Tuesday, September 16, 2014

What do they say about opinions?

Oh yes...they're like assholes. Everybody has one. And some people can't keep them to themselves...therefore causing a sensitive soul like myself to take said opinions to the depths of my heart and then dwell on them for days.

If there's anything I've learned since my membership into the Motherhood Club, it's that everyone has their own methods. And you know what, as long as your kid is healthy, happy, growing and thriving...you do whatever works. Co-sleeping? Go for it. Extended breastfeeding? No judging here. Letting your kid eat dirt? Builds the immune system.

Recently, my methods as a mother have been called into question. Mainly that I need to have more patience with my crazy toddler (don't we all) and that me going out on a date once a week and leaving Rowan with his grandparents (who love him and he loves them) is clearly me putting him on the back-burner and not giving him the attention he deserves.

Breaking this down. Patience. I need more of it. Yes, I get frustrated when he dumps a sippy cup of milk on the carpet, throws the dinner I just prepared for him across the room, refuses to wear pants, takes the toilet paper roll and unravels it through the apartment, gets up 75 times a night so I only get one hour of sleep. I get it. I'm working on it. Yelling isn't the best solution and I need to figure out a better one. 

And here's the deal about this single mother business. I'm the sole caretaker of my crazy toddler monkey. Well, not quite. He does go to daycare full time. Would I love to be home with him part of the day? Yes. Is that possible? No. 

Apart from his days at daycare and every other weekend with his father (which is more like a day and a half), I'm it. It's just the two of us. I work full time. I take care of the apartment. Take care of Rowan's needs. Take care of the dog. Pay the bills. Do the grocery shopping. Do daycare drop off and pick up. Cook the meals. Pack the lunches. Kiss the boo-boos. Give baths. Read bedtime stories. Clean up spills. Give snuggles. Worry about paying for college, saving for retirement, whether or not Rowan will need therapy because he has divorced parents.

The weight of it all wears on me sometimes. It's suffocating. So, yes, I enlist the help of my parents, who are more than happy to spend time with their grandson. That is one of the main reasons I moved back to my hometown...for their help. And yes, I do see the man I'm dating once a week and Heaven forbid, sometimes twice. You know why? Obviously because I like him. But secondly because I'm looking towards the future. Not just for myself, but for Rowan. I want to give Rowan a sibling. I want to get married again and show him what a real, loving family looks like. I want a partner in my life to share the burdens and the joy. Am I going to marry this guy? I have no idea. But I won't know unless we establish a relationship where I see him more than twice a month.

Do I have guilt when I leave him in the care of someone else? Always. Every day when I drop him off at daycare. But I've come to accept that I need help...I need a break...it makes me a better mother.

So judge away. Rowan's happy, he's healthy, he's smart and thriving. And most of all, he's the number one man in my life and always will be. I'm just trying to keep my head above water, keep myself happy too and stay sane. I'll do me. You do you. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Remember Me?

Oh, hey! Remember me? I used to blog. Like, 2 months ago? I'll go ahead and rattle off the list of excuses like I haven't had time, life got in the way, blah blah blah, you know the drill.

So what's been going on? Well, I'm still going out with Flower Guy and things appear to be going swimmingly, but I'm taking it one day at a time. Our busy schedules make it incredibly hard to see each other regularly, combined with a number of other factors...but I have date #7 tonight, so I'm looking forward to that :)

Rowan is going through a lovely stage of not eating anything ever. Except Goldfish crackers. Because, duh, they're the snack that smiles back. I don't blame him. 

Except, last night, he ate some pesto spaghetti squash and it was such a victory for me. But it'll probably never happen again.

I've also been really ramping up my workouts lately. I've been doing circuit training with weights and body weight exercises (I'm looking at you, burpees) and it's really kept me from getting bored. Plus, I don't have to spend over 30 minutes to get a good calorie burn. Which is good considering I don't even start my workouts these days until 8:30 PM. 

I've found some great websites with circuits (thanks Pinterest.) One of my best friends has also been writing some that we've committed to doing each week and holding each other accountable for. 

My fitness goals? Well, I'd like to lose an additional 5-10 pounds, but more than anything, I'd like to be stronger. More toned with more definition in my arms and abs (which...I don't think I've had since high school.) I did take some before pictures and will take them again in 30 days. But I'm not brave enough to share. Sorry.

Here's an example of a circuit I did this week...set your timer for 30 minutes and do AMRAP (as many rounds as possible):

100 high knees
90 mountain climbers
80 squats (I did mine holding a 10 pound kettlebell)
70 bicycle crunches
60 second plank
50 kettlebell swings
40 curl and press (20 per arm)
30 lunges
20 burpees
10 push ups

I should note that I still have to break some of these down into reps of 25 with a small break in between. I'm hoping that I don't have to do that soon. I can usually get through 2 rounds of this in 30 minutes. And then I feel like dying. And then I feel awesome. And the next day I feel sore. So many feelings.

I promise to blog more. Cross my heart. If anyone's still out there?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Then There's THAT First Date

So, I survived the weekend. Both dates and all. And I have to say, that one in particular went quite well.

Friday night was fine. The guy was nice, but a little on the difficult side to talk to. We met at a pub for a beer and were there for about 2.5 hours. A nice little goodnight hug at the end and we were on our merry way.

But Saturday. Oh, Saturday. I'd been talking to this guy for almost 2 weeks, and I could tell that we likely would really hit it off. The date started at 4 with a friendly competition of mini golf (and by friendly I mean cut-throat, because there's no such thing as a friendly competition.) I lost though and that makes me sad, but I'll just say that my focus wasn't where it should have been.

Then we headed to dinner where we sat and talked until 9, which is about the time the waiter started rolling his eyes. So then we hit up Starbucks until they kicked us out at their 10PM closing time. THEN we headed to Penn State's campus, where there was a little overlook and sat there to talk (and alright, maybe there was a kiss or two) until 12:30. If you're doing the math, that's an 8.5 hour first date.

We texted that night, the following day and made plans for this week. But the kicker? Oh man. About 1:30 PM on Monday at work, I get a call from the front desk. "Heather, you have a package I'm pretty sure you're going to want." Which I literally thought nothing of, since I frequently get packages of non-fun items at work. 

When I headed downstairs, I saw these beautiful flowers. Opened up the card, which said, "Because I know Mondays can be a drag, especially after the weekend we shared. Looking forward to more times with you." 

I mean, really...amazing. I couldn't stop smiling. So maybe some first dates aren't THAT bad. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Online Dating: Back at it!

Ah, yes. The Wonderful World of Dating. I’m back on the horse. And might as well dive in head first, right?

First of all, I went out with the other guy I referenced a while back. The one that I was texting with quite frequently and we were hitting it off. Well, the date went well. Or at least I thought it did? Haven’t really heard from him, so clearly, something went wrong to which I was blissfully unaware.

After a solid week of speculation and paranoia, I moved on from that one. Tinder is fun, but at the end of the day, I don’t think it’s really for serious relationships. I mean, maybe? I don’t know. But I was determined to get serious about this whole dating situation, so I signed myself up for Match.com. Yep. I did it. I sunk a whole $68 worth of my hard-earned money into 3 months worth of Online Dating. With a glass of wine and one of my best friends, we put together my profile and with a click of a button, it was out there. Come and get me, eligible bachelors within a 70 mile radius. As long as you don’t smoke, you want kids and have some kind of higher education.

As expected, I got some realllll winners on there. I mean, I can’t even tell you. One guy just sent me an email that said “Luv u.” Yep. Blocked him. Another? “Hello. Would you like to chat or go out to dinner?” How about you try to strike up a conversation first, buddy? Also...just for your visuals on this gentleman...tshirt with the sleeves cut off, jeans, beer gut, handle-bar mustache. Blocked him too. And for some reason, I’m real attractive to the 49 and over crowd. Really? Because my profile clearly states that I want more kids...and I’m not having them with your geriatric ass.

And Match has this really corny feature where you can wink at people, which I equate to the flirty version of a poke on Facebook. Silly. Didn’t stop me from doing it, but I blame the wine. Anyway, I started talking to a few guys and turns out, I really hit it off with one of them. Really hit it off. We’re headed out Saturday night.

I also have a date tonight with a guy from Tinder that actually went to the same college I did. Go ahead and be like “Play on playa.” I know, I know. But seriously, I had this date scheduled for 2 weeks...then the other guy came along and R is gone for the weekend and well, it just worked out.

Drinks tonight with Tinder Guy. Mini golf and possibly dinner tomorrow night with Match Guy. Yes, mini golf. Yes, I’m 5 years old. And I can’t even believe I agreed to possibly eat on a first date. I might vomit right now at the thought of trying to eat in front of someone of the opposite sex that’s actually attractive and has mating potential.

And on a completely related/unrelated? note...R has regressed in his sleep patterns. I blame it on this one last little bitch of a top two-year molar, but he’s been waking consistently for 2-3 hours every night and in turn, ends up in my bed. Eff. I swore upon all things holy that would not happen. Now here we are. Which leads me to the related part to the dating reference above…

I already have 26 pounds of Wiggle Pug grump in my bed and now I’ve added a 26 pound toddler. What if I want someone else in my bed? I think I’ve really screwed myself here. No pun intended.

This week, we work on sleep training. For the fur kid and the human kid. Send all the coffee. Also all the positive vibes for decent dates.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

My Story...The Final Chapter

I gave birth to a health baby boy in November 2012 via C-section. I was overjoyed and overwhelmed. The first several weeks of sleeplessness and constant nursing was certainly stressful, but I was so in love with my son that it didn’t matter.

It was clear my husband wasn’t sharing in the joy of our little family. I couldn’t feel a connection between the two of them. And I felt even less of a connection between the two of us. When my son was just 4 weeks old, I decided it was best for me to go stay with my parents for two weeks, while he figured out what he wanted. Surely all he needed was some time apart to realize that we were meant to be together.

Needless to say, the cliche “absence makes the heart grow fonder” did not ring true in our case. Although I was desperate to keep us together, he was not. My worst nightmare came true. He wanted a separation. A legal one. While I was away, he had found a potential roommate to help with the mortgage. This was really happening.

The reality of the situation hit me on the drive home from Home Depot, where I had just picked up several moving boxes. I had to pull over. I couldn’t see through my tears or breath through my sobs. I called my mom and asked her how I could possibly do this. I could literally feel my heart breaking. She assured me I was strong. I had to be strong. My son needed me. This was not the end of my life, just life as I knew it. Time to start again.

I knew I’d never make it as a single mother on my salary and child support where we lived. I had no family around. No one to help me with this tiny newborn for whom I was now responsible. After a LOT of tears, and phone calls and prayers, I found my best option was to move back in with my parents, 2.5 hours north.
I spent a week dividing possessions. Between c-section recovery, sleepless nights and endless nursing sessions, I packed as much as I could. Piece-by-piece, my son’s nursery that I’d spent months perfecting, disappeared into boxes.

My son was five and half weeks old when I left. It was two days before Christmas. I left behind my house. One of my beloved dogs. My job. My friends. My life as I knew it. The weight of what was happening to me was crushing. Suffocating. I drowned myself in my tears. Cried myself to sleep at night.

A glimmer of hope remained that this situation was temporary. Surely, he would miss us. He agreed to marriage counseling at a mid-point every other weekend. After which, we would hang out at the local mall so that he had time with our son. Our arrangement for visitation was every other weekend, but only when he reached 6 months old. I was exclusively breastfeeding on demand and it made no sense to have him stay an entire weekend that young.

The months wore on and it was clear he was becoming more distant. He began dating, which absolutely ripped me apart. Trying to “test the waters” and see “how others compared to me.” Oddly enough, he never dated the girl that came between us. At least not that I know of.

Though there were brief times when I believed we were on track to reunite, it ultimately didn’t end up that way. Our counselor actually told us there was nothing he could do. BOTH of us had to want to do the work and it was clear only one of us was willing to do that. Hurtful, damaging things were said. Words that could never be taken back. Words you don’t say to someone you love. After pouring my heart into trying to fix what had been broken, I realized that the cause was lost. He’d given up a long time ago and I was holding onto dust.

I filed for divorce in March. Some people don’t understand why I didn’t do it sooner, but I had to fight. I believe in the sanctity of marriage. I committed my life to this man and we had a son together. I wanted to be able to tell him when he was old enough that I did everything I could to keep his father and I together. After nearly a year and a half of fighting, however, I was all tapped out.

Luckily, we’re keeping it as civil as possible. There have been some really bad times, but now that I’ve come to accept that it’s over, we’re able to communicate a little more effectively. Seeing him every other weekend is hard on my psyche, but I must get used to it. We’re trying to co-parent as best as we can because my son will always remain my top priority.

The last year and a half has been a journey for me, from the depths of despair, back to a place of joy. It’s taken me as long to accept my new life and find happiness in it. There are desperate times of loneliness and days when delve into the past and try to make sense of what went wrong. I feel like those times will always hang around, but recently my good days have outnumbered the bad.

My (ex) husband has moved on. He has a girlfriend and she’s been around for a while. She spends almost every weekend my son is there with him. It rips me to shreds, but I have to accept it.

I’ve said it before and will say it a thousand more times...I’ve been incredibly blessed with amazing friends, family and coworkers. Honestly, without their support, I’m not certain I would have made it through.

Here’s to a new chapter. New journey. New life.

Monday, July 14, 2014

My Story...Part 1

Fact: Life throws you curveballs. Sometimes they’re fast, monstrous ones. Others just knock you slightly out of balance.

My curveball was fast, powerful and knocked me clean on my ass.

Here’s more of my story...

I had this wonderful marriage. We were a team. We made each other laugh. We had the kind of marriage that made other people envious. He was my best friend. We carved out this great life, things were going as planned. After an all-inclusive vacation to Costa Rica, we were throwing the birth control out, caution to the wind and trying to start our family.

It took longer than I thought it would to conceive. About 8 months...which in the grand scheme of things, really isn’t too long. We were thrilled when we found out. Even more thrilled when we found out it was a little boy. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my husband’s face. We assembled baby gear, decided on a name in early July. Then suddenly, things started to change.

It came on quick and strong. Suddenly, at 7 months pregnant, my husband was out at all hours of the night with a female coworker. Spending ENTIRE Saturdays with her. Just the two of them. He swore it was a friendship and I would never understand. He disregarded my pleas for him to come home and spend time with me, his pregnant wife. He was already traveling much of the time. He told me I only needed one day of his weekend. That was sufficient. You can imagine the hurt I felt. Though I continued to trust him that he wasn’t doing anything physically with this girl, it was more and more apparent that this friendship had grown into more of an emotional affair...which is more hurtful than anything else.

He refused to let me get to know her. Saying that I would make it awkward. After weeks of arguing, nights of me laying in bed crying, pregnant, miserable...I was fed up. He was clearly choosing another woman over me and it was unacceptable. He said he was doing nothing wrong. I was overreacting. Who was this guy?

I left for my parent’s house on Thursday in the middle of July. I couldn’t deal. I needed to get away. I couldn’t eat. Couldn’t sleep. Lost 5 pounds from all the stress...which certainly couldn’t be good for my unborn son. I came back that weekend and that week, he mentioned he wanted a divorce. I was shattered. I was only months away from giving birth. Surely he wanted to be there for him. I pleaded him to go to counseling. To reconsider. Our marriage was worth saving.

To counseling we went. He suddenly started taking me down, telling me everything that was wrong with me. My job wasn’t good enough, I didn’t contribute enough financially, I needed to lose weight, I didn’t want to move overseas for his job (something we both agreed wouldn’t be best), I was too “responsible”, I didn’t have enough fun...and the list goes on. The counselor blamed me. Stating my jealousy of this other woman was driving him away. I needed to let him do what he pleased. So, I took her advice. I stopped getting (outwardly) angry. I didn’t say anything when he was gone all week, then left at 10AM on a Saturday morning and didn’t return until midnight. But clearly, I couldn’t live like this. And our friends saw what was happening too. We had a surprise co-ed baby shower in September. He was an hour late. Why? He was taking said friend to the airport. He missed most of our baby shower.

However, I was still convinced that this was somehow him acting out and being scared about being a dad. I’d heard all kinds of stories of first-time dads being scared of the life change that comes with having a child. I truly thought once our son arrived, he would see how much he loved him and wanted our family to be together forever.

Stay tuned for the rest of the story...

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Sleepless Wonder

Sleep. I like mine. A lot. My kid? Meh...he’s not into it recently.

What started Sunday night as what I thought was a freak one-night thing, has drug out for this entire week. Monday morning, he woke up at 1:30 AM. For the day. He did not go back to sleep until his 12:30 PM nap. I did not go back to sleep until his 12:30 PM nap. I napped because I thought for sure he was sick (he threw up the day before) and therefore decided it best to stay home with him (since I surely could not function on an hour of sleep.)

Fine. Monday night. Round two. Up at 2 AM screaming “MOMMY!!!” and crying so loud I was certain my neighbor on the other side of the wall was going to call the cops. After trying to console him, bringing him milk, rocking him, hugging him, singing songs...I put him in my bed. I know, I know. Mistake of epic proportions. But you know what? He fell asleep around 5:30 and I got in one good hour before work.

Tuesday night. More of the same. Wednesday night. You guessed it.

The one super duper cute moment of the whole thing was when he woke up just before my alarm, poked me in the cheek, smiled and said “Hi, mommy!” Then proceeded to take out his binky and give me two big smooches right on the lips. I mean, how could I be mad?

But I’m tired. Way tired. Like, I’ve had three cups of strong coffee and it’s not making a dent tired. Taking a nap under my desk/on the toilet/in my car looks fabulous tired. And I’ve gotten an awful lot of “You look tired today” comments. Yeah. Thanks. I sure do. Did the bags under my eyes give it away? My yawns? Oh, it was probably me laying on my desk with my eyes shut.

And I gotta tell you, it’s nights like the ones I’ve had this past week, where I’d like to call his father at 3 AM and tell him to get his ass out of bed until I say he can go back to sleep. Then have him try to put a diaper and outfit on the dog, brush her teeth and stick her in the carseat. Although, I’m pretty sure that’s probably easier.

And for those momma’s in the same boat...this article nails it.