High School Reunion- The Struggle Is Real

My high school reunion was a week ago. This story is not going to go how you probably think  is. Back in January our class president started a Facebook page to promote the big event. I won’t say how many years ago I graduated but we have definitely skipped over a few reunions and this would be the first time that many of us would reunite.

A friend of mine added me to the Facebook page without clearing it with me first and then immediately took herself off of it (you know who you are, traitor!). I have made my peace with the fact that I was probably a nerd in high school but have reconnected with enough people and rekindled friendships so that I didn’t feel weird going to the reunion. So yeah, I didn’t get the big acting gig I was hoping for and I haven’t published my novel. I’m  a divorced eighth-grade Science teacher, with a non-monetized blog and a couple of unpublished books and two children who are less than perfect (not unlike their mother), but I have made my peace with that as well.

The reunion was held at a bar nestled in the middle of a business park that also housed a University of Phoenix campus. In college we joked that it was the campus bar. So the bar was not set too high, so to speak (love my pun?).

My plus two and I strutted in with a swagger that announced that we were the three coolest people in the room even though we are all single and all none of us in the best places in our life. (Yeah the whole plus two thing might be weird, but so am I. One of my guests went to our school for a year although she did not graduate with us. It was slightly more awkward that my other plus one was mistakenly referred to as my husband multiple times, but this is a whole other story).

“We’ re not married,” I corrected my estranged high school bestie as she handed me a name tag and the designated “significant other” blue marker. Actual alum wrote their names in red.

“Oh that’s okay, common laws are welcome too,” Estranged bestie replied.

“We’ re definitely not that either,” I replied awkwardly, desperately hoping that my plus 2 could not hear this conversation. The rest of our dialogue went something like this:

“Baby daddy, whatever…”

“Yeah, not that either…”

“So you’re not into labels… that’s cool.”

Why could I not have just said that to begin with and then I would have come off as cool and bohemian as my reddish-pink maxi dress, Havianna flip flops and Lucky brand chandelier earrings announced that I was?

“Pshah… labels. Who needs them?” I said with a casual flick of my wrist, latching onto the perfect explanation.

People started fill in the narrow corridor so my trio started moving further and further into the room to encourage people to come in. Little by little my former classmates moseyed on into the party room until it was acceptably full.

I’m more of a people watcher than an extrovert so I let the people come to me. I have to admit I was very surprised at the people who made a point of coming over and starting a conversation. It was definitely good to catch up and even better to talk to people who I was not even sure liked me in high school but acted very happy to be reunited.

The best part of the evening, however, was when I got to sit down with a former friend who has always been so chill and in control. I’d always wished I could be as fearless as she was and as able to step out of my comfort zone. She’s married to an amazing man and has an exciting job that lives to a lot of international travel. We sat down to munch on appetizers and catch up.

“You know,” she said, “having kids is nothing like I thought it would be.”

“You’re telling me sister,” I nodded as I shoved a nacho in my mouth.

“My girls, they’re just so wild… I don’t even know what to do with them sometimes. And they have no fear!”

“OMG! You should totally read my blog!”

“You have a blog? Is it about parenting? Do you share tips and strategies?”

“Haha!” I laughed out loud. “I wish I was that awesome. I have no idea what I’m doing. My kids are just as wild, if not more so than yours. I don’t get it! I was such a good kid, why am I being punished?”

We both felt so relieved to be able to vent to someone in the same situation.  It’s always nice to talk to someone who knows that ‘the struggle is real’. I shared my many stories of my young children packing their things and trying to run away, or their attempts to remodel the kitchen with sugar, coffee and slime.

At the end of the night, we  agreed to meet up for a play date with the kids before my friend headed back to her current exotic locale. Why we thought that doubling the number of wild children in an enclosed area good idea, is beyond me. I mean it was a cash  bar so it’s not like we were blasted out of our minds. Maybe it was just a show of solidarity.

The rest of the night was relatively unremarkable. I loved the pregnant lady who wore the shirt that said “I’m not fat, I’m knocked up!” But at the end of the night, I left with my friends happy that I went. I still need to call the friend who bailed and catch her up on who’s who and what’s what. And I haven’t even gone into a petty rant about who got fat (fatter than me) and who looks way older than me… I won’t go there this time around. Most of us haven’t changed a bit- we were just nicer to each other all these years later.

Oh, and the most important thing…  that the struggle is real- at least for some of us, if not all of us. The ones who aren’t struggling- well, they’re boring and probably lying!

Cheers to those of us who keep it real!

  • Single Mom Unfiltered

 

 

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My Summer Vacation by Keldan

My Summer Vacation

Growing up, our family did not go on a real summer vacation very often. When we did, there were a lot of rules and structure surrounding it to the point where it wasn’t as fun as it could have been. My parents didn’t grow up with vacations so they probably figured that at least we were getting something and we should be more grateful than we probably were.

I vowed that I would take my kids somewhere awesome every single year. Ideally, we’d spend a week at the beach and then 1 to 2 weeks somewhere amazing like Spain, Australia, Dubai, or Disney World. Now that I’m a single mom, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I can’t realistically provide all of those things and continue to pay the mortgage.

*Myth buster: Teacher’s don’t get paid during that glorious 3 month vacation (really 9 weeks) so yeah, I have to scrimp, save, and work part-time summer jobs so my kids can have swim lessons and eat 3 meals a day.

Remember our Christmas story? This is the summer vacation version.

Still, I don’t want my kids growing up saying “you never took us anywhere or did anything fun with us”. So I planned a mini- vacation to my favorite beach town and I was going to brave up and take both boys by myself. Everyone who knows my kids and how worn down I am, thought that I had lost my mind. People were worried that not all of us would make it back alive, but I was willing to take my chances.  Enter in my sister Adrienne, or as the boys refer to her “Auntie”.

Of course, my car broke down like a champ (see my last blog post) the week before we were supposed to leave. Auntie rented a car, then my car got fixed so I told her to cancel it. Then my car died again (typical) so I rented a car, but then she also rented a car… this is how the vacation started.

Day 1 Vacay

The whole three and a half hours to the beach my kids fought with each other and whined about the car ride. One of the kids had brought his Kindle but the other left it at home. This was the source of most of the fighting. There was a lot of,

“He won’t share!”

“But he’s trying to take my Kindle”

“You’re a stupid idiot!”

“Yeah, well, you’re a moron !”

In unison Auntie and I turned around and shouted, “don’t make me pull this car over” and “do I have to come back there?”.

“Oh my God! We’ve turned into dad!” I said.

“I’ve been dying to use those lines, I’m not going to lie,” my sister responded. “There are a few more I’m saving up for later.”

We reached the beach around 6pm and we decided to check in and then go straight to the beach. That definitely improved everyone’s mood. Then we went back to the hotel, changed and went across the street to an outdoor carry out place. It wasn’t until after we placed our order and paid that they told us there was a forty minute wait. It was already 8:45pm. That sums up day one.

There was a celebrity staying at our hotel… what can I say? We roll with the best.

Day 2

We started off the day by heading to Sunsations in search of flip flops and fun beach toys, including a boogie board. My sister, always has to glam up and choose, the biggest and most unique of anything so she bought a huge, hot pink raft because it reminded her of a  raft that came with “swimming pool” Barbie, a favorite childhood toy.  Of course, the boys wanted to buy a whole bunch of other crap like monster trucks and fidget spinners.

By the way, I want to sue all stores for keeping that junk right by the cash register. The consequence to that clever marketing is that everyone gets treated to the parent- child power struggle and the ensuing temper tantrums from both parties.

My older son looked at me at one point and said, “Why can’t we just act like a normal family?”

“Uuuuhhhh… I don’t know. Why do you refuse to wear socks, under pants, shirts and shoes?”

Yes, all of the things listed above are a daily struggle with my oldest. My comment shut him up though.

Shark!

The hot-pink Barbie raft was not so easy to maneuver in the ocean waves. We headed across the parking lot to the bay side which is about 18 inches deep and all but stagnant. As soon as we got settled, a guy who was fishing caught a baby sand shark. My sister loves to scare me about sharks being in the Chesapeake Bay. Apparently, this is her way of motivating me to swim faster during my open water swims. So this last race as I was getting over a nasty stomach virus and barely able to move, I did wonder if the bull heads would sense my weakness and come after me.

Did this mean there was a mama shark around somewhere? But no one else seemed too alarmed so we got in anyway. The boys took turns on the Barbie raft, until my sister (who looks like a human Barbie) pulled rank and got on with a cigarette in one hand, a water bottle full of sangria in the other and ordered my four-year-old to push her.

I looked down and saw the shadow of a slightly bigger sand shark swimming towards my son. He continued to push his “Auntie” blissfully unaware that he was about to be consumed by jaws.

Shark! Again!

“Stop! Stop moving! Stop moving for a minute,” I yelled. But as as per-usual, my son did not listen.  I watched in horror as the shark swam right between his legs and under the raft. Paralyzed by fear, I could not scream to further warn them. I was just waiting for the raft to be upended and blood to start squirting everywhere as Barbie was pulled down to her horrible death. Anti-climatically, this did not happen.

About twenty minutes later I texted the story to my BFF from college.

BFF: Did you get out of there?

Me: No we stayed for another twenty minutes and then went back to the ocean where there are definitely more sharks.

BFF: Oh

Then I wondered if maybe I was not a good parent and should probably have done more to rescue my kids from the baby sand sharks. Eh… refer to one of my earliest posts, “the bat story”. That should tell you all you need to know about how good of a parent I am.

We spent a few more hours at the ocean and amazingly no one got burned. I reapplied sun screen to everyone like five times so I guess I’m a little bit of a good mom.

Dinner Time

I finally got everyone to get out of the water and help me tear down the tent and pack our gear. It was getting late and I was hungry for Don’s seafood which I try to hit up on every beach trip. My sister had brought a water bottle full of sangria for me too but had drank the whole thing before I got my hands on it, so I drove us back to the hotel.

I’m pleased to say that everyone behaved themselves at Don’s which rarely happens. We spent our twenty minute wait taking pictures of each other in giant chairs. My soft shell crab sandwich was amazing. Not having yet refined their palates, my kids both ordered hot dogs. I ended up eating one of them, because dog-gone-it, we do not waste food in this family! Adrienne, ordered a Margarita after asking which mixed drink had the most alcohol in it. Mind you, she had also brought a water bottle full of White Zinfandel to the restaurant. I guess that’s what it took for her to tolerate the rest of us. To be fair, we are a tough crew to hang with.

My sister patronized this business just a bit during the vacation.
These giant chairs are a symbol of our family’s love for one another… note the “water bottle” in my sister’s hand.

Mr. Whippy’s

After paying the check and realizing that Adrienne and I had each left a tip (luckily our waitress was really nice), we headed to Mr. Whippy’s. This is another yearly tradition, however, my younger son had never been because we skipped a couple of years and last year I came sans children because I just needed a “rehab” weekend.

After waiting in a line that was at least shorter than the one a block away at the Island Creamery, we finally got our ice cream. I got my yearly “peanut butter cup sundae”- yummy!  Within seconds our ice cream started melting all over our hands. Everyone actually behaved and we were actually nice to each other for half hour. That’s the power of Mr. Whippy’s ice cream!

I had literally had this for 60 seconds before it liquified.

Sadly, the magic of ice cream ended about half an hour later back in our hotel room. The rest of the trip consisted of peed-in pants, fighting, tantrums, with some intermittent tender family moments.

We’re going on another vacation in August. I might have to bring some Valium for that one. But if we survived one, maybe we can get through another.

To summarize, for my summer vacation we…

  • Went to the beach
  • Fought like cats and dogs
  • Spent a ton of money on food
  • Swam with sharks (unintentionally)
  • Ate ice cream
  • Watched my sister drink all day and night and miraculously stay relatively sober

The End

  • Single Mom Unfiltered
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Cars and Poop (Can’t think of a better title)

Car Drama

I always look forward to summer break with its endless days by the poolside, sipping mimosas, and reading a good novel. Car drama and pool are not a part of this vision. Every year I forget, that summers as a single mom are the exact opposite of that. In addition to running my “boot camp” for my kids, I’ve had my fair share of car drama. We have been to the mechanic no less than six times and called Triple A for a jump start, then a battery replacement, and finally a tow back to the mechanic.

Yesterday evening, I was driving the kids to soccer when the car died like a champ. Luckily it waited to take its last breath as I rolled into my parking space. I had promised the kids that we would take a dip in the pool next door after soccer so at least we had something to do while we waited for the tow truck.

This is Where the Poop Comes In

 

I was counting my blessings that at least we could have fun in the midst of a bad situation. My son begged me to go off the diving board and I thought “what the heck? why not?” I got up on the board after my son went off and patiently waited for him to swim to the side of the pool. When he got there I called out,

“Do you want me to dive or do a canon ball?”

He didn’t respond.

“Dive or canon ball?” I repeated. Still he didn’t respond and he appeared to be frozen in place.

“Hey, Bud. You need to climb out so I can take my turn.”

This is when I noticed the look of concentration from the part of his face that was turned towards me. That expression looked familiar but I hadn’t seen it in years. Then I heard a grunt, and then another.

“Are you pooping!? I shrieked.

At this point he started to climb out on the ladder and as he did, three huge logs floated out of his bathing suit.

Crap! Literally! There was no hiding this or playing it off. To make matters worse I had to supervise swim lessons at this pool the following morning. I dismounted the diving board and forced myself shame-facedly over to report the incident to the lifeguards. The whistle sounded and the direction to clear the pool given. Chorus of groans and “whys” replied as people idly swam to the side.

“Why do we have to get out of the pool?” My son asked.

“Um, are you serious? Because you just made it your toilet. Now go wipe your bottom, rinse your suit out and change into your clothes.”

I wanted to cry. My son has closed many a pool in the past. Last year we somehow broke the streak and remained poop and puke free at the pool. I was confident that we had passed those days. We got dressed and left the facility to wait for the tow truck.

More Poop

It was almost eight o’clock when we got home, tired and hungry. I was so happy to be in the air condition and just wanted to pass out, when I smelled it. Poop! I followed my nose to the carpeted living room to find a liquified peanut-butter colored mess left by my dog. My kids ordered me to clean it up immediately and I complied, washing my hands thoroughly before fixing dinner.

But there’s more… poop that is…

The following day, I had to supervise swim lessons at two different locations, one in the morning, and one in the afternoon. I also had to take one kid to a doctor’s appointment and somehow get groceries in between. Fortunately, my parents loaned me one of their cars so I could get that all done. We arrived to the second pool late that afternoon and I got to work. My kids went off and played and were relatively well-behaved. We’d been there about two hours when my younger son came running to me announcing that his brother had pooped on the floor in the bathroom.

Son of a B!

Of course, the two-time offender blamed his brother because he was using the one toilet available in the men’s room and he said he just couldn’t hold it anymore. After cleaning up the bulk of the mess, I made my walk of shame to the lifeguard table for the second time in twenty-four hours and reported the crime with a suggestion of them hosing down the floor and chlorinating it. I was met with blank stares and thought that maybe they didn’t understand so I repeated the story and was met with more blank stares so I went back to supervising swim lessons and hoped that they would kill whatever microbes were on that floor.

Yeah… so that’s my summer so far

So far the past two days are a good metaphor for my summer so far. I can only hope that one day we all look back and laugh at this, because right now I’m still a little bit traumatized. The only thing that would help me to recover is to have a week off by the pool side with endless mimosas and a stack of good books. Here’s to dreams!

Cheers!

Single Mom Unfiltered

 

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Single Mom’s Summer Boot Camp

Summer Time Fun

If you’ve followed my posts on boot camp, you already know that I am running summer boot camp. Okay, so it’s probably not really like boot camp. There is no marching, and I’m the only one doing push-ups (because my wonderful new trainer makes me!) but the theme is “discipline and structure”. My eldest monster- ahem- darling made the swim team and is taking karate and my youngest is doing soccer. Between practices and library and grocery runs, both boys have to make their beds upon waking up, and clear their dishes after eating! We are still working on picking up toys up and putting them back in a designated location. There is also a stricter limit on screen time. I’m trying to get more academics in but so far Reading is the only thing I’ve pushed. I need to step it up with the Math and Science. There are some really fun summer Math and Science activities that I’ll have to discuss in my next blog post.

You Have to Earn It Soldier

The other piece of my discipline and structure regiment is that they have to earn their ice cream/toy/etc… money. My guys are constantly sneaking Oreos, popsicles, and Klondike bars (Mommy’s guilty pleasure) until they are all gone within in two days rather than the seven to ten they were meant to last. Well, no more! Each boy starts with four quarters. They can lose a quarter if they sneak food, or commit other infractions such as fighting, using inappropriate language, etc… However, if they fulfill a request and Mommy does not have to ask more than once, more money can be earned. The money can then be used for ice cream at the pool or a toy  when we go to Target or some other desire. By the end of the first week, everyone was in the negative. Overall, behavior was better, but I guess I needed to start with more than four quarters. I still haven’t made it to the bank. So much for consistency.

Boot Camp Was Going So Well…

Still, everything was going pretty well until Monday when we were getting ready to leave for soccer. I wanted to get the dog walked before we left. We were half way around the block when my eldest just started running and my youngest took off after him. I called for them to come back. No response. I could hear their voices so I knew they weren’t too far off so I counted which usually causes them to rethink whatever choice they’ve just made. That didn’t work either. I threatened. Then I no longer heard their voices. I took the dog back to the house and started walking around looking for them. I finally saw them in the distance near what we’ve dubbed the “troll bridge”.  As soon as they spotted me they ran in separate directions. It got to the point where I felt foolish for running around like a lunatic, angry, and hurt simultaneously, so I gave up and went home, quietly rehearsing how I would relay the incident to our behavioral therapist the following afternoon.

I’m a Mean Mom

By that time, soccer (which is a 12 minutes drive) was already starting. I figured if they were smart, they’d come back. Ten minutes later, they returned. I let them in the house and read them the riot act. Those little punks had the nerve to get mad at me and threaten to run away. Apparently, I’m a really mean mom and I should have tried harder to find them so they didn’t miss soccer. Really?!

They went upstairs to pack, while I locked the secret deadbolt to the door that they can not figure out, then hid the key. When they came back down, backpacks stuffed to the brim with a seasonal assortment of clothing, they reminded me that I’m super mean and they would have to make their fortunes elsewhere (i.e. Daddy’s house).

“Well, I wish you both the best of luck. Don’t let the door hit you…” I said, “that is if you can get it open.”

Imagine my surprise when my oldest threw his arms around my neck in a big hug as he continued to tell me how mean I was. Huh?

“If I’m so mean, why are you hugging me?”

“This is your good-bye hug,” he said gruffly. He let go and headed down the stairs.

My youngest came over and squeezed me tightly.

“I’m angry,” he said in his deepest voice, the one he uses when he’s trying to be an adult.

“And yet you’re hugging me,” I said.

“This is my angry hug!” he barked, then spontaneously kissed me on the cheek and followed his brother down the stairs.

Mom wins Again

At this point, they realized the weren’t going anywhere.

“Where’s the key?” The older one asked the younger.

“She probably hid it again,” was the reply.

They both turned and looked at me.

“What key?” I asked innocently.

“Are you hiding it again?” My eldest asked suspiciously.

“Are you hiding it again?” I asked just as suspiciously, “Because I’m pretty sure I saw one of you playing with my keys earlier. I’m going to be seriously angry if you’ve lost my keys.”

The kids decided they better go look for the keys before I blew my top. A minute later, my eldest returned and said,

“I think we’ll stay with you, mommy. We’re sorry we ran away and missed soccer. You’re a good mom.”

It may not seem like much, but Moms everywhere, you know how huge that one statement is. I may go to bed every night exhausted, and sometimes feeling defeated, but if my six-year-old told me that I’m a good mom, then I know that I am.

Cheers!

  • Single Mom Unfiltered

 

 

 

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Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Bad News

Breaking up is hard to do. It’s especially hard when it’s a great person we are losing. I’d been seeing my personal trainer, Kristyan since January (yes, New Year’s resolution). Kristyan is a fabulous train who has pushed me to discover that my limits are much further than I ever thought. He is also a friend. I’m a huge talker so I need to connect with people who are  willing to engage in interesting conversation. Kristyan dutifully fulfilled this role.

A couple of weeks ago, I was warming up on the elliptical and Kris hopped up on the machine next to me.

“How’s it going?” He asked.

“Pretty good, I guess. I mean my allergies are acting up, my bunion’s flaring, my kids are driving me nuts…” my rants usually go on for a few minutes.

When I paused to take re-hydrate, Kris took the opportunity to interject.

“So, I don’t know how to say this…”

This didn’t sound good. Was he about to tell me I had something stuck between my teeth? Or was it bigger than that? Was he going to tell me I looked like I gained wait? Bracing myself,  I tensed up for whatever horrible proclamation was about to hit.

“I just put in my two weeks notice. I’m starting a new job.”

What About My Needs?

What!? I felt like I had been sucker-punched. This was so much worse than what I had been expecting. How could he do this to me!?

“Wow, um… congratulations? What will you be doing?”

“I’ll be training with people who have special needs.”

What about my special needs? Bathing suit season is right around the corner. “I didn’t actually say this out loud but my tongue is still healing.

“I’m going to miss you. I’ve enjoyed our chats,” Kris said.

Sure you will I thought to myself. If you loved our chats so much, you wouldn’t be leaving me.

“Let me introduce you to Don, before you leave. I’d like to set you up with him.”

A set up? Okay, maybe this would be taking a positive turn… oh wait, no. Kris meant he wanted to set me up with Don as my trainer. Duh! Working out with a good-looking guy is probably better than dating him anyway.

Later That Week

A few days later, still nursing my wounds, I decided to boost myself with a much needed cut, color, and high-lighting session. Beth, my stylist and color expert, and I have been together for about eight years now. When she left her last salon, I followed her to a quaint little salon in the historic district. This was just what I needed.

I called  the salon and confidently said, “I’d like to make an appointment with Becky for a cut, color, and highlights.”

After a brief pause, the voice on the other end of the line said, “Beth no longer works here… would you like to make an appointment with one of our other stylists?”

Not Again!

Ummm… no! I was in such shock, I think I may have just hung up. In any case, I don’t remember further conversation. This couldn’t be happening. It was bad enough that my trainer was leaving me, but my hair stylist too?! She had not just left me, but straight up ghosted me, yo! Last time she left her shop, she notified me first. How could she just leave me with no warning?

(I know this makes me sound like a self-centered, suburban, stay-at-home, drives a Honda Pilot, gets to spend her husband’s money, and has a part-time nanny mom-not that there’s anything wrong with that). Please remember that the whole premise of this blog is that I’m aingle, multi-job working, burnt out, yet whimsical mom who only has these two luxuries in her life.

How Can I Get He Back?

This could not be happening! Then, like a mistress scorned, I realized that I could fix this by finding her phone number and tracking her down. Basically, I could recreate the premise of  every other Lifetime movie and become a female stocker. eth and I have a mutual friend, so I immediately found her email, apologized for not being in touch for the past five or so years and then relayed my dilemma. Luckily, my friend sensed the urgency of the situation and sent me Beth’s phone number and the information that she had opened her own salon out of her house and would be happy to hear from me.

I texted Beth immediately, checking my phone every two minutes to see if she had responded. Two days later, I finally got a brief response.

“I’m sorry. I’ve been swamped. I don’t have any availability until June 5th.”

I responded, “Can you put me on the books for that day?”

Never got a response so I guess it’s time to move on. My friends tell me to stay positive. Maybe Beth is just overwhelmed with the new business and all. She’ll call, they assure me. I really need highlights so if I am mentally preparing to find someone new, but it will never be the same.

This week I need to call the dentist. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he hasn’t decided to retire. We’ve been seeing each other twice a year for twenty years. I don’t think I can handle one more change. For now, my heart will go on. Yes, I did take that from Céline Dionne’s Titanic song.

In Grievance,

Single Mom Unfiltered


 

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Mother’s Day ’17

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day to all my mom friends out there- single and otherwise! Mother’s Day snuck up on me this year. I knew it was happening but at the same time I had my whole weekend planned out as if it wasn’t happening. My father’s birthday also falls right around Mother’s day so we usually combine the two events. Instead of having the peaceful child-free day I was expecting complete with 2 hours at the gym and time to garden and write, I got to spend time with the farm.

It dawned on me that I blog about being a single mom, and should therefore write something on the subject. If you read my Mother’s Day post from last year, you may recall that I bought my own presents. I also snagged a beautiful hydrangea arrangement left over from my school’s staff appreciation luncheon. This Year’s luncheon did not sport flowers, but the savory burritos I enjoyed will always occupy a special place on my thighs and hips.

As I thought about what I would write, I imagined starting with the sentence “This year’s Mother’s Day was unremarkable and that isn’t a bad thing”. And that’s exactly how it started out… unremarkable. As the day went on, my children’s behavior became increasingly insane. I started to question all of my life choices and wondered if it was too late to get out.

Is it Always So Happy?

I spent the day chasing kids, saying “no” really loudly, trying not to drop an f-bomb, and cleaning up mud tracked on the carpet that I had just vacuumed yesterday. Now I’m watching Breaking Bad reruns and lamenting how much easier my life would be if I only had to worry about cartel members coming after me. Those guys have nothing on my 4 and 6- year-olds, who are as quick as ninjas. They are basically your classic “evil genius”. If I had been watching Orange is the New Black I would have been jealous of the women prisoners who get to hang out and talk with other adults all day and also don’t have to cook their own meals, unless of course they work in the kitchen.

In it for the Long Run

So anywhoozles, it’s ten o’clock and the monsters are finally asleep. I went through my flowers and gifts to re-assess how well I cleaned up. Last year’s Mother’s Day plant holder is now a junk holder. I got some pretty flowers in a tin can, some pink nail polish, a bedazzled picture frame with a photo of my 4-year old, and some drawings my 6-year-old sketched of me and him as dinosaurs. Pretty Awesome!

I’m exhausted but before I sign off, I want to put it out there that I think Mother’s Day should occur at least once a month. We put up with a lot and had we known what to expect, there would be far fewer moms and a lot less children in the world. So if you haven’t already, give yourself a pat on the back and then call your own mom and let her know how awesome she is (but only if she really is!). As a radio DJ reminded me earlier today, “If your mom had pulled the “headache routine”, you wouldn’t be here!

My son’s artistic interpretation of me and him as dinosaurs.
My Mother’s Day “booty”. I included last Year’s plant holder which is now a “random crap holder”.

Cheers!

Single Mom Unfiltered.

 

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Random, Weird, Crap That’s Happened

So in the last month a lot of random crap has happened. I couldn’t not blog about it. Here goes:

  • Random Weird Crap #1: I got a call from the school letting me know that my kindergartner is part of a fight club. The first rule of “kindergarten fight club” is don’t let the principal or your mommy find out that you’re part of the “kindergarten fight club”.  What’s our world coming to?
  • Random Weird Crap #2: I got the following comment sent to me from a gentleman named Omar:
    “Energy is money. Family is most important. Government gave women rights because government knows that women have a nack for sabotaging them selfs. And for this feminism we thank you you loyal friend through the ages”. This comment brought me a lot of joy because it reminded me that I am happy about he following things: 1) I am literate and can spell and construct a readable sentence in four different languages. 2) That I am a feminist. 3) That I am still single, if this is what the world has to offer in terms of men. Thank you Omar for your super insightful comment. I know it is most likely just spam.
  • Random Weird Crap #3: A former “friend” of mine randomly accused me of stealing something from her- (I totally didn’t).  I should have seen this coming but I am too trusting. All of the “single white female” red flags were there. Thank you for my next two book ideas… See, I can take  other people’s sour lemons and make expensive gourmet lemonade! Thank you for throwing your sour lemons in my face!
  • Random Weird Crap #4: I got the following fortune in my fortune cookie when we ordered Chinese at work. “You and your wife will be very happy in your life together.” One of my colleagues congratulated me on learning something new about myself.
Who's the lucky gal?
My good fortune!
  • Random Weird Crap #5: Our new neighborhood swimming pool is in the back of a Ford pick-up truck.
Why did no one do this when we were kids?
My kids swimming in the back of a pick-up.
  • Random Weird Crap #7: My kids and I were walking by the creek on our way to the park the other day. We hear a bull frog so I told them to look at it. When we found it, we saw that it had one leg in a snake’s mouth. Me being me, I had to do something about it. I decided to go down and nudge the snake with a stick. The frog got away and the snake came after me, but alas, I was faster than the snake. My kids now think I’m a total bad-ass. I feel a little sad for the snake. He was probably hungry. I hope he found a vegetarian option… and I’m glad he didn’t eat me!
  • Random Weird Crap #8: Our neighborhood also has a new outdoor television. Thanks to the HOA for allowing this even though I can’t get a parking space on this block! My dog is really into it… either that or he thought was a giant, rectangular fire hydrant.
He's waiting for Stranger Things to come on.
My dog and his outdoor television.
  • Random Weird Crap #9: I came home and found this at the bottom of the steps to my house… Not sure what I did to deserve this… See number 3 above??? Is it my own single white female leaving a message? Probably just one of the delinquent neighbor kids. Anyway, I’m almost touched that I get under someone’s skin so much that they left me a tribute of their feelings for me.
Someone left me a souvenir that illustrates their feelings for me.
Ummm… is that what I think it is at the bottom of my porch steps?

Any random crap in your world? Celebrate it with me! Feel free to drop a line and share.

Cheers!

  • Single Mom Unfiltered
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It’s a Man’s World: Women Just Run It While Men Take the Credit

It’s a Man’s World

It’s a man’s world. There’s even a song written with those exact lyrics. What our society often chooses not to recognize is that women do far more than 50% of the work in the world. This is not just because there is more of us. We actually do far more than men, while they sit back and take the credit for things running so smoothly.

Okay, this is very much a generalization. But generally speaking, the above statement has very real implications in our society. My parents were part of the sixties’ generation, which was a great time for social change. At that time “career” oriented women often chose to become a secretary, a nurse, or a school teacher, with dreams of eventually quitting to be a full time “mommy”. My mother was one of these. She was elated to quit her teaching job and be a stay-at-home mom. By the way, I’m not judging, just telling the story the way it happened.

Tales From Yesteryear (aka 1980s-90s)

Ten years and three kids later, my mother had to go back to work in order to keep the family finances in good shape. Nobody realizes just how hard teachers work for pay that is not anywhere near comparable to other career fields. (Note: This is a female dominated field, hence the low pay and long hours- most men wouldn’t put up with that bull-sh*t).

My dad also worked long hours but he got paid overtime for his work, whereas my mother did not. Dad did come home early some nights to help taxi the kids around. But mom did all the cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, and scheduling. There are probably other things I’m leaving out. Luckily for her, as the eldest daughter I often stepped in and helped with some of those things.

Women Get to Do It All!

My mother blamed her lot in life on the women’s libbers of the sixties and seventies. I know other women of her generation that feel the same way. One of my friends’ mothers actually said, “Those women had crappy marriages and lonely. They wanted to get out of the house so they got jobs. Now, we all have to work and be full time moms- and guess what? Our marriages are still crappy, probably worse now because we’re so stressed out.”

I am in no way saying that women should not work. It’s true that many moms have no choice due to the financial needs of the family. I regret that I never got to stay home past maternity leave with my own children and I truly cherished those three months when I could just care for my kids and run the house and not have to worry about work issues. However, I also wrote half a novel during that time- something I don’t have time to do during the school year while I’m teaching.

My non-teacher friends are always saying, “but you have summers off!”

Wrong! I am furloughed over the summer and have to work a part-time job in order to make sure my kids are fed and then bills are paid. Maybe I work 20 hours a week versus 60 during the school year, but I’m still working my butt off.

Men: Give your Women Some Credit

I am not advocating that all women should quit work- on the contrary, many women love their work and some even see it as an escape from home life. What I am advocating is that our men step it up and take on more of an active role at home. Yes, I know that today’s men probably do more house work and child-rearing than our fathers and grandfathers did. However, things are still far from equal even in the healthiest of relationships.  Guys, we need you to step it up. You’re going to have to anyway when we have a nervous breakdown from the pressure, so why don’t we just side-step that and create a distribution of burden.

Lastly, while we’re at it guys, it never hurts to boost your lady up and recognize her for all that she does. Whenever a man does the dishes,  laundry, or changes a diaper, we shower him with praise and gratitude. Women do these things all of the time and rarely take credit, let alone expect gratitude. So in addition, to sharing the work load, maybe we can even out the praise, gratitude, and recognition. We really do need it guys! You’ll probably be thanked for it later (wink, wink).

That’s just my rant for the night and for Women’s History Month. Thanks for tuning in.

Cheers!

  • Single Mom Unfiltered

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National Sleep Month- Hooray!

My favorite national theme month used to be October for “National Squirrel Month” because, come on, who’s not going to love that? But last week I found out that March among other things is National Sleep Month. It’s also National reading, nutrition, and Women’s History month. I used to think March was kind of blah, but now there’s so much to celebrate!

Women get too little sleep. We are too busy running the world while men steal the credit. We’re working full time and doing more than 50% of the parenting. It’s time we take our history month and celebrate our achievements with a good book and a good Night’s sleep. In the morning we can sleep in and then have a nutritious breakfast while reading that good book.

In fact, I’m ready to start a national petition for mandatory siestas. We can start with Siesta March and if it takes off we can add to the other eleven months. When I lived in Spain, siesta-time was my favorite. Europeans really know how to enjoy the best parts of life.

Some fun facts (or more aptly “keepin’ it real’ facts) about sleep that I found from https://sleepfoundation.org:

1. Man is the only mammal that willingly delays sleep.

2. Divorces, widowed or separated people report more cases of insomnia.

3. Sleep is just as important as diet and exercise.

4. One of the primary causes of sleepiness in Americans is self-imposed sleep deprivation- I can personally attest to this one.

5. In general most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep a night- I’m lucky if I get six!

Imagine how much happier and productive we would be if we could get that 7-9 hours of sleep every night. I’ve had days where I have stayed up to work late the previous night that I could barely function the next day at work. It has become expected in our society that we should give more and more of ourselves to our jobs. Ironically, this makes us far less productive.

So in addition to my proposal for mandated daily siestas, I also propose we all have a good old-fashioned slumber party. Get a group of your best girlfriends together and prepare healthy snacks, have a book club meeting or rent some movies that you haven’t had time to see, and then go to bed at a reasonable hour. Don’t set the alarm clock. Let your body wake up when it’s ready. Cook a healthy breakfast with your friends and then go running, hiking, swimming, or take a yoga class.

A couple of weeks ago, I visited one of my best friends and while we did not go to bed at a reasonable hour, we did sleep in until we were ready to get up. We even took naps. It was heavenly. I played with her son for a while so she could enjoy a longer nap. We went square dancing and running for our cardio. Just ten years ago, we would have stayed up until 3 in the morning drinking. We still enjoy each other’s company but we choose activities that are healthier and make us feel better.

Let’s give ourselves what we need to be more effective individuals. I for one, am starting with more sleep! I’ve started going to bed 30 minutes earlier no matter what. Occasionally, it doesn’t happen and I can feel the difference. If I don’t have to work on the weekends, I turn my alarm off and sleep as long as my Boyd wants or at least until my kids jump on me to wake me up.

On that note, it’s past my bedtime, so this single mom is going to go catch her zzzzs!

Sweet Dreams,

Single Mom Unfiltered

 

 

 

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Chasing Rainbows

Double Rainbow

Sometimes it’s the little things that you remember most. This past Saturday, my kids I spent the afternoon chasing rainbows. It had been a crazy day full of swim lessons, birthday parties, and errands. My boys wanted to go back to the pool for some free swim but I wanted to go to the gym and work towards my weight loss goal. But what is being a parent if you don’t make some sacrifices for your kids?

Long story short, I promised we would go to the pool after a quick errand during which an unseasonable thunderstorm hit. By the time we got to the pool, the storm was ending but the pool was closed due to thunder. My children immediately blamed me for the whole ordeal. The trek back to the car was quite unpleasant. As we started to drive, we noticed the most beautiful, vibrant rainbow in front of us. It was a full arc- which I have never seen- with a lighter arc above it.

While we sat at the stop light, we marveled at this most perfect and incredulous phenomenon. As we drove towards home, the rainbow followed us. We drove a little bit out of our way so we could continue chasing the rainbows. While we did, we discussed the science behind why rainbows occur. Everyone’s bad mood faded as we shared this moment.

My oldest told me that he made the rainbow to show me how much he loved me. I almost cried. It’s amazing how we take the little things for granted. But this remnant from an untimely storm was truly beautiful. The real miracle was how it brought our family together. The boys will soon forget the afternoon we couldn’t go swimming, but I hope they will always remember the afternoon we spent chasing the perfect rainbow.

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