My Single Mom Challange

My Single Mom Challenge –

There’s a lot of challenges that face single moms, to the point the term “single mom” evokes almost the same pity as the term orphan. I’m a single mom so this is real time perspective. Being a single mom can be challenging, there’s are parts of it I cannot change. Focusing past the parts I can’t change, is my single mom challenge. Focusing on the things I can change is where the mountains begin to move. Hind sight focuses best in great distance. But, in just 2 years of living on my own with my kids, I can easily see that I’m a better mom, and even their dad is a better dad. That means my kids got an upgrade, that’s right, first class baby!! As a single mom I have to work more, I’m also a full time student, but even with all that I still have free time, everybody does. I can actually give all that to my kids if I wanted to. I know we all need “Me” time, I know that. “We” time is what I’m talking about. Every sunny day, I can declare a picnic day. Why do kids love picnics so much? Who knows, but they do, it makes eating an adventure. I could actually make macaroni and cheese every night, if I were so inclined. I can make thumb wrestling mandatory before bedtime. I can make pillow fights the way we announce dinner. I can make up new games, listen to more stories and color more pictures. Because looking perfect when they come home from school, doesn’t matter to them. Having a snack ready, that matters. See I’ve saved time already. Looking effortlessly hot, takes a lot longer than making a sandwich. I grew up in church, I understand families were designed to have two parents. On a side note, I’ve done a couple 10k(s) and been passed by runners with prosthesis where there was supposed to be a leg. The original human design is two legs, but like I said I particularly noticed these runners as they passed me. There is no dismissing the struggle, but the struggle is in the dysfunction, not in the adaption. Struggle is when something doesn’t work no matter how hard you try. Struggle is fighting a losing cause. Struggle is zero return on your investment. Struggle is working hard for nothing in return. Struggle will wear you out. Which is why I think people bleed struggle into adaption. When worn out people finally, cut their losses and adapt, they are often still weary from the struggle. Adaption pays off. Adaption works. Adaption requires gusto even when you’re tired. But Adaption eventually, syncs and compliments your efforts. There is no reason I can’t set my sights on changing the way people look at broken homes. I’m not saying I want to chop off my legs and get a springy prosthesis, but as those runners past me, my first thought was wow, maybe they have an advantage. What??? An amputee has an advantage! Without a doubt, sincerely that was my first thought. They took their struggle and made their adaption an advantage. As optimistic as that sounds, the truth rings louder than the cheer.

One giant thing I’ll have to monitor being a single mom is my hearing. Poor thing, I don’t know how you do it. Sympathy is fine, even kind, but letting it define you is a trap. I’m the strongest person I know. My kids have an emotional Olympic champion as a mom, lucky kids! I’m actually not lonely, and if you must know, I’m also not walking around on egg shells. I’m not missing out, I’m finally finding out how beautiful a house is that’s full of peace and absent of fear. I’m the lucky one, I walked through what scares most people into staying. I faced the giants and discovered the smoke and mirror illusions for myself. Someone told me once, “that’s sad, you gave him the best years of your life”. How could that be, because I only just begun to live? I am the happiest I ever even hoped or wished I would be. How many kids can say that about their mom? The adaption process takes time, but the work yields results. In the end, you will out run those who thought you couldn’t, shouldn’t or wouldn’t be able to keep up. Keep the faith, run the race. amy-palmiero-winters

posit it plan

post-it-notes3

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.

My biggest fan…myself

images

What will next year look like?

 

 Every year when my birthday comes around, it always make me think about where I was the year before. I don’t consciously mean to, but I sort of grade myself. I’ve never really thought about it ‘till now, but I do. How far have I come? What progress did I make? I especially notice my relationships, have they grown? Am I in a better place? Am I where I want to be? What did I accomplish? I set goals for myself, like New Year’s Resolutions. My birthdays are just more heavily marked, maybe because there’s always cake! Among my resolutions this year was one that struck me as a huge why didn’t I already think of this. And my Duh resolution is: I’m not going to say anything negative about myself. On the surface, that sounds general, but if you kept track of all the negative things you say to yourself just in your head you would be astounded, dare I say flabbergasted. Did you know you have between 1,200 – 1,600 words of self-talk a minute. How many of those words are negative about yourself? Like I bet I look stupid. I’m not ready for this. What will they think? I’m too fat to wear this. I’ll look like a slut (what?)  I always park badly. I never remember. I always lose my keys. I can’t. I quit. I’ll never. You degrade yourself more than your biggest grudge. Stop it! I constantly tell my kids if you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all. So I’m not saying be delusional, I don’t want to create an everyone gets a trophy mentality. But I really believe you should be your biggest fan. You should be your own hero. You should believe in yourself more than anyone, heck if you don’t why should anyone else? If the person that puts you down the most stopped, what would that look like? What kind of relief would that be? Yeah I said relief, with all the stress in a modern day first world country, why unnecessarily burden yourself? On a flight the flight attendant says parents in case of a crash put the oxygen mask on yourself and then your kids. That’s not cruel, you’re their best bet, save yourself so you can save them. The same is true in life, how differently could you help others if you saved yourself first. I was getting my hair cut as all these thoughts were shuffling through my mind, and as she finished up she said, “You’re gorgeous” and I immediately said nah….but heck yeah I did, that’s what I was paying for, and I quickly said, “Thank you”. See it’s as simple as that. I can’t wait to see how I look next year, because my guess is, I’ll be amazing!

 

 

No strings attached

Strings-Attached

No Strings Attached

 

Does that even exist? What do you do when you find yourself all tangled up in the good intentions of others?

  1. You start with the string that’s with the greatest choke hold, and you cut it. Usually all lines lead off of this one. So it may be the hardest to cut. When I thought about the strings in each of my relationships I know where the anchor rope was.
  2. Not all string are bad. Strings secure things in life and in relationships. Every single person wants security on some level. Strings can keep you connected. Strings can bring stability.
  3. Sometimes good people unintentionally tie you down. Any lifeguard knows a drowning victim has to be rescued the right way or the victim will drown the rescuer. In relationships it’s not always obvious at least initially what someone may be struggling with. We’ve all been pulled into other people’s drama, but the regularity of your tap-ins needs to be your red flag.
  4. You float. Believe or not you float, hope floats. You’ll survive, the choke hold you thought was your life line is the victim, YOU are the beautiful hero.

You will survive, you will grow. Cutting strings will set you free. The freedom to be you, is the very best gift you can give yourself. Discover who you are and how you handle what was holding you, for yourself.

20130826-221412.jpg

Back to school. Three words that will always bring a stir of memories. The first quarter of an average life most people spend in school, and its become such a center point that the new quarter life crisis term was coined. A common way to summarize the stress, of that life changing transition. So here I stand in my rear view mirror I see a 16 year marriage on the verge of fading into the distance. Six months ago I couldn’t see past the settling dust of ruins to even imagine myself going back to school. Six tiny months, you can’t even create life in six months, yet I’ve set out on the naive mission to change mine. Reinvent I like to say. Single mother, new student, spider killer, toilet fixer, toddler toter, bill payer, dinner maker. So far the best part is the deep breath I take when I walk through the front door. In the six months I’ve lived here, I’ve never once, walked in with dread. That alone has been known to reverse the signs of forehead wrinkles. The worst part is, it’s a lot. Different stress, the kind’ve buck stops here stress. I’m not lonely in the way my 14 yr old ask if I am, it’s more like I can’t let down my guard not once, never. I want my children be confident that I can handle anything. So the worse day, I don’t cry! Sometimes I wonder if I were to let go, to just have a good, bad day cry. Would the tears ever stop? The build up from the last six months has to be some sort of dramatic tending female sign of super power. Every single day the good out ways the hard. I’ve learned to sleep in the middle of the bed, I have both night stands! I get the entire closet, sweetness! I can buy anything, and I only have to explain it to myself, and I never ever have to explain why I took it back two days later, because myself already knows. I can make anything for dinner. A notable highlight came this week when a friend called to say that for her upcoming milestone birthday she was going to a condo with some friends for the weekend, could I come? Hold on, let me ask…..myself!!! Why yes, I can go. Defiantly a highlight, particularly for me given my highly controlled history. This new invention is like what my Humanities professor explained today as a relief, it’s carved outta something. The original is still there, but the new creation sorta seems to step out. Chipping off the old, I think that’s the hard parts. Once they’re gone all you can see is the new creation, whatever it once was, whatever was holding it back, now serves as a “pop” for the relief. I’ll take that, turn my old poop in to my “pop” factor..any day!