Survival Guide to Single Motherhood, or something like that.

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This June will mark the 4 year anniversary that my now ex-husband and I separated and I became a “Single Mom”. Since then, I unfortunately have not been the only one of my friends to get separated or divorced. This is not that surprising, given the statistics and ways of the world these days, but it is still nonetheless, equally sad and heartbreaking for those going through it.

For some odd reason, through these years I have become a person that many, many people have come to for advice. The advice requests range from how to be a single mom, how to co-parent, and just looking for comfort while going through a divorce. It never stops surprising me. Shocking me.

Like, do these people know that I burn Mac n Cheese, say F*ck a lot, and take my kid to school in my pajamas more times than I’d like to admit? What do I know??

Nothing really, I promise. But for those that are curious… I thought I’d type up all my “advice” and hand it out. Brace yourselves people, you’re about to find out how little I actually know.

SINGLE LIFE:

I believe there are all different types of single parent’s out there. No two situations are the same. My struggles may not be the same as yours. You might think you have it “worse” than someone else but I guarantee that you don’t. The grass is always greener, the tables always turn, and the world spins on. Every parent in the world–single or not- has a struggle that is unique to their situation. I feel that I have been extremely lucky to have gotten stuck sharing kids with a man who loves his kids and is an active father. And through the years, we have achieved a good balance on our parenting (which we’ll get to later). This does not mean, in any way, that we do not have our own struggles or that my life is any greater or any worse than yours. [However, give me a year, and I might have some insight on how to do the whole thing completely alone (cue 3rd baby)]. But with or without support, I still have my fair share of struggles. I mean, have you met my kids?

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To me, life is all about perspective. If you think your situation sucks, then of course it does. For a long time after my divorce, I put this label on myself: SINGLE MOM. It was a target I put on myself. I didn’t mean to do it, but I did. I made myself a victim, despite the fact that I chose this path. I chose to leave, I chose to pursue a different avenue of life. Somewhere in the past four years, I realized that this label put a wall up between me and… well, everyone. It not only scared off perspective men from dating me, it scared off friendships. I wasn’t as needy or damaged as this label was portraying me to be. In fact, I was actually thriving. But because I walked around with a giant sign on my chest labeled SINGLE MOM, I had somehow made my life seem like that was all it was about–about being a “Single Mom”, and eventually it did became about that. I fell into the stereotype of this label. Once I realized this I stopped labeling myself like that.

I am so much more than a Single Mom. 

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 I’m a mother. Who cares if I’m single?

So for now, my only advice on “Single Motherhood” is this:

  • You are not as alone as you think you are. When you think about the people that love you, it’s easy to say “but those people don’t count” when thinking of your parents, or long time friends….but they do. They do count. However, they are not mind readers, and they are also human. Don’t take them for granted. Ask for what you need. Give back in return.
  • Don’t cry over spilled milk. Seriously. It’s just milk. The way you react to little things is bigger than the spilled milk. Your kids learn from this, and reflect it.
  • The kids will be alright. One night, I was feeling overly stressed from work and my personal life. I had about an hour to feed the kids, bathe them, and get them to bed and I had already hit my wall. I burnt the f*ck out of the Mac N Cheese, and the smoke alarm was going off. I climbed onto the bookshelf to swat the alarm with a hand towel and was overly enthusiastic. The alarm went flying off the wall, and I ended up standing there on top of the bookshelf screaming “F*CK!” and my kids staring at me like the mad woman that I was. Until Ryan broke the silence, “Someone needs to count to 10, and take a deep breath.” (which is what I tell them all the time) I couldn’t help but laugh. I said f*ck it, ordered a pizza, got the kids in the bath while we waited, and left the kitchen a mess for the night. The kids didn’t go to bed till well after 10 o clock and they still lived.
  • Stop comparing your life to those on the internet. We’re all just faking it. Filters, and edits, and witty captions cover over a multitude of imperfections and messes. And seriously, you have no idea how many times it took to get that “picture perfect” photo.
  • Ask strangers to take the picture. Get in the picture. Get new family photos done. From the years 2009-2012… I dont exist. At least in photo form. I was the photographer. I have endless photos of my children and my ex-husband with the kids, but I’m nowhere to be found. Dont worry, I’ve more than made up for this since, but when I was looking back to find photos of my early motherhood stages, I was damn near devastated to not be able to find any proof that I was actually the one doing most of the work. Of course, I didn’t want photo’s of my ex-husband all over the walls of my brand new “Single Lady Apartment”… but he was everywhere. So I took new ones. Now I make sure I get some with me in it. And I had new family photos done, and it made a world of difference in how I felt about going it alone.
  • Dating is fun. Like really fun. I’m still a 16 year old boy crazy little girl. But friends are important, and so is family. Don’t make your life all about chasing tail, and finding your next replacement. Cultivate friendships and spend time with those that actually care about you. It’s okay to get a babysitter to go on a date, but my rule of thumb is that I never choose a date over time spent with my kids. ie. I date while my kids are at their Dad’s, and on rare occasions, (with a babysitter of course), after I put them to bed.
  • Don’t make yourself a martyr. Don’t run yourself into the ground because you’re too proud to take a break. You are NOT supermom. Nobody is. Despite how cool that label can make you feel. You will burn out eventually. If you need help, ask for it. I’m just going to be honest and say that 95% of the time when you’re whining about something, nobody is going to offer to help because they don’t want to, and whining is annoying. Think about what you need, and who can help you with that and ask for it. Like I said earlier, give back in return.
  • Keep your mental health in check. You are not above spiraling out. You are human.
  • Happy parents are the best parents– take time for yourself, make yourself a priority, buy yourself something nice, stop making excuses to skip the gym.
  • With that being said- life is all about balance. Write down your priorities, and keep them in check, often. Hint: your kids should be at the top of that list.
  • Learn to laugh at yourself. Life is not that serious. Kids are assholes, that’s universal. Learn to appreciate where you’re at right now. You only get this day once. You’re not getting out of this alive anyway. (this won’t mean anything to you until the moment has passed, so try to appreciate the generalization of this sentiment…it’s real)

 

Dealing with your divorce:

When people come to me for comfort I get really UN-comfortable. Like what do I do with my hands? Do they want a hug? Should I just sit here and watch them cry? There there, he’s a douchebag. I’m really bad at dealing with heartbreak. So I’m not your go-to girl for this. I will likely hand you a bottle of wine and make inappropriate jokes until you’re drunk enough to pass out.

I will tell you this though- everyone grieves differently. There’s nothing wrong with you if you want to listen to sad music and post sad poems, cry for days on end and not get out of bed. And there’s nothing wrong with you if you’re the one that goes out and takes on the world, reconnecting with the life you forgot was out there, and never cries at all. I was the latter, which often looks a lot like not caring. But trust me, I cared. Some of us are just better at hiding it than others, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not there. Divorce is painful, and sometimes that pain gets acted out differently. Do your own thing when it comes to your heart. There’s no right or wrong way to have your heart break,  and there’s no set time limit on when you have to “get over it”. I’m four years deep, and I still get sad about it, a lot.

Find joy in the little things.

For me, it’s having off white sheets, getting the whole bed to myself, picking the music in the car, and not having to listen to football talk.

Remind yourself of these joys frequently.

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Co-Parenting advice to be continued…

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It’s not “ghosting”- you’re just an asshole

My least favorite thing as of today is the term “ghosting” and the fact that it’s even a thing. Before I go off on my rant: “ghosting” technically means when you are dating someone and they just disappear. Never return a phone call. or a string of text messages. Vanish.

Otherwise known as being a coward. A colossal asshole. How can we even put a label on this behavior and act like it’s a “thing”?  It’s NOT A THING. You don’t have to act calm, cool and collected about it and you don’t have to pretend you’re not hurt or insanely pissed. I’m sure I’ve done my fair share of unanswered text messages or unreturned phone calls when someone is being annoying or I’ve made it clear I’m not interested in furthering a relationship but actual ghosting is a whole nother thing. Let me explain:

When you go on a date with someone and you enjoy their company, the polite thing to do is to thank them for the date and let them know you had a good time. You don’t have to go overboard and gush about how awesome they are, and you certainly don’t have to text them first thing in the morning. I’m not into the ‘playing hard to get’ thing and besides, ignoring someone is not playing hard to get, it’s just being an asshole. Text or call them when it’s convenient and within a reasonable amount of time.

First of all- some random guy off of Tinder or Bumble, or whatever dating app I’m currently using took a chance and met a stranger in a bar or a restaurant etc completely unaware that she’s a total crazy person and is going to go home and blog about him. Ha, just kidding. I don’t let them figure that out right away. Anyway, he didn’t stand you up, and he paid for your meal. If he stood you up or didn’t pay for your meal, then by all means- ghost away. This goes both ways. Just because a man paid, doesn’t mean he shouldn’t thank me for my time. Time is money, and when you’re a mom and have kids…chances are, I’m paying someone either in money or in favors (not sexual, you perverts) to watch my kids so I could go out with you.

So here’s what I do, and feel free to give me your imput because clearly I’m doing something wrong. If I had a great time and I’m really into them, I shoot them a text anywhere from almost right away to 48 hours, depending on the date and the vibe I’m getting. “Hey, thanks for the date- had a great time. Would love to see you again.” or something like that. That let’s them know I’m a polite person even though I say fuck a lot, and I enjoyed their company and they can ask me on another date if they want.

If I’m not interested, and they send me a message that implies that they are, I typically don’t totally rip their heart out right away. I wait for them to message me and then I wait several hours (this is passive aggressive behavior- letting someone down “easy” before the big blow) before responding saying something like, “Yeah, had a good time. Thanks for taking me out.” If they ask me on a second date, and I’m not interested I tell them. I don’t lead them on and go on another date just because it’s easier than saying no, and I certainly don’t ignore them. I say “I think you’re a great guy (or something to ease the blow), had a good time on our date- but I’m not interested in another. Thanks for the offer though!” THIS IS POLITE, YOU GUYS.  You SHOULD thank men for spending their money on you, and you SHOULD tell them what’s up.

Dating is hard. It fucking sucks. For everyone involved. We, as women, have to shower and shave and put makeup on and damage the ever living fuck out of our hair with a curling iron and then try to balance in heels after we’ve consumed a beverage that diIMG_5002rectly effects the cerebellum which CONTROLS YOUR BALANCE. And men have to get the courage to actually ask us out (unless you’re like me and do it for them -I have been known to ask guys out), hopefully spray on some cologne and brush their teeth, and then they have to pay for the whole thing whether we liked them or not.

Yes, I’m a firm believer in the old fashioned ways of men paying on a first date (unless, I asked them out, in which case I offer to pay).

So this is where I seem to have problems in the dating field. I can tell based off one date whether I like someone or not. I don’t play games- I don’t wait around for a man to text me, and I don’t wait around if he says he’s busy. I do try to date one person at a time, but if I’m not getting a vibe that says he’s super interested, then I move on to the next. However, despite how fucking polite I am, in the past year I have been “ghosted” twice.  You know, where I’ve been chatting with somone, going on dates, and then they disappear out of thin air. And it has left me in literal “What the fucking fuck just happened” confusion.

So the first one left me mind blown. I didn’t care about the actual relationship- if he had dumped me like a normal human, I would have took it with stride, thrown up some deuces and never would have thought of him again. But he didn’t. We had been dating for 6 weeks, and every day in those 6 weeks counted because we spent every single one of them together. I met his mother, his sister, his son, his niece, his aunts, family friends, etc. He met my ex, my mother, and my kids. Aside from my husband, nobody had ever made it this far. One day everything was great. We woke up together, and I was feeling a little swoon worthy over him. Fast forward 6 hours and I got one of the last text messages ever from him, “Bye”.  Attempted to call him, see him, and message him over the next 3 days in order to have a formal, mature, adult break up. I got nothing. After I decided fuck it- I sent him a stream of what I really thought text messages, and finally got one of those lame “you’re a great person, I’m not ready, blah blah blah” text messages that meant nothing at that time because I had to go full blown crazy person to recieve that message. WAS THAT SO HARD TO SAY 3 DAYS AGO? No. It wasn’t.

It was hurtful and cowardly that the behavior he displayed read to me that I wasn’t worth the conversation. I am confident and secure enough to know that’s not true, but when you treat someone like that, that IS what you’re saying to them: that they don’t matter. To me, it said “Your kids don’t matter to me” and that was one of the most hurful things about that. My kids asked for weeks where he was and why we weren’t going to his house. Lucky for me, I’ve become a professional at answering my kids intuitive questions about adult affairs. I simply said “Mommy and ___ aren’t going to be friends anymore because he hurt my feelings and didn’t apologize so we’re not going to his house anymore” and when Ryan said, “Well, I can still go to his house. You can just drop me off” I told him we take sides in this family and I gave birth to him so his loyalty lies with me. He’s never asked about him again.

If we continue using the word “ghosting” as if it’s a thing, our attitudes towards that behavior change. We gradually begin to accept it as a part of dating. THIS IS NOT DATING! This is being an incredible fucking asshole. This is actually insane. I know I joke a lot and I’m flippant about pretty serious things because they make me uncomfortable but I’m completely serious when I say this kind of behavior indicates something very seriously wrong with someone..but yet I hear about it all the time. Have we become that socially immature that we can’t have adult conversations? Is the casualty of swiping making the physical being sitting across the table seem less real?  Guys, we are not our online avatars. We are real people with real feelings. Do people understand this, or am I the crazy one? Have we not matured past the 14 year old boy in an AIM chat room harassing a girl he has a crush on bIMG_5933ecause he doesn’t know how to just say “I LIKE YOU”. You can only hide behind your screens for so long. Eventually you have to learn how to have a real conversation with a real, physical being. If you’re too cowardly to have an adult conversation, then you shouldn’t be dating. I refuse to accept this kind of behavior and I hope all of my friends- women and men, do too. I promise you I am not afraid or embarassed about getting the answers I deserve. If I give you my time or my energy and especially if I let you into my life and heart (blech) then I deserve to be dumped properly.

And for the record, I am the 14 year old girl who printed off those AIM conversations and handed them out like birthday invitations to everyone, including the principal.

 

Shiny New Blog

IMG_0222First things first- I have been blogging since 2004, when “blogging” first became a thing. I used to use my Xanga to blog about my daily activities and passive aggressively talk shit about people and post little “tinypic” images to convey my emotions instead of just being a normal person and bottling it all up and then playing it totally cool. I’m not gonna lie, some things haven’t changed. Before blogging was around, we had things called Diaries. With keys. Paper & pen. I started that when I learned how to write my name. I started off by writing how annoying my brother was and what me and my friends were going to do that weekend and how boys were so confusing and should I date Joey or David? Again, things haven’t really changed in that department.

I started my “Thompson Family” blog back in 2009 when my HUSBAND (Yes, husband) and I first got engaged and found out we were expecting a screaming, crying, time consuming little ball of terror and love, otherwise known as a baby. I documented really random, boring things like how many times me and Tristan watched Barney and when we bought a vacuum. Really, I can’t believe anyone ever read that shit. I was a miserable Stuck At Home Mom. One can only watch Disney Jr for so long until they start to lose their minds. Blogging gave me something to do, as I was frequently counting down the hours of the day until I would go to bed alone, only to wake up and do it all over again. Amidst that misery, we were actually really in love with this little screaming bundle and we decided that this was so fun and our baby was so perfect we should do it all over again as soon as possibly possible.. And so we did and then 16 months after we had our first little ball of rage and love, we had another. And he was even more full of rage. Seriously, he had an ear infection and wouldn’t stop crying and I had no idea what was wrong with my baby.

So anyway, things sucked. You can find the whole story somewhere on here and trust me, it’s worth the read– but for now, I’ll summarize with the facts. Shit didn’t work out.

I’m a single Mom now, and I do whatever I want all day every day and it’s awesome. I am the happiest I have ever been in my life. I have my own car, my own cell phone, my own apartment, my own bed. There’s no hair left in the sink after somone shaves and doesn’t clean up after themselves, and I rarely roll over and wake up to morning breath. There are only two times in which I resent being a single mother and that’s when the trash needs to be taken out and it’s raining  and after a big trip to Costco and it’s raining. Other than that, being a single mom is pretty kickass, and I have a great time doing it.

So I left my husband 2 years, 9 months, and 19 days ago… BUT WHO’S COUNTING. Oh right, me. We’re still married, and well things get even weirder because he’s expecting a new baby in a few weeks. Weird. Awkward.

Since that day that I left my husband, not only has my life taken on a completely different form and meaning, so did my blog. I started to use it as an outlet. I had bottled up so many emotions and secrets, and was struggling with a lot of things and the only way I knew how to get them out was the way I’ve been doing it all my life, which was through writing. So I did that, and it’s been a weird experience because my readers have literally multipled by the thousands. Like by 45,000 or so. Beause of that and with the hopes that someday in the next 365 days I will actually be a legally single woman, I decided I wanted to start fresh. I wanted a new blog with new direction.  I didn’t want my blog to be based on the “Thompson Family” because that family changed. We’re still the “Thompson Family” but we’re more than that now. We’re not just a picture on a holiday card full of cheesy smiles when really everything is falling apart at home. I’m a sucker for the Holiday cards so the cheesy smiles aren’t going anywhere but now we’re also a real family, inside and out– we have real struggles and we have real triumphs and we have real bad knock knock jokes. That’s the family I want to display. The one that is honest and tells the truth even when it hurts. So sometimes my blogs are like super emotional and weird and sometimes they’re inappropriate and snarky and sometimes I just want to brag about how cute my kids are and I don’t know what else to tell you. It’s my blog and I do what I want