Category Archives: singlemom

Rantings of a People Pleaser

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In recent weeks my ex of 1 yr has been slipping in a People Pleaser nightmare, “by the way”… this is 3 words a struggling people pleaser never wants to hear. That’s because those three words are almost always followed by the inevitable…”Can you”…
My ex has been casually tossing in, “we’re playing board games, by the way….Can you stop by?
…”Or I’m going to take the kids to Cracker Barrel, by the way if you want to join us”….This sounds innocent enough, but trust me divorce is not for the innocent.
Last night my evening culminated with a trip to let’s call him boyfriend‘s house. Said boyfriend was sick which was already causing me to proceed with caution.
I’ve learned to pick up on the buzz words of a snare trap. The tiny pitch of a miniature violin playing the uncanny oh so familiar sympathy solo, is my first red flag. Much to my surprise, boyfriend seemed to really just want company and eventually I headed home without having chewed any of my appendages off to set myself free.
A welcomed relief settled in as I answered my 16 yr old daughter’s call. Even as she spoke I felt the tug of the rug beneath my feet. “Why is dad playing board games at our house?”….”Wait? What?…were the two words that won the hole shot out of my mouth.
So if he couldn’t get me to the games, he’d bring the games to me? What does the word divorce mean to this man? In the 16 years I lived with him, never once did we play board games and now twice in a week?
WTF? Too little too late is a real thing people. We’ve crossed right into creepy, of stalker proportions!!
My ex has little to do with our 16 yr old daughter. I’ve tried to explain the emotional turbulence of teenage girls, but they both have an affinity for collecting offenses from one another. Did I mention I’m don’t live with my ex-husband? Did I mention he’s in my house and I’m not? How is he not aware of these things? Wait am I crazy? Is this really happening? For the record I’ve made zero visits to his house when he’s not home, and it was my home for 16 years!!
The most self-doubting card is always played by my ex, and I fold every time. One look he shoots me that says… What? Nothing outta the ordinary here…I’m always sitting here at your table, playing your board games with our children! Don’t look so surprised!
This is a look I should be immune to, but last night proves I’m not. I don’t care how civil our lives apart are, there are still boundaries! I don’t have a key to his house, because his locked doors keep me out! How is this not an obvious, same rule applies?
The above scenario should have been the Grand Slam, dive in, no water wings needed, let one rip, you can’t go wrong whichever way you blow situation. I’ll just say I was reaching hard to tap into my inner black girl. My “here hold my earrings, gurlll” moment was here and I walked right passed it. Straight into the kitchen like everything was normal. I did, I won’t lie. He knew what he was doing, I was sidestepping an inch and he’s was closing in on the mile.
Will it happen again?
I bet it will. And I hear the Olympic echo let the “cycle games begin”.

It’s not your fault…

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It’s not your fault mom and dad divorced

I have heard its common for kids to feel responsible for their parents split, but it’s never been a battle I fought, until it came up recently.

My oldest is 16. Her father and I have been separated almost 2 years and divorced 1. Recently in a hormonal meltdown, she threw out…and I know you blame me for your divorce at least dad does, he said so. Of course I said what?? No….and all the expected reply’s but they all seemed to hit the wall she built and just slide down.

Yesterday I picked her up from practice, just her and I in the car and I said, “When you and your boyfriend (let’s call him bf) broke up (temporarily) this week, was it over me?”…”No” she said (kind of questioning where I was going). “Well, I know you think I don’t like him as much as his mom likes you, do y’all ever fight about that?” “Not really” she said, “actually not ever.” “Are you sure I didn’t cause the break up?” “Maybe I should have invited him over for dinner more often?” “Would that have helped?” “Mom!! We got back together, it had nothing to do with you!!” “Honey I know I could make things easier, I really can try, I don’t want to be the reason you guys don’t make it” “For the last time mom, bf and I have never had a fight over you!! For the record though you could be nicer” “Really…you’ve never fought over me, even though I set the curfew, I make the rules, and you don’t think I’m all that nice to him?” “Yes, mom…it’s our own issues, our little everyday disagreements that have NOTHING to do with you!”

“Okay, I see.”

“But can you see, that just like I had nothing to do with you and bf’s breakup or arguments. Even though I make the rules and set the curfews and it doesn’t appear I like him, your relationship didn’t hinge on me.” “You, sweetheart had absolutely nothing to do with your dad and I getting divorced.” “You couldn’t have. With all my ultimate veto mom power, I haven’t even made one of you and bf’s arguments.” “Your dad and I had our own little everyday disagreements that had nothing to do with you.” “Your dad and I decided we, us, him and I, couldn’t work it out.” “Kids have power, not veto power mind you, but power.” “You could have insisted on sleeping in the middle of our bed every night.” “You could have interrupted him every single time he tried to talk to me.” “You could have screamed nonstop every time he called me.” “You didn’t. Even worse case toddler as a teenager scenario, we may have called a doctor, but not a lawyer.”

Ahhhh victory!! It’s over the wall!!

She got it. I could see it in her eyes, the relief. She was carrying the weight of a broken family and she had the wrong bag. The whole night was slightly different. Slightly, but still noticeable. Even when I tucked everyone in bed, it was still there, or not there. Kids get tied up in wrong thinking all the time. We know to battle for their self-esteem, their identity, their value. Constantly talking to them allows little hints of what they’re carrying to slip out. Refusing to be offended is the hardest and one of the most important things a parent can do. Hearing my daughter say, I blamed her, stung a little. I had to follow the advice I constantly give my kids, Is it true? No of course that wasn’t true. But the truth in how she felt came out. Anger is a little like alcohol, sometimes it can be a truth serum, but you got to be willing to remain unoffended. Your children will thank you, their children will thank you, their children will thank you….  

 

Carrying the Past

If you carry bricks from your past relationships to the new one you will build the same house (1)

Holding on to the past

“Two monks were on a pilgrimage. One day, they came to a deep river. At the edge of the river, a young woman sat weeping because she was afraid to cross the river without help. She begged the two monks to help her. The younger monk turned his back. The members of their order were forbidden to touch a woman.

But the older monk picked up the woman without a word and carried her across the river. He put her down on the far side and continued his journey. The younger monk came after him, scolding him and berating him for breaking his vows. He went on this way for a long time.

Finally, at the end of the day the older monk turned to the younger one. “I only carried her across the river. You have been carrying her all day.”

There have been plenty of times in the middle of my worst days that I have unintentionally carried the past. Sometimes dealing with the issue will hold you back less than avoiding it.

My 1st unanniversary

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Today I would have been married 18 years. My first divorced unanniversary. Last year we were separated, but this year was different. Let me preface this whole thing, by saying, I’ve never been happier. I wanted the divorce. My kids are happier and more adjusted than I ever thought possible. Perfect best case scenario. So why was there a tug at my heart all day? I think this is some of the things people fail to mention about divorce. It still hurts, even though it hurts less. I guess it’s like getting a tooth removed, why does your tongue seem to question the emptiness? Every night I go to bed (by myself) thrilled to be me. That’s an unbelievably amazing feeling. The first year I was separated I had some pretty great mentors. A question they constantly made me revisit was who is Christel? I wasn’t sure. What does Christel want? I didn’t know. What does Christel like? I didn’t have an answer. That sounds crazy, but it’s true. I had spent so many years walking on egg shells trying to please, I completely lost myself. The past almost two years I’ve spent dating myself, getting to know me. And it’s been the best relationship I’ve ever had. I know what I want. I know who I am, and I definitely know what I like. Freedom to be me has been the most amazing journey. No wonder the path to get here was so difficult, it was complete unexplored. I guess my first advice to anyone wanting to avoid marriage explosion would be, don’t let you path get overgrown. The Segway from yourself to others should be well beaten. No matter how far you reach out, always return to yourself.
Today tugged at my heart because I’m human, not because I failed, not because I feel guilty, just because.
So today I started a new celebration. I got my hair highlighted. My stylist of 15 years, brought a bottle of champagne, we ate chocolate, cheese and drank to a beautiful friendship. If I was a mouth, today would’ve been a tooth implant. It’s a little foreign at first, but less distracting to my tongue. My hairdresser and I laughed about things that had happened over the years and we toasted to lot’s of happy memories. When I left I was full of hope, because I had been celebrating my victories, and my hair looked phenomenal. Cheers to new reason to celebrate old days.

posit it plan

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It’s July. I’ve been home with all three kids while taking four online classes and whittling away at my sanity. In middle of a brief stent of unusual silence, I had a thought. All the catty arguments that siblings can have in the course of a summer, or in my house, an afternoon. All the words that are hurled irresponsibly and comments that are made to cause intentional hurt. What if we had a post it note week. I’m not going to play referee. For one week, only one rule applies. Every insult has to be written on a post it note and put on the intended target. If you call your sister a dummy write it down and stick it on her. The way I see it, there are two responsibilities to miss used words. The first responsibility lies with the issuer, so often the person insulting hides behind the words or even the pathetic defense of anger and takes no responsibility or ownership for what their words said or in fact did. Post it notes will clear this responsibility right up. If you said it, if you meant it, own up to it. You should visually have a reference of where your words hit, where they landed. Words matter use them wisely. Watch them fall, see them land. Don’t blindly shoot with such powerful artillery. When my oldest has to stick a dummy post it note on her sister or vice versa. Watching her wear that will help them understand that their words carry weight. But there’s a part two. There are far too many invented victims. When you actually see yourself wearing words that aren’t true, take them off. Sometimes when we’ve been called something that hurts us we get stuck in the first part of the process. Did they really mean that? Since words are so often just irresponsibly thrown around, no ownership is taken by the offender, the afflicted can’t get to the bottom line quick enough. Most of the invisible insults we wear around every day have zero truth. Seeing them on a post it note forces you to make the quick decision you should come to automatically. Is it true? Am I a dummy? Is my sister the final authority on advanced intelligence? Is my but fat? Does she really hate me? Invisible words are like an infection, you end up treating the symptoms. We teach our kids music, art, and sports. When do you learn the weight of your words? What is the caliber of your weapon? Are you sighted in? Do you know if you shoot to the left or to the right? Do you wait or rush the shot? Every soldier knows how to take their weapon apart. How important it is to clean your weapon. And the importance of guarding your weapon, keeping the safety on and knowing where it is at all times. Words can tear relationships and people apart, why are we treating something with so much potential so carelessly. This week I’m taking the first step in teaching my kids and myself for that matter, what words weigh. The journey begins with the first step so here we go. If every road leads somewhere I’m anxious to see where this one takes us, because self-discovery is always a win win.