Our Little Bubble

bubble

Sometimes when I daydream

My mind wanders to this place

Where we live in a bubble

Our own little world

Filled with our love, our lives, our kids

Everything we need to be happy

Missing from this bubble

Is the ominous presence of ex-spouses

Buzzing in the background of our lives

We wouldn’t be who we are today without them

It’s how our families began, how our children came to be

But we’re always tied by them

Even though our bond to each other transcends it

When the clash of it all starts to weigh on me

And I feel tugs at my heart

I dream up our little world and hang out there awhile

Our bubble

Our trouble

Messy Mantra

sheet

Life once seemed so simple

It was never easy, never dull

But simple

Grappling with the drama that’s been infused into my life

Despite my best efforts to deflect

It feels like my energy is wasted

Accept it, take it on, I tell myself

Adjust to it

Messy is your new reality

Like it or not, it’s yours

Here to stay, it’s not going anywhere

Possibly it could go from messy to super messy

Best case scenario

But the simplicity of marriage, of raising a child in one home has slipped beyond anyone’s grasp

Messy was what was always to come

Embracing it is likely the only way through

When you can’t run

Too Busy

busy-underground

We live in a world where being busy can be so extreme that meeting all our commitments is literally impossible.

If only there were more hours in the day. If only our bodies didn’t need the restorative power of sleep. Yeah…

I used to think I was busy. I put my work obligations first because at that point in my life, when I was just starting out in my career, that was most important. Then I became a mom. I took it all in stride – I loved being a working mom and took pride in balancing it “all.”

It wasn’t until I received a complicated medical diagnosis that sucked up huge amounts of my time, energy, and well-being that I began to feel overwhelmed. I had no choice but to make changes in my life. I should probably make a lot more. Someday.

The fact is, we’re all busy. It’s the world we live in, combined in part with the expectations we hold for ourselves and the expectations of others.

Until we hold ourselves to a different standard, the cycle will perpetuate.

Kissy, Kissy – Why Modeling Affection Is Healthy for Kids

kissing.jpg

Do you kiss your partner in front of your kids? I recently overheard a couple talking about how they don’t snuggle or hold hands in front of their kids and it made me feel kinda sad for them, and their kids.

How else are kids supposed to learn healthy models of affection between two loving adults?

When it comes to showing affection, such as giving hugs, snuggling, or holding hands, I want my son to know that expressing his emotions and showing affection for the people he loves is a good thing. It makes me happy to see him reach out and hug one of his buddies, or to watch him tell someone he cares about that he loves them.

Of course affection between kids is very different than affection between two adults, and children should never be made to feel excluded, but we can teach our children that too.

Children learn from what we teach them, but more than that, they learn from the behaviors they observe, what their parents model. Even when we think they aren’t paying attention, they usually are, and they pick up on subtle cues as well. Whether we are consciously aware of it or not, kids are always taking notes and emulating their parents and other adults they grow up around.

When I kiss my partner in front of the kids, in some ways it feels odd, because we are not married, we didn’t have children together, and yet, here are these kids (ours, but not ours) who look up to us. I hope they see two adults who love each other and express their care and emotions in a healthy way.

Kissy, kissy.

 

Kindness Towards Others As An Energy Boost

catinglasses

I’m going to use the B word for a minute.

I am a busy mom. There, I said it.

The dreaded b word, because it’s hardly descriptive of anything — who isn’t busy? Everyone is overloaded, such is life these days, no doubt more so for single parents trying to juggle it all.

But when I am inundated by the things I have to do, or when I feel like nothing is going right, or I get caught up in a spiral of negativity, and I just want to fall face first into my bed into a deep slumber, there is one thing that never fails to perk me up.

And it’s not saying “no” or “letting it go” like the self-help books recommend. In fact, it’s actually adding something.

What is it?

I do something nice for someone else.

Pretty simple, maximally effective, and it fills me with joy to help another person, or put a smile on their face.

Which is why when I came across this post, Psychologists Reveal One Of The Best Ways To Boost Your Mood, about a study showing how acts of kindness that are geared toward helping someone other than yourself can lead to happiness, I thought, “well duh.”

And then it dawned on me. Not everyone understands that direct connection.

When I was married, if I were to do something nice for someone outside of my immediate family, my husband would give me a hard time about it. Why was I spending my time helping a neighbor with her baby, when I had so much to do at my own house, he would try and reason with me. And he knew full well I would stay up an extra hour, cutting into my sleep to make sure everything got done.

Weird, right? What a jerk, I used to think. He doesn’t get it! But maybe instead of being a jerk, he was actually in the majority. When you have more to do than you can handle, it can make sense to conserve your energy and prioritize.

In the equation of balancing work, schlepping the kiddos to and from school, getting dinner on the table, and if we’re lucky, squeezing in a little exercise, why add more?

Because the value add is worth it. Because the boost in your mood and energy is worth it, and it’s the right thing to do. It’s how I was raised, so I saw the behavior and benefits modeled for me. It’s what I saw my parents do for a friend, neighbor, or often, a complete stranger, and so I know intrinsically, the value of this type of pro-social behavior. It makes me feel good, and it helps someone else feel good, to boot. Two for one!

Trust me. Just try it. At the end of a long day, Mondays are awesome for this because Mondays suck and your energy is zilch, think up one nice or creative thing you can do for a neighbor. It has to be easy and reasonable. Commit to it, show your kids what you are doing, and explain why. Then tonight as you fall into bed, I bet you’ll be happier and feel better about yourself had you not gone out of your way to show one act of kindness to someone. And that someone? They’ll be drifting off to sleep with a smile on their face too.

For me, tonight, I’m dropping a bottle of wine off on the doorstep of dear friends for their wedding anniversary. I know it will add a smile to their celebration.

How about you? How can you add some kindness into your everyday thoughts?

Access Denied 

 

I wait

On edge

For what’s to come

I try not to let him get to me

But as hard as I try

He knows my weak spot

It’s our son

And so he tugs

I try not to bend

I want to lash out at him

But I can’t, and I won’t

Except it still gets to me

The anger keeps me up most the night

I must do better

Try harder

I changed the locks today

Because he has no concept of boundaries

And I needed to take back some control

I tell myself it will help steady me

For his inevitable blows

He no longer has the same level of access

To the coming and goings of my life

Access, denied

He may like playing games

He thinks it’s funny

Me, as his pawn

But I just want it to end

Start living my life the way I want

To begin