Sunday, 18 December 2011

Holidays are hard

Holidays are hard when you've seperated or divorced. I hope, like every other part of this process, it gets easier over time.

Last week was really rough, and I was on the verge of tears constantly. I just wanted to fall apart, have a good cry and nap. Eventually that's what I did. I'm sure it's part of the stress that others also feel during the holidays with finances, social engagements and travel arrangements. But I've also felt so lonely; the lonely when you're heartaches and stomach is nauseous. I felt the same around Thanksgiving. I do have him at Christmas and we will be spending it with my family, which I am so grateful for. I also knew I was going to visit some friends I haven't seen for awhile before Christmas. But I still felt blue. If I have friends and family, why did it feel so sad and like I was all alone?

I think I miss having that other person to share the joy and stress of things with; holiday parties, turkey dinner, shopping for inlaws, putting up lights and arguing over the tree. It's the 'happy family' around holidays that I miss. I know my son and I are now our own wonderful little family and we are creating our own holiday tradition. This is a difficult transition though, and perhaps what makes holidays still hard.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

The best gift for moms, seriously

As I melted what seemed like my 200th stick of butter and snacked on my third open mega bag of chocolate chips from Costco, I began to wonder, do people really want more 'Gifts from the Kitchen'?   I love home baked goods as much as the next person, but I would also like to keep wearing these same jeans and ward off diabetes for another year.

Most of us don't have money to burn, buying everyone a little something that most likely, although thoughtful, is not needed. Like many others, I thought again this year that I'll make something. I do love baking and want others to know I care, but perhaps there's something better than giving my friends cavities and fat asses. I've already given up on the greeting cards. Hmmm what to do?

Then it came to me this morning.

My mother offered to take my son for a couple hours so I could get stuff down. Now she helps me out tremendously, but today it seemed like the most special gift in the world. I didn't go to work. I didn't excercise or go grocery shopping. I just did stuff at home and had a long shower. I couldn't believe how great it felt and how much I accomplished. It was beautiful. Then I thought, there isn't a mom in the world that doesn't want, need or deserve a couple hours to do whatever she wants.

I know many of us have though and talked about this, but never actually followed through with it. So the gift I want to give this year to the fabulous mamas I know is to take their kids and give them the GIFT of TIME to do whatever they want. Go for a walk, go shopping, have a long shower, hump your husband or just take a nap. If you're really effiecient, maybe all of the above. :)

Think of the mamas in your life, and I dare you to just call and tell them you will watch the kids for them while they take some much deserved time away. They will love it! You'll feel good and probably the gesture will be returned.

Now I've already made some candy, so some of you mamas are getting it anyway, but I'll watch your kids too!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Surviving through Crisis

When I think back to how I felt a year ago, I can't believe I'm the same person, living this same (meaning this birth to death) life, for I feel it's completely transformed. A year ago I was in crisis.

After a year of limbo about the future of my marriage it was decided we would divorce. I had tried for a year to save it, without any success. That same month a dear friend and first boy I ever loved, took his own life. This was without a doubt the worst month of my entire 34 year old life. I was in crisis.

Crisis is suffocating. Crisis is paralyizing. Crisis fucking sucks! It's being in a very dark and scary place with no idea how to get out, or the belief that you can. The emotions are raw overwhelming, and unescapable. Time passes slowly.

Every morning I made myself get out of bed, because I had a young son to care for. Most days I just went through the motions. I also started to read though as my nights were lonely. I found a few gems along the way which I have on the side of this page under Recommended Reads. One book I came across was, The Bounce Back Book by Karen Salmansohn. It is an easy read, even if you only have or want to spend a few moments a day. Every page is filled with a tip to help you change your thinking and get through the crisis that you are in. It includes inspiring quotes and scientific research. The words are encouraging and insightful. The activities are simple and powerful. One activity that I tried that was incredibly effective was called 3 deadlines and 3 events. It was easy to start and stick with.

Write down 3 deadlines you will complete in the week. These can be as simple as opening the mail on the counter, or making a Dr.'s appointment. For people who haven't experienced crisis before this may seem silly, or too simple, but it's not. Next you write down 3 events that you will arrange for the week. These could be a walk with a friend or seeing a new movie. This is what you will look forward to. Writing them down and checking them off is very important! I did this for months and I think it's a large reason why I am feeling the way I do today.

As described above, it is very hard to get out of crisis mentally, physically and emotionally.
Prompted by feelings of shame, loneliness, and exhaustion, I retreated from friends, physically and emotionally. I know others react in the opposite way, needing friends around them at all times and needing to discuss their feeling constantly. Either way I think that crisis paralizes us in a way that the simplest tasks or joys seem impossible. That is why I think this activity is so powerful. It gets you out of this place.

My crisis was the end of my marriage and sudden death of someone I had cared deeply for, all in the same month. For others it could be a physical trauma, act of violence, or a devestating financial situation. Whatever the crisis is in your life, you can and will survive it! It takes time, positive energy and action to reset your mind and ultimatley your life. I wish you peace and healing.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Preparing for the first date

Six months ago I couldn't even imagine ever being ready, or even wanting to go on a date. I was still grieving the loss of my marriage, and was feeling unsure about relationships in general. But then that all changed, suddenly and unexpectedly, the night I kissed a boy.

It had been so wonderful meeting him, chatting and having that first smooch. We live in different cities and countries, have both been married and are single parents now, so anything more coming of it seemed unlikely. But after texting and chatting, we decided to see eachother again.

Now making time for it to even happen was pretty tricky. When you date someone who also has kids, coordinating the calendars is most challenging. This may involve just when they are with the other parent, or you may need to get childcare. It was over a month before we managed to arrange our first date. The weekend was set. We would meet with a few cards stacked against us and baggage in tow.:)

I must say I had forgotten how much goes into getting ready for a date. It had been almost a decade since the last time I was single. Now, along with the regular anxiety and preparation, there's new buisness to be taken care of: the grey hair, saggier boobs, somewhat neglected lady bits, and a still healing self esteem. This date was going to take some work.

That week before I was so excited, nervous and busy. Let me break it down.

Hair- cut & color- $150
Nails- pedi & mani- $70( this is going a bit all out for me, but feels sexy with them done)
Waxing- $15 - I mean I am hoping to get lucky:)
Clothes- new shirt, bra & heels- $100- first post-baby sexy bra! All my shirts & heels are new to him, so this purchase was far from necessary, but by now I was on a roll.

All of this also meant more childcare by my mom. I really dont know what I'd do without her.:)
So after about 6 hours spanned over 3 days and too much money spent, I was ready. At this point you're probably hoping it's more than just coffee we were meeting for, and it was. This was a day & night date, as we live 3 hours apart.

So what did we actually do?

We went to the end of a baseball game (yes, just the end because he didn't get tickets and I was very late thanks to a 2 hour border lineup...not the best start). Then it was off for appys and drinks by the lake where we really got to chat and laugh. It was comfortable and there was definitely chemistry. After some more smooches we met mutual friends for drinks, before going back to his place...

It was wonderful and worth every second and cent of preperation. I'm amazed at how 'firsts' are still so exhilirating. There were times leading up to this date, including that ridiculously long border lineup, when I thought what the hell am I doing and why am I bothering. But I'm so glad I did. If you are contemplating a first date, or still feeling too scared to dive back in to the dating pool, I say jump!

And for those of you who have already been dating, I'd love to know, what was invloved in getting ready for your first date?

Thursday, 27 October 2011

The Marital Agreement

I don't know why it's called that  (well at least in state of Oregon it is) when it's really all about divorce.

When it was sent to me by our mediator, I couldn't open it for at least a week. It just sat in my inbox. Then I got the nerve to print it. I remember being quite emotional during that time and the feelings of anger resurfaced. A couple more weeks went by until I sat down with it and a bottle of wine and read it. It wasn't that bad. There weren't any shocking surprises. I'm not sure what I was dreading; I was there in the mediation while we decided most of these issues.

Well we then agreed to put it all on hold as I pursued my American citizenship; just to make all the paperwork a little easier. Another few months goes by. We revisit it via Skype during the summer, so I can immediately submit it once my other paperwork goes through. We agreed to some changes. I became a citizen mid August.

Have I submitted it? Nope.

What's wrong with me?

At this point I very much want this divorce to happen, but I'm avoiding this stupid paperwork. It sits on my desk in a folder titled divorce in huge red letters.

Last week I gave myself a deadline of submitting it by my birthday. I thought getting this done and starting my new year off fresh would be a good idea.

My birthday's tomorrow and I still haven't done it. Arghhh.

Why is this soooooo hard???????

Friday, 21 October 2011

Moving back in with your parents

Okay I know it's not exactly living the dream, but it might not be that bad.

It's already been a year since I moved back in with my parents. Nine months since I knew for sure the marriage was over and I wouldnt be going back to our condo.

Did I feel like a failure? Definately.
Did I hate explaining to every person in our small town why I was back? Oh my god yes!

Now I am completely aware that I am part of a small minority of people who have a healthy and functional relationship with their parents (who are even still married). I am lucky. I know that is not the case for so many others. But if you think that cohabitating with your parents or parent during this difficult time is at all a healthy possibility, I suggest trying it. You haven't failed! It can be smart and benficial in so many ways. I truly believe that is the best thing I did after my ex and I split.

Here's a few pros and cons to think about.

Much cheaper, and possible even free!
Babysitters under the same roof
Shared housework and meal prep
Company to keep you from getting to lonely
Coming home to someone who cares about your day and well being
Save money and pay off debts

Lack of privacy
Hard to entertain or have company, especially of the male variety
Possible regression back to teen behavior and mentality:)I am living in my old bedroom after all.
Confusion of parental roles (Mekhi started calling both my mom and I "Mom" which bothered me for awhile)

I'm sure everyone's list will look a little different, but that's mine.

But now I'm wondering should I stay? I moved back because we didn't really have anywhere else to go. It was to be temporary; just until I got my feet on the ground. So now I have a job and have even found a great 2 bedroom suite we could move into Dec. 1, but I'm second guessing my need to move out just yet. My thoughts, up until now, have been consumed with moving out and having my own place.

But is this best idea just yet? Would love some input!

Should I stay awhile longer and build a nest egg and pay off some debts or leave and have a place to call our own?

Monday, 17 October 2011

Mommy's back to work

After 9 months of job hunting, this mama's back to work. Yahoo! I've been tutoring and had some other part time work over the summer, but finally I'm on with a school district. When I originally left my teaching job down south, I had no idea it would take this long to get hired. The experience has been humbling, and also a blessing. Everything happens for a reason right? I do believe so more and more.

Now I'm excited to return, but already feeling a little guilty about that. Why is that? I swear us women must have a guilt gene science just hasn't recognized yet. As much as I've loved the time with my son, I need to be fullfilled in other ways. My bank account needs some filling too. So happily( with a twinge of guilt) off to work I go to provide for me and little man.

It feels good. It's good to remember I'm good at what I do. Its good to make my own money again. It's good to start this new chapter of my life. It's even good to dress up, grab my coffee and join the commute (I realize this last one makes me sound crazy, but I really don't mind; always had one). It's all good!

And now I just have to figure out how to juggle working, raising my son, handling daily responsibilities, pursuing interests, and staying healthy. Doesn't sound like much.


So to all you fabulous mamas out there, how do you do it and stay somewhat sane?

How do you balance it all?

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

How do I raise a 'good' man?

This question has been occupying my mind since another friend's husband walked out on his family. It seems to be an epedemic. I just don't understand.

Although my son is just 2.5, I have thought about this a lot. Not to say there aren't so many amazing men out there, because there are. I want my son to be one of them. 

I was raised by teachers and was taught happiness and success are not measured by material goods, but the relationships you have and how you treat others. It wasn't what my parents said so much as how they lived their lives. I know that I was lucky to have this kind of family and I want to instill the same values and morals in my son. Only right from the beginning his circumstances are so different.

I want to raise a good man that values people and relationships. I know we all want this for our children, but how do we teach them when their own fathers have fallen short? My son's father has many great qualities (I did marry him afterall), but he doesn't value honesty or committment in the way that I do and in the way I want my son to. So my son sees one thing, as I'm trying to teach him something else.

How do I make up the difference?

Thursday, 29 September 2011

A toddler with two homes

Perhaps because he is just two, and has never known any different, my two year old son seems to manage quite well with having two homes.

Once a month we pack his little Thomas the Tank Engine roller suitcase and head south. On these days Mekhi excitedly explains to whomever will listen, "Go Daddy's house. My Daddy! Drive car see Daddy. Hi Daddy! Bye bye Mommy!"

After a border crossing and three hour drive, we meet at a mall. As soon as we pull into the parking lot, Mekhi starts yelling out the window, "Daddy where are you? Daaaaaddy!" He is so excited to see him, and usually runs up and gives him a big hug. This amazes me especially because he talks to him at the most once a week. He is eager to get his bag and ride in daddy's car.

I, on the other hand, dread it for days. I want the exchange to go as quickly and painlessly as possible. I still avoid eye contact most of the time. It's just too hard to look into the eyes of the person I once loved and thought I knew so well. My best friend... a stranger.

There is forcibly pleasent conversation of necessary information followed by many kisses and I love yous between me and Mekhi. Then they are gone.

That's the normal for my son. His mom and dad meet at a mall once a month. Then he spends the weekend at his dad's condo (which was once our condo). Then I pick him up at the same mall and we trek back north to my parents' house, his other 'home'. It's not the family I though we'd have, but I guess it's a family. It's Mekhi's family.

I'm sure there will be many questions in the future, and of course the potential for anger and hurt about our family and living situation. But for now I will appreciate and encourage his innocence and excitement.
He's a toddler with two homes and that's okay by him.

What about you? Do your children have two homes? How do your children handle it?

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Thanks to my family and friends

I called late
You listened
I cried
You passed the tissues
I laid in bed
You laid next to me
I slept
You didn't distrurb me
I got angry
You stayed calm
I got lonely
You kept me company
I repeated myself
You listened...again
I needed a place to stay
You openned your home
I wanted to stay in
You took me out
I made decisions
You supported them
I needed time
You were patient
I am so grateful
You were there

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Summer ends and routines restored...hopefully

The summer finds us all, especially those with children, a little more relaxed and out of routine. There are road trips, later bedtimes, looser rules and a lot more treats. For those of us that struggle with structure and consistency already, it's amazing our children avoid a complete transgression into 'lord of the flies' type behavior. Okay that might be a bit dramatic, but I think we really got out of whack this summer. Why is that?

On car trips, cheetos and gummi bears became a snack and feature length films on the ipad a normal occurence. What? I know better than that. Ok there was a lot of fruit in there too.

Bedtimes....hmm well he did eventually go to bed every night. Just couldn't tell you when exactly. And he often ended up curled up with me, especially when staying with friends.

Baths...does swimming naked in the ocean count?  

Getting dressed... it happened when we left the house. Really what's the hurry? He can ride his bike in pjs. many hot dogs did he eat this summer? There were fewer meals sitting at tables, and more lingering ones sprawled out on blankets, with spontaneous breaks to the swings or sandcastles in between bites.

Discipline on the road... sure there are still timeouts etc. But I know it's tough to be away from home, so I give him the benefit of the doubt when he's extra possessive or moody. 

Mother of the Year!

So routine might not have been my strong point, but we had fun...beaches, bbqs, parks, friends, bike rides, boat rides, concerts, and a lot of bubbles!

Now...time for some structure! Maybe

Friday, 9 September 2011

Farts are funny

Mekhi has recently become amusingly aware of his flatulence. He laughs at his own, others and especially the dog's. He even goes so far as to become quite possessive of them yelling, "my toot! Mekhi's toot! I tooted!" Then he points to his bumb and recreates the sound. I think this is all quite cute and funny.

Tonight as I sat rocking him to sleep, he started giggling. I didn't know what was so funny until a few seconds later and then he really let one rip. He must have felt it coming. His giggle was contagious and soon we both were unable to stop. It was the purest sweetest funniest time we shared that day; thanks to a fart.

Perhaps I should be teaching him to say "excuse me", that some people may think it's rude, and that he should leave the room if possible. And I will...tomorrow. But today we just laughed and laughed because come on...farts are funny!:)

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Dropping off my son

I cried before, during and after the first time I dropped him off with his dad. I was a mess.

We currently live 6 hours apart and so met at a mall in the middle. This was our first official, as decided in mediation, parental hand off. Things had been so tense between us I was dreading seeing him for days. It was not the first time I was going to be away from Mekhi, but it was under these cricumstances. We decided having lunch altogether and then letting him play would be best. It went awkwardly well. After a short time we began to walk back through the mall, towards our cars. I quickly kissed and hugged my son and told him I loved him, before disappearing into some shop. I spent the afternoon in the bookstore reading about divorce. What a lovely way to spend an afternoon of freedom. I then headed to my dear friend Erica's to drink wine, go for walks, watch movies, look for jobs and count the minutes.

When I saw him three days later, tears poured the minute I saw his sweet face. "Mama" never sounded so sweet!
Although these times apart have become much easier, there is still this aching feeling that comes over me when I say goodbye to him for the weekend. My heart beats a little faster and my chest starts tightening, as though it's being tugged towards him as he's being driven away.

And now 6 months later, I actually enjoy my time alone. I miss him and speak to him everyday, but appreciate the adult time.

Friday, 19 August 2011

A turning point

My latest and perhaps most powerful turning point was prompted by a most surprising source.

I have been texting and talking to that boy I kissed a few weeks ago. Although most of our conversations are light and playful, heavier topics have arisen. He was also left and completely devastated by the break up of his marriage. We started talking about the tears and sadness that accompanied our experiences. He then mentioned that he would never cry over another woman again. This took me by surprise and I went on to say that no matter how painful this last year as been, I would do it again, just to experience the pure joy that was a part of my reltaionship too. I thought that perhaps he had become very jaded and cold. He want on to explain that he spent so much time crying over this woman, at home, church, and work, for someone that didn't want him anymore.

It started to sink in a little more. A light, as though on a dimmer, slowly started to come on. I had spent so many nights in bed alone crying, driving in my car, with friends over glasses of wine, in the shower trying to muffle my sobs.

I just decided to stop.

Since that moment, I have had some very difficult times (as will be described in a later post), but I have not cried over him!

Thursday, 28 July 2011

When you're a single parent, there's no shift change at 5pm

I think the most exhausting part of being a single parent, is there's no one coming throught the door at 5 or 6 to relieve you.There's no shift change or tap out. There's no division of duties or break from dinner, bath and bedtime duties. There's no adult converstaion about the day or shared time playing with little man. I miss that the most perhaps, even though it existed for such a short time.
By the time he's in bed,I'm soon to follow. I do love and appreciate all the time I have with Mekhi, but everyone needs a break.
My tap out comes once a month and that's a long lonely stretch at times.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

You know you don't live in the most culturally diverse area when...

Everytime my sister Jodi tells this story she is brought to tears laughing.

The other day she was watching my son Mekhi for me and took him to pick up her own son from a playdate. It was just down the street so she walked as Mekhi rode his push bike. When she got there she said hello to the twins her son was playing with and their older brother (who is about 10 years old I think). The older brother said "Hey Jodi! Oh is this your homestay?" (referring to my 2 year old son as being a student coming from another country to live with a family).

At this point my sister had to look away and stifle a laugh. The mother started to apologize and commented how she really needs to get her son out of the neighborhood more. The family had recently had a homestay student themselves and I guess discussions came up about how young the students seem to be getting(meaning 10 or 11). Needless to say, imagining my barely talking 2 year old arriving on a plane, with suitcase in tow, to meet his new Canadian homestay family, is pretty hilarious.

Oh and that same day another mom asked my sister if I had "birthed him". That's a slightly odd question isn't it? Had I been there, I would love to have shared my birthing him in juicy detail! :)

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

I kissed a boy

After a very fun day and evening sipping cocktails in the sunshine with friends, I kissed a boy. Okay he wasn't actually a boy. He was a cute 37 year old single dad. But I sure felt like a young girl again; excited by the attention and touch of a cute boy.

As many of my girlfriends have told me, I've just needed to get over the hump (no pun intended, well maybe a little). It has been almost 2 years since I've shared any intimate moments with another person (Oh My God that's a long time), and that person was my husband. It has been over 9 years since I've been with anyone besides my husband. So this is all a very big deal. However the thought of ever smooching or going on a date or having sex again, has been shrugged off before I ever got too deep into daydreaming. In the back of my head I guess I know that as a somewhat young and fabulous woman I most likely will find Mr. Right at some point in the distant future. I've decided that perhaps just a cute boy to smooch (or a Mr. Right Now) is perfect and needed for the present. Afterall, I'm still going through my divorce and dedicating most of my time to raising my son, working and looking for a place of our own. I'm not too interested in getting into a relationship anytime soon. A little no-strings-attached adult time on the other hand, might just fit the bill.

I also think I needed that kiss (and subsequent kisses that went into the wee hours of the morning) as much as I needed a job. Sure it doesn't feed my son or pay any bills, but it did about as much for my self esteem. I'm starting to remember, that being a mom is part of who I am, but not everything. There is a sexy smart confident woman who still resides within me and that woman has remembered how wonderful the company of a man can be.

I must also tell you that this all happened (as well as being asked out on a date by another single dad), within days of getting and reading Rachel Sarah's book "Single Mama Seeking: Playdates, Blind dates and other Dispatches from the Dating World". Thank you Rachel! I recommend this read for all single moms needing to remember the woman within and looking for love and/ or a little loving. :)

I'm happy to say I'm over the hump!

Friday, 24 June 2011

Oh wow...temper tantrums

So the downside of having an easygoing baby, is the total shock of the overnight passage into the terrible twos and the temper tantrum.

Yesterday there were three big ones, today just a couple small ones. It's only been about a month and I hear it could be a year or two or even longer than that before he passes this stage. Oh my do you make it? :)

I''ve of course seen the temper tantrum in action with other people's kids, and even remember my brother's explosive ones. But I always secretly hoped this developmental stage would simply skip my child, or I would always have the wits and patience about me to turn into my own super nanny; quickly fixing the problem with just the right words and successful usage of a little time-out mat. Yeah right.

A toddler, that launches into a shrieking rage with his body thrashing or standing so firmly as if planted in cement, can put you very close to edge. Perhaps sometimes they even push you right over.

Now I can usually predict, explain or understand them if I know he's tired or hungry. But it's the ones that come out of the blue, or are simply prompted by the word "No" that I find the most exhausting.

I know there are many different approaches and theories out there and I have to find what works for my own child, but I'd love to know what worked for some of you.
Perhaps I will read my first parenting book since pregnancy.:) Any suggestions?

Saturday, 18 June 2011

When it rains, it pours

And lately it's been pouring in a good way. Three weeks ago I didn't have a job and the bank account was down to my last few hundred. Panic had set in. I ended up in tears on the phone (again) to my ex about my feelings of fear and desperation and asking for more money. Extremely humbling and and a bit humiliating to say the least. Then things just started happening. The months of job searching and applying, pestering phone calls and networking started to pay off.

I now have a contract to teach ESL summer school in August (and a possible foot in the door for fall), programs with Parks and Rec, and a tutor position with a company. I have also started my own little tutoring company, The Kitchen Table Tutor, which now has 5 students!

My sister jokes with all the different jobs I'll be working part time 80hrs a week, but I can't complain now. :)

It might not be the dream teaching job I was hoping to have, but it's doing things I love and bringing home the bacon for my little man. I feel my independence returning and self esteem rising.

There's a light at the end of this tunnel.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Missing my best friend

I rarely say it and think I should 't even feel it, but I miss my ex. I miss my best friend.

I miss talking about our days.
I miss his kisses hello and goodbye.
I miss his calls to see if I needed anything.
I miss watching basketball together.
I miss cuddling in bed.
I miss having beers on the patio.
I miss being altogether as a family.
I miss having a big tough guy in my corner.
I miss going out to eat and to the movies.
I miss hanging with our friends.
I miss his hugs.
I even miss going to the gym.

I miss what we had. I miss my best friend.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

On the road again

Living 6 hours from my son's father and my former life means we are on the road a lot. And here we ago again today. We've been visiting our old town Portland for the last 2 1/2 weeks. I had some tying-up-loose-ends appointments and wanted to see friends. Luckily my little man is a great traveller and I think adapts very well to his new surroundings; perhaps too well. He calls pretty much any house we drive up to home now. He also might have referred to my firend's husband as 'daddy' once or twice.  I'm not sure if he's actually quite confused or if this is just his limited language skills shining through. Anyone else experienced this?

However being away for that long tires the best of us. And more than most this trips this one has been especially emotionally and physically exhausting. Just as I was coming to the end of my rope a few days ago, his dad returned to town and has been with him the last 3 days. So now I am rested, rejuvenated and ready to get my baby and hit the road home.

Keeping a toddler entertained during car rides is always a challenge. As recommended by other mamas I keep a large bag/basket in the front seat stocked with books, toys, snacks, soothers, sippy cups etc. ready to hand back when needed. This is especially helpful. However there are times when my son thoughtfuly passes, I mean hurls, them back when I obviously gave him the wrong thing or he's done. :(  Another question... What do you do in this situation when going down the highway at 70mph?

My son's favorite car activities are a magnetic drawing board, busy books and a shoebox roadmap. The last one is an easy-to-make project I found online. Using a large shoebox, you just flip it over, and draw roads, train tracks, buildings etc. with markers. The edges of the lid keep the cars from falling. So far he likes it .
I also take his little push bike, bubbles and a ball, so we can get outside and excercise at parks or rest stops.

Especially as summer approaches, I know many of us will be on the road again. Please share any tips for travelling with toddlers. :) Happy trails!

Monday, 30 May 2011

Forgiving my Ex

It was around my son's 2nd birthday that I decided I needed to forgive my ex.

It had been almost a year and half since he told me he wasn't in love with me and didn't want to be married. Then he kind of took it back and said he wasn't sure he wanted a divorce and needed time to figure it all out.

I, being the supportive wife and wanting to save my family, said of course.

That was followed by him moving out, individual counselling, couples counselling, a trip to Mexico and many nights of me alone taking care of our son, and him at the bar with his friends. This year of limbo and lies ended in him wanting a divorce afterall exactly one year later.

I've experienced every emotion possible, depending on the day. Over time though I did begin to see how one day I could maybe forgive him. Life without him may not be so unliveable. I would start to feel better and then BAM. I'd find out something else that would take me right back to wondering who the hell I had spent the last 8 years with and wanting to torch his motorcycle. Anger and hostitlity kept weighing me down.

Being angry in itself is exhausting. I knew I needed to let go. I finally realized that I was thinking I'd forgive him when I got the apology, explanation or closure that I felt I deserved. Well this just wasn't going to happen, at least not now. That was my first forgiveness AHA moment...

Forgiveness can't be dependent on another's actions. It needed to start with my own actions.

I started thinking about him and speaking to him differently. I started thinking of this as the start of a new kind of relationship with the father of my son. The weight was lifted and I felt better. We started talking more comfortably and even went out to dinner with our son; something that hadn't happened in months.

That has been this last month. But just days ago I found out he's still lying to me and the anger returned. My intial thought was I guess I haven't actually forgiven him and who he is afterall. And then I had my second AHA moment...

Forgiveness, is a process.

It's a continuous act and effort. Just as I wake up everyday and commit (or at least try) to being physically active, eating well, being present with my son, finishing that book that's been on my night stand for 6 months, I have to commit to forgiving my ex.

Monday, 16 May 2011

I don't look so good on paper

I've joked with friends for months now that on paper, I don't look so good.

Single Mom
Living in Parents' Basement

I should really get a business card made up.

But despite all this, my days are pretty good. I mean my actual waking, breathing moments of each day are not all that bad. I wake up in a warm bed, go and get my son and head to the kitchen where the coffee's already brewing. We chat with my mom, play and then carry on with our day, which always pauses at around noon for lunch and then a nap. This is of course the frantic 2 hours of: job searching, connecting with friends, laundry, meal prep, cleaning up, showering and so forth depending on the day. Upon his awakening there is more play, dinner, play, bath, stories and bed. At which time I retire with a glass of wine or cup of tea (once again depending on the day) to write, read or watch tv.
On some very rare nights, I even go out with friends.

I know it won't be forever that we live in my parents' house.I know it won't forever that I'm home with him. And I know it won't be forever that he'll yell my name everytime I enter the room, giving me slimy kisses and clobbering hugs.

So I may not look so good on paper, but life isn't too bad.

And as my dear friend Nicole said, "Who cares what you look like on paper. Paper's what we use to wipe our ass."

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Favorite moments with my son

I do admit that a day at the zoo with friends or a trip to the beach with family is fun, but often my favorite times with my son, are the spontaneous ones.

They often begin with my son uttering the word "bike" and simply patting his head wanting his helmet on. We leave the house without a diaper bag or destination. The cell phone has been forgotten on the kitchen table, along with soothers, sippy cups, a wallet and everything else I usually need to get passed the driveway or into the car. Sometimes we just cruise up and down the neighbourhood streets, feeling fancy free. Sometimes we hunt for diggers and all the new construction sites. Sometimes we ride by a lookout to say hello to the ferry boats or goodbye to the sun. Sometimes we end up at the park for underducks on the swing or at the beach throwing rocks.

There is zero cost, planning and worry.

It is in these moments that I am completely present and happy. So is he. These are my favorite times with my son.

My Mother's Day, which had it's rough spots, ended with one such little trip. And it was perfect.

Monday, 9 May 2011

On Mother's Day I Cried

I woke up happy to see my little man. He woke up happy too. So after a quick diaper change we headed downstairs for his milk. My mom had gotten a pot of mums and a card, from Mekhi. She is very thoughtful so I can't say I was surprised, but I so appreciated it. We then made a yummy breakfast, with the help of my little man, of coffee, pancakes, fruit salad and bacon. Shortly after that I had a shower and started to ball uncontrollably.

I cried because I love my son so much, but don't know what I'm going to do to provide for us.
I cried because I'm tired.
I cried because I can't find a job.
I cried because I'm living in my parents' basement.
I cried because I only have a car and some boxes in my old condo to show for my adult life so far.
I cried because I miss laying down next to someone at night.
I cried because I'm wondering if my ex will recognize the day, and acknowledge everything I do as the mother of our son.
I cried because I didn't think I'd be a single mom.
I cried because I've been trying to stay positive.
I cried because trying doesn't seem to be enough.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Taking the High Road Can Feel Like Climbing Mt. Everest

Over the last year there were times I wanted to act out my own scorn woman movie scene.

I thought about throwing his clothes over the porch to the garden below in the pouring rain.  I envisioned his precious motorcycle accidently tipping over in the garage or perhaps having the unfortuate meeting with a lit match. I imagined going down to his favorite pub late a night with baby on hip, to annouce how that 'great guy' had chosen them over us.

But I never did.

I didn't do any of the things I imagined. I bit my tongue, most of the time.  I kept my angry desires to hurt, embarrass and punish him just that, desires.

I wanted to keep my dignity. I wanted to be able to look back and not regret the desicions I made and actions I took. I wanted control over something. He may be ruining our family, but he wasn't going to ruin me.

I took the high road. It has been my Mt. Everest, the most challenging thing I've ever done.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

When he first told me

We had just put up our Christmas tree and were watching our 8 month old son playing on the floor when he told me. He wasn't in love with me and couldn't be married to me anymore. His words and subsequent actions fell on me like a bag of stones crashing and sometimes trapping me in shock, confusion, sadness and anger.

That was over a year ago and I'm still coming up from the rubble. Some days I see the future with nothing but hope and opportunity. I feel strong and I get excited about this new life. Other days all I see are obstacles and all the things that are no longer. But no matter how I feel, everyday I get up and I take care of my son. I am removing one stone at a time. I am making it.

Thanks to an amazing support system of family and friends and the determination to do the best for my son, I am rebuilding a life for us both. As I have been finding comfort and learning from other single moms' stories I also want to share my journey with you.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Blog Archive

Blog Archive

Fab Finds


Recommended Reads

  • Loving Kindness: The Revolutionary Art of Kindness by Sharon Salzberg
  • Runaway Husbands by Vikki Starr
  • Single Mom Seeking: Playdates, Blind Dates and other Dispatches from the Dating World by Rachel Sarah
  • The Bounce Back Book by Karen Salmansohn
  • The Courage to be a Single Mother: Becoming Whole After Divorce by Sheila Ellison
  • This is Not the Life I Ordered: 50 Ways to keep your head above water when life keeps dragging you down

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Vancouver, BC, Canada
I am the single and very proud mama of my two year old son, Mekhi. Recently we relocated back to my hometown to have the support of family and figure out what's next.