Archive for August, 2009
I’m just now getting the phone call.
They just finished dinner and are on their way home.
“Good night sweetheart, I love you!”
As I hang up the phone, I take a deep breath, trying to reduce the anxiety I feel building in my chest.
It’s 9:15…he just ate dinner…and is now on his way home?
My ex and I have never been on the same page when it comes to Parenting. It was ONE of the factors that lead to our divorce. I won’t get into the mental abuse, controlling behaviors and serious family baggage that went along with our differences in parenting. A quick piece of advice for anyone looking to get married… TALK.
Before we got married, we never discussed things like Politics, Religion, Parenting styles or most importantly, Money. We figured that all that stuff would just work its self out somehow. Love would conquer all. Hah! Really people, pre-marital counseling. Look into it.
The differences in parenting styles are not only a problem when you are married, but becomes a huge source of anxiety, stress and sometimes anger when trying to co-parent.
When we first separated, I had a really hard time with the fact that my son’s world was significantly different when he spent time at his father’s house. Bedtime was different, rules were different and discipline seemed non-existent. I knew how much children need consistency and stability in life, especially when coming from a divorced household, and it killed me to see that he his two worlds were not aligned.
Had I not read, “Good Parenting through Your Divorce” by Mary Ellen Hannibal, I’m not sure where I would be now. Who knows, maybe I would be wearing a stylish white jacket with lots of straps and buckles and living in a bright white room with lots of padding. One of the chapters resonates in my brain and always reminds me that I can’t control what goes on over there. I can only do the best that I can when he is with me and let go of all the rest.
Believe me, it’s not easy. I struggle with it every day.
When I feel my chest tightening or hear myself saying “he’s doing what over there?” I take my deep cleansing breath and remind myself that I have a beautiful, smart little boy who has two parents that love him. So what if one is lets him watch Rated R movies and gives him Trix and Fruity Pebbles for breakfast…
Okay… Deep Breath…
Sitting at a small round pedestal, that my favorite caffeine distributor calls a table, I clickety-clacked away on my laptop. Since I was following up on work emails and not updating blog posts, my concentration was perhaps a bit lackadaisical, allowing my ears to wonder over to the table next to me.
“I think it’s because they’re working and don’t have the time… ”
“My child wouldn’t be putting their feet on the chair like that…”
“I don’t know why it’s different now than when we were raising kids… “
My ears perked up as I listened to the two older women chat beside me. I couldn’t help but listen. Not just because the ‘tables’ are so closely packed in, probably to prevent people like me from sitting there all day long and only paying $1.85 for free wifi, but the topic peaked my interest.
Over their cup of coffee, the two retired women were discussing parenthood and the differences between generations. Their focus was on a father and his two children enjoying their mid-day snack on the comfy purple couches in the corner of the store. The children were not the most well-mannered or behaved, but they also were not the worst I had seen either. The women went back and forth about how they didn’t understand the parents of today and how they are so lax on manners and discipline nowadays.
Right then, I had to interrupt.
“Um excuse me…I couldn’t help but hear…”
“I just wanted to let you know that I completely agree with you ladies!”
The two of them sat there for a moment, as if in shock. Their eyes widened and they stared at me for a few seconds, then looked as they had seen a ghost.
They were shocked to hear that I was a working mom with a 4 year old little boy that strongly believed in discipline, structure, respect and manners.
“My mom gave us discipline and structure and we would never think of disrespecting her in anyway. We loved her for it,” one woman shared.
“I was strict with my kids, they even called me ‘Mean Mom’ sometimes… but they’re all doing real well for themselves now,” the other chimed in.
I then shared my thought that it’s just easier for parents to not do all those things…so nowadays most don’t. They both agreed and said, “that’s completely it”
After bonding over a brief conversation about today’s parenting skills, or lack thereof, one woman turned to me and said something that has been echoing in my head ever since…
“You know you’re not the norm, Hun”
I sat there and recalled all the trips to the park, grocery stores and library.
In that split second I realized;
I am not the mom on her Blackberry sitting on the bench at the park…I am the one playing tag or hide-n-seek.
I am not the mom dealing with a screaming child at the grocery store…I am the one having my son count the apples as he puts them in the plastic bag.
I am not the mom using television or video games as a babysitter so I can get things done…I am the one coloring, painting or squishing playdoh in my hands and doing my chores on my time, not our time.
She is right. I am not the ‘norm.’
And I’m proud of it
An old joke between my group of friends is that I have more testosterone than your average woman.
No, I am not built like a linebacker.
I don’t look like Robin Williams with his shirt off.
I can’t do “the tuck” or the “great dane”
The only thing I may have in common with Vera De Milo is her breast size
On the outside, I am a complete girly girl. Hair, makeup, outfit and accessories all must be perfect, 98% of the time.
I can’t tell you the number of times I have heard from my best friend, when discussing going out to breakfast Saturday morning, “No makeup…No makeup!” Yes, I’m one of those…can’t leave the house without putting on some sort of paint.
On the inside though, I’m a total tomboy. I love sports, hate to talk on the phone, don’t like sharing my feelings and can’t stand drama or petty, manipulative women. My mind is constantly in the gutter and I am definitely known to take low brow jokes a bit too far.
Which is probably why I’ve always had more guy friends than girlfriends.
I know, I know…
“When Harry Met Sally“ is one of my favorite movies, so Yes guys, I do know you are probably just pretending to be my friend so you can get into my pants.
Most women probably do too…
We just subconsciously ignore that about you guys. We have to. Otherwise, we’d probably never talk to any of you
photograph by Tony Cenicola/The New York Times
When I make plans to do something,
I know better than to
give my boyfriend weeks of warning.
Instead, I wait until the last minute to spring them on him.
This weekend was no different.
I think it was Thursday when I mentioned, “Oh by the way, we’re going to the Circus on Sunday. I bought three tickets, so you’re welcome to join us or I can have an extra seat for my mom bag.”
This time he did a pretty good job accepting the news, although since I’ve known him for 10 years, I knew what was really going on behind those eyes…
“Can’t I just stay home, play video games and watch the baseball game?”
As the days go by, he’s getting more and more comfortable with the idea of kids, even though he doesn’t want to admit it. My single mom status was a difficult factor, in the beginning, but we both decided to move forward from friendship to relationship and just take things day by day. I made sure to slowly introduce him into the world I share with my son and vice versa, since I wanted it to be a smooth transition for both my guys. It’s great to see that they really have a fun time with each other, probably since they’re both 4 years old at heart.
Now, the Circus seemed like a good idea when I bought the tickets. Looking over the brochure I received in the mail, I was taken back to my first Circus as a child. I remembered being mesmorized by the constant entertainment and the plethra of animals. Aw, what a great experience to pass on to my child…sure I’ll support your alleged animal cruelty.
Well, my little boy seemed to enjoy the Circus, overall, despite the brief moments of crankiness brought on by the lulls in entertainment. A few times during the show, he did turn to me with these big wide eyes and open mouth, and said “That’s amazing.”
I’m not sure if it was a decrease in budget or things just seeming bigger and better when you’re a child, but this Circus was not ‘the Greatest Show on Earth’ that it claims. Most of the show seemed to be filler, just fluff added in to waste time in between acts. I’m a pretty good sport when it comes to childrens’ entertainment, so you know it’s bad when I’m bored and can’t wait to leave. Thankfully I bought the cheap seats, which were only $15. The same price, coincidentally, as the snow cones. Yes, that’s right… $15 for a freakin snow cone in a cheap plastic cup.
At one point in the show, I looked over at my boyfriend and found him hunched over in his chair, eyes glazed over, staring off into space. I tried to catch a quick shot of this classic pose on my camera, but just like an animal in the wild he was too quick for the shutter. He quickly turned and painted on a smile. What a trooper.
Even though the show was a bit disappointing, the three of us still had a good time together…and I guess that is what it’s all about.
There are dishes in the sink.
Laundry is flowing over the baskets.
Pieces of paper have built a fortress around my computer.
The garbage is at the point where it should be taken out.. but it may have room for two or three more discarded items.
As I look around the house, I cringe at the housework I have been putting off lately. Who wants to do housework after bedtime, when you can do more exciting things like sleep, blog or veg out with a movie.
Glance into my world as the Single Soccer Mom and you will see, I am the Queen of Procrastination. Unfortunately, this is not a new thing for me. I have held that title for many, many years.
It’s a characteristic or trait that I would rather not have. I’ve always been envious of Type A personalities that get things done the second it crosses their mind. I’ve tried to change…but I just keep putting it off.
Now that I’m a mom, I’m a bit better. There are just some things in mom world that you can not postpone: dirty diapers, doctor visits, school registration…
As I sit here, staring at my ‘To Do List’ that never goes away, no matter how many items I check off, the Type A side of my brain suggests removing my hands from the keyboard. It’s tempting… but Queen Procrastination is quite the Master Debater.
I REALLY need to get the Queen to remember…
“Procrastination is like Masturbation,
it feels good while you are doing it,
but in the end, you’re just F’n yourself”
The other day, I had lunch with my best guy friend, turned boyfriend. We have been best friends for the last decade and just recently became more.
(Huh, looks like Harry was right! Men and Women can’t just be friends)
During our lunch, the lovely topic of “Numbers” came up, for some reason, during the conversation.
Advice for Thirtysomething Single Moms
Ladies, due to the lovely Double Standards out there, it’s best for you to shave off a few numbers before disclosing your past to a significant other. It’s funny that guys want a woman who is a virgin but is also good in bed. Hmm, how do you think that happens boys?
I should’ve followed the lesson in this chapter, but instead, I was honest with my boyfriend and told him the real number.
Remember, good liars need impeccable memories.
Having a steel trap for a brain is my son’s trait, not mine.
Dating Mathematics: The Formula
So, how do you find out someones REAL number? To get to the truth…
Take a guys’ number and divide by two
Take a girls’ number and multiply by two
Much like millions of other women across the country, I mave a slight obsession with beauty products
Okay, looks like Starbucks is not my only addiction.
Two of my favorite stores, according to my bank statements, are Sephora and MAC. It seems both of these establishments pump something into the air that inebriates the brain cells, resulting in loss of short term memory. Each time I walk in with one item on my list and come out spending at least $100.
Like everyone else affected by this economy, I recently went through my expenses and recalculated my budget to better fit my decreasing paychecks. I started adding up all the money I spend on beauty products and/or services and was amazed. It’s not cheap being a girly girl.
We spend what?
In doing some research on-line, I found an interesting Newsweek article, “The Beauty Breakdown,” that confirmed our upkeep costs a small fortune. They calculate the average woman spends a total of $449,127 on their hair, face, body and hands/feet over a lifetime. During the 30′s and 40′s alone, a woman will spend $158,160 beautifying those body parts. Not only was that figure shocking, but it was also a bit of a disappointment to see that I have ventured into the 30-40 year old bracket. Aw, good bye my dear youth. It was fun while it lasted.
Looking at my makeup drawer and vanity in the bathroom, I would probably add another $100,000 on to their figure, when calculating in the cost of testing beauty products. I have a graveyard in my bathroom of half used compacts, wrong colored eye shadows and half empty shampoo bottles. Either I am a hoarder and haven’t realized it yet, or women also spend a good chunk of change just trying products – thanks to the wonderful world of advertising.
I’ll be your Huckleberry…I mean, Guinea Pig
Since we can all benefit from saving money these days (and since one of my best friends already coined me as her “guinea pig” for beauty products due to my obsession) I thought that I would share with you any products that I come across and feel are worth the effort and money to add to your own bathroom warehouse of beauty supplies.
A Must for Wavy Hair!
Here I am, in my 30′s, and I am finally figuring out what to do with my wavy, frizzy hair, besides blow dry and flat iron every day. To my dismay, being a single mom with a preschooler doesn’t really allow for a professional style blow dry every day. So, I recently gave in to mother nature and started wearing my hair wavy/curly. I have tried hundreds of mousses, sprays and gels in the past, but the combination and order of the following products are an absolute must for anyone with wavy hair. I am quite the perfectionist when it comes to my hair and I hated my waves until now. These three products are life and time savers for every busy, wavy haired, fashonista mom!
One trick I learned to decrease the frizz and increase the waves was leaving my wet hair alone! Before I would try to scrunch, diffuse or spray in the curls, but noticed that if I just let my hair air dry for a bit, after applying the Style Primer and Curl Enhancing Foam, then lightly scrunched after spraying in the Fekkai Wave Spray, I had some pretty nice waves/curls that I could live with.
Hmmm, now that you know way more about my morning routine that I would prefer…
I’ll search through my warehouse of makeup, anti-aging creams and hair products to bring you more must-haves for your Thirtysomething Beauty Drawer.
And the Nominees Are…
I am pleased to announce that we have three more potential nominees for this years’ prestigious “Mother of the Year Award.”
The first two nominees come to us from Southern California. KCAL 9 News, reported yesterday afternoon, two women were arrested in connection with a takeover robbery of an auto supply store in Garden Grove on Sunday. The two are expected to be charged with commercial robbery, false imprisonment and felony child endangerment.
Child endangerment, you may ask? Did a small child happen to be in the Pep Boys store when these two women charged in, weapons in hand? Unfortunately, no, that was not the case. Instead, when police located and stopped their getaway car, a 7 month old baby was found inside the car. A baby that belonged to one of the suspects. According to the report, the child has now been placed in protective custody.
Apparently babysitters really ARE that hard to find! Really people? Sigh…
The third nominee comes from a story out of today’s Denver Post. A family on vacation was driving down Highway 82 in Colorado, when a boulder rolled off a cliff and crashed into the windshield of the family’s SUV, immediately killing the father who was driving. In order to save her three sons, the mother, who was sitting in the passenger seat, reached over, put the car in neutral and grabbed the wheel with one hand while she pressed the break with the other. The car went through a red light at the bottom of the hill, but eventually came to a stop, where the mother jumped out and began yelling for help.
And the Award goes to…
Thought for the day:
If the government requires a license to drive a car, then why doesn’t it require one to procreate? Okay, I’m stepping down from my soapbox now…
My boyfriend can always tell if I am out in public or in the office when I answer my cellphone, just by hearing my “Hello.”
“Oh, it’s office voice… you must be at the office”
Apparently I am a member of the minority group of cellphone users that actually respect the other individuals in the room and actually want to keep their private life, private. It’s amazing what you can learn about someone in a waiting room, coffee shop or even restrooms these days. Why do people think that (1) no one else can hear them but the caller on the other end and (2) that no one is eavesdropping, secretly listening to every single word of their private conversation?
Well, due to the lovely invention of cellphones, I have gotten to know the other mothers in the lobby area of our 4:35pm Mon & Wed Swim Sessions. Strangely enough, we do not speak to each other, despite this being our third week of lessons. Instead we transfer personal information back and forth via phone conversations on our personal communication devices.
Over the past weeks, I have learned that one of the mothers is also Single, possibly in her mid thirties, has two kids and is going to school. Each Monday and Wednesday her boy and adorable little girl happily join their instructors in the water and enjoy every minute of their half our session. Today was definitely different.
Today, her little boy kept screaming at his instructor, so much so, his poor little face actually turned red. After 5 minutes, the mother stepped inside the enclosure of the indoor pool and made her way over to the unhappy swimmer.
Just then the boy’s father walked into the lobby, surveyed the scene and made his way in through the door. Right there, I knew exactly what the problem was. I could tell from his body language that he wasn’t a full time Dad, as the situation appeared to be making him a bit uncomfortable. Mom saw Dad walk in, but did not display any positive signs of acknowledgement.. which for me, completely confirmed my assumption.
The parents hovered over the pool, while the instructor tried to calm the boy down. He definitely seemed bothered by something, but the something seemed much bigger than just the swim lesson. Mom and Dad walked back into the lobby, sat down and begin their small talk.
Listening to their conversation, I could feel my anxiety level rise and my breath begin to shorten. I looked down and noticed I had automatically crossed my arms and my foot was now shaking back and forth, which are my classic signs of anxiety and withdrawal. I then realized that I was living in their moment. Although, in reality, it was the two of them talking, in my world it was me and my ex.
Eavesdropping on their conversation and peering into their world of co-parenting made me realize just how anxious and stressed out I can get when having to deal with my ex husband… even though we have a decent, civil relationship.
Just like her little boy was affected by his father’s appearance at swim lessons and most likely their overall family dynamic, my little boy is also affected by our situation. Every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon my ex picks up our son from daycare. The very next day I get a report from our provider saying his energy level was off the charts the day before. He gets so wound up, or anxious, he doesn’t know what to do with himself. Seeing the other boy trying to deal with his emotions in the pool, reminded me that we’re not the only ones living this way.
I don’t know why it helps to see or know someone going through your same situation, but it definitely does. Knowing there is another individual going through the same struggles or stressors in life, makes the day a little easier to get through. Sitting there, watching my son floating in the sparkling blue water and realizing we are not the only ones, put me at ease and made my day even better
all down hill from here
We all know, as you get older your outside appearance and body begins to change. Your hair turns gray, wrinkles appear out of no where and you can no longer sit in one place too long without making some sort of grunting sound when getting up. These all sound like things that happen when you’re in your 50′s , right?
Ummm yeah… not exactly.
Try, in your thirties!
One morning, during your thirties, you’ll wake up to find things a bit different than they were when you went to bed. You will find that a little tiny crow walked all over your face while you were sleeping and left his damn footprints in permanent ink, next to your eyes. Oh, and those blonde hairs growing out of your chin or nose… yeah, they grew overnight and turned jet black and thick as a wire. You will also find that your body now rejects all aspects of your lifestyle of the past decade. It strictly forbids participating in keg stands or beer bongs and no longer accepts staying up all hours of the night. Your stomach disagrees with your orders of “medium spicy” Thai food or your greasy fast food binges and your ears no longer tolerate loud music or noisy restaurants.
All those birthday cards and gag gifts you received on your 30th birthday were telling the truth – you ARE over the hill.
Take another look in the mirror
There is also a very subtle change that begins at age 30, one that may go unnoticed for some time. It is a change that, for some, may be more frightening than seeing the physical signs of aging.
In your thirties… you begin… turning into… YOUR PARENTS!
I am sorry to be the one to break the news to you… but it is true.
Not only have I seen it first hand with most of my friends, but I have experienced the strange phenomenon myself. I now wear golf clothes, even when I am not playing golf. I tend to be drawn to frosted lipsticks and salads with candied walnuts. I fall asleep on the couch and get cranky when I am woken up to go to bed. I get tipsy off one glass of wine. I trail off at the end of a sentence when talking and just mouth the rest of the words…
At age 31, I am not only a mom… I am my mom
So, I guess if you want to see what your future holds, you can either pay a fortune teller, buy a crystal ball or just take out an old family portrait. From my experience, my bet’s on the family photo.