new girl’.

The perfect relationships that you see on TV between 1st wife and the new girlfriend are rare – it likely won’t be like that. Maybe consider avoiding the situation altogether for a while until things are calm between the two of you and then introduce the new girlfriend/boyfriend.

10. Every time you want to sing the blues about how tough your life is because you have a job and have to ‘pay for everything’ just know that your soon-to-be-ex absolutely hates asking you for help.

The last person that they want to contact is you but they don’t know what to do because you were the person that was supposed to be their support system for the rest of their lives and now that’s gone and they have nothing, including the income that you promised that you’d provide; all ripped out from under them because of a selfish decision on your part.

Don’t throw salt in the open wound by complaining about things that we wished we had.

11. Know that when you shut us off, we will be ‘found’ by someone else.

We WILL find someone better than you, much better. Someone nicer, someone more loving, someone better looking, someone smarter, someone with a better job, someone that isn’t you – that won’t hurt us…because you’ve taught us valuable lessons about relationships and how to define love.

Don’t become bitter when this happens. It’s likely that, unless we really did something to cause the divorce (which isn’t the case for me), you will repeat your relationship mistakes over and over and will end up alone much longer than us. Don’t take it out on us when this happens.

We wanted to work it out, we wanted to help you figure out your issues, we didn’t want the divorce. So it really makes us mad when you get upset when we find someone better suited for us. This was YOUR decision, NOT ours…get over yourself.

In the end, the biggest thing to remember is to be patient with us. We are trying to get to the point where none of this hurts anymore and a place of aSELRES_42c6c6dd-895e-4fcc-9361-4bfc8c49d3d2SELRES_351b38eb-f9d2-4f9b-a5e8-879205c2505bSELRES_351b38eb-f9d2-4f9b-a5e8-879205c2505bSELRES_42c6c6dd-895e-4fcc-9361-4bfc8c49d3d2cceptance, but it’s going to take a little while because we didn’t want our life to turn out like this.

If nothing else, just be nice.

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!

11 reasons why i’m loving being a single mom

I absolutely hate the situation that I’m in but there’s not much I can do about it. My husband acted like a child and ran off because the only other option meant that he would’ve had to commit to hard work, which he seems to be allergic to. Even his father knew he could never commit to anything long term – I wish that had sunk in for me years ago when he told me what his dad had said…but, shoulda, coulda, woulda.

So, all I can do is make the best of the situation that I’m in.

Get ready for a really long sentence…

There are days that are really tough, more like exhausting, being a single mom to three little mini-me’s. My biggest struggles include getting my own stuff done including work and drink my coffee before it gets cold, when I have to spend 20 minutes convincing them to get out of bed, drive them to hockey six days a week and karate two days a week, listen to the little redhead throw temper tantrums when I won’t let her crawl back into the womb when I’m trying to make dinner for four people and make lunches at the same time and won’t hold her, convincing my oldest that he should actually try to get his homework done on his own without copying it from his friends on the bus, return calls to the school clinic because my oldest (fill in the blank because they see him on a weekly basis for something this year and they already know how dramatic he is), calm my youngest son’s temper when something has really frustrated him, fold and put away everyone’s clothes, change sheets on everyone’s bed, pay bills, clean the house, listen to my kids friends tell me that I need to clean my car (whatever dude – maybe I do that on purpose to minimize how often I have more than my three in the car 🙂 jk), and then actually try to have a personal, adult life in the extra five minutes before I get some sleep…all on my own, without an ounce of care from my soon-to-be-ex as to what he’s done to me emotionally or financially. He’s never offered any help with anything…hasn’t even offered to mow my lawn or even bring the key back to me for our lawnmower. Glad he is happy because that’s what’s important, right?? Not doing the right thing…nope, I’ve learned that he’s incapable of doing that.

And yes, my boys father does have them a little less than half of the time, but those are the days that I am able to get the grocery shopping done and other errands that really are no fun to begin with, let alone add three kids to the trip.

BUT…

Even with all of that said, I’ve had some REALLY great moments in the past couple of months – things that have made my upcoming divorce tolerable. I’ve lived so much ‘life’ in the past four months and it’s all shown me just how much I really have to be thankful for.

So here are 11 reasons why I’m loving being a single mom:

1. I’ve been able to really appreciate how awesome my kids are because I have all of my attention focused just on my kids and not an overly dramatic grown child.

My oldest has really shown me how much he is able to step up to the plate. Tonight he even wrote out seven post it notes, that he stuck to his closet door, giving himself a checklist of things to do in the morning including “help mom with the little red-head.” And he told me that he didn’t want me to set any alarms, that he was going to wake up with his alarm and then wake me up after he got a few things done so that I can sleep longer. #luckymom

2. I’ve never laughed so hard at the kids making each other laugh. AND, I’ve realized how funny they really are. We have been able to quote movies together, be silly, joke together, and playfully tease each other all without hearing my soon-to-be-ex complain that he thought that they were being disrespectful to me and him.

3. I’ve accepted that there is no norm anymore so it’s allowed me to be more flexible with our free time. I’ve stopped planning ‘stuff’ to fill our free time together and allowed the kids to help guide the day based on compromise between everyone’s wishes not just the adults wants and needs.

4. I’ve learned how to appreciate the extra five minutes I have every day and just sit and relax…and not do anything. I even allowed myself to take a nap when my little girl did this past weekend and it was glorious! I make the most of every minute, almost every day, and it’s been nice to just relax and do nothing when I have a little bit of free time, without feeling guilty.

5. My friendships have really grown. I’ve learned to be more honest with how I’m really feeling. My life isn’t ‘picture perfect’ and friendships have grown deeper because they’ve felt more comfortable ‘laying it all out there’ because, as you’ve read, I haven’t shied away from ‘going deep’.

6. My house is tidy almost all of the time…for the first time in 3.5 years! It’s so nice to have empty countertops again every night when I go to bed! I no longer have to pick up after a sloppy, grown man-baby and I get to run the house like I want!

7. I’ve had to perfect my organizational skills and scheduling skills and I love these two types of tasks so I’ve really enjoyed this. I have no choice but to be on-point with my schedule and the kids so I’ve had fun using my calendar app and my dry-erase calendar board. (I know – lame – but I love it!)

8. I get to watch as much reality TV as I want when I have time. This is simply glorious and probably one of my favorite things.

9. I don’t have to get anyone’s ok on anything any longer. I get to choose the restaurant, I get to select the meals for the week, I decide what movie is rented…all me.

10. I’m not dependent on anyone’s schedule any longer (other than the kids, obviously). I don’t have to ok plans for the weekend anymore…I get to just say yes, without hearing someone whine that they only want to work on a Jeep that was a complete waste of money.

11. I have a feeling of peace and calm when I go to bed every night, in the middle of my bed. My days are far from perfect, but I have quickly learned that my happiness is all on me…if I want to laugh then I need to find a way to make myself laugh, if I want to complete a project then I have to get my behind in gear to do it…it’s all on me now and I’ve found the drive within me because I had no other choice. And I amaze myself each day…and I’m loving it.

Change isn’t easy for anyone, I don’t care who you are. It’s how you deal with it that makes all the difference in the world. If you are faced with the daunting world of divorce or single-parenthood, just take each minute as it comes. I wouldn’t even recommend taking on the day, in the beginning…focus on the minutes first then graduate to getting to lunch, then getting to dinner and before you know it, each day will be a joy and each week won’t be as tough as it used to be. If you have a rough day, guess what?? You get to start fresh the next day and try it again. And the kids will see your strength – I promise.

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!