Monday, May 18, 2015

I do not love you for the way you’ve been exactly what I’m looking for

I love you for all of this, and so much more.

On the first full weekend of June, last year my friends made a drive to my town from theirs to make sure that I was faring okay following the divorce.


 They wanted to make sure I was eating, that I wasn't pretending to be tough.


While they were here we discussed dating. It had been about 6 months of separation (and of course what felt like years of solitude).  We talked about my patterns. And they served me a bit of "real talk."  I had a tendency in my past to choose men with strange relationships with their mothers: either fractured and unavailable (their grandparent or father raised them) or their mother was somewhat emotionally unavailable.

I have for a long time been jealous of my friends and my sister-in-law because they have a positive relationship with their mother-in-law. My last mother-in-law was not emotionally available to me. I felt like in the end she respected me as a mother and as a professional but I never felt she liked me. I am much like my mother in that I try to make occasions special with little notes and cards or baking something, or decorating something pretty.  I tried this for years in my ex-husband's family but they were not receptive.  Also other members of the family treated me with utter disregard and were impolite and rude to my face.

I tried for a long time during our courtship and marriage to win over my ex's family. I believed that kindness counted and that eventually they would really like me and want me around, they would appreciate me and respect my wishes for how I raise my child.

Most of my life I thought kindness and being nice mattered to the point of my own detriment. I often let people abuse me emotionally because I didn't want to cause a stir. Although I had this very strained and almost invisible relationship with my ex mother-in-law I allowed her to stay in the room when I went through the most intimate thing in my life: natural childbirth of my first and only child.

She was there and she never really asked to stay and I didn't speak up. In fact, many times since that day I have been sad that the act of allowing her to be there didn't seem to earn me much in return after it was such a sacrifice of privacy on my part.

So part one of my friends NO COMPROMISES list was: he has to have a normal relationship with his mother. His mother must have the capability to allow someone in to her son's life. He will not be "needing a mother" (i.e. using me as such) and I will not feel that this is my role either.

Not long into dating the man I am with he was set to deploy. His mom lives far away from him and me and he told me that she asked if she could "friend" me on Facebook.  I said of course.  And from moment one of interaction with Cindy I have felt completely at home.

She made sure throughout the deployment that I was faring okay, she knew I was new at being a military girlfriend and so she explained a lot about how things would go/feel.  She and her daughter made sure I didn't get too lonely on the nights when I used to talk to her son. They would keep me upbeat by chatting online with me and telling me funny things about him or including me in family celebrations with pictures and telling me how they can't wait to meet me and my daughter.

I loved Cindy immediately because she didn't have an expectation of communication back from me. I suppose that sounds callous but I am so busy that I sometimes can't message back to people and I am extremely introverted and I have to play an extrovert at work. This wipes me out and sometimes when I've put my daughter to bed I just want "0 people time."  So she's never pumping me for information or interaction she just wants me to know she's there for me and that she was thinking of me.

I felt for the first time in a long time (God bless my one college bf's mom, her name was Judi and even after we broke up and I graduated she sent me a little bracelet with my birthstone in it and a sweet card, I wanna be a mama like that some day) I felt appreciated for just being me. Busy, single mom, crazy me.

And I treasure my relationship with this woman for all of this and so much more.


She asked me if she could print out photos of me from FB and send them to her son in a little WE LOVE YOU book while he was deployed. He sent me this pic and said "my mom is never this impressed with girls I date, lol."

She was sad that she didn't get to be there for homecoming so I wanted her to feel like a part of it. I sent a photo of the obnoxiously large balloon I bought and wasn't expecting such a sweet response. 

This made me feel super special.  In 8 years together there was never a photo of me displayed at my inlaws home.

I sent this bracelet to her for mother's day. 
title and text in blue from Ron Pope, one of my current favorites "I do not love you"

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

You and tequila make me crazy

Bedtime is going to drive me to drink.  This is our current struggle. Part of it is her age. Part of it is that the transition between households makes for confusion and makes manipulation a little easier.

On her weekends at dad's she can stay up later (it's the weekend and he doesn't have an early bedtime for her) and she is allowed to sleep with her dad, even if she wasn't sleeping next to him his apartment is tiny, she's right next to him at all times.

On any night she is with me. We start the bedtime routine at 7:15 and she goes to bed at 8pm. Recently she then starts screaming, spouting off mean things ("you're a terrible mom"), crying and getting up until around 10 pm.  2 hours of hell, on the nightly.

The routine at bedtime is already an absurd checklist of nearly 100 things. Singing multiple songs, reading, praying, rocking, teeth brushing, cold water drinking, going potty, getting on the right jammies, applying eczema cream, turning on the fan, 3 night lights, monster spray, tucking in, hugs and kisses, collecting items to sleep with, sound machine...list items ad nauseum.

So I have decided that this is the week that I stick to the behavior plan for this behavior.  All human behavior has a purpose: to attain (attention, or access to preferred items/tangibles, reinforcement (i.e. the behavior itself is reinforcing) or to escape/avoid (attention, task, setting, demand).  Stalling behavior before bed is to escape bedtime.  After I leave the room the function is to gain my attention/presence in the room. Type of presence wanted: (angry mommy or comforting mommy) non-discriminate.


"I'm never going to bed." (actual quote, daily)

But during the day she's so sweet...

The aftermath of 1 hour and 49 minutes of screaming, crying and throwing things...

So for the last three nights the data is as follows...duration of tantrum 2 hrs, 1 hour 49 minutes, and 49 minutes.  By the time we get down to a manageable amount of time it will be time to break our routine again.  Sigh...

Two households, both alike in dignity, in fair Verona where we lay our scene...

title from Kenny Chesney and Grace Potter (it's one of those addiction songs you get addicted to): you and tequila

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

I don't need no secrets. I gave up on lies.

Title and recent inspiration is from Ron Pope: Headlights on The Highway. "I don't need no secrets. I gave up on lies. If it's gonna rain I'd rather know than be caught blind."

So I moved into my sister's other house in August when she bought her new house. So my sister is now my landlord. And I am working to make it a cozy little place for Sloane and me.

I have started crafting a little more lately...This is our hallway between our bedrooms and Sloaney's favorite place to play.  I plan to sand down where those cupboard hinges were that I made into a built-in shelf and touch up the paint.



Sloane said this when she was two, she said she wanted a tattoo that said "family loves here everyday." on her arm.  I used scrapbook paper and old, old, old Love, Elsie alphas and traced them to create her a little art for her kitchen. 


This is the side of that cupboard. 2 Golden book book pages that I modgpodged onto plaques. 


This was an idea and quote I found from Pinterest and an art inspiration from Amy Lapi


This is my favorite thing lately. I saw the idea on Pinterest a while ago and finally created my own. It's next to my bed and it makes me happy every morning. Super easy, twine and an empty frame.



One of my top ten literary quotes, from Slaughterhouse Five. I did this with a thrift store painting, acrylic paint and alphas. It hangs above my headboard. 


I love using old albums from my favorite old movies as art. 


Favorite corner in my dining room...art was bought for me by my bestie, Breann from one of my favorite stores: The Little Fox on Etsy. 


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

If I fall will you pick me up?

People probably quit blogging when they are getting a divorce (or their second one) because if you hear about people you "know from the internet" (I use that "know" very loosely) you can find a million acrid things like this....or your favorite scrapbooker who used to post layouts about her cute (then) husband and wrote a blog was destroyed publicly about her "cheating on the rules of a contest" and then was taunted about her divorce.

So what's a self-deemed private person (who blogged almost exclusively about creating the perfect vintage wedding) to say when it all comes crashing down around her.

Well here goes.

I don't give a fuck.  

No really.

Part of my problem in life has always been that I care extremely too much about how my life looks from the outside.  I was embarrassed about being divorced the first time.  I started dating the man who would become my second husband in November and didn't really admit it or share it with anyone until around May.  Why? Because I believed in some sort of Scarlett O'Hara-esque grieving period.  I was not widowed. The relationship was bad. Why did I feel like I had to memorialize it or martyr myself for so long?

So here I am separated for almost a year now feeling the same old feelings. Supreme embarrassment. Of course dating with a child takes on different parameters. I am private because it is in her best interest. It's probably pretty narcissistic of me to believe people even care that I have been married twice and divorced twice and that someday I might just get married again.

So here I am trying to let all of that go.  I blogged about a wedding and I scrapbooked about being in love and happy at the beginning of a relationship because I was.  I don't owe it to anyone to explain why I wasn't in the end.

I haven't blogged in years because I didn't know how to admit that things fell apart.  It's pretty simple really.  Things fell apart.

I'm not going to martyr myself for the opinions of others. I got my heart right with myself, my daughter and my spirituality.

So here's the ice breaker post.  I'm ready to start talking again.  I thought about deleting it all. I did delete it all on Facebook (including the agonizing over unfriending dozens of mutual friends). But not here. It wouldn't be honest.  I've never tried to portray a perfect life. Why start now?  


post title from Hello Saferide: The Quiz

Thursday, August 15, 2013

you're gonna miss me by my hair

Dear Sloane,

You are 32 months old this month (so you are 2 and 8 months)...getting closer to three everyday.

You start dance class next month and preschool in January.


You talk all the time.  You are pretty enamored with fairy tale like stories right now (themes that include princesses, witches, dragons, dinosaurs and explorers are your favorites).  Pocahontas gets a lot of play. You love to dress up in hats, jewelry and shoes.  You play pretend almost all the time, although you do love for someone to pitch to you (you bat left-handed, Papa G is so proud).

You are still interested in your play kitchen and love to go to Dillons (so you can drive the green car cart) and get groceries. Blue is your favorite color and you love to ask other people "what's your favorite color?"

Unfortunately you know that every time you go to the store you can probably talk your mom into getting you a little something. Luckily at 2, this tends to be $1 for m&ms or stickers (note to self: break this soon).  


You think bubbles are magical (I agree)


You are a champion bedtime staller and know which technique is most successful (just one more kiss and a hug).  You are still in your crib, but we found you a big girl bed and you are excited to try it out soon. Mommy and daddy are stalling this time, it's so nice to know that when we put you in bed that's where you will stay for the night.

I know it's ridiculous, right?  But I figure I can resell it when she grows out of it. 

Your favorite animal is still the owl (which you call "whoo-hoo") and you love your dinosaurs too. You love going to Bible class on Sunday to see your friends and make art projects.  Your cousins are your "best friends".  You like to hang out at the theatre with mommy or daddy and feel very at home on the stage (who would have guessed).

It is a joy to listen to your mind work, even when it's against me.

I am not always sure I want another baby, but I do wish I could relive the time you were a baby pretty often. But I try not to while away this time wishing for the past, because I know one day I will miss this too.

xox,
mama


title courtesy of that Anna Kendrick song...Cups (You're Gonna Miss Me)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Making insecurity into an art

The internet can be a little rough if you are sensitive.  I posted that I am struggling with depression last month and while I am feeling about 74.5% better I know better than to go poking around on the internet.  

For the past month I haven't laid eyes on Pinterest.  I have not kept up with my blogroll and I haven't been internet shopping.  And besides adding back the SSRI I know that the internet diet is making me happier. 

About a year ago one of my friends was suffering from depression over not being good enough. She would find herself comparing herself to all of the blogs she was reading (including mine). I was shocked.  I was like-- hey girl, you know I'm just like you.  I hide candy from my kid, my house is a mess and I am not sure when I washed my hair last.  But I don't really post all of that (all the time).  I post what I am generally happy about in life, and the one shot (with a soft focus) that is actually pretty flattering of me and my surroundings. 

So she quit. She quit reading blogs. She already didn't do Facebook and she isn't on Pinterest.  Epic win. 

I wasn't too addicted to Pinterest in the first place, let's face it I haven't really been cooking for about 2.5 years (yes that's the exact age of my child) and those fitness posts make me want to vomit (which isn't a healthy way to lose weight) I married an actor, and I work for a non-profit = dream home with a clawfoot bathtub, window seat and 4.5 bathrooms, ain't happening. 

And on Facebook it's been pretty easy to hide, "unfriend" and avoid people that make me angry, eye roll a little too often, or feel unworthy.  

BUT the occasional news story or testimonial shows up on my blogroll or news feed and it sends me into a place where it's hard for me to be.  

In my life, I feel the most inadequate about my mothering and my view on mothering. I feel this way because I don't (nor have I ever) want to stay home with my child.  

Before I ever had a child, I knew that I didn't want to stay home.  But before I had a child I didn't know that I would feel like I had just admitted I was a Nazi sympathizer when I said that. Before I had a child I didn't realize how many articles are posted online (what seems like daily) about this "important choice"  

I read a lot of blogs by stay at home moms and wanna-be stay at home moms and love what they have to say.  BUT when they happen to post about why they stay home or even how to stay at home, I can recognize the merit in their words but it makes me want to run shrieking into a dark closet and wonder what's wrong with me. 

I don't know why I let it affect me the way I do.  Of course some people are all judgy and high and mighty about how awesome they are for staying home, but the majority of people aren't like this.  It isn't the judgy posts that make me re-examine my mothering motives, it's just the everyday casual ones.  

It makes me think, "why isn't this ever on my mind?"  On Mondays I always miss Sloane.  But I am also deliciously happy to return to being needed by others, to being creative and in charge.  It doesn't have anything to do with Sloane...it has to do with how I am the best me (and thus best mom) I can be. 

sigh...

And you know what sucks.  There aren't nine million articles and testimonials and things calling for men to sacrifice and "stay home with their baby" and give them the best caretaker etc...ad flipping nauseum.

 It's not that "I don't know why we can't all just get along." It's that there isn't this "pressure" on men to feel like if they don't want to or don't stay home they are any less of an awesome parent.  

Beyond this, I know how I would be if I stayed home.  And frankly, it's frightening.  It's like facing one million Sundays in a row. 


It would be me who looked like this.

So I will fight the quiet riot in my heart, work on accepting myself and in the meantime, don't look for me online.  I am probably off playing with my kiddo in the time I have to spend with her before it's off to work.


title courtesy of my current anthem by ms. difranco: present/infant

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Sleep, sleep I couldn't sleep tonight...

Dear Sloane,

You are two and a half, and every bit of that half.

You are busy, strong-willed and wonderful.  Sometimes to my chagrin, you have your own fashion sense emerging.  Like the look seen below, which I have dubbed your "Samuel L. Jackson".  You always wear your blue velvet beret backwards ("it's cool") and your sunglasses are usually on upside down.


You enjoy helping in the garden, but never miss a beat when asked about the vegetables we grow. "I not like tomatoes".


We finally phased your pacifier out to only in bed.  It was a rough few days, I am hoping it won't be as rough to phase it out completely, BUT I know to expect the unexpected with you.




You and I had TOO much fun at 4 days of the River Festival.  You took naps in your stroller so that we didn't have to leave the park except when it was time for bed.  It was beautiful weather.  You liked ice cream, the big art birds display, making crafts, watching the SCT CTA dancers, the puppets and just watching all the people. You were sad when I told you that we had to leave and it would be over.



You went to VBS with Aunt Tay.


Love love love ice cream with m&ms.  We walked to Yogurtini and treated you on a rainy cool day.

I love how you think (you would say "hink" on all "th" words you leave off the "t") and you are always thinking.  Bedtime has been hard because you would love to stay up and play all night, or at least sleep with mommy and daddy.  You love to talk, talk, talk and we love to hear what you come up with.

Keep on thinking baby,

Mama

lyrics from My Fair Lady-- I could've danced all night...you love to sing this one!