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...