Single Mom Diaries: A Typical Day

5:30 AM: The sound of my alarm wakes me. She is asleep in my bed so I fumble in the dark, find my phone, and silence the alarm. Resist the temptation of “10 more minutes”.

I rise.

Make coffee. Sit quietly. And think about… nothing.

6:30 AM: His alarm breaks the silence. She cries, not a fan of the mornings. He moves quickly, silently. She is slow and angry.

I rise.

Make the best of what I’ve been given. Catch a glimpse in the mirror and think “you look good… enough.”

Smile. Pull her hair into a ponytail, kiss her sweet cheeks, and remind her she is loved.

There are ants in the shower. Tiny red ants. I want to pull the shower curtain back and walk away. Avoidance. My preferred coping method.

I rise.

Grab a can of ant spray and cover the tub. The room fills with fumes. I close the door.

7:30 AM: Drive to school. Tell them you love them. Tell them to be brave and kind. To be a friend and a blessing. Remind them learning is a privilege, and education is a gift.

Wave goodbye. Smile. Breathe.

The kids are all right. They are happy, smart, and kind. They love well. Breathe.

Drive to work and think of all the things you left undone. Make a mental list. Remember to carry over items from yesterday’s list. Cross-off items that are over a month old.

Hope they really…weren’t…THAT…important.

8:00 AM: Arrive at work.

Focus. Smile. Wave. Exchange pleasantries. Make a new list. Write this one down. Everything is important. EVERYTHING is THE MOST important.

Prioritize. Strategize. Focus.

Ignore the phone when the school calls to remind you of the papers you didn’t sign.

Ignore your parents when they call to see how things are going. You’ll call them back.

Add it to the list. The other list. The one that only grows.

Interestingly enough, ignoring the boy who DIDN’T call is harder than ignoring the one who DID. Ignore them both.

Focus. Plan. Work.

4:30 PM: If you leave now you’ll beat traffic. They will make it to practice on time. Coach will be happy. Kids will be happy. If you leave now everyone wins.

If you leave NOW, tomorrow… WILL BE HARDER.

I rise.

5:30 PM: Drop them off at the pool. You want to stay and watch them practice like your mother did. Like the other mothers do.

No.

You want to WANT to stay and watch them practice. You are tired and thankful for a break.

You’ll use the time to read books, and write stories. Plan vacations. Clean the garage. Clean the kitchen. Paint. Fix things. Learn to cook. Ride a bike. Exercise.

6:15 PM: Put a pin in all your plans. Be happy that you let the dog out, started a load of laundry, and made a decision for dinner. Pasta… again.

7:15 PM: Home. Showers. Cook… something. Anything. Fresh. Balanced. MUST SERVE VEGETABLES. Sit with them. Talk to them. Ask them about their day. Smile. Laugh. Teach them to keep their elbows off the table. Offer them more while you eat less. Resist the temptation to clean while they eat. Hope they don’t notice, you’re not hungry… again.

Send them to brush their teeth while you take care of the mess. Pat yourself on the back. You are very good at cleaning messes you didn’t make.

Breathe.

8:45 PM: Bed. 20 minutes of reading or, “the teacher will get mad”.

9:00 PM: 1 minute more and I will go mad. Close the books and your eyes.

I rise.

Kiss foreheads. Pull blankets. Tell them I love them. Tell them they are my treasures. My people. Turn off the lights and walk away.

9:30 PM: “Can I sleep with you?”

No.

“Why not?”

Because mommy wants to sleep alone.

“You’re mean.”

Then because I am mean. Goodnight.

Who are we?

“The 3 musketeers!”

All for 1.

“And 1 for all!”

I smile. They are happy and fast asleep before I start to cry. Not because I am sad. I am not sad. Because I am tired, and it’s Monday. And tomorrow my alarm will wake me up at 5:30 AM, and she will be in my bed. And I am not sure I can do it all again.

But I will rise.

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Confessions of a Superhero

Confessions of a Super Hero

Other possible titles:

If I tell you what I really think, will you call me a bitter divorcé ?

Words you write when you are out of Xanax.

There is not enough Botox in the world to hide the fact that I feel tired and old.

Misguided Musings of a 30 something single mom.

 

In just two years I’ve become a real life super hero, this is my story:

We don’t have to talk, we are not friends”.

That was all I could manage to say. That was the last thing that I said. I didn’t look at him again. I didn’t look at her either. I just rolled up my window and drove away. I don’t know where they went. Maybe to celebrate his new found freedom, or to revel in the fact that they had won some great prize in an out of court settlement that included very little time with the kids and even less financial support. I don’t know where they went, and does it really matter? He had made his choice and I would make mine. And so I closed the door on ten years of my life.

Ten years of hopes and dreams.

Ten years of joy and laughter.

Ten years of fighting and strife.

Of contention and hurt and more heartache then our marriage was capable of withstanding.

I closed the door behind me and stared out into a world full of terrifying possibilities, armed with only the tiniest glimmer of hope that somehow, in the end, all the wrongs would be made right.

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

 

It’s important to note that by this time I had been a single mom for over a year. Gone were the nights of holding my children as they cried themselves to bed and then slipping into my own bed to do the same. Gone was the fear and worry that my former “stay at home mom” status would prevent me from ever getting a good job, or a good job that I liked. Gone was the fear that I would never be wanted, and that what I could offer would never be enough. And the loneliness that once threatened to rob me of all future joy; was more of a dull ache only noticeable when I focused on it, and I never did.

 

At this point in my life I tried to date. I use that word “try”, about as loosely as you can use any word, because in hindsight, I did not “try” at all. I got out of these “relationships” exactly what I put into them, basically nothing. To be fair, I’m not sure I was ever good at dating… I mean, I was married at 21 so that leaves only my high school boyfriends to chime in… but please don’t because that would be insanely uncomfortable.

The point is this; it is extremely awkward for Christians to date after a divorce. Call me a hopeless romantic, but still hard to forget how, “the one” turned out. And while I totally agree there are a lot of someone betters out there for me, I am plagued with the reality that there is also someone worse, and that guy makes being single seem pretty stinking wonderful. And so, I am content to wait. On time, healing, confidence, hundreds of cats to take over my home and drive me out into the street where I am forced to make new friends, God, anything… I am just waiting. And trusting that when it is right, I’ll know.

Things that steal my joy:

Not having enough time with my kids.

Watching them miss their dad.

Knowing that my chances of marrying Bradley Cooper are basically non-existent.

Seeing them disappointed.

Knowing that even at my best, I will never be both a mother and a father.

Seeing them disappointed again.

Being so tired my body aches.

Seeing them disappointed again and again and again.

Commuting 2 hours a day and then coming home and feeling like a zombie.

The road map of wrinkles that line my forehead.

Things that bring me joy:

Being able to provide for my kids.

Daydreaming about sharing a front porch and a double rocking chair with Bradley Cooper.

A community of friends and family who held my arms up when I was too weak to walk.

Disco dance parties in my daughter’s room.

The way my son looks at me with such gratitude and pride when I come home from work.

All of the things that make up Elly’s world.

All of the things that make up Nicky’s world.

Knowing that I am building a legacy in them, and they will always be my proudest accomplishment.

Interesting work.

Cute clothes.

Knowing that I am not alone, and that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Feeling loved every day.

Having a front row seat in the lives of two really cool little humans.

Remembering that this is only one chapter and that the rest has already been written and is just waiting to be read.

 

In truth, some days are awesome and other days suck. I can appreciate that I am not a conventional superhero. An argument can be made that there is nothing super or heroic about me… get behind me Satan.

Although it may be fair to say there is nothing spectacular or even particularly interesting about my life right now. I’m trying to do the best with the cards in my hand, like all of the other amazing parents I know. Still, there are seasons of motherhood that seem more trying than others. This has been mine. And so, you will forgive my bold self-proclaimed superhero status, and just remember sometimes I need to be reminded that I am more than a conqueror.

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

Romans 8:37

Love,

Shaena

PS,

This blog is for moms like me. Your lives are not perfect, but you wake up every day and you do the best with what you have been given. You are beautiful and your story matters.

 

So… what now?

My darling friends,

By now, most of you know that my husband and I are divorcing. For some of you, this news is a huge disappointment. My heart hurts for you. I assure you, in many respects there is no one more disappointed than me.

Divorce is vicious, and ugly, and painful, and super sad. Like… SUPER sad. Honestly, I have worn my sweet friends and family ragged with tears over the past 6 months. My friends are rock stars at letting me go crazy and loving me through each outburst. (Seriously, if you don’t have friends like that, do whatever you can to find some… better still, BE THAT FRIEND). Also, my parents are super hero’s…so there is that.

But, that is not why I’m writing. I’m writing because of a question I’ve been asked several times. More like several hundred thousand times. A question that swirls around in my head and my heart like thick smoke making me dizzy with heartache. It’s a question I honestly don’t know how to answer.

“So… what are you going to do now?”

In short, I have no fricken clue!!!

The long answer is this; I am going to hope.

I’m going to hope and I am going to believe in the things unseen just like I always have.

I’m going to trip and fall and learn new things. Things that I might not otherwise know.

I am going to proceed with caution, guarding my heart, and watching where I walk. (There is all kinds of sh** out there ya’ll… it’s good to watch your step.)

I’m going to watch my head for signs of bitterness and pray my heart stays supple.

I’m going to ask for a miracle that allows me to grow strong without growing hard.

To exude confidence without arrogance.

To be satisfied but never complacent.

To give and receive grace often and without expectation.

Hope.

This world is messy, and complicated, and frustrating as hell. So, while I am going to allow myself time to be angry about how unfair life is, I am going to put a timer on that crap. (Like, a literal timer. 15 minutes max). Seriously, those kinds of thoughts will poison your heart faster than a McDonalds diet.

Instead of allowing negativity to consume me: I’m going to love people. Better than I ever have.

I’m going to love my two babies. Maybe I’ll squeeze them a little tighter or rock them a little longer.

I’m going to teach them about faith, and family, and failure, and hope.

I’m going to pray. I’m going to rest. And I am going to give thanks for every new day.

And I might blog about it every now and then. ;0)

This life is a bit of a mixed bag, but there is so much sweet, so much joy, so much silliness, and so much hope.

To my sweet friends. Thank you for your letters, phone calls, texts, gifts. They kindled a flame that gave hope of a future fire. You are world changers and I love you. Xoxo, S

“Stay at Home Mom” needs an upgrade

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I HATE my job title. It is in dire need of an upgrade. Until then…

Please don’t ask me what I do. I might cry.

And even if I don’t, I will read between the lines of your well-meaning,

“It’s the most important job in the world”.

Because, let’s face it, hardly anyone really believes that. If they did, they would rally and riot for better pay, benefits, and equal opportunity! They would fight for justice so no mother is left behind, and every woman in America is able to stay home and raise her own children if she wants to. At the very least, they would come up with a better job title!

Please don’t ask me what I do. Because experience tells me that depending on who is asking, answering, “I’m a stay at home mom”, might not sound important enough. And might be followed by disappointed looks and an awkward silence that aims to shame.

And, here is the deal, even if there is nothing between the lines for me to read, I will just start making *STUFF up.

And I’ll hear things like:

“What a shame. Another female lost in the wake of the feminist movement. Left behind without a brain, or a dream, or the drive to use her brain to realize her dream. So instead she stays at home all day long, eating bon bons, keeping up with the Kardashians, and watching her youth fade into oblivion; while her children raise themselves”.

Things could get ugly. So please don’t ask me what I do. Because, the best title someone came up with when describing what I do was, stay at home mom. And lets face it, that sounds lame.

The truth is I am:

  • A student first and foremost, because when I started this job I didn’t have a clue what I was doing.
  • A nutritionist
  • A chef
  • An artist
  • A musician
  • An interior decorator
  • A personal shopper
  • A therapist
  • A nurse
  • A dentist (pulling teeth like a boss)
  • A soccer coach
  • A ballet instructor
  • A motivational speaker
  • A mediator
  • A sheriff
  • A teacher
  • An entertainer
  • A playmate
  • A maid
  • A chauffeur
  • A nanny
  • A party planner
  • A gardener (though arguably the worst… hooray for zero scape)
  • A plumber
  • A stylist
  • A scientist
  • A pastor (gasp)
  • A story-teller
  • An adventure seeker
  • A dream maker
  • A friend
  • A confidant

 Okay go on, ask me what I do.

I do all these things and more… sometimes on the same day. And still have time to change the world one snotty nose at a time. So for goodness sake can we give this job title an upgrade already? I was thinking:

Stay at home mom

Domestic Goddess

People Farmer

Superhero

What do you think? Suitable upgrades?

Love to all the moms out there. So thankful for you. You are invaluable.

Xoxo,

S

“Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” 1 Corinthians 10:31

 

 

Regarding women who think they can’t get along with other women

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I was sitting in a coffee shop yesterday when I overheard a woman across from me say very matter-of-factly,  “I just don’t get along well with other women. I never have. I’ve always gotten along better with men”.

Hands raised if you are a woman who has ever heard that comment before.

Okay, hands down.

I hear that comment all the time and my reply is usually something like:

“Wha??” Followed by a head nod. Nodding my head when I am completely baffled, seems to put people at ease and make them think I can totally relate.

Confession: I cannot.

Here is why:

  • I am a woman. I don’t often find myself in conversations with people who I do not get along with. So when another woman tells me they don’t get along with women, the statement leaves me confused and unsure of the status of our relationship. I want to lower my voice a bit and whisper, “we’re cool right?”
  • She is a woman. I don’t know if it’s a weird byproduct of a patriarchal society, but I’m pretty sure, in every other context, blanket statements that imply disapproval of an entire people group are called discrimination. It’s 2014 ya’ll, that is not cool. Even if you are a member of that group. I am sad that women have been so well branded that even other women don’t want to associate with them. Ya’ll, each woman is unique and different! God hasn’t typecast or branded women into a single group and neither should we.
  • God is a woman. Oh relax. I know God is neither male nor female. But He does encompass all the wonderful characteristics that make men men and women women. In fact, He made both men AND women in His image.

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27

I whole-heartedly agree with that woman in the coffee shop and other well-meaning friends that say women are difficult to get along with. But I won’t stop there. Men are difficult to get along with… and don’t even get me started on children.

People in general, God bless them; are sometimes very difficult to get along with.

Try anyway.

Women have a unique and beautiful opportunity to change the world by how we minister to each other. No one says, “I don’t get along with women because they are too kind and encouraging” and yet, that is exactly the kind of woman YOU and I have the opportunity to be.

As women, we can be teachers of good things. Things like self-control, love, kindness, purity, respect (Titus 2:3-5). Ladies we cheat ourselves of this amazing opportunity when fail to “strive to keep a spirit of unity and a bond of peace” Ephesians 4:3 (to get along) with all of God’s children.

Radical love is not easy but it’s worth it. Take a chance on someone this week, you just might make a friend for life.

xoxo,

S

Are you a woman who doesn’t get along with other women? I’d love to hear your thoughts and reactions. I value you and your contribution. Look forward to hearing from you.

Let Us Be Women Who Love: A Poem by Idellette McVicker

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Hello Friends! Happy Thanksgiving! I am so grateful for you! You inspire and encourage me every week. I hope you have a wonderful holiday.

I wanted to share a magnificent poem with you. It is one of my favorite! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Let Us Be Women Who Love

Idelette McVicker

Let us be women who Love.

Let us be women willing to lay down our sword words, our sharp looks, our ignorant silence and towering stance and fill the earth with extravagant Love.

Let us be women who Love.

Let us be women who make room.

Let us be women who open our arms and invite others into an honest, spacious, glorious embrace.

Let us be women who carry each other.

Let us be women who give from what we have.

Let us be women who leap to do the difficult things, the unexpected things and the necessary things.

Let us be women who live for Peace.

Let us be women who breathe Hope.

Let us be women who Create beauty.

Let us be women who Love.

Let us be a sanctuary where God may dwell.

Let us be a garden for tender souls.

Let us be a table where others may feast on the goodness of God.

Let us be a womb of Life to grow.

Let us be women who love.

Let us rise to the question of our time.

Let us speak to the injustices in our world.

Let us move the mountains of fear and intimidation.

Let us shout down the walls that separate and divide.

Let us fill the earth with the fragrance of Love.

Let us be women who Love.

Let us listen for those who have been silenced.

Let us honor those who have been devalued.

Let us say, Enough! With abuse, abandonment, diminishing and hiding.

Let us not rest until every person is free and equal.

Let us be women who love. 

Let us be women who are savvy, smart, and wise.

Let us be women who shine with the light of God in us.

Let us be women who take courage and sing the song in our hearts.

Let us be women who say, Yes to the beautiful, unique purpose seeded in our souls.

Let us be women who call out the song in another’s heart.

Let us be women who teach our children to do the same.

Let us be women who Love.

Let us be women who Love, in spite of fear.

Let us be women who Love, in spite of our stories.

Let us be women who Love loudly, beautifully, Divinely.

Let us be women who Love.

 

Praying for you this week.

Xoxo,

S

Crazy. Awesome. LOVE.

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I’ve missed you friends! I wish I had an epic excuse for my absence but it really just boils down to being the worst blogger ever! But, I’m working on it… a little grace for the journey? ;0). Anyway, I am back, and there you are… let’s encourage each other shall we?
Last week, I was able to share some crazy awesome love with the women at SHE ministries. Together we uncovered the secret to pure joy… that is sort of a big deal for those of us who could use a little more joy in our lives. Err…um…ME… and probably you too.
The secret is this… LOVE EACH OTHER!
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I kept my Father’s commands and remain in His love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”
John 15:9-12
I know, Your. Mind. Is. Blown. So was mine.
The bottom line is this; if we want to have more joy in our lives, we’ve got to figure this whole love thing out. I hope that you will enjoy this short devo and you will be encouraged to love each other with the crazy awesome love of God.
Praying for you friends. That your joy may be complete!
Xoxo,
S