If you are new to the Single Mom world... you're probably spinning through a myriad of financial, and emotional changes.
Here are some tips that were saving graces for us not so NEWBIES:
Men are going to line up at your door aka BEDROOM door.
It's an unfortunate but true reality- but there is an underbelly of dating in this community- men who are poised and ready to pounce on a newly single woman.
They know you are vulnerable. They know you are feeling lonely. They know you are feeling free. They know that YOU will probably break up with THEM when you realize you're NOT READY... yes... there are a large group of men who will do this. Wolves in sheep's clothing, ready to take you to the barn and roll in the hay.
Do as you will.
But from an energetic standpoint... it can really mis-calibrate your sense of self and grounding. Typically, you aren't in a stable place of intuition (like normal) and can potentially be leading yourself and kids into the arms of a predator. A predator, by definition to me, is one who uses another for their own personal gratification.
Give yourself a few months. 90 days- to create some balance in your life and get a good sense of YOU as a single lady.
Let your family get a good sense of who you are as a family unit, what works and what doesn't.
Afterwards, if you decide you want to "have at it" do so from a place of choice, not a misguided choice.
I know many women who haven't taken a few months and I don't know ANY who it ended without regret.
BUDGET yourself, your time, your money, your food.
I Didn't Understand
As a 39 year old woman who has a handful of relationships in her past, I used to hear women who were black listing their EX's and I didn't understand it.
How could people who once loved each other deeply, see each other and act as if they were strangers? After all, I went through pain and hurt and trauma in my relationships, we walked that torturous road of dissolving it. I experienced betrayal, dishonesty, arguments, deceit... and STILL I couldn't think of any of my Ex's I wasn't friends with.
So I judged.
I didn't really even know I was judging- I just thought that those "people" weren't enlightened or evolved. I've been taught forgiveness since I was a small child singing "All the people in the steeple" sitting on the church pew.
Even my Marriage that took years of taffy like hurt to stretch apart and was unhealthy in many ways didn't obliterate the friendship between my kids' dad and I.
I didn't understand or really know I had a solid opinion on friendships with Ex's...until last week.
A friend shared with me how she had gone out to coffee with her Ex and how it was different; the first time she was trying to have some type of friendship with an old lover. She said "I can do this. I'm grown up, I think it's important to act like it."
It struck a cord with me.
"It's not being grown up. It's about whether or not it's healthy for you."
You see. What I didn't understand but I understand now- is that it's ALWAYS okay to CHOOSE you. It's ALWAYS OKAY to CHOOSE the safety of your children and psyche.
It is ALWAYS OKAY not to pet a dog that bites.
Often, we women want to "keep the peace" give chance after chance, overlook behavior time and time again- because we want to "be the nice one." We don't want to make another person "look bad." We don't want to make waves.
This doesn't apply to ignoring the truth and selling yourself out by keeping silent.
If you are in a relationship like a dog that bites... it doesn't matter if the dog NEVER bites anyone else. It doesn't matter if the dog plays fetch, and poops where he's supposed to, and rolls over and sits for EVERYONE else... if the dog bites YOU.
You can always choose not to pet the dog that bites.
When your friends say "But he's a good dog, and WE like him and he has NEVER bit us." Nod along and agree. There's no anger in it- there's no bitterness, acknowledge that truth for them... but the TRUTH for you is "The dog bit me." (over and over again)
It's okay to say it, to share it, to acknowledge it.
"I'm not saying the dog will bite anyone else, I'm not saying the dog is a bad dog. I'm simply saying that because the dog bit me- I choose to not pet the dog."
It's OKAY to tell the truth.
When your friends are embarrassed and want to brush the biting under the rug and VILIFY you for saying the dog bit because it makes the dog "look bad" and other people might not realize all the WONDERFUL things the dog does you can still own your voice.
The dog biting isn't your error, or fault.
The sky is blue. That car is red. Chickens lay eggs. The dog bites.
It just is.
There is no law or rule that to be enlightened or "grown up" we need to be friends with all our Ex's.
It's enlightened and "grown up" to be polite. Don't go out of your way to harm them or follow them or attack them, or drive by their house.
It's enlightened and "grown up" to choose not to be around a person or animal that is prone to biting.
There's no animosity in it.
I judged myself for a while about all of this. I thought I had to "make it work" and be friends and stay silent about the biting.
After all, I was friends with ALL my other Ex's.
What I finally learned is:
Saying the dog bit doesn't make the dog "look bad," the biting does.
What I also learned, is that it's okay to choose me. And like the writing on the wall, it's NOT wrong or bitter to acknowledge experiences, to walk away, and to opt out of being "friends" with anyone.
Any of us can get along with anyone, we can work out arrangements and time schedules and be at public events peacefully. But that doesn't mean we need to "make friends" with everyone.
There are circumstances that occur in some relationships that officially and definitively tear up the "we can be friends" card.
Especially when- as women, like we do... we've given chance after chance...
Be cordial. Be polite. Be humble. BE POWERFUL. BE TRUTHFUL.
Let the dog play fetch with whom they may.
And, if you REALLY have the urge... pet a dog that DOESN'T bite.
Why would we choose otherwise?
I am so grateful for my divorce.
I avoided it for so many years... I was sooooo afraid of it. I had heard SOOOO many horror stories. I am soooo grateful for my divorce.
I hear some of my friends who have said when their kids leave for the weekend they cry and cry and watch tv and "wait" for them to return.
I hear some women use the term "disneyland dad" etc.
I hear women sometimes use the weekends to "party" when kids are gone.
I hear other women say that they are frustrated that dad's house has different rules than their own.
Let me address each of these from my own experience:
I LOVE my kids. I LOVE my kids. I LOVE my kids.
I also sold my identity in many ways to mother them. I bought into the "I AM MOM first and everything else second" in my marriage. What I REALLY did is I AVOIDED ME by "BEING the BEST MOM EVER AND DOING EVERYTHING FOR MY KIDS AT THE EXPENSE OF MYSELF."
(disclaimer: this post is not for neglectful parents)
When my hubby left me... I was very unclear WHO I WAS AS ME. I knew myself as PART of a family, PART of a couple, PART of a team, PART of a relationship... I NEVER built the foundation of I AM WHOLE as ME and ME ALONE before I was married.
I love my kids. BUT when they are gone- I don't miss them. I LOVE them. MISSING has the energy of pull and LACK. I LOVE them... but I use my weekends to RECONNECT with ME. This has been such a gift and blessing.
I paint, I read, I spend time in service, I listen to my music, catch up on housework, study, take classes, do photography and DRUM CIRCLES!!!!.... I SPEND HOURS in the MOUNTAINS. (any of you who follow my facebook know this)
I LOVE being with me. I LOVE my kids, but I LOVE being with ME too.
My kids dad and I didn't have a super peaceful relationship while we lived under the same roof. I LOVE DISNEYLAND DAD.
My kids get to have FUN with their DAD! He's engaged, funny, playful, interested, invested.... and then he drops them off to me and I make them do their chores.
Guess what? They KNOW we both LOVE them. THEY get the BEST PARTS of their dad. I see their entire PERCEPTION of "what a dad is" shifting. They are better for it. OH... and guess what else- they ALSO know that MOM's got their back and will hold them accountable.
I'm a parent whether my kids are in my house or not. They are not a burden or INFRINGEMENT upon who I am and how I choose to live. I don't behave in a way that isn't honoring to myself whether they are around or not. They aren't "school" it's not like playing "hooky."
Most of the people I see going CRAZY when their kids are gone... seem to do it in avoidance of reality.
I'm not judging. I'm observing. I am who I am. I expect honesty and integrity between my kids and I ... my accountability is in BEING able to be honest about what I'm doing as well as them. If I don't condone them partying on the weekends- I don't do it myself.
4th and FINAL:
Dad has different RULES
SOOOOO does every other place in the world.
Kids get to learn that rules differ. "When in ROME...."
Kids are lucky to get to see and witness different ways of living, different lifestyles... they are watching. They are seeing what "works" and "doesn't work" and most likely they are going to take a little from both their parents way of living and create their very own.
My way is my way... not necessarily the RIGHT way. (Same for Dad) and I feel like it empowers them to know that they get to adapt and choose and witness and ultimately make their own life path that works for them.
Katie Jo (find and follow my facebook page here)
I'm about to divulge my secrets.....
(ok.... only a few of my secrets)
Only my closest friends know what I'm about to write. I'm writing because it may serve and assist just one person- one woman, maybe more.
4 years ago I lived in a big house. We had lot's of bedrooms and bathrooms and as a married couple we had property investments and other things.
4 years ago, my relationship reached a point with my spouse that we decided the best way to keep peace between us was to SHIFT the relationship from "MARRIED" to "NOT MARRIED-LIVING SEPARATELY." We had given a good 13 year effort.
Sooooooooo, at the time, we were in a lot of ANGER, HURT, HURTING each OTHER, and EMOTIONAL TRAUMA... we BOTH did a lot of unkind things to one another and in the process blasted away our financial security and consistency.
When my husband left me.... (yep- LEFT ME) he didn't just move out, he moved away to NEBRASKA... STATES AWAY and took every last penny in the bank account with him. UNOFFICIALLY, but DEFINITIVELY... I was now accountable for my OWN two feet on this planet.
(please note: my kids dad is a good man. He intended and DID send me money within a month)
I had ONE $100 bill hidden in my purse. That was ALL I had in terms of monetary WORTH on this planet. No job, no resume, no money coming in.
For one week my kids and I lived on plain pasta and water.
I began to sell everything in my house that was worth $. The diamond ring was already gone, the furniture, the extra tv, the extra toys, extra clothes.... anything and EVERYTHING.
I sold the kitchen table and chairs, nightstands, dressers etc.
I sold the beds and kept the mattresses.
In the end, I had ONE sofa, a tv with dvd player the kids toys and movies, clothes and the mattresses we slept on. We survived.
I'm sharing this because I LEARNED a lot about what it was to face the world of survival knowing that whether or not the boat sank- was up to me and my paddle rowing.
I am now a Single Mom, working two jobs, doing humanitarian work, speaking events and am known as KATIE JO DRUM CIRCLE GODDESS. I am a freelance photographer, Reiki Master Teacher, Artist, and MOST importantly a MOM and current BEST FRIEND to my kids' dad.
(find my Facebook link here: https://www.facebook.com/KTJOdrumcirclegoddess?ref=br_tf )
BUT, I see many women who are facing and faced what I did. They DID what I DID!!!!! Which was-------- Put myself LAST throughout the duration of my marriage. MY job (according to my mis-understanding) was to SUPPORT my spouse in every way as he achieved HIS dreams, got HIS education, and created FINANCIAL stability for US.... right????? And then, I would get MY turn....
Ironically, the term FEMINIZATION OF POVERTY is a classification used in Sociology courses to describe that the MAIN recipients of welfare in America, are NOT drug addicts (HUGE misconception) but WOMEN who did exactly as I DID. Put their entire future on 50/50 odds ( the success ratio of lifetime relationships)
I'm writing today for those of you beautiful souls who are facing what I did. In the PUT OUT FIRES stage of a break-up. ESPECIALLY, those with kids. WE KNOW that whatever decision we make effects those little baby duckies in our wake.
GET $100 Dollars. GET it in a $100 bill.
THIS IS IMPERATIVE.
This is for food.
I know that IF I have a $100 bill in my wallet, I will feed my kids for a week. I know that IF my kids are fed for a week- within a week... I can come up with some ideas on how to survive.
THIS money IS NOT for FUN- it's for "THE SHIT HIT THE FAN".
Why a BILL versus $20's? Because there are a LOT of things we see and could use or the kids ask for that as a loving and guilty and emotionally traumatized mom we will drop a $20 on but WON'T break a $100 for. That's why.
Also, EMOTIONALLY- when your entire financial empire has been BLASTED away, the security and peace and power that accompanies you as you walk through the stores and grocery isles by being able to say "I COULD get that if I really wanted to, but it's not worth it to me." is priceless. The energy shift of LACK to ABUNDANCE begins to ROLL.
GET UP BEFORE YOUR KIDS.
I know. I've heard it. We are TIRED. Many of us have gotten up throughout the night. Suck it up.
20 minutes is enough.
This is YOUR GIFT to YOU.
This is the time that YOU deserve to REMEMBER that you are MORE than a MOM, but a human being, a woman, a soul with a purpose.
I see SO many run down single moms and they want every teeny tiny minute of extra sleep they can get. GOOD, do it. Go to bed 20 min earlier.
Waking up in peace without having to hit the ground running or cater to the demands of small (or large) children as well as the WORLD is ESSENTIAL.
Take this time to create a ritual.
Mine is to drink a cup of coffee, read, meditate, pray and stretch. I get clear and focused about what I deserve to do that day and what I am capable of doing. ALL of this, before electronics OR kids who NEED their Mamma. They DESERVE a calm, relaxed, focused Mom. Remember, they have been emotionally traumatized too.
TIP #3- LAST TIP for today
Sincerely decide HOW many MINUTES you can tolerate and genuinely GET ALONG with your ex.
(disclaimer: this DOES NOT APPLY TO ABUSERS and ABUSE-EE's)
If it is 5 minutes. PERFECT! Can you tolerate and have a peaceful conversation about the weather for 5 minutes with the person you created children with? I dare say you can. (DO NOT GIVE ME THE "IT TAKES TWO" excuse)
I can do JUST about ANYTHING for 5 min.
LET your CHILDREN HEAR You have PEACE for 5 min, phone calls are OK, with their Dad.
IF you can do 10 minutes --- DO it.
Explain to your ex that your agenda isn't about getting back together, isn't about manipulation but that your kids DESERVE to see that the two people most important to them in the world can be in a moment together without the walls blowing out.
Right now, for my kids' dad and I we can do a couple days. We know that we get a long in separate households, we like to live differently and parent differently in many ways... but we also have agreed that our kids get to FEEL peace in the presence of their parents.
That means, when I'm taking them to the movies or sledding and they say "Can we call Dad to come?" the answer is YES.
In humble admonition, I admit that we couldn't get along for more than a little while in the beginning, but I am so grateful now that I can genuinely say that he is one of my dearest friends. After all, our common interest is the emotional health of children and THAT is a pretty good foundation for friendship.
There is SOOOO much more I'll be sharing. SOOOO much more that has assisted me in surviving and THRIVING but for now, start with these 3.
Remember there are resources out there for you, school, education, food stamps, counseling services etc and I will begin to list many of these soon.
JUST keep hanging in. YOU can make it. BREATHE.