I’m serious…you really need to enjoy the tasty treats that make you break your diet, the mad dash through the muddy-slush for one last gift, the endless cacophony and free advice from family, and the smile on your kids’ faces as they smear sticky candy cane residue on your coffee table…why? Find out at the link below…
I am writing to share some information with you about a great program – the Single Rose.com’s Angel Assistance Program which brings together single mom families who need financial help with donors who “adopt” the family for the holidays. This program has been going on for 13 years – and they’ve set it up so you can donate with an Amazon gift card (i.e. no shopping) – so it’s very, very easy (it took techy-challenged me 5 minutes). In a typical year anywhere from 50 – 100 families receive help. So far this year 57 families have been adopted and there are approximately 68 families who are on the wait list. Please consider chipping in to get this number down to zero…even $10-$20 per child goes a long way for a single mom who’s trying to make ends meet. Go to this link and click the ADOPT button:
Thanks all – my best to you and yours,
Hey single parents…I’m willing to listen to your complaints about ANYTHING for FREE…comment away here or at the link below. As you will read via the link, this post is inspired by the song in Cinderella (“Work, Work, Work! I Try Not To Complain! Washing! Mending! Stretching! Bending! I Try Not To Complain!”)
You may think I am referring only to the Tiger Woods Family Saga…actually I am referring to anyone who has ever felt that ugly, clenched, rotting feeling inside of their bellies. That feeling you get when your gut knows, just knows something is up. I’ve had that feeling. And I hate to admit it, but I ignored it for many months.
During my days of impending enlightenment, I remember thinking, “It’s strange; he’s not really here much and his behavior is odd, mean, blaming; I wonder if…” and that’s where I’d stop myself. Even my former mother-in-law once gently said, “I think he’s leading another life, honey. It’s terrible.”
I read somewhere that if you think your spouse or significant other is cheating on you, if it even occurs to you to contemplate it, you are probably right.
I guess I just didn’t want to see it. Until suddenly, one day, I realized that the life I was clinging to so tightly was in my head. The reality was that I was unhappy and I didn’t love my husband. We did not belong together. Nothing in particular happened that day to make me see it; I think I was just ready. Once I listened to my gut, I was set into motion like the Energizer Bunny, creating a new life.
Here’s what I don’t understand about this cheatin’ stuff. Why pick an option, like infidelity, which guarantees making a situation worse? Why not try to fix it or leave it or just say “I’m not happy” and end it? And, as long as I’m *pondering*, how can people refer to cheating as a “mistake”? A mistake? ! Something that tears apart multiple lives and leaves terrible scars deserves its own cruel term, don’t you think? I made a “mistake” when I put real sugar in my coffee instead of Splenda. Surely we shouldn’t be allowed to use the same word for cheating?
I just watched an interview with Cori Rist, a beautiful single mother who had an affair with Tiger Woods. She was so genuine; regret just oozed out of her. I felt bad for her and I do believe she is now in pain.
But I still don’t get it. And yes, I think Tiger’s wife has known for a long time.
Does any working mother, or working parent, say no to that? I think not…take a read from this link to my Working Mother Magazine post to see how you can ease the pain (I mean increase the joy :-)) in your daily life just a little bit.
I recently wrote a blog post about Exercise and Eating Right for Working Mother Magazine. I’m excited about my newly appointed position as a mom blogger with this admirable publication! (No, it doesn’t pay. I just get bragging rights.)
Check out my post at http://www.workingmother.com/web?service=vpage/4856
I’m staring off at the pine needles from our newly purchased Christmas tree, and the moon sand from our old-ly purchased sand collection…both are all over the rug due to a crazy, crazy afternoon with my daughter…the vacuum is too tired to work today, but we had a lot of fun.
My daughter is asking me why I am no longer dating Greg (who I once dated) instead of J., who I am now dating. It seems J. has made her grumpy. Why? Because he told her to stop doing something, she didn’t listen, and, as luck would have it, she got hurt. And she really wants me to focus on *something else*.
She is sitting with me on her bed, with a bag of frozen spinach on top of the very, very large bump on her head. Rewinding about twenty minutes, here’s what happened…J. told her to stop wiggling around in front of the TV (she was bumping into it with her crazy dance, shaking the entertainment center)…and low and behold, the one-of-a-kind, hand crafted decorative bowl that was at the top of my entertainment center (the one I got in Bologna…yes, the Bologna that’s in Italy)…fell down and walloped her head just before it shattered into a gazillion pieces. My daughter’s head is still in one piece, thank goodness. But she has the equivalent of a small plum popping out of the top now; it’s one heck of a giant lump, decorated with a blood stained cut right at the top. This could have been much worse; we were lucky.
One bag of frozen spinach on her head later, I am being quizzed about my dating choices by my eight-year-old. She doesn’t understand why I like him so much; and why Big Naana and Naani (my parents) like him so much; and why everybody likes him so much. What we are not talking about is the fact that she should have listened to what he said and neither her head nor my bowl would be injured.
As she sees it, Greg (my ex-boyfriend) always let her do what she wanted. He never told her no, never teased her. So why, she implores, would I have switched who I dated? Hmmm. Her deflection tactic is working because I can feel my focus shifting. Damn.
The truth is, Greg was very sweet, but he also never had any opinions to share about anything – and basically went along with everything I said. I felt suffocated, like I had a shadow waiting for me to make a decision about everything, from buttered vs. jellied toast to where to go for our vacations. The first three months of dating him were fun (i.e. “Oh how sweet, he really cares about what I want to do!”); the second three months were torture (i.e. “Have I acquired a second child? Grrr…!”). He was so syrupy nice, it took me that last three months to break up with him. But my problem at hand was how to answer my little stinker.
Dating as a single mom hasn’t exactly been easy for me. It’s been six years since my divorce. I have never let anyone come fully into my life, into my heart, they way J. is. He and I are perfect complements to each other. It feels so easy, so right to be together; and something is missing when we aren’t together. My daughter has noticed this shift. She wants to know how she fits in.
“Well, Honey. See, I love J. He’s nice and a lot of fun. And he plans a lot of fun stuff for us all to do together. Remember when I was dating Greg, I had to make all of the decisions and it was no fun for me? Remember how I said I felt like I just had more work to do?” She nodded in agreement.
“But he was nice to me. And J. is sometimes nice but sometimes he teases me. He doesn’t tease you. And if he did, you’d be telling Naani about it,” she adds, emphatically (I pause in amusement at her assumption that I would complain to my mother about my boyfriend teasing me). The little devil is so cute sometimes.
So, I go on to explain that J. teases her in a good-natured way, but it’s important that she listens when he tells her to stop doing something (i.e. case in point with the crazy-dancing-TV-bowl-incident). And I tell her to just speak up and tell J. when she feels she is getting too much teasing, because he will listen. Then I remind her how much he cares about her. We stare at each other, tired. It’s now an hour past bedtime.
I sigh and get up to tuck her in and kiss her. Then a little voice says, “Mommy, I’m really sorry I broke your bowl. And I do really like J.” I smile and say, “It’s ok Honey, I know you like him; want to go to Italy with me and get another bowl?” She smiles, nods and her lovely eyes close. Sometimes, it’s good to back off on the discipline and just listen.
Whew. I made it through another day in the life of an eight-year-old without being excused from my post as her mother.
I hope you enjoyed the Holidays last week. I took the last four days off from the cyber-world (I was busy eating everything in site…add a massage and it would have been really perfect). I had my daughter the entire time so we hung around a lot – and our days were filled with memorable moments… like when she was lying on the couch and called me over for a hug, so I went over and she looked up and said,”Uh, Mom, can you get your belly back into your shirt?” Seems one of the carefully homegrown layers of my tummy was peeking out as I bent down to hug my little stinker. I love the sweet honesty of an eight-year-old, don’t you?
Anyway, this is a recipe for Turkey Chili a former co-worker of mine gave me (thanks Dana!) and it honestly takes no time to prepare, plus my daughter eats it too (I add crushed red pepper to my serving, not to the entire batch). So, here follows another GOLD STAR recipe!
What You Need….
1.25 pounds of lean ground turkey (you can use beef or chicken if you prefer)
1 small onion, diced
1 jar of marinara sauce
1 20-ounce can of diced peeled tomatoes
1 20-ounce can of kidney beans (strained)
1 packet of chili seasoning
2 tablespoons of chili powder
To taste/optional: salt, pepper, diced green bell pepper, shredded cheddar cheese, crushed red pepper
What To Do…
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil to medium heat.
- Add diced onions to skillet and brown them (5-7 minutes).
- After the onions are browned, add the ground meat to the skillet, topping the meat with salt and pepper to taste (I just sprinkle a thin layer across the meat). Continue until the meat in browned.
- Get a large sauce pan and put the heart on low. Put in the jar of marinara, the diced tomatoes, the can of strained beans, the packet of chili seasoning, and 2 tablespoons of chili powder.
- Stir and heat through.
- When the meat is cooked (if you are using turkey, it doesn’t take long at all), strain away the liquid and add the mean to the saucepan. Stir well.
- Continue to heat for 15 minutes and it’s ready to serve. If you have 45 minutes, leave it on low and stir occasionally – it’ll just get better and better. If not, just eat.
- I add cheddar cheese, diced green bell pepper and crushed red pepper on top, in my bowl. My daughter picks away half of the beans (which is maybe why her tummy stays in her shirt).
It’s really that easy and you won’t believe how yummy it is. Enjoy!
A single dad friend of mine wrote to me about the questions his seven-year-old daughter posed in regards to his divorce. He’d love some input and suggestions, so please chime in.
Here’s what his email said:
“I would welcome your insight into a matter which my daughter raised the other day, before we both went to bed. This has never come up before, and I was a bit surprised when she brought it up. The question was: “ why aren’t (and can’t) you and mommy stay married?” I suppose I knew this question would come up at some point, but I did not anticipate it when she asked. I told her that I understood how she felt, but maybe it was something we could talk about later. Not the best answer, but obviously I need some time to think about how I approach this with her (and need to discuss it with her mother). Anyhow, I would welcome and appreciate any comments you may have regarding this topic. Hope you and your crew have a great holiday!”
Well, I used to get this same question from my daughter (as all single parents probably do). And she even went as far as to suggest that all of us could live in a giant house together, but my ex-husband and I could remain divorced :-)!
First, I think there’s no issue with telling your child that you can’t answer right away, you need to think about what the answer is, because it’s not easy, and because they’ve asked a really, really good question. (And of course she’ll ask you why you can’t just answer; to which I’ve said: “I’m being honest; I don’t know how to answer right now. But I will. How about if we talk about it in seven years?”) Only kidding. I actually said, “Let’s talk Saturday.”
When my daughter and I sat down to talk, I started by telling her that her father and I were two very different people. And sometimes, people get married thinking they will either stay the same or change in the same way, and sometimes it all works, like with Big Nana and Naani (my parents, now married forty-eight lovely years). And other times it doesn’t. I said I just wanted different things from my life. Of course, my daughter wanted to know what *specifically* I wanted that was so different. And I said something like, “I’m not sure I can list everything, but if you think about what it’s like at my house, and then what it’s like at your dad’s house, can you tell how different it is?” She nodded emphatically in agreement. “Well, see, we are just so different Honey.” “You mean like how daddy likes to watch TV a lot more?” And I smiled and said, “I guess that is one difference, but really, I just knew I would be happier and you would be happier if we weren’t married.” And she seemed to understand this answer, though she asked the same question several more times (to fact check me, no doubt). Kids need to hear answers to certain questions many times – and this was one of them.
At one point, she did ask me if our divorce had anything to do with her, and I stopped what I was doing immediately to assure her it didn’t and before I had her, I was wishing and wishing I would have a baby just like her. This made her smile. ”Mom, were you so happy that out of all the babies flying around in heaven, Bhagavanji gave you me?” I nodded as emphatically as she did, enjoying her sweet, youthful logic. I mused over her blend of heaven and Bhagavanji (that’s God in Hindi).
My daughter first asked me this question when she was six. Now, at eight, she sometimes remarks that it’s surprising to her that her dad and I were ever married because we are so different. It’s good she knows that. Sometimes it’s a little painful for me that my sweet eight-year-old girl even has to think about it. But it is our reality. I have also told her that her dad and I had many good times in the beginning, as I want her to know it wasn’t always split holidays and silence. Finally, I tell her I am really impressed by her question (I say impressed because I don’t want to admit I am stumped…uh, thinking) and, I’m really glad she is comfortable sharing her thoughts and feelings with me.
It sounds like you have a strong relationship with your ex-wife; one where the two of you can talk to your daughter jointly and separately, which is really wonderful, because the two of you can assure her it had nothing to do with her and you both love her tremendously.
I hope that helps and thanks for sharing your question. Keep ’em coming.
“You are so lucky,” my former college roommate from North Carolina would say to me. “You have built-in time just to focus on yourself! I’d love a break from all the kids and family around. You can do whatever you want.”
I would smile back at her through the telephone, though she couldn’t see me. “Yes, I can do whatever I want. And now I am off for my brunch/massage/etc…” I would say back.
She is married with two kids and lots of family nearby to help. I have been a single mom by divorced since 2003, but I am also blessed with good friends and family.
The first time a conversation like this happened between us was on Halloween, in 2004. My daughter was three and she was going to be at her father’s house. I’m not one to sit around and do nothing, so I had made plans for a night to myself (meet a friend for a drink, watch Sex and the City re-runs, get Thai takeout). And my girlfriend had called from North Carolina again to say how fortunate I was to avoid all that annoying kiddie stuff as the little devils got themselves buzzed up on sugar. After our call, my mind was on auto-pilot. Thoughts buzzed in and out. I absentmindedly painted my nails.
Thirty minutes later, nails drying, I tuned in to my mind’s conversation. It was saying, “From age four to eighteen, she (my daughter) will experience fifteen Halloweens. I can’t participate in seven of them because she will be with her dad; I can participate in the other eight. And I’ll lose one due to leap year, because my divorce decree says she spends Halloween with the parent who has her on that specific day (i.e. it’s not an alternating Holiday for us). By the time she’s twelve or thirteen, she won’t want to do any of this with either of her parents. So at most I will have two or three more Halloweens with her, as will her father.”
I have six more Thanksgivings and six more Christmas mornings with her until she is eighteen. I recalculate it every year. She is shuffled back and forth, back and forth. And, at eight, she already takes it as a matter of fact. Sometimes she even gets doubles – two Christmas mornings; a second turkey a week after Thanksgiving. She goes with the flow.
I know my former college roommate is well-intentioned. She and I both know that the truth is not “I can do this or that activity with my free time.” The truth is I cannot have my own daughter with me on specific days. And that is totally different from scheduling “mommy-time” every now and then. It’s a quirky twist of fate and there’s no good answer as to why it’s turned out that way for us; it just is.
My consolation is my very logical, optimistic mind. I know I could have stayed in a loveless marriage and had every Holiday with her, and we would have been miserable together. In the life I have chosen, we can and are creating wonderful and loving memories together in the time we have. More is not necessarily better. This helps me stay present when I do have her, and it helps me enjoy my time alone too.
As I said, I am fortunate to have lots of friends and family around me. It’s just that when someone finds that wishbone in the turkey and I am not with her, I cannot help but wonder what my daughter would wish for at that moment. At age six, she wished everybody in the world was happy and could have whatever they wanted. At age seven, she wasn’t with me. I wished her a wonderful and fun Holiday no matter where she was. This year, I cannot wait to hear what her wish will be.
Have a wonderful week all –