Monday, February 16, 2015

I survived valentines day…but that shouldn't suggest that I don't have battle scars.

Valentines day…(cue the doom music in the background)

For people in love (and on Facebook) it is the ideal opportunity for them to post pictures and brag about how awesome their significant other is evidenced by the pictures of the romantic dinner they cooked them or the overpriced gift left by the plate. Good for you…

It's also an opportunity for single people or people recovering from a horrible breakup to either eloquently write their suicide note and slit their wrists in the bath tub or put on a brave face and act like their not phased by the one holiday that makes people who are not in a relationship feel like utter shit.

Valentines day last year, I was going through a miserable breakup. Oddly enough, the separation occurred a few days before Valentines day. I'm not by nature a romantic though I give in other ways. But last year, I actually took the time to put sincere thought into my gift and took the time to prepare it so that it was just perfect. Unfortunately, my partner at the time had other plans which included breaking up with me and completely blocking me from every social media site that we were connected through. Nice huh?

It was in that moment that I came to the the conclusion that I was cursed and Valentines day would never be the same for me. I would forever wander the earth with this bitter taste in my mouth about this ridiculously sentimental commercial holiday that doesn't celebrate people who aren't paired up.

And then I had a thought. Well several actually. I "could" feel sorry for myself. I could scroll up and down my Facebook page and roll my eyes at all the "love" that was flying off  of my screen and think, oh please they'll be broken up in a year. But then I realized that I didn't want to give my ex or rather anyone that type of power over me. I didn't want him to take away my ability to believe that long lasting genuine love was possible.

So I decided in that moment that I refused to be one of those creepy bitter bitches who walks around saying "men aint shit" and hating on couples who are genuinely happy. I also made the decision to stop comparing myself to other people. Because no matter how many happy pictures you post on Facebook, no one really knows what is going on behind the curtain.

So I am taking a stand against any bitterness within me that may be attempting to form. I'm looking it in the face and telling it to go f*ck itself. I'm telling it that I believe in love and now when I see happy pictures of couples on Facebook or even two people walking down the street utterly infatuated with each other, I think to myself "Aww, that's sweet. I hope that happens for me one day. "

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Parenting And Mental Health

Ever heard the saying that your children will drive you insane? Of course you have because in most cases, it is quite true!

What makes it a little more tricky is when your crazy comes before the children. As someone who has struggled with anxiety and obsessive compulsive order for most of my life, it took me very little time to realize that my already existing crazy was exacerbated by my rambunctious four-year old Jonathan. Let me explain in further detail.

For most parents who don't struggle with anxiety and ocd, a child with a perpetual runny nose may not seem like all that big of a deal. Well...not in my world. I often find myself obsessively cleaning my child's nose and face whenever unwelcome things appear to the point where I am sometimes surprised that he still has skin left. I am met with persistent resistance as he on many levels makes me aware of how annoyed he is that I will not stop touching his face and interrupting any activity that he may be immersed in.

For most parents, a living room cluttered with stimulating colorful toys may seem absolutely harmless. Why spend the time and energy putting them away when your child/children are just going to take them out again? Well...that is not going to fly. My anxiety about clutter and my obsessive need to keep things in order turn me into a bit of a psycho when it comes to toys being out of place. I don't mind putting them back...numerous times. So what if Jonathan takes them out again? At least they are not laying on the floor.

Most parents ultimately accept that they will never live in a clean house again...ever. At least until their offspring are gearing up to move out. So they may be ok with leaving dishes in the sink, leaving the bathroom a bit untidy, or not taking the time to sweep and mop. I envy these parents. Because of my anxiety and ocd, I can't do this. I wont be able to sleep let alone think if I don't scrub my bathroom, wash my dishes, dust (very important) and scrub walls. It has gotten so bad that I am at a point where I can't relax until my house is clean.

But this all comes at a price and often comes down to me either spending the weekends I don't have my son obsessively cleaning, or ignoring my child when I do have him and putting him in front of the tv for a couple of hours just so I can get my hands dirty. Don't get me wrong. We do things in the house. We paint, we draw, we practice letters. But the minute I get a second, I am on my knees making sure everything is perfectly in order.  I sometimes find myself snapping at my son if he makes a mess and doesn't bother to clean it up, or if he demands my attention to the point where I don't get to scrub my toilet with bleach.

And the truth is, I feel terrible. Sometimes I want nothing more than to just not care and tell myself that I'll deal with it later, or that it just isn't that important. However, my anxiety and ocd won't let me do that and I feel stuck between a rock and hard place.

Kindly do not judge me. But for all the parents out there who identify and struggle with the same issues, just know that I am open to feedback. I'd like to give crazy back and not feel the need to have my house perfect all the time!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Yes, Double Standards Do Exist!

Question: Have you ever seen a person approach a female who has a child and hear them say: "I think it's amazing that you have stepped up to take care of your child?" No, of course you haven't. Why? Because that doesn't happen. Our society expects that women who give birth to children will step up and actually take care of them. Men on the other hand...well that is a different story.

I remember not too long ago before I became a mother, I saw a woman on the train watching a man and his children. I then heard her say to the person she was sitting next to: "I think it's amazing when men take care of their children." I remember being shocked to hear such a statement. Amazing? Um, isn't that what they're supposed to do? I mean if you're going to create, step up to the plate. (Yes, I just made that up).

But it goes deeper than that. Many women see me to be more attracted to men who have children whereas men seemed to be turned off by women who have children. I So I questioned some of my good friends about this to make sure I wasn't loosing my mind. It turns out that women are so jaded about the staggering high number of men who skip out on raising children they helped to create that when they do find a man who has stepped up to the plate, it makes him look "responsible", "loving", "brave", and "present." Whereas a women with children isn't the least bit impressive and actually quite daunting because what if she's one of those chicks who have "eight" baby daddy's, baby daddy drama, is looking for a man to take care of her and raise her child/children or is just fucking psycho? Men with children screams "stability" whereas women with children screams "run in the other direction."

Perhaps you disagree. But please tell me why then is it so much easier for men with children to start over after a failed relationship as opposed to women? Is it a difference in maturity levels between the two sexes? Are women more attracted to men who seem like good nurturers (i.e. dads)? Are men more threatened by the perceived competition when it comes to dating a mother?

All I know is that when I ended my marriage, I felt like the world was my oyster and after soul searching, I bravely entered the world of dating again only to find that men were so quick to bash a single mother and stereotype and stigmatize us. I remember feeling hurt, angry, and confused when seemingly promising connections quickly dissolved after I revealed I had a child. But this didn't seem to be the story for the single men. Quite the opposite seemed to occur in which single women quickly flocked to men who had children (especially if they were the primary care givers) because they were the perfect reflection of a real man who had his shit together.

So my point is, double standards do exist. There is nothing particularly special or extraordinary about a single mom who takes care of her offspring because well hell, that is what she is supposed to do! But a single dad...a man who takes responsibility for his offspring whether it be as the caretaker or that is a real catch! I'm just saying...

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Men Don't Want To Meet Women Online

So after much reluctancy, I decided to give online dating a try…again. One of the pet peeves I had in the past with online dating was the fact that people who do it seem to have absolutely no interest in actual meeting people!

Let me be a little bit more specific. In the past I would spend a considerable amount of time scanning through member profiles to see if anyone caught my eye. In the rare case that this happened, I had no issue messaging the person and letting them know that I was interested in getting to know them better. Maybe two or three of these conversations actually led to a date.

My point is that I agree there is nothing wrong with being selective. However, I think online dating has become this vortex that people "hide" behind to increase their sense of superiority. I mean think about it. You have the power. You get to scan through profiles and say "Nope, unattractive, uh uh, arrogant, too short, too desperate." We become comfortable making judgments about people we don't even know and then we get fed up when we have no plans on Friday night.  People do things like rate your profile very highly or wink at you and then don't take the time to message you. I don't understand it. What a colossal waste of time.

I made an executive decision: online dating wasn't about finding the "one". I mean yeah it could happen, but I knew I needed to adjust my expectations and be more open to just dating and having a good time. I know what I want and I am not willing to lower my standards. However, I'm less critical when viewing profiles of potential dates online.

My observations have led me to believe that men have no interest in meeting women online. Perhaps they are being highly selective and are reluctant to go out with someone they don't feel an instant spark with. But I'll tell you this: I have no interest in communicating with you via email for three months or more in order to figure out if we have enough commonalities to meet in person. I enjoy dating in real life. I don't think you really get an accurate read of people just by communicating with them online. Let's see if we click in person sooner rather than later. This is not an act of desperation, it just makes sense!

What are your thoughts about online dating?

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Are You Sleeping With A Stranger?

Lets talk about sex baby, or rather lets talk about how you're in my bed and I barely know who you are. As far as I know, you could be an ax murderer, or running from the law, or not really a man.

We've all heard the phrase "casual sex". There was once a time when this act (and in some cases it still is) was very much looked down upon. If a woman celebrated her sexuality by keeping it casual and detaching from her emotions, and sleeping with someone that she wasn't particularly close to, she was called a slut or easy. Nowadays, casual sex is not only more accepted but rather EXPECTED. Some men appear shocked when a woman refuses to go home with them after the first date and some just act downright annoyed. It's almost as if the message is, "I just bought you dinner and you're not going to put out? WTF is up with that?" 

So where am I going with this? How does this all relate to single parenting? Well single parents like to get laid too. At least when we can and our children aren't around. I am not dead. I am not trapped in the house with my child 24/7. Thanks to co-parenting, there are several weekends out of the month that I get to enjoy all on my own. And yes, I still have blood pumping through my veins so I occasionally get horny and have the desire to have sexual intercourse. 

After a failed marriage and a series of failed relationships, much therapy that helped me trace a lot of my issues back to my childhood (Thank you Dr. Freud), and support from wonderful family and friends, I decided to start doing things differently.

Like many women today, I often dived into the water without sticking my toe in first and testing the temperature. This means I would engage in casual sex and sleep with men that I barely knew "hoping" that it would turn into a relationship. I actually believed that this was the way I was supposed to be doing it and then I sat there dumbfounded and "shocked" when things didn't quite work out the way I planned.

After doing much soul searching and reading many self-help dating books (I'm not afraid to admit that btw) I realized that if I were a young blooded male who simply had to go out to a bar/lounge/club or social event and buy a lady dinner and drinks in order to get laid, I would have a hard time committing as well! I mean why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free? It was that moment when the light bulb above my head stopped flickering and actually turned on! I wasn't giving any of these men anything to work for! I made it way too easy and then they had no incentive to actually get to know me!

So yes, my anger was completely misplaced. I could complain all day about how I kept hooking up with assholes who couldn't commit, but It's that very same idea that women should give it up easy because we are liberated amazing females that creates these assholes that can't commit! So I made a decision. I made a promise to myself that I would actually take the time and put in the work to get to know a potential partner. Taking sex out of the equation at least for the first few months if not longer helps to look at the person with a clear head and avoid the "sex haze" that often consumes women even when they think it's just sex leading them to get attached to a man who is no good for them! 

So my point is, if you roll over and someone is in your bed and you have no freaking clue who the hell that person is, chances are they probably shouldn't be there anyway! You obviously have to decide for yourself when you are ready to have sex with someone but at least take this into account: We single moms have people depending on us especially if our children are small. With all the weirdos, diseases, and other toxic stuff out there, I hope we have the strength to be a bit more selective and give one of the most beautiful gifts to a person who has earned it!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

"Men Without Children Have To Get It To "Get It"-Continuation Of Women Who Have Children Are Not Contagious"

Sometimes I blissfully reminisce about my life prior to being a mom. It seemed like I had an endless amount of time to do whatever my heart desired. Actually, I often felt like I had too much time and found myself bored when I was idle and had no agenda. What is it they say? Don't know what you got till its gone. 

Fast forward to me being a mother and its more like there just isn't enough time in the week let alone the day. As a single mother who co-parents, I am lucky to have help. Part of me and my ex's agreement is to alternate weekends so that both of us are afforded the luxury of having two whole days to ourselves. For those of you who are reading this who have your child/children full time, you may be a little envious. However, I'm pushing myself to be honest and recognize that there is a downside to this type of schedule, or rather challenges. 

On weekends when I don't have my son, I find myself trying to cram in a zillion things that I need to get done. Thinking back to the past several months, I've only been successful at getting about 40% done of my to-do list during my free weekends. I am frustrated with the fact that I feel like I blink and it's already Sunday evening. And then of course, the following week, I have my son for five days straight so pretty much everything not having to do with him gets put on hold. I'm exhausted and I fail to give myself credit for what I have done and focus on what's left on my list. Did I drop off my laundry? Did I get enough groceries for the week? Did I get a chance to clean the toilet?

Sigh. It's not easy. And on top of that, I had to reflect on how this new schedule as a mom would affect my dating life. As a newly single woman who has been through major breakups and heartbreaks (who hasn't?), I have emerged confident and more aware of what I am looking for in a partner. What's frustrating is the lack of understanding many men have when it comes to dating a single mother. They say they are open to it, but a lot of them don't get it! So I have compiled a list gentleman to give you a heads up of the do's and don'ts when it comes to dating a woman with a child: 

Don't: Call me at midnight with the intention of convincing me to either come over or have you come over so we can screw like rabbits. Chances are I'm already in bed fast asleep and my child is sleeping in his bed next to me so that's just wrong.

Don't: Show up at my door and tell me you've made a reservation at a romantic bed and breakfast for the next weekend and that I need to pack right then and there. My spontaneous days are over.

Don't: Cancel a date that we have made far in advance and expect me to be able to reschedule for the following evening. That's not gonna happen!

Don't: Ask to meet my child on the third date. (Do we even have to discuss this one?)

Don't: Get angry if I can't just drop everything and give you 100% of my attention at any given time. Especially if I am in the company of my child.

Don't: Expect me to spend endless hours with you on the telephone. When I do not have my kid, I like to sleep as much as I can. I can talk to you when I see you in person.

Don't: Get angry with me if I text or take calls while I am out with you. I guarantee it is pertaining to my child.

Now that we have gotten that out of the way gentleman, here is what you can do:

Do: Understand that my child will always come first and while I welcome the company of a man who is as motivated and driven as I am, you will never take his place.

Do: recognize that although I have limitations, I am flexible within reason and if you are worth it, I will actively make time for you when I can.

Do: Understand that I won't let you in easily. You have to earn my trust and respect and I have to be secure in the fact that we may have a future and only under those circumstances will you meet my child. 

Do: Understand that I do not want you to raise my son or put money in my pocket. I do however want you to be present mentally and emotionally and open to the idea of being involved with a child who is not your own.

To sum it all up if you can't not do the don'ts and you can't do the do's, then dating a woman with children may not be for you. And that's ok. It's a preference. But if you are open to it, you have to GET IT and recognize that single mothers are different from women without children. But different can be good.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Three-Year-Olds Aren't Assholes..They're Bi-Polar (Manic Phase)

As an MSW, I feel qualified to write this post. My dear friend Sarah Fader who is a fellow blogger wrote this amazing post about how three-year-olds are Assholes. You should read it . Sarah has some good points. However, I've got a different theory.

Three-year-olds aren't assholes. There are some serious deficiencies in terms of mental health and I'm convinced that they all have bipolar disorder (manic phase) . Lets evaluate this situation people.

According to the DSM IV people with bipolar disorder (manic phase) exhibit the following symptoms:

Easily distracted
Little need for sleep
Poor judgment
Poor temper control
Reckless behavior and lack of self control
Very elevated, expansive or irritable mood, such as racing thoughts, talking a lot, false beliefs about self or abilities

Yeah, that pretty much fits. I ask my son to focus on his homework and he walks away to wash his hands, do a cartwheel, and knit a sweater.

I try to ensure that my son gets a solid 7-8 hours of sleep at night so I put him down at 9pm. He stays up until midnight, and then wakes up at seven..

He does headstands on the couch in such awkward positions that I fear he will break his neck. I tell him to be careful. He laughs hysterically and continues to engage in activities that could have him ending up in the E.R.

I tell my son that we are not buying new toys. He yells at me and insists that I am trying to ruin his life. In that moment, I am the most horrible selfish bitch you can imagine for getting in the way of him having a new toy.

I tell my son not to run into the street. He runs into the street.

Endless babbling, asking why about pretty much everything, and convincing himself that the cat is going to eat him alive pretty much sums up the fact that my son is bat shit crazy.

Common treatments for this serious mental illness include psychotropic medication, long-term therapy and hospitalization. But we're screwed because apparently these options are not available for children.

So how do I cope? I vent, I pull my hair, I pray, I cry, and occasionally drink heavily. I also will continue to bombard the American Psychological Association or whatever it's called and demand that we stop making bullshit excuses that this is age appropriate behavior and medicate our children to the point where they are too doped up to know their names!