Happy Mother’s Day To All Women

I know that traditionally Mother’s Day is for Moms.  But there have been women in my life who have mothered me and aren’t ‘Moms’ because they’ve never had kids and certainly aren’t my mom either.

So Happy Mother’s Day to all of the…

Step-Moms, Pet-Moms, Like-a-Moms, Moms-to-Be, Adopted Moms, Grandmoms, Mom Friends and All the Moms in between.

Today, I want to honor all of the women who have mothered me over the years when I needed some extra mothering.  Because I have needed extra mothering.  Haven’t you?

Especially now that I’m divorced, I’ve found that there are just sad moments when I need a little extra caring in my life.  You  know, like the good moms do.  They hug and push your hair back from your wet cheeks after you’ve been sobbing.  They’re the ones who cup your chin in their palm, make you look up into their eyes and smile at you with love.  Usually they tell you something inspiring when they do that or at least tell you how much you are loved.

Maybe I’m just remembering how I wanted to be mothered because certainly nobody’s done that for me so dramatically.  But I’ve had friends who have mothered me by giving me a hug and holding me for a few minutes while I cried.  And I’m so grateful for them.

Because when you’re a single mom, you’re all you’ve got.  You’re the alpha and the omega.  You’re the pillar of strength and if you need a hug, well, hug yourself.

It takes a village to raise kids and I’m grateful for the village I’ve got which includes a bunch of friends who I can rely on and who can rely on me.  We’ve bonded as women, friends and extra moms.  Because you just never know when you need to be mothered.

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Managing Expectations Vs. Reality Single Mom Style

It’s Mother’s Day weekend and I’m engaging what I’ve learned in order to survive it.  Managing expectations vs reality.  Because my rose-colored glasses expectations would be the boundless adoration of my kids, a meal out without me cooking or cleaning up (along with a glass of wine and a good steak) and some quality bonding time with the kids after having opened beautiful cards full of love and gratitude for all the sacrifices I’ve made throughout their lives.  Yes, I live in my fantasy world sometimes…and I like it there.

But it doesn’t help me when the reality is quite the opposite.  Single Mom of 2 college kids who are still in the thick of exams means the full adoration party isn’t going to happen.  I couldn’t help myself and I did let it ‘slip’ that it’s Mother’s Day weekend in case they didn’t know.  Now I have to lay off and allow whatever is going to happen to happen.

I’m keeping my options open, but I’m also not going to sit on the couch alone in a pity party.  While most of my friends will be celebrating with their families, I’ve got a tentative date to Starbucks drive thru for a mocha frappuccino and a slice of the lemon pound cake which is a favorite pick me up treat.  Then if the weather’s nice, I’ll take a drive and maybe go to a farmer’s market nearby so I can pick up some flowers for myself.  I am pretty simple in my needs/wants and some peonies would do nicely.

What about you?  What are you planning for Mother’s Day weekend?

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Narcissists Spin The Story

To keep you on your toes, narcissists spin the story of whatever they’re telling you.  Listen closely, because depending upon whom they’re talking with, the story may change.  Outright lies, embellishments of the truth and even small nuances are part of their cleverness which keeps the non-narcissist baffled.  The scope of the audience is also a factor in how the story changes, depending upon the need of the narcissist for adoration and attention.

I chalked the story telling discrepancies up to forgetfulness or his need to brag when he wasn’t feeling very confident.  “He just stretched the truth a bit,” I would think when I knew the dynamics of his audience and imagined that he felt a little inferior, so he was boasting.  Sure, I would raise my eyebrows when he did it or downplay after he told it in order to smooth the truth into the story.  But that never went over well with him and our relationship deteriorated until I found myself just allowing him to embellish and I stayed mum about it.  My friends knew the truth, so to me, that was all that mattered.

But as time went on, the embellishments grew exponentially to outright lies.  Stories would vary extremely.  It was as if he didn’t remember the truth.  Answers to point blank questions from me became some version of the truth until I completely stopped believing anything he said.  I had put my head in the sand, constantly giving him the benefit of my doubts, before I caught him in too many outright lies and then I had to face facts.

The narcissist is an illusionist.  Even when confronted with cold, hard facts they will not relent.  They will twist the story to evade blame and make it someone else’s or even better, your fault in misunderstanding.  It doesn’t matter how small the fact is that they’ve lied about as it can never be their fault.  Narcissists are not to be criticized, otherwise you will be punished.  Because in their heads, you deserve it.  You doubted them – even when the facts say otherwise.  It is a personal affront and you will receive their vengeance for your disloyalty.

As an empath, you can drive yourself crazy with this lunacy.  You don’t know whether you’re coming or going.  You know the facts, but this is your beloved so maybe there’s a reason why what he’s saying doesn’t add up.  You question yourself over and over again.  Then you begin to use your detective skills to sleuth, citing that you just need to know if he’s really lying this time.  Over and over, the truthful facts outweigh the stories he’s telling you and everyone else.  No more giving him the benefit of the doubt, even though in your heart you want to believe in him.  Until you can no longer.  And it’s over.

Caveat:  You can still be triggered to wanting to believe him even years later.  But stay strong.  Stay centered.  Do not waver.  He has not changed his stripes.  And he knows what works with you even today, years later after you broke up.  Do not be fooled.  Facts are facts no matter how he may try to twist them.


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A Single Girl’s Lesson From Divorce

It took me awhile to learn this lesson, but it’s an important one.  I don’t need a man to complete me.  That being said, I would like to find a nice man to get to know and to one day have a relationship with that’s happy and full of love.  But in the meantime, I’m ok on my own.

When I was married, I loved being married to my then husband.  In the beginning it was wonderful as marriages often are – because why else would we marry?  After he abruptly left, I was grieving, floundering and had lost sight of who I am.  Because who was I without being his wife, partner and part of a family?

But time has healed many of the wounds and I’ve found an inner strength and knowing that I’d forgotten I’d had.  Because I’d been lost in the marriage.  Too focused on his needs, the kids’ needs and I’d left my needs buried somewhere, abandoned along the way in trying to be the perfect wife, mother and family.  I looked to him as my protector and the head of our household.  We revolved around him.  I was just a supporting player (yet the heart) in our family dynamic.  And it’s my own co-dependency, the pattern that we evolved into and my need to keep the peace that kept me bound in that role.

Breaking out of my comfort zone hasn’t been easy.  It’s like being reborn, but I will say that the growing pains, heartache and life lessons have been well-worth the evolution to becoming Authentically Janie.

I have full custody of my kids.  I am home to them.  I am my own boss, pay my own bills and my schedule has more freedom than before.  I am no longer tied to my ex, his schedule, nor his family.  I am free to be me.  I have let go of worrying about what people say about me.  I know I live my life with integrity.  I am far from perfect, but I am a good person.  I make mistakes, but not intentionally.  I forgive and I am grateful that he left.  Freedom came at a steep price, but it was worth it.  While it wasn’t what I would have chosen, it’s been a blessing in disguise.

My life is similar, but different than when I was married.  I am still responsible for the kids, but I parent alone.  That has been a hard struggle, but I have a bunch of friends who are in similar positions and we discuss as needed when we need help.  I sleep alone which took time to get used to, but now I enjoy stretching out and hogging the covers!  I am grateful for all the little and big things in my life.  I know that I’ve made them happen.  I know I can rely on myself and friends/family to help me.  I’ve left toxic friendships that I’ve outgrown.  The friends I have may be few, but they are true, steadfast and loyal.  The kids and I have an even closer relationship since we’ve been through so much together.  While I wish they hadn’t experienced the heartache, we’ve bonded in ways we wouldn’t have otherwise.

So if you’re having a hard time transitioning, take heart.  It takes time, but the journey is filled with newfound experiences that enrich us, shake us to our core and center us in our authenticity if we allow ourselves to get out of our own comfort zone.

You can do this!  Believe me.  If I can, you can.  And maybe someday, I will meet someone who will appreciate the woman I’ve become and we can enjoy time together.  In the meantime, I’m enjoying being me.  Aren’t you?

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College Kids Home For The Weekend

This was a great weekend for us – the college kids and I were home together all weekend!  We bonded again (which is good because sometimes when they’re away, the connection can strain).  We had some good heart to heart talks too which helps us to reconnect.  Their dad was MIA (missing in action) as usual – no word from him for Easter – so I didn’t have to share the holiday which was good.  And I think that was good for the kids because they didn’t feel torn between us since he didn’t even mention it.  Although they don’t expect much from him, so that’s sad to think about in reality.

I love that I am HOME for my kids.  While I didn’t make Easter baskets this year, nor hide eggs (because really, they’re too old), they had cards and little bit of fun money to spend as they want, tucked away in the card.  We spent Sunday afternoon with my brother and his family (which was a lovely experience) too!

Simply put, it was a lovely weekend!  Filled with laughter, talks, sharing stories and as always, lots of hugs and good night kisses from their Mom.  And yes, I kissed them goodnight and they stayed up hanging out together until late in the evening! LOL

The cherry on top was that my older kid repeatedly told me how wonderful it was to be home and how much he appreciated me.  My heart was overflowing with joy.  And it’s not like I did anything really different than normal – but he hadn’t been home in 2 months so I think it was the comfortable feeling of just relaxing and being home that he appreciated.  I don’t have the finances like his dad and that side of the family.  There’s not a lot of spending going on here.  I’m simple and thoughtful.  But I’m always available, supportive and try to make things nice and I think that’s what he appreciates.

Home is where the heart is – it’s where you’re safe and loved and appreciated.  That’s why I love being Home to my kids.  Don’t you?

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It Isn’t About How It Looks

My ex’s family was always concerned with how things looked.  Superficiality was a staple in that family.  What will the neighbors think?  We need to show a happy family at all times no matter what is really happening underneath the glossy varnish.

It was tiring and I wasn’t that type of person.  I wear my emotions on my face.  You can read me like a book, so I’m no good at varnishing the truth.  It shows.  I can’t hide it.  There’s little poker face here.  It’s how I’m built.  So needless to say, I never really fit in.

Sure I could put on a pretend happy face, but after my ex left, his family tried to gloss over it all.  But the stickiness of truth was still there, like the thorns on a rose.  And they hated that they couldn’t just smooth it all over with an abundance of lies.

I stayed mostly quiet out of respect for my kids.  I put on a brave face and attended functions alone.  It was hard to do, but I did it.  I stayed strong with my own integrity, but allowed them to act as they wanted (which was sometimes nice and at other times, hurtful).  I stayed me – authentically Janie.  And I didn’t ask for permission, nor did I ask for a pardon.  And they hated that about me.

Now years later, we have zero relationship and I’m ok with it.  I don’t talk badly about them to my kids, but the kids have seen the absurdity of the superficiality and dislike it.  For that, I’m grateful that they have learned authenticity.  While they balance a relationship with his family, they have seen behind the curtain and the lies and have a hard time with it.  But for the most part, together, they are able to navigate the storms that come up.

I bit my tongue for years thanks to a wise friend who’s also divorced.  Instead of pointing out the lies and superficiality, I allowed the kids to witness it and then process it.  Luckily they live with me so it’s not like they are bombarded by that family and thus have been able to witness instead of being involved so much and blinded because they’re in the thick of the situation.

Maybe there’s a time and a place to pretend things are ok.  We did it after he broke up with me for months before we told the kids.  I really tried my best to be ok and to not let the kids know until it was time.  I wasn’t very good (according to my kids years later) because they felt like something was up, but couldn’t put their finger on what it was exactly.  I’ve been told by them that they wished we hadn’t played it that way, but I was trying to keep the peace and protect my kids at the time.  And yes, I was suffering a broken heart, but still having to act normal with their dad who had declared he didn’t want to do this anymore because it wasn’t fun.

Not my circus anymore.  Not my monkeys, thank goodness.  I’ve left the carnival grounds and haven’t looked back.  I like being free to be me.  It took me a long time to get to this peaceful thinking, but I’m here.  And it feels fine!

Just another part of letting go that feels amazing!


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Looking Back To Let Go

I found my old diary the other day..  And yes, I read it through because it was written at the time my ex-husband announced he didn’t want to do this anymore.  It was revealing to me now that so many years have passed because there were things I had forgotten.

What I had forgotten was my wide range of emotions during that time.  I flowed from feeling badly that he didn’t want to do this anymore, to anger, to resentment, to wanting to help him to be happy, to holding him as he cried.  And I’d forgotten how many times he had cried, with me holding him…not the other way around.

Except for once when I had cried for 30 minutes, you know, that gutted cry that comes from the depths of your soul.  I had just broken down in our bedroom, convulsing in grief and when I had finally ebbed to a quieter cry, he came up to hold me and to say he was sorry.  I allowed him to hold me because I needed to be held, but once I regained my composure, I thanked him and walked away.  And I made sure that if I were to cry like that again, I would check beforehand that I was completely alone in the house.

I read how I wanted to help the broken man that threw away everything and everyone.  A shell of the man that he’s become.  It was sad to read what I was witnessing at the time and fascinating how I never asked him to reconsider.  That inner strength of not backing down and not wanting a man who didn’t want me was clear in every entry.  I don’t know from where it comes, but it’s innate.  And I’m really grateful for its fortitude.

My entries about the kids and their reactions to his announcement that we were divorcing were sad because of how each of them took it differently.  Consoling his family was another entry…imagine consoling his family as they cried in my arms because their son/brother was leaving me and our kids.  Not the other way around mind you.  Nope, I consoled them.  What the heck?

Then there were his mood swings…from inertia, to being angry and cold, to crying.  I have always felt there was a secret that he couldn’t tell me as to why he was leaving us.  I have my suspicions which are not public so please don’t ask or suggest what you may think it is.  Someday I may find out the truth and then I can explain more.

Because when you are determined to leave, you leave, especially when you have a place to go.  But he didn’t.  I had to ask him to go…actually tell him to leave after so many weeks of him sitting around our home like a pet rock.  I often wondered why he didn’t get out when that was what he wanted.  Be on your own.  Be free.  Go your own way.  You have what you said you wanted.  Why are you torturing yourself and us?

The last interesting part of the entries was this:  he never said the divorce word to me directly – ever.  He told the kids we were getting divorced.  He told his family divorce.  But he never said it to me.  And still hasn’t to this day.  He’s always found a way around that word.  I wonder what that’s about?

The man remains a mystery that I no longer choose to try to solve.   There will always be that part that’s grateful for our journey together – all the good and bad that we experienced – and the result of our union – my two kids.  I wish him healing for his sake and for the relationship with the kids that’s still suffering.  But that’s it.

Looking back helped me to let go.



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