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.

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so…i went to dinner by myself

One evening recently, I had the opportunity to go to dinner by myself. A few things fell through and I had someone looking after the kids so I took advantage of it.

Going to dinner by yourself is weird. BUT I am a bit used to it because I used to travel frequently for work and when you do that, you get accustomed to going to dinner by yourself. And in all honesty, I enjoy it. I can read whatever I want to on my phone. I can watch whatever I want on TV (if I’m in a sports bar) and I can order whatever food or drink I want without fearing the ping of remorse (aka – I order more to drink than my guest does) or the guilt of too many calories (until I put on my pants the next morning).

So I found recently that I had the opportunity to go to dinner by myself and I took advantage of it. And it was glorious.

Before I go further, I want to clarify a few more truths about traveling for work. When we’re traveling, we pack our days full so that we can get home as soon as possible. So when we sit down on a plane, it’s usually our first time to actually sit for more than 30 minutes without having to be lectured at, sold to or listened to. We enjoy silence. Why do you think that BOSE and Sony have sold so many ‘noise canceling’ headphones? This is our downtime, sometimes our only downtime before we get home to a house that needs to be cleaned in addition to our work and in addition to the lunches that have to be made and clothes that have to be laundered and folded before 7 am after a midnight arrival flight. That’s a small picture into a travelers’ life.

That’s what I’ve been used to for YEARS. And I’ve been okay with it. I actually miss it. Because it was quiet. And I don’t have quiet now.

I have mixed emotions about not having quiet now. Quiet to me, now, means being an adult…not having to be responsible for anyone but me. And choosing whether or not to be quiet or loud…having the choice to be quiet because I usually don’t have the choice.

But the lack of ‘quiet’ also means that my kids aren’t there and they bring me such joy. My little redhead thinks that the louder she is, the more she’ll get, (and she’s kind of correct because the boys hate to hear her ‘upset’ cries) and the boys are just loud, and honestly, even when I try to whisper, I’m loud, so they get it naturally.

It’s sometimes hard to find a balance between ‘full-house’ loud and ’empty-house’ quiet. But I’m trying so darn hard.

Back to my ‘alone’ date.

I was flirted with. And it felt darn good, even though I ignored the flirting after smiling about it.

Then after sitting at the bar for a little while and enjoying my quiet, a little old man sat next to me.

I was trying to find my ‘quiet’ and this man kept trying to strike up a conversation so I went with it. I talked and talked and talked after he talked and talked and talked. I was once again reminded about how perspective was really the key to dealing with any situation.

God was trying to remind me that my issues are small in comparison to others. And I think that God was reminding me of this because he knows how I am ‘wired’ and that will help pull me out of the ‘down’ mood that I could potentially be in, considering I found out today that my soon-to-be-ex-husband is STILL playing hockey with the ugly-soul that he cheated on me with.

This man, at dinner, (a man older than my father) opened up and shared with me that his wife of 42 years passed away about 18 months ago from breast cancer. Which is exactly what my mom beat, twice. He shared that he was so lonely on his acreage of land and missed his wife so much, that he was having a hard time coping with the silence. So he would drive to the restaurant once or twice a day to have dinner and talk with strangers just to avoid the silence. The one thing that I wanted and craved. And after his talk, I didn’t crave it so much.

I still have a hard time going to bed alone, even though the lack of ‘ridge‘ is making it easier to cope. 🙂 But I would much rather know that I have the opportunity to make a better life for my three kids and myself than to deal with an Irish Idiot that just wants to be single and date ugly, soul-less people…and that I have YEARS to do this, rather than being almost eighty years old coping with the loss of love.

This man went on and on about his wife and how marriage is difficult but when you work through the difficult stuff the good times seem so much better. And that when you’re working through the difficult times, the issues seem SO much bigger than they really are but once you commit to toughing it out, you realize it really wasn’t that bad.

I wish my husband could talk to this man. But I doubt it would have changed anything. His mom raised him to think that he could drop and run to her if life got tough for him because she would lie for him, cover up his mistakes, even to her husband (my husband’s father), and fix everything for him and his three brothers. When that has been instilled in you year after year for a lifetime, it’s hard to want to actually be an adult and work through problems.

Back to my story.

I was feeling so bad for this little old man, and then…a ‘woman-friend’ and her daughter came in, clearly an unexpected arrival, and they stole him away…and good for him. He was looking for companionship and he got it. I hope to be that open to things one day. Not looking for anything more…not looking for more relationship…not looking for more than someone to talk to…someone to give attention. Good for him. It was awesome watching someone be so open to possibilities in life.

And it gave me hope and made me smile about the reality of life.

Life is like a box of chocolates…you never know what you are going to get.

my kids are a little nutty – mid-week motivation

All I can do is laugh

I’ve said it before so forgive me for repeating myself but I love to laugh! This is the last week before school starts which means that by this point in the summer I’m driving my boys nuts and my boys are driving me nuts and my little redhead has entered the terrible two’s early. So at this point, all I can do is laugh because I’m an ugly crier so I try to choose to laugh.

Lately it seems like every time I turn around the kids are doing something that makes me question my sanity or laugh. The choices that they’ve made this week have me wondering if I’ve taught them anything or if they just decided to turn their ears off all summer.

So I thought that I would put my week to meme’s to give you a chance to laugh. Your kids may have been able to top these but I thought I that I would share so that you could commiserate with me or laugh with or at me. This stuff really happens…unfortunately on a regular basis, in my household.

The last 7 days with my kids…in meme’s

sleeping in the middle of the bed

Last night I did something that I’ve never done before…or at least in the last 13 years. I slept in the middle of my bed. That may not sound like a big deal to some but to a girl getting ready to go through a divorce that she doesn’t want…it was a big deal because I enjoyed every second of it and it was something that only I was able to enjoy.

My Bed

I have an incredible bed – it’s very cozy and the duvet makes it that much more luxurious to climb into each night. My husband and I picked the bed out about 18 months ago and I can say it’s one of my favorite purchases that I’ve ever made.

When two people sleep in a bed, night after night, there are natural indentations that occur over time, which started to happen shortly before my husband moved out. And my OCD self gets annoyed at the ‘ridge’ that has started to form in the center. Maybe I’m too detail oriented but it annoys the heck out of me so last night I decided to start sleeping in the middle of the bed to even it out.

Sleeping in the middle of the bed last night was also after I took a few hours yesterday to pack up all of the Irish Idiot’s stuff that was in our bedroom. I TOOK BACK MY ROOM! It made crawling into my amazing bed that much more glorious.

My Sanctuary

And maybe some of you will understand this and some won’t but I don’t even let the kids in bed with me…because my bed is a sanctuary to me. I love them, but their beds are sufficient, I share everything else I have with them including food off of my plate and bathroom trips (because they can’t wait a minute to ask a question) so keeping my bed to myself is my one way to enjoy peace and solitude…even if that’s just when I’m asleep.

The Irish Idiot’s actions have caused a ripple effect and I’m having a hard time trusting people that make promises to me. Lately, I tend to doubt that promises will be fulfilled and that people will actually step up to the plate. The silver lining is that when people do fulfill their promises, I get even more excited and happy than I would have six months ago. With that said, I know very well that it will be a long time before I want to even think about relationships and marriage and having a husband in that bed; I want to enjoy every penny that I spent on that bed. So I want to even it out and make it ‘mine’, all mine. Because it’s okay to focus on what I, alone, want sometimes, and I’m learning how to do it again.

So when I walked into my bedroom yesterday afternoon, I forced myself to look at the room through different lenses…lenses that focused on my new life. I’m going to make this bed all about me and all about what I want and no one else gets to have an opinion. I get to sleep in the middle of my bed without having to share it with anyone. I get to enjoy the solitude and luxury ALL.ON.MY.OWN. And when I looked at it that way, I was excited to go to bed last night.

For the first time in weeks, I didn’t go to bed with my laptop in bed with me. For the first time in weeks, I didn’t have clothes that I needed to fold, laying on the Irish Idiot’s side of the bed. For the first time in weeks the Irish Idiot’s side of the bed was reclaimed as mine…and no one else’s. This is MY bed. MY life. MY future.

center of the page pic_bed.png

My New View

Ever since my life spiraled out of control a couple of months ago when I found out I had been cheated on, I’ve been looking at things in my home, heard our favorite songs, drove past restaurants that we went to, remembered places that we enjoyed going to, as tortuous. Things that I will never have again with the one person that I loved with everything that I have. And because he’s gone, I had begun to focus on those great experiences never being in my life again. It’s painful not just because the love of my life is gone but also because I didn’t want it to be gone and I have to come to grips with it and it’s been hard to want to do that.

Last night, though, I made a choice to accept what was gone and look forward to what is coming because I know that it’s going to be great. And I no longer have to share my ‘greatness’ with a selfish idiot that took me for granted.

I get to choose who is in my life, my children’s lives…my ‘bed’, and I don’t have to share any of it with anyone unless I make that choice. That’s a pretty big concept to digest but also a pretty freeing concept to enjoy.

So last night I got to sleep in the middle of my bed. My king-sized bed. All by myself. And I was able to spread out, toss and turn, take all of the covers…all by myself.

It was simply amazing.

I encourage all of you to enjoy doing something today, even something small, for no other reason than YOU want to enjoy it. Whether it’s downloading your favorite song from 1996 and forcing your kids to listen to it in the car simply so you can relive the best summer of your life, or it’s watching an entire Gator football game in a few weeks because that’s your favorite team to cheer on, or putting the kids to bed 15 minutes early so that you can read…do it.

Just do it.

hockey sticks and pink bows: adventure #6

I loved how this weeks’ adventure started…by pure accident and prompted by the boys – kind of made me feel like I’m doing something right as a mom in creating these memories through our adventures.

Moms are guilty of doing too much sometimes and I’ll admit that I bend over backwards a lot more than I probably should, to make sure that they have what they need. For heaven’s sake, I ‘pre-open’ their water bottles that I pack in their lunch boxes because they struggle to get them open on their own and I don’t want anyone to make fun of them for not being able to open their own water bottles. Yes, you may laugh, I know I do, and yes, you are also right, I’ve coddled them…but I give myself and excuse – the divorce guilt. I’m working hard to find a balance between teaching them life skills and wanting to ‘care’ for them. But more about that in a later post.

This week was a tough week for my marriage and I deal so much better with tough times when I have friends or family around. I thank the good Lord because I think that I’ve had very few nights alone – maybe once or twice a week for the past three months where I’ve been completely on my own and when I’m not alone, it’s allowed me to focus on other things, life events and people. It’s been great to help me get through this pending divorce.

So I thought it would be nice to have family over for dinner on Sunday…just because…just to say thank you for supporting us in so many ways over the past couple of months…just because having family over for dinner is fun for me and the kids. I called everyone…they accepted and then the boys brains started rolling.

The kids have always gravitated toward the kitchen. Whether it’s to eat me out of house and home or to help me cook or to ‘create’ their own ‘recipes’, they have bugged me and my mom, to learn how to cook and bake. One of my oldests’ favorite shows is ‘The Chew’ and the chefs are rock stars to him. They are pretty darn close to the equivalent to the stars of the Descendants movies…and to an almost 10 year old, that is rock star status.

They wanted to have our family over and to cook for them. The idea evolved into creating a restaurant. And I loved it because I have struggled with them seeing the ‘need’ to serve others instead of themselves this summer so I thought it was a great way to teach this important life lesson – servanthood.

This is what we did:

* Named the restaurant, created the sign for the restaurant and hung it in the living room. My thoughtful son chose four poster boards, and used each of our favorite colors to write the name of the restaurant on the poster board.
* Put an ‘Open’ and ‘Closed’ sign on the front door.
* Created a menu with three appetizers, four main course options, three side items and three dessert items.
* Mom made all of the food…kiddos helped with the desserts.
* Set the table which the kids have become experts at.
* Divided the responsibilities – i.e. who would greet our customers, who would seat them, how to seat them if the ‘whole party’ wasn’t there, who would take the orders, who would run the food, and a few other things. They were taking this very seriously!

My oldest even put on a tie and the best we would get out of my #2, when we asked him to put on ‘nice’ clothes were gray camo pants and a green camo shirt. It was classy. 🙂 Most of everything went as planned except my #2 man decided that he’d rather sit with the ‘customers’ and eat instead of running the food…but oh well. His attention span is shorter – he lasted longer than I thought he would.

This kept me a little busier than I expected and was only able to capture pictures of the empty plates and dirty dishes after we were done but it was quite a learning experience for the boys because they were tired too after taking care of others needs. It was fun to see them really trying to pull this off and take this so seriously. The icing on the cake with this adventure is that I was able to cook all of our meals for the week in one night! It’s been great!

And once again, the beginning started as groans (mainly from my #2 man) but after our ‘customers’ left they each told me how much fun they had. My oldest has really started to join my ‘adventure movement’ because he’s been coming up with ideas on his own for our adventures.

Remember these tips for going on your own adventures:

#1: Get them excited! Excitement is contagious – if you are excited, they will get excited.

#2: Materials: I printed each of the flyers above so that we could keep them in our scrapbook.

#3: During our time together, I took pictures (even though it was after the fact) and then printed them onto a third page, in a collage form. Our next adventure will repeat this process – print out a description of the adventure, print out a collage of pictures from the adventure. Then add it to a notebook/folder so that when the year is over we can go through and relive some wonderful memories.