Finding balance and the single mother

For the last few weeks all I can think about is standards, or “setting the bar” in regards to dating. I like to think my bar is high, but I think I might be making it close to impossible to finding someone who meets my standards and preferences. I know what I like and what I refuse to settle for. But what happens when you actually meet someone who checks all, or most of your boxes? Well, let me tell you.

 Like most women, I want to be wanted. I want to feel like the other person wants me, or is at least interested in a long term relationship. But on the contrary, he cannot be needy, whiney or over emotional. Independent people don’t have time for someone who doesn’t have his or her own life, hobbies, or own set of friends. We don’t need another shadow or someone who is in constant need of attention. Over communicating is an issue for independent people too. I understand texting is the new form of communication, but oh my God, if someone blows up my phone with text messages it’s an immediate no from me. How have we gone from calling someone we really like, to this extremely informal way of communicating with each other? Gone are the days where we called our crushes on the phone, just to hear their voice. Take me back to the 90’s please. Okay I finished my rant, so now you’re probably wondering how this paragraph ties into the rest of this topic. Keep reading and it will all make sense.  

 

I’ve been told I’m what’s called “hyper independent”. That’s when someone who has been alone for so long, no longer knows how to be in a relationship. We are “set in our ways” and don’t know how to accommodate a new person. I have been single for three years (as most of my blog followers know) and I definitely have my routine down. I cannot deviate away from it, or I have a full blown anxiety attack. How did I figure this out? I actually allowed myself to go on a date with someone who checked every box on my list.  Here is how it went.  

 

Boy direct messages girl on social media. Girl likes boy. Boy and girl exchange phone numbers. Boy actually picks up a phone to call girl daily. Girl falls for boy. Boy travels to meet girl in person. Boy and girl have an amazing weekend together. Boy goes home and never calls girl again. Confused? Yeah, me too. Regardless what happened, it was a learning lesson for me. Here is what I learned…

 

During the amazing weekend with boy, I worked hard to keep a balance between my regular home duties like, cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping and taking care of Livvy, all while attempting to spend time with this guy who selflessly traveled to California to meet me. My weekend was packed full of making sure my daughter was being taken care of, and making sure this boy never felt ignored. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention the mom guilt I felt the entire time I was on a date. It felt like a heavy weight was on my chest. I felt so guilty for leaving Liv home alone with the nanny, so that I could go out for a few hours. It made me feel sick to my stomach. In my mind, all I could think about is if this date was to go terribly wrong then I could’ve been home with Liv, spending valuable time with her. Another lesson I learned is, I am nowhere near ready to start dating again until I can find my balance. Balance between spending time with my daughter, taking care of my normal day to day responsibilities, and spending time with someone I am interested in. Now don’t get me wrong, I really do want to find someone to spend the rest of my life with, but now I have this very irrational fear of someone I like, not feeling the same way back. And that’s okay! I completely understand no one is obligated to have feelings for me, but that doesn’t make it hurt any less. How can we go from having a strong connection, to feeling absolutely nothing? That scares me to pieces. It’s definitely something I never thought would ever happen to me. It’s a terrible feeling for sure. After the incident I spent weeks reliving the weekend trying to figure out if I had said something, or did something to make him feel certain way. It’s been a little over a month since the date, and now I can see some people are not meant to be around you long term, and that everything happens for you, which leads me into learning lesson number three: Not everyone is made to stay. I know this person came into my life for a particular reason. I need to learn to let go of mom guilt, find a new balance or routine, and relax. That entire weekend I was operating mentally at a ten. I was stressed out and very tired. The next time I accept a date, I promised myself I will relax and enjoy the date. I don’t go out much, but even if I did I shouldn’t feel guilty for spending some time away from the baby. No parent should.

We all need to find the perfect balance of self-care, self-love, family and finding love. For me this will take time, but I am actively working on it every day. I am always working to better myself and my reality, and deserve to find my “someone”.

So in conclusion, to the single parent who is trying to get themselves back out there, don’t fall for the first person who comes along (situation dictating of course) and drop the guilt. Don’t become hyper independent, because it’s normal and natural to find someone to spend the rest of your life with (and should!), and don’t lose faith. The right person is out there so never settle.

I have a habit of quoting awesome 80’s songs after each of my posts, so I’ll leave you with Pat Benatar. “Love is a battlefield”. 

Expectations and the Single Mother

Expectations. The killer of all relationships. It took me approximately two years worth of self development courses, before I learned that all expectations when it comes to life, personal and intimate relationships, can set you up for udder and complete failure. How? Let me explain exactly what I’ve personally learned, and what I have applied to my everyday life.

We all have expectations when it comes to how our spouse/ partner should behave, react to situations, and even treat you. You also have an agenda. For example; you get the courage to send a sexy pic to your partner, with the expectation they respond to it the way you want them to. You expect them to react appropriately, and text back immediately with their response. I mean, why not?! You took the time out of your busy day to take the picture, throw a filter on it, then send it. Shouldn’t they give you the response you expect? The validation you need? The simple short answer is, no. Just because you feel like you need that validation, doesn’t mean it’s your partners job to give that to you. When you do something cute or nice for your partner, do it without expecting anything in return. Turns out in my personal experience, when I dropped the agenda and expectations, I actually got exactly what I wanted from my relationships. I would do something nice because I wanted to, and because I knew it would mean a lot to the other person. And guess what… I always received the gratitude for it. When I did nice things and didn’t get the reaction I was looking for, it left me feeling empty and pissed off. What a complete waste of energy, and it always led to intense arguments and fights that never needed to happen.

It’s almost like when we take the pressure off the other person to preform or react the way we want them to, they seem to figure it out all on their own. My stress levels stayed low, and I was a lot happier. When I was married I wasted all of my energy and focus on my ex. I expected him to clean more, take care of the baby more, just do more. I criticized his every move, especially if I did not agree with it. I also came into the relationship with a agenda. I fell in love with his potential, not with who he was already. I saw a man who fit my criteria and overlooked the red flags. Falling in love with potential will do that to you. Blinding you from all the red flags because you’re convinced the two of you are perfect for each other, because “on paper” they check all of your boxes. Looking back, I think he also did the same thing. He loved the idea of who I could be, but I could never meet his expectations. My ex and I could’ve saved so much time if we got to know each other on a deeper level, instead of face value. We would’ve realized a lot sooner, we were never compatible.

I dropped my expectations when it comes to dating, but I kept my preferences. The difference? The things I would prefer in a partner, but absolutely do not expect. Once I start texting or calling a perspective date, I would prefer them to act interested by at least calling or texting here and there. If it doesn’t happen, I don’t waste my energy getting upset about it. Obviously if time goes on, and I still don’t hear from him, I take the point, and move on. I have since been much happier. The old Meg would’ve blew up his phone out of pure anger, because I excepted him to call or text once in a while. So instead, I stop expecting, and let the universe sort it all out for me. After all, what’s meant to be, will be.

Standing firm on preferences is okay. Only you know what you like, and what you’re looking for in a partner. If that partner isn’t your cup of tea, instead of creating a toxic relationship with expectations to change them into who you want them to be, just let them go. Believe me, you’ll be so much happier knowing you’re falling for someone as they are currently, and that will also take a load of pressure off the other person, knowing they don’t have to validate anything for you (because hopefully you’re already in love yourself , but that’s a blog for another day) and don’t have to live their life to your expectations, and also vise versa.

I hope this post put things into perspective for you. If you’re in a loving relationship, but could use a little advise on how to make your relationship a little more positive, try dropping the expectations, and start doing things for them without expecting anything in return. I can almost guarantee they will immediately notice, and you’ll actually get exactly what you’re hoping for without the unnecessary stress and arguments.

Thanks for reading!! Leave me a comment if you have any questions or need some clarification! Xoxo

Learning to love myself and the single mother

I want talk about and recognize the identity crisis, most of us new mommy’s face after having a baby. One day you’re a successful real estate agent, or business woman, hustling and socializing almost daily, then the next day you’re a professional diaper changer and milk dispenser . Before baby, you knew who you were, and you knew what was expected of you. You knew the role you played in life, and your confidence level was at a 10. But what happens to all of that once you become a mom? Where does it go? Why do we lose ourselves and our identity after we have a baby? These are questions I asked myself every single day, as I watched my old coworkers thrive in their careers, while I stayed at home with Liv. Don’t get me wrong, I was beyond thankful I was able to stay home with her for a year and a half, but I missed my old self. I knew who I was when I was working, and I felt relevant. Being a new mommy was confusing, and I felt lost. I had to find a completely new routine for not only myself, but now this new little person I had. Social media didn’t help at all during that time either. Coming from my line of work, it was hard to watch my peers thrive at their jobs, win awards, pick up a new rank or job title. I was happy for them, but I wanted that for myself as well. While the baby slept I used to look back at old photos of myself on social media, just to try and remember who I used to be. I didn’t know who I was anymore, and postpartum depression wasn’t helping. At the time I was feeling all of these self doubt and negative emotions about my own self worth, I was falling into a depression. I resented my husband at the time, because when I talked about wanting to return to work, he made comments like “You should feel grateful you’re able to be a stay at home mom.” and “Get over it.” He didn’t understand because he was still able to maintain his social life and work life. If anyone else is hearing this from their spouse/ boyfriend/ girlfriend/ keep in mind, it has absolutely nothing to do with not feeling grateful. You can be grateful and even feel so blessed for the opportunity, but if you’re like me, and feel so worthless and irrelevant because you went from a working woman, to a stay at home mom, you can feel like you have no identity. I once had this conversation with a friend, and she recommended I choose to see my new identity as a “Mother”. That’s it, a mother. Was I supposed to just go from being a full time police officer, who was used to having adrenaline rushes, and getting into exciting incidents, to being just a mother? No, and it doesn’t work that way. I am so blessed to be Livvys mommy, and I could never imagine my life without her, but I knew deep down I needed to find a balance. I wanted it all. I wanted to merge my old identity with my new one, and honestly that scared me so much. My fear was if I put all of my energy into my work, what could I possibly have to give Liv at the end of the day. Negative thoughts raced through my mind daily. I remember thinking my first week back at work “What am I doing here?!”. Again, I had lost myself while being a stay a home mom, I didn’t know if I could do my job anymore. It took me about a year to find my balance. It took a long time to find my new identity, and it was a lot of trial and error. I learned the hard way that my true identity didn’t come from my profession. It also didn’t come from being a mom (although, I absolutely love being one). It came from me. Who I was as a person. The choices I make every single day to better myself, and others around me. Not to get all “mushy feely” on you, but my perspective comes from a place of loving myself, regardless if I am a successful police officer, or a full time stay at home mommy. Finding myself or new identity took learning how to mediate, finding my higher self, and learning to ground myself. Work no longer defines who I am, and neither does being a mom. I am so much more than that, and so is all the other mamas out there. Now is your opportunity to break up with your old self, and rediscover what you’re actually put here on earth to do. Discovering mediation and grounding techniques actually gave me an amazing spiritual awakening. My mind is the clearest it has ever been, and I wake up every morning with love and gratitude. Don’t get me wrong, my life isn’t perfect and I do struggle sometimes on maintaining a balanced life, but I can still find at least three or five things in my day to be grateful for. My next blog will be all about my spiritual awakening and finding gratitude’s and blessings, so I don’t want to dig too deep yet on this topic yet, but maybe you can use the tools I shared to rediscover your true self and identity.

Traveling and the Single Mother

How many parents out there have traveled alone with an infant? How many parents out there have traveled alone internationally with an infant, or a toddler? I have, and if you’re a military wife I bet you raised your hand twice, and good for you for surviving that challenge! Seriously, that has to be the biggest, toughest, emotionally draining, alcohol inducing, thing I have ever done, and that’s coming from a former Marine and Police Officer! Coworkers, friends, and social media followers ask me travel related questions almost weekly. My followers on social media look at Liv and I and think we travel domestically and internationally with ease, but we don’t. It’s not easy, but if I can do it, YOU can do it. Oh, and without tears. Here are some tips and tricks I have personally come up with when it came to road trips and flights, with my very energetic toddler;

Number one; iPad screen time. Not to quote Linsay Lohan’s character from Mean Girls, but this is absolutely correct. When it comes to screen time “The limit does not exist.” Oh, and bring a backup battery charger. When it comes to long flights or road trips, make sure to have an iPad or some sort of video entertainment on hand at all times. Don’t feel bad for the excessive screen time either. Remember, you are in survival mode, and your mission is to get to your destination unscathed, and sober. Make sure to have movies and games pre-downloaded the night before, just in case you are unable to find wifi. This expensive little tool will help you get to your destination, and hopefully with the help of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, will help your little one get there as well with little to no tears.

Number two; Travel games. Amazon should do the trick for this one, and the best part about it, travel board games are pretty cheap! Here is my list for travel board games I have used with Liv;

Melissa & Doug Travel Bingo.

Coogam Travel Tangram Puzzle- Magnetic Pattern Block Book.

Eraseable drawing pad book by AriTan.

“Take ‘N’ Play” magnetic game boards.

Good ol’ fashioned crayons and coloring books, or color wonder markers and books.

These are just a few of the travel games, but will come in handy on road trips or layovers! All can be easily searched for and found on Amazon.

Number three; Endless snacks. Your job during this taxing process is to continuously feed the toddler. I have never had an issue with TSA in the past when it came to traveling internationally with prepackage baby food, or toddler snacks. You will however, have to take them all out of your insanely organized diaper bag you packed so perfectly the night before, and present them all to the TSA officers at screening time, but you should not be told to toss them out as long as you actually have a child with you. I have traveled internationally with full bottles of formula and baby food, and I have never had a problem. Snacks are good to have specifically for bribes. For example, “I will give you this bag of Pirate Booty, if you can sit down properly, and stop jumping on your seat.” If this does not work, keep offering other snacks until one catches their attention. To this day I am very snack driven, like my three year old.

Number four; Stay organized and travel as light as possible for Customs. I learned this the hard way. The first time I traveled internationally with Liv, she was 8 months old. We flew from Japan to San Diego, and I had no idea what I was doing. This was the first time I had flew or even traveled alone with Liv, and it was all trial and error. I took notes on what worked for us, and what did not. What did not work was checking our Bob Stroller. Terrible idea. I put Liv in the oversized jogging stroller, while dragging our giant 75 pound luggage bag behind me, and an infant carseat in a TSA approved travel bag (backpack style) on my back (also a great Amazon find!). It was heavy and obnoxious. Oh, and at every customs stop, you have to take the baby out of the car seat, fold the stroller, place the stroller on the conveyer belt to scan, all while holding the baby, then place all luggage on the belt, unpack the diaper bag because, snacks, then take you and baby though security, just to get to the end of customs to unfold stroller and repack the diaper bag. Oh, and they dont give you much time to do this. There will be a very long line of tired and angry people behied you, if you were to take your time. There is an easier way, and here is what I learned the second time around. Strap baby to you so you have free range to move around through customs, and layovers. If you have to travel with a stroller, the POCKIT travel stroller will be a life saver. It even folds into a tiny square to fit inside of the overhead compartment above your seat. Thie was also another Amazon find. This will come in handy for toddlers up to three years old as well. I love this stroller, and when Liv grew out of it, I donated it to another mama who was traveling solo with her little one. We both agreed, this was perfect for traveling with! You don’t even need to check it because of how perfectly sized it is, so baby can remain inside while walking around the airports during layovers.

Number five; “The extra” stuff. If you are staying with family, try and send all hygiene products to your destination a week before your trip. Do not travel with them. You need that extra room for clothing, diapers, or even to make your luggage a little lighter. I use Target or Amazon to send all shampoos and body washes, straight to wherever I am staying. Keep your luggage light and organized because heaven forbid Customs has to break open your suitcase, because they saw your curling iron as a threat and needed to investigate it ( true story) so they dumped it. Do not expect them to put anything back nicely either. Diaper bags as well. Get one specifically for traveling. A lot of compartments and side pockets! You will fill them all, trust me.

Last but not least. If you have to travel with an infant, call your airline after you book your flight to request the baby bassinet. You will get more space for you and baby, and your little one will be able to relax and sleep during the journey! This is something a lot of parents did not know! There is usually only one or two of these on a flight, so request it quick.

Traveling solo with a child will be stressful, but the more you do it, the better at it you get. It will be rough at first but take notes on what worked, and what you could do better next time. Like anything, it takes practice, but I can honestly say after three years of traveling with Livvy, its actually getting a little easier when it comes to the process.

There is a lot I am leaving out but I wanted to keep this topic simple and light so, if you have any other questions or need any advice on this topic, please leave a comment or email me, and I will get back to you!

Thanks for reading!

Dating and the Single Mother

Here it is, the topic I’ve been trying to avoid but have been told by my co worker, I needed to talk about. I wanted to avoid this topic due to the fact that my dating life is pretty much non existent, and although I have no shame, I felt that I had nothing to bring to the dating table. So, here we go. Lets dive in.

Dating and the single mother. Eh, well, the legally separated mother thanks, to COVID-19 slowing me down. But, I am well on my way to legal freedom. Even with a mild technicality in my relationship status, I am still being asked out on dates. Now, guys are not lining up at my door, not like that. But here and there, some nice man will come out of nowhere and either “slide into the DMs”, or the most popular one, ask my work partner if I was single. Now, here’s where it gets complicated.

I absolutely love staying home on a Saturday night with my daughter, Liv. I feel like its just where I belong. I honest to God enjoy my weekends together, but I wouldn’t mind a date or two here and there. Ya know, to feel like I have a somewhat of a normal life. To get dressed up in cute heels and a dress, and be complimented for an hour or two. who wouldn’t want that?! So here is why after approximately a year and a half of being single, I haven’t gone on a single date. Yep, not one.

Reason number one; Mom guilt. Its real. The first time I was asked out, I agreed to meet up on a Saturday evening. We were meeting half way due to distance, and I was semi excited. I found a sitter last minute, a super cute outfit, and rocked out in my bathroom to all the good music as I got dressed for my “first date”, to pump myself up. Then, an hour before I was supposed to head out, the mom guilt kicked in. Like, full on, head to toes, mom guilt. My chest felt heavy and my stress level went up. I went from excited, to “omg, I need to cancel”, in a matter of minutes. So, I canceled. I made up some lame excuse, changed out of my date attire, and snuggled up with Liv on the couch as we watched Moana. Did I feel bad for canceling on who I perceived to be an amazing, sweet, guy? Hell yeah I did! I felt terrible, but mom guilt feels worse. The heaviness I felt on my chest went away as soon as I hung up the phone to tell him I wasn’t going to make it. Needless to say, I never heard back from him.

Reason number two. One guy seemed very okay with me being a mommy, but in the end, I started getting the feeling he was not. Let me explain. We were set up. My partner at work mentioned to me a friend of his was interested in asking me out. Oh, and he knew I was a single mom. My partner gave him my number with my permission, and we started texting. Texting turned into phone calls, and phone calls turned into Facetime. He was cute, sweet, and we had a lot in common. We talked for weeks. He never asked about Liv, or even “liked” any of her pictures I would post on social media. But, he was quick to “like” solo ones of me. I thought things were going well, and at that point we had been talking every single night for over a month. I got the feeling he wasn’t interested in ever meeting up with me after a short conversation about kids. He mentioned he wasn’t interested in them, and didn’t even know if he wanted them in the future. I knew right then this wasn’t going anywhere. We never spoke again after that night.

Guys who are not “kid friendly” won’t stick around. Im actually okay with that too! Does it hurt to feel rejected? Yes. Yes it does. But I come with a child. An amazing one at that. My life isn’t easy or simple either. If I’m “talking” to any guy, I have to explain to them that dating me can be complicated. It’s work. I can’t just “get up and leave” to meet you. I can’t sleep over your house, I need date plans scheduled at least one week in advance, and texting constantly throughout my day is not going to happen. Please, for the love of all things good, call me! It’s super hard to have a three year old climbing on me, eager to get my attention, all while texting you and making small talk. No. Just no.

Also, I believe everything happens for a reason. I believe in soul mates, and I believe we have more than one in this lifetime. Yes, more than one. I really am in no rush to find my soul mate, but isn’t the fun part about dating supposed to be the journey? Dating should be fun and exciting, but I actually dread it. Child or no child, I have honestly never liked it. Dating feels like a competition. A competition I want nothing to do with. I’m an old school kind of girl, with an old soul, so I believe in the old way of going about it. I know, confusing, so stay with me for a second. What happened to locking eyes with the cute boy at the coffee shop, and he walking up to you to make small talk, then he asks you for your number, then that ultimately leads to a date? I want this so badly. I have been so close to being asked out this way, but I ruined it! long story short, one early morning I was waiting in line at a Starbucks. I had a million errands to run that day so I decided to get dressed up. I looked adorable, and caught the eye of a gorgeous San Diego firefighter, who I actually had never seen or met before ( being a police officer requires me to work with these guys, so I know a good majority of them). We locked yes, he smiled, I smiled back, and he walked over a little closer to me. I got nervous. Like, a little sweaty under my cute top, nervous. He said “You have really pretty hair, and I just had to tell you that”. My reply? “Oh, thanks! I haven’t washed it in three days!”. That’s all it took for him to awkwardly smile at me and turn around to walk away. WTF is wrong with me?! A moment I had waited for was ruined and I had no one to blame but my dirty, but perfectly curled hair and my mouth. Needless to say, if this was to happen again, I will not bring up my hair routine habits. Then, there’s online dating. I cant. No judgment for those who online date, its just not for me. This is where dating feels like a competition. Why would I want to compete with all the single girls within a 25 mile radius of this guys home. Its too easy to log in to some app, order yourself a Friday night date, the same exact way you would order your clothing or groceries. Where is the chase? Where is the fun in this? If I have to cancel on a date, its super easy to replace me with a new girl you found on Tinder. Again, dating sucks. For now on, I will not be afraid to be the pursuer if I need to be. Its okay to see someone you would love to get to know, and ask them out. I no longer have any shame when it comes to that. But, it will take someone super special to pull me away from a Disney movie with Livvy on a Saturday night.
I know one day I will find my “perfect man” but it will take some time, and I’m okay with that. It will happen for me, and if this pertains to you, you as well. To quote an early 80’s band I love “Hold the line. Love isn’t always on time”. -TOTO

Have a question? Ask me in the comments section or send me an email! XOXO

Opening Thoughts

First and foremost, before I dive into this thing I have to say thank you. Thank you for supporting this blog and me. This blog is becoming so incredibly therapeutic to my out of control, but exciting life. 

I have a bad habit of making my life appear flawless on social media, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. So, I promise to be open and honest from this day on. I promise to be real with the struggles and the happiness that motherhood brings. Mothers almost weekly message me on social media asking this one simple question, “How do you do it all?!” and my reply has always been, “I don’t.” Shame on me for downplaying myself and my abilities as a mother, and shame on me for not giving an honest answer to a mother who may be seeking a little advice, or might be struggling herself. Aren’t we all put on this earth to help and support one another?  This is hard. Being a mom is hard. Stopping your child from accidently killing themselves every hour on the hour, is hard. But the good news is, we are not alone. And no one should be making you feel like you are alone in this. If you don’t have support or a “village”, please reach out to me, because I would love to be those things for you.

The question EVERYONE asks me. How did I get here? Well let me tell you…

Soon after my daughter was born in the summer of 2017, my husband at the time was being transferred to Okinawa, Japan, for his job. So, I put my career on hold, packed up our household furniture, and moved with him. Our daughter was three months old and I was a brand new mom, living in a country where English was definitely not the primary language, and on top of that, I had no one around me for support. Not one single soul. I felt isolated and alone. My husband immediately started working once we landed on the island, so I was left to figure everything out on my own. I stayed inside for weeks. I only ever left our small hotel room to venture out for a good cup of coffee (Japan has the best coffee in the world if you didn’t know that) to help my very sleep deprived self. My fears ruled my life. Fears of taking an infant outside into a very unfamiliar place seemed reckless to me, and I wanted nothing to do Japan. But, I craved socialization. I wanted that “go-to” girlfriend who knew it all. Who was a mother herself, all while making motherhood look good! The mother who is fearless, adventurous, and sweet. Someone who I could call at any hour of the day or night just to vent about struggles with.

Ask and you shall receive!

For privacy purposes, lets call this super hero mom, Sally. Approximately one week after landing in Japan, Sally immediately began texting my husband (our husbands worked together) asking him if we needed absolutely anything. In fact, Sally insisted on picking us up in her vehicle to take us out for tours of the area, and show us fun places to eat. I politely declined. Mistake number one. It’s too easy to live in fear and stay inside, alone, and isolated. Anxiety, or postpartum depression in my case, kept me from reaching out for help when I needed it the most. I was comfortable being alone and figured I had no control over my situation, or environment. In fact, in my mind, I was a victim of my circumstances. That mindset was mistake number two. I lost myself completely. But thank the Lord for Sally. She insisted we take our kiddos out for walks along the seawall, with coffee. Who am I to pass up an offer like that? Coffee and the ocean? Yes, please! With my daughter Livvy in her brand new jogging stroller, and a cup of delicious coffee (seriously, try the coffee) I had an amazing time. But Sally didn’t stop there. My time in Japan became an awakening. A self-discovery awakening. I was pulled out of my depression and was taken to some of the most beautiful places Japan had to offer, with Sally and our kids. Sally stayed by my side my entire two years on the Island of Okinawa, through thick and thin. My marriage fell apart (to no fault of our own, we just couldn’t make it work) and Sally was there to allow me to vent and complain (we all need a Sally in our lives). Looking back I’m sure it got super annoying listening to me, but she never left. I have her to thank for the mother I am today. No, seriously. If I had not met this woman, I would still be stuck inside of my house, too afraid of the world, living in complete fear of what someone might do to my child. Years of being a police officer has shown me what the public was capable of, and my mission in life is to keep my perfect daughter safe. Who knew I could do that, all while allowing her to live her best life. And thanks to Sally, Livvy did just that. I will always be greatful for this beautiful mom.

After seperating from my husband, I moved back to Southern California, and bought a house. It’s been a little over a year since then, and my life has never been the same. I have had ups and down, sleepless nights, a lot of toddler vomit, bed wetting incidents at 2am, kissed a million “boo-boos”, first day of preschool, gymnastics and swim lessons, and a lot of wine and coffee (not in that order), and honeslty, I AM HERE FOR IT. I wouldn’t change a single thing. Okay, now to the good stuff. So, lets finally dive in!

Learning to say no and the single mother.

I have to get something out into the open. I have been experiencing something that is literally blowing my mind. I’m talking about a word we all know well and use daily, but why is it considered a “bad word”? Why does this one little word affect relationships with friends and family? It can tear friendships apart. I’m talking about the little two letter word, “No”. That’s right, I said it! No.

 Before I begin my rant, I want to throw some fun facts out to you,and give you an explanation on how this word has changed my life.

Fun fact number one. Women are people pleasers. If you’re a women reading this right now, you probably can relate. More women than men feel the need to please everyone around them regardless of relationship status. Strangers included. We can’t say no. Even if we are stretched thin, and have a million things going on all at once, we feel the need to fulfill the requests of others, at the expense of our own sanity. For example, your best girlfriend calls and asks if she can come over to hang out with you tomorrow evening. You know that in the evening time, it’s the only designated time you have to get your laundry done, or even the only time you have away from your kids, and have been looking forward to this alone time for weeks. YOU STILL SAY “YES”. You say yes to everyone. You’re a people pleaser. You feel like a terrible friend because let’s be real, being a parent is hard and time consuming. You give every ounce of your energy to the health and safety of your children, not leaving much for your own. Mental health to be more specific. And your friends are left hanging in the meantime. If you’re a new mommy (for mommies of 3 year olds or younger), you’re in what I call “survival mode”. Your “sleep derived” little world is stressful. You’re over caffeinated, under hydrated, haven’t had a moment alone in years, or even been able to use the bathroom alone, because heaven freaking forbid you close the door for some privacy on a 2 year old, and being used as a jungle gym is actually really annoying. So, if you fit into this category, like me, it’s okay to say no to friends. If you can’t fit them into your already insane schedule, do not make yourself feel terrible because you have nothing left to give. If your friends try to make you feel bad for your absence, and you’ve tried to explain your situation to them, and they’re still not getting it, maybe it’s time to get some new friends. Is this harsh? Hell yes it is. Maybe even a little bit extreme, but you make the call. If the friend is worth having around then maybe set a specific date, place, time, and location. Let everyone know you have allotted time open for a coffee or a wine date. Set the location, and put out the mass invite. If they make it, great! If they don’t, then you tried, girl.    

 

Fun fact number two. Sometimes, your family doesn’t get it. Whether you’re a single mom, or a happily married mom, raising little people is hard work. Having family members who are constantly judging your every “mommy move”, makes it even harder. Let me paint you a picture of how my family operates. I come from an extremely close family. Everyone knows everyone’s business at all times. We are loud, loving, involved, and have zero filters. No questions or topics are off the table because, hey, we’re family! This also includes the expectation that you will sleep over at their homes, instead of getting a comfy hotel room. I travel up north to visit family approximately four times a year. I always drive the ten long hours from Southern California to Northern California to save money. It’s always the expectation that Livvy (my baby) and I stay with a family member. It’s actually insulting to them if you don’t. In the most loving way, of course. As much as I love spending the nights at their homes, it requires me to share a bed with my three year old, with all of our luggage stored in the corner of the room, and with the AC always off, because my family be like that. Not cheap, but “budget friendly”. To put it kindly, I don’t sleep. My toddler is a violent sleeper. She attacks me multiple times during the night. She uses her knees and elbows to thrash around the bed, constantly assaulting me. Every co-sleeping mom reading this right now is shaking their heads in agreement. Toddlers cannot just stay in one spot during the night. It’s just a fact. I wake up pissed off and feeling victimized as I check my rib cage for bruising. It’s terrible. Oh, let’s not forget about the excessive sweating most toddlers have. The room can be a cool 62 degrees and Livvy will be sweating her cute little butt off. Why does my child turn into a hot furnace during the night? I have no idea. But, apparently this is not uncommon for toddlers to sweat while sleeping. For the first time in my short 33 years of life, I advised my mother that Livvy and I would be getting a hotel room out in town. I explained to her that I needed to be able to get a full night of sleep, with AC, and two queen sized beds. To my surprise my mother replied “okay”. Word spread quickly that I had made plans to stay in a hotel, and my phone began to ring. I had other family members trying to make me feel bad for making this choice. I still said “no thank you”. I explained I needed to be able to sleep and be comfortable during my time there. If I’m tired and sleep deprived during my visit, then I’m just not myself. I said no, and guess what, I had an amazing time up north, and my family still loves me anyway. So, in conclusion, even if your family doesn’t agree with your actions, they are still going to love you anyway.   

 

Getting back to the “time allotted” thing I mentioned before. I came up with this idea after losing some friends by politely declining invites to hang out. Every week I send out a mass text message to girlfriends who I rarely get to see. Some who have kids, and some who do not. I tell them I am having a wine night with snacks, and give them a specific time, and the place (always my house). Then, I wait to see who comes. If they can’t make it, I honestly don’t take offense to it. But, in return, they can’t give you a hard time about how they are never able to spend time with you. You are trying. You have made these plans in advance and it shows you are trying so very hard to maintain your friendships. This may or may not work for you right in this moment, but it might work at a later time. Like, maybe when your child starts sleeping through the night.