chey being

Seeing what's inside again.


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Throwback Thursday – Mommy and Me

I woke up feeling a bit sentimental over my mother today.  I find it surprising since I have been upset with her lately.  Try as I might to figure it out, I’ve decided to just allow it.

What is it about mother’s?  I can never be mad at her for long.  Even when she has done horrible things, I still love her, I still need her, and I still want her in my life.

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Check out that collar!

We are so alike and yet so different.  On the outside, we look just alike (Ok, you can’t really tell with me as a baby but trust me, we look alike!).  On the inside, we are both strong and creative.  We are both critical and I hate that about myself (Mom, sorry, but I blame you!).  Yet there is something very different that it is hard to put into words.  She is guarded with me if I had to guess, and I will never know or understand why.

Do you think this is a good idea, mom?

Do you think this is a good idea, mom?

We live on opposite ends of the States so we rarely see one another.  I miss her desperately at times.  I envy those that have their mother’s close.  I have always craved a closer relationship with her.  She is very independent and too self-serving to put time into our relationship.  That is my side of the story anyway.  These are my expectations of what I want from her and I know that is something I should not do.  She is who she is and I must love and accept her for that.  And I do, most of the time.

Mom is ruining the picture with her eyes half closed but I am workin' it!

Mom is ruining the picture with her eyes half closed but I am workin’ it!

So Mom, even though you will never see this, I want to say that where ever you are, whatever mountain you are climbing, whatever cave you are exploring, whatever trail you are meandering, I love you til the ends of the earth, which is usually where you are!  I will always crave more of you, but thank you for being there when I have needed you most!

 


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Resurrecting the stay-at-home mom? (A Lost Art, Writing Challenge)

My son had an interesting day at school yesterday.  He told me he learned that marriages have a higher percentage of being happy when the woman stays at home and the man goes to work.  They are happier because they each have defined roles and this causes less arguing.   Having a defined person in charge (the man), creates less friction.  When both, the husband and the wife, want to be in charge, they fight over whose way is better.  Their roles are more confusing and this creates more friction.  A marriage is more peaceful when the man is in charge and the women follows his lead.

No, we do not live in a cabin in the mountains, or in a city with a population of 112.

He also added that the teacher asked the class what their parents fight most about and they concluded that the majority of fights were over “stupid pointless stuff.”  I asked my son what he took away from this class discussion.  He told me that he agreed that it is better when a man is in charge and the woman takes on a more subservient role (yes, he used the word subservient).  He feels this will create a more peaceful home life.

This could explain why my son has dated half the 10th grade class and is currently single.

My initial knee-jerk reaction was, WTF?  However, much to my surprise, I remained calm.  I know my son and he is very opinionated; once he has formed an opinion, it is unlikely to change based on anything I have to say.  Any parent will probably tell you that children much prefer to take on the opinions of complete strangers over their parents.  It is in a child’s nature to go rogue, but when they reach adulthood, they will most likely fall back on becoming just like their parents (for better or for worse).   It is also not surprising coming from my son because he does not like loud spaces, distractions, or people arguing.   So, if he feels this “way of life” would cause less fighting in a relationship, than that is the opinion he will agree with.  I did offer some arguments against his new found way of life, but after a brief discussion, I decided to drop it.  I wasn’t quite sure where I stood.  I am a very strong woman and it goes against all I am to agree with these role arrangements (even though I was a stay-at-home mom by choice).   But I could not argue with these facts (as regurgitated by a 17 year old mind you).  Unless I had a better alternative, I did not feel I should continue talking with him on the subject.

Is being a subservient stay-at-home mom a skill women have forgone?  Does this mean that women need to stop progressing or pursuing their own dreams in order to have happy marriages?  Is it really possible to have it all?

Thankfully, there is no going back.  Men and women are changing and evolving.  Progress?  I don’t know if I would use that word because progress seems to imply something as right and who is to say what is “right.”  It is simply different now, than it was before; however, every change has an effect.  Women going into the work force more and more have a huge effect on marriages, raising children, what our children eat, where our children spend their day, who they spend it with, and the lifestyle afforded to the family, just to name a few.

So what do we do with this information?

Maybe there is something to be learned here.  Can responsibilities and roles still be defined when both parents work?  Is it really that simple?  Doubtful, but hopeful.  We are thrown into parenthood so quickly.  There is no test run.  There is no 9 to 5 baby, Monday through Fridays.  That child is there, instantly, all…the…time!  A parent’s survival mode kicks in whether it is a good move or not.  Imagine you are dying of thirst.  You have been walking for days without as much as a drop of water.  You finally come across a river.  A dirty river.  You know it’s contaminated with God knows what parasites and all.  Do you drink?  Hell yes!  You have to in order to survive!  That’s what we do as parents and I think it creates bad habits within marriages.  Having defined roles could make things smoother, maybe creating less resentment and fighting.

Yeah, yeah, I know…in a perfect world.

Photo Credit:  www.pinterest.com

Check out other responses to A Lost Art:

  1. I’m a Writer, Yes I am http://marthakennedy.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/lost-art-the-ability-to-think/
  2. The WordPress C(h)ronicle http://wp-cron.com/2014/06/02/a-lost-art/
  3. Mostly True Stories… http://mostlytruestoriesofkrenaep.com/2014/06/02/haiku-the-screen/
  4. Bumblepuppies http://bumblepuppies.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/absentee-fig-leaves-insult-my-intelligence/
  5. LoveLaughLiv http://lovelaughliv.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/a-lost-art-writing-challenge-day-1/
  6. Butterfly Mind http://andreabadgley.com/2014/06/02/streaming-dispatch-from-a-wordpress-commer/
  7. Neverstationary http://neverstationary.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/public-speaking-a-lost-art/
  8. Lekhikaa’s diary http://lekhikaas.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/oil-bath-the-lost-art/
  9. Loyal muse http://loyalmuse.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/a-lost-art/
  10. Starry Traveler’s Road http://loyalmuse.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/a-lost-art/
  11. Po’ Girl Shines http://pogirlshines.me/2014/06/02/writing-challenge-my-lost-art-of-basket-weaving/
  12. Focal Breeze http://focalbreeze.wordpress.com/2014/06/03/lost-art/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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She came home with Froot Loops

I have two specific memories of a pivotal time during my childhood.  I grew up in a home where we had home cooked meals every night.  This was normal back in my day.  We never had pop, sugared cereals, white bread, or the typical junk food.  This was a time before fast food restaurants lined the streets and eating out was common place.  My parents weren’t strict health nuts or anything, my mom just knew that certain foods were not all-together natural.

My dad was a big cereal fan so this was our usual breakfast growing up.  We always had some variety of bran flakes, shredded wheat and granola.  This may explain why I knew something was horribly wrong the day I saw a box of Froot Loops sticking out of the grocery bag my mom had brought home.  I remember the feeling of panic, but I don’t remember if I asked her specifically why she had brought home this forbidden fruit.  I do remember that it was the very same day she sat me down on the window seat in the family room to talk.  She told me that her and my father were thinking of getting a divorce.  This was very uncommon back then but I imagine the feeling is still the same for any child.  I only remember crying, pleading, and feeling scared.

My mother never mentioned it again and I never asked.  I always felt the detachment my mother had for my father.  I always felt she would have rather been some place else.  She was unhappy and I knew it, but she kept our family together.  Years later, as I had grown into a young adult, she told me she would not leave my dad until after he received his retirement.  She felt she was somehow owed this for her time and suffering.  However, by that time she felt too old to start life over.  It took over ten years later for her to decide it was time to live her life as she wants to live it.  She is now leaving my father (I talk more about this in another post, Grow old along with me?)

For a long time I carried a certain amount of guilt, thinking that I was the reason my mother stayed.  I have also carried a great sadness because it made me feel unwanted.  Perhaps, I was the cause.  Perhaps, my reaction on that fateful day was the deciding factor on how my mother was to spend her next 30 years.  Ultimately, it was her decision and I can not take responsibility for it.  My mother did teach me something however.  She taught me that I never want to live the life she lived.  Unfortunately, I have somehow landed in her footsteps.

On a lighter note, maybe the real lesson to be learned here is never try to bribe a child with Froot Loops.

 


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A word about the word, Conscious.

Google defines conscious as, aware of and responding to one’s surroundings; awake.

The word “conscious” has been in the media quite a bit recently since Gwyneth Paltrow (famous actress) announced her “Conscious Uncoupling.” Seven years ago, I began to write my thoughts about my path to divorce and titled it, My Conscious Journey to Divorce (which I also use in my blog). When I heard the phrase that Paltrow used to describe her separation, it made me very happy; I could really understand the meaning behind it. Then, much to my surprise, immediately following the announcement, Paltrow was ridiculed for how she came forth with her news. Now, I understand that she has a certain “goody two-shoes” reputation, and thus every move she makes is seen through this lens. However, I find it incredibly sad. Here is someone who is actually divorcing SMART! I believe her phrase tells the world that she and her husband are making a conscious effort to do right by everyone. They are not letting emotions run the terms of their separation. This decision should be praised, talked about in high regard, and emulated. How wonderful this is for the children! And no, you don’t have to be rich to emulate another person’s actions.

After my ex and I told our children we were divorcing, I lived at home for the six months it took for our divorce to finalize. It spoke volumes to our children. They were extremely frightened because they did not know what was going to happen, but their world did not immediately change. They were able to adjust to the idea without having to adjust to ten other things at the same time. They could see that their mom and dad could treat each other respectfully even though they were no longer going to be married. I believe this was instrumental in my children adjusting so well from my divorce. Was it easy? Of course not. But we were doing everything we could do make it as easy as possible for them. We made a conscious effort in separating to help our children through it. I also came to decide upon divorce in a conscious manner. That is so important. I will talk about this further as I continue my posts on my journey (see below).

I understand that everyone’s situation is unique and we all have a story. I simply want to create awareness. How conscious are you? Are you letting your emotions rule your life? As the word conscious is defined, are you awake?

In the beginning..

My Decent.

A secret life..

 


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Leave no trace behind?

My sons are Boy Scouts.  Actually, I am proud to say, my oldest just became an Eagle Scout.  One of the scout principles is, “Leave no trace.”  They are taught how to minimize damage to an area when camping and basically, how to leave everything as they found it.

When I heard this principle recently, I instantly connected it to the raising of my children. Everything we do affects their future.  How they will treat other people.  How they will treat their significant other.  How they will react in a crisis.  What they will believe in and not believe in.  I began to wonder, how much of ourselves should we instill into our children?

As my children grow, I see more and more of myself and their father in them.  My oldest has taken on my hypochondriac tendencies.  He also shares some of my OCD behavior as well.  All of my children tend to lean towards their father’s religious views.  One of my twins is a very independent thinker like myself.  He also shares my need for perfectionism.  Thankfully, they are all very affectionate like myself.  Some of their tendencies are biological, some are not.   Of course, I wish they never took on my negative traits; however, that aside, I think as parents we want them to be little mini mes.  Our egos want to feel like we will live on in someone else.  More importantly, our ego  wants someone to believe as we believe, because we think we are right.

As a child, I felt forced to believe in Christianity.  I was forced to sit at the table and speak in tongues in front of everyone.  It was traumatizing.  I had to listen to sermons that made me feel like a bad person if I sinned, or if I didn’t tithe.  I certainly do not want to get into a religious debate here, as that is not my point (Please no comments in regards to that.).  My point is that I was forced to believe a certain way.  I don’t want to force any belief on my children.  I want to show them everything and allow them to make a choice that feels “right” for them.

My father was told as a young boy, “You can be a FBI agent, or a garbage man.  It’s your choice.”  It wasn’t really a choice.  He was going to work for the FBI like his father and that was that.  And so he did.  He spent the majority of his life doing a job he never really enjoyed, just to please his father.  I used to try to gently sway my children into a career path that I felt would be good for them, until I realized, who the hell am I to direct anyone’s career path?  I’m still figuring it out myself!  I had my chance.  I decided to let them trace their own path.

I truly want my children to be so much more than me.  I want them to live without fear of failure.  I want my children to decide what religion to believe in, or not to believe in.  I will also not push them to be more than me.  Maybe that is not their path.  I will love them no matter the path they take or the person they come to be.  I don’t want to judge them because that is putting my mark on them.  That is me trying to control them.  And even though I really dislike my son’s blue hair.  I will learn to live it!

This is a tiny food for thought on a very broad subject.  My intention to anyone who reads this is to encourage thinking, just a little bit more, on how much of us we want to leave behind.

 

 

 

 

 


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In the beginning…

As I begin my reflection on my first divorce, my first thoughts go to my childhood.  This is what created my personality to some extent, right?  How I learned to see myself and life determined how I came to everything.  I can get very metaphysical here, such as, I chose my next life to be a certain way thus my parents were there to help create that for me.  Which is probably true, but I don’t want to get that deep and complicated right now.  I came to be a perfectionist and that perfectionism made it impossible for me to even think about divorce for eight years, because divorce was something that non-perfect people did.  Not me.

 In the beginning…

I have often wondered if a child is not really wanted at conception or during pregnancy, is it born with that knowing sub-consciously?  Will the child go though its entire life feeling somehow unwanted even if it grows up in a “normal” environment?  Or is it impossible for the parent to hide that deep dark secret and somehow confirm what you sub-consciously already know?

I think I have lived my whole life believing my mother did not really want me, or she wanted something else…freedom…a life of travel…excitement….not shitty diapers and 3 am pukings.  It affected me as a child; I constantly strove for perfection and for the compliment that was rarely there.  I was always the good girl.  I always made the smart choices and I desperately wanted my parents to be proud of me.

So, for my entire adult life, I thought that these “smart” choices were what I really wanted:  be financially stable, get married, stay home and raise children.  It was an almost robotic decision because it was the best thing a girl could do and I was all about making the best move.  It was also the safest move.  How could I screw that up?  It only took me 20 years to figure this out; I think that is pretty good. Some people never do, right?

I went through the period of blaming my parents for everything bad in my life.   I think many people go through that in their 30’s because this is an age when one should be fairly set in life and if you’re not, well, then we need someone to blame.  Also, we start realizing that we are so much like our parents and that really pisses us off!  I also went through that psycho self-analysis business where I needed to understand why I was the way I was because of my parents.  After all  that, I  realized…who cares?  So what?  Am I going to sue my parents for not being perfect?  Most people love their parents no matter what. Why is that?  Parents could beat the crap out of us, commit crimes, treat us like dirt and we still love them. We love them without judgment, unconditionally.  We want to believe they love us in return.  We need to believe that.  Why can’t we love everyone else like that, without judgement? I think the world would be a better place.

So there I was, in my perfect life that I had so proudly created.  Then along came the internet.

Up next:  My decent

 

             


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Pet Peeve – Divorced parents who can’t get along!

As I contemplate the thought of another divorce (sadly, I do say that with a tinge of embarrassment, like I am somehow a bad person…but that’s another post), I worry about how my husband will treat me and my children if we are no longer together.

I worry because my first husband (my decision to divorce), simply no how, no way would even entertain the idea of being my friend. I asked him why once and his response was, “Divorced people can’t be friends; it’s not normal”. Seriously? That’s the reason?  I just simply do not understand this.  Of course, I understand people get hurt, betrayed, etc., but we are adults.  WE ARE ADULTS!   Put away all the anger and hurt, at least in front of them.  As parents, it is a wonderful opportunity to show our children how to properly treat others. They are already hurting and scared so why make it worse?  After divorce, there is only one common ground and that is the kids, so I recommend making that the “free space” to make a united front.

I do have to give my ex some credit.  We, for the most part, have been able to communicate well when it comes to the kids.  I am very much grateful for that fact.  However, when he was reeling from the divorce, he let the kids see it.  He let them see his pain all too often.  They became afraid to talk to him.  They became afraid to ask him for anything they needed because they felt bad for him and did not want to “bother” him.  Years later, they have maintained this type of relationship.

I am sure anyone going through divorce has heard the saying, “Kid’s are resilient.  They’ll be fine.”  That really always bothered me.  It seems to give someone permission to act poorly.  I read somewhere once that the affects upon children from divorce become most apparent during their adult life, meaning their relationships.  I interpret that to mean it is extremely important to show our children what a loving relationship looks like.  Many people stay together for the kids, which is great, however, I feel it is only great if you are demonstrating a healthy relationship.  How we treat our spouses WILL BE how they treat their spouse someday.  I ask myself all the time in my relationship, “Is this what I want my child to imitate?”

So that brings me back to my current situation.  My husband runs when he is hurt, like an out of sight, out of mind sort of thing.  If I choose to divorce, I am afraid he will not keep his connection to my children.  He is very close to my oldest but I am not sure that is enough to keep him around.  Is it selfish of me to expect him to maintain that bond?  Is it selfish of him not to?  I know I will be hurting my children by divorcing.  I know they also see my suffering.  My first husband denied me of my one true goal and that was to be friends.  I just don’t want to be denied that again.  I want to divorce a grown-up.  I also want to show my kids what a great relationship looks like.  I fear I am too late.