Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Things I Absolutely Love Right Now.


First off, I have to just brag for a little minute. My last post clearly struck a tone with people and was shared and commented on and read by....wait for it....5,400+ People so far! It hit on the right website, one about the impossibilities of attempting to co-parent with a narcissistic ex, and it TOOK. OFF. So thanks to all who sent comments! So many people said "thank you" or "I'm crying" because it resonated. Super cool.

Anyway, with loads of cremation talk and memorial planning and ghost interactions (YES IT'S TRUE) I've had of late, I decided to lighten things up and talk about the things I Just Love Right Now. Strolling through shitstorms can require some redirection of your mind and appreciation for the beautiful, yummy and/or fun things around you. 


1. The Roasted Vegetable Salad with some Riesling at Sauce. We love Sauce and frequent it on our solo weekends when we want something fresh and light. It's DELISH.



2. Being a PACU nurse. I made the transition from more than a decade as a kick-ass, seen-it-all lifesaver in the Emegency Room and Intensive Care Units to the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (Recovery Room for y'all who don't speak medical terminology. Like my husband). Still get to call in critical care nursing skills from the ER and ICU, but with about 1/8 of the stress and patient load and with enough adrenaline rushes to subdue a desire to ever go back to the trenches. Bonus: PACU coworkers have "THE" ER/ICU personalities because we've all done it, so our little recovery community is nothing short of FUN.


3. Megan Miranda novels. I devoured her first one, All The Missing Girls, and snatched up The Perfect Stranger when it came out. And then I met her. And she's divine AND one hell of a suspense novelist. Check it out for summer if you like things a little dark. Like I used to like my men until I got White Boy Wasted. I'm not actually sure what that means. I guess that I got drunk on the love of my cute Irish husband and never looked back.



4. IT Cosmetics. Is it pricey? YEP. But when you're over 40, if you're NOT choosing good makeup, then it's your fault you look like a troll. The foundation is a powder that does NOT settle into the lines, AS LONG AS YOU FIRE UP THE PRIMER FIRST. You need primer. And this $50 brush. Ok, it's hellaexpensive at Ulta but gotta save the moneymaker, yo.


5. HOT LIPS. Now, my husband ends up ruining my lipstick the minute I get home or he gets home or we're going somewhere, so if you see him out and about with streaks of Lime Crime or Urban Decay on his face or neck, IT'S BECAUSE I THINK HE'S HOT. And he kisses me a lot.
ANYWAY. I LOVE the color Bittersweet from Urban Decay. It's a bright purplish-pink, bold and amazing paired with a more neutral (yet sparkly) eye. Also Cashmere by Lime Crime (found it on Amazon) is a GREAT matte look. It goes on liquid but quickly dries to a perfect matte that stays for hours unless your husband ruins it like mine.



6. Jewelry that means something. I am not big on flashy jewelry and honestly prefer travel and books over diamonds. BUT I'm all about jewelry that MEANS something, because it came from someone else, or was designed by someone you love. In this little dish are the things that I wear that mean so much! The blue topaz/diamond necklace belonged to my husband's grandmother. I didn't get to meet her, but I'm told she would have LOVED me. Duh. My angel pin belonged to my grandmother who died last June, she collected angels of every kind. The Pandora bracelet from my Mom, with my kids' initials on it, a book charm and a Mickey/Minnie charm from my husband. My wedding set. My husband designed it himself, and incorporated a few of his grandmother's diamonds, which my mother-in-love saved just for me. Sigh. My aunt's pearl ring that was a gift to her when she graduated from high school in 1963. She wore it everyday. Now I do too. My grandmother's original wedding band, engraved with "From GW to MZ 7-9-39". It's already 78 years old. My silhouette bracelet; originally my maternal grandmothers, it had silhouette charms on it of my Mom, my aunt, myself and my brother-- her only two children and grandchildren. My Mom then bought a sturdier bracelet, had it woven with my grandmothers, and added the silhouettes of my children. I cried for hours over that one. I love these things as much as you can a material possession, and in these weeks where I'm still in grieving mode (doing well, but there are significant moments of heartbreak and disbelief) I can look down and feel connected to the ones who mean everything.


7. Bloodline. We LOVE this show. The final season drops on Friday, and we can't wait. When I say we can't wait it means we can't wait until the kids are in bed so we can commence the binge. It's a punch-in-the-gut show about a family who owns an inn in Key West, and harbors some BIG secrets. It's their unraveling that is so addicting to behold. If you haven't seen it yet, start at season one, give it a few episodes to get REALLY intense, and then thank me.



8. Fry's Clicklist. This invention makes me so happy I could cry. I have a family of seven (at least every other weekend) and a family of four the rest of the time (including a teenage son). That means grocery shopping is VERY time consuming, tedious and, if I'm being honest, exhausting. That's a lot of people to consider. BUT NOW.....I go to Clicklist HERE, sign up, pick a time, and start shopping. It is EFFORTLESS. Now, the key is to do your shopping on a weekday, because the weekends are pretty booked out. However, I search my recipes and jot my list on Monday usually, fire up the Clicklist, and pick everything up that afternoon, or on Tuesday. You just add everything to your cart, they send you a confirmation email, then a reminder email about an hour before. Then you cruise on up to Fry's to the Clicklist section of the parking lot, call the number on the sign, and within five minutes your groceries are loaded and and you're on the way home. It has saved SO MUCH time, I'm talking two hours, that I have time to run to my boxing class, get other things done and THEN go get the groceries. The first three orders are free, after that it's $4.95. But for the time it saves, THAT'S FINE WITH ME!



9. Mon Paris, Yves Saint Laurent. I followed my coworker around for days wanting to know what this scent was. Hopefully not in a creeptastic way. But possibly. It's both floral and spicy and it makes my husband mess up my pretty lipstick that I mentioned above. About $75 for the teeny weeny bottle because it's YUMMY.



10. Quiet Days Off Surrounded By Simple Things. I LOVE having a weekday off where the my kids are in school and the steps are somewhere else and I have time to putter; enjoy the flowers my husband buys almost weekly, my B&BW candles (a home staple for me--this one--Mahogany Coconut is WONDERFUL), movies, mani-pedi, boxing, and some undoing of the kid mess, making the house cozy, clean and inviting again. I appreciate my schedule so much because these days are a good reset.


11. Kicking Ass At Stepmom-ing. It is the number one, no doubt most difficult job on the planet. Don't be fooled by people who say being a Mom is. I've done both, twice, and being a Mom is a cakewalk in comparison. It is probably easier when you deal with exes who are, if not semi-normal humans, at least civil for the kids' sake, but like my last article, that's NOT always the case. I've tried to make the job easy on my kids' stepmom; we exchange kind texts and congratulations and occasional jokes--no doubt that's made it easier on her. Plus my kids are awesome because I'm their Mom but whatever. Stepmoms are often overlooked on Mother's Day, even when they spend equal time and do the work of a mother in the house. This is NOT okay. Thankfully my husband and my in-laws have told me repeatedly that they're grateful for my mother influence in the lives of my stepkids; and I'm glad for the opportunity. It's rough, but then there are moments like this, when your heart is full because you love children that aren't even yours. Except they are, when you are one with their bioparent. Biology, honestly, can be the least of what makes someone a parent.


12.  Jabz Boxing. I love this place. It resets my mind, confirms my badassery, and pumps up the endorphins to last all day. It also means epsom salt baths, sore thighs and necessary butt rubs from the husband. It is a ROUGH workout, but is diverse, always new, incorporates cardio, strength, plyo, technique. It makes you actually enjoy getting your ass kicked, I SWEAR. And it MAKES YOU want to step into a ring. You can become kick-ass too HERE. Photo credit to Jabz Happy Valley.


13. Swish Swish, by Katy Perry. Oh, YES, girl. I LOVE this new song of Katy's. If there's a female you detest out there (and face it ladies, we all have at least ONE), this jam's for YOU. With these catty lyrics, how could you NOT love it?!
A tiger
Don't lose no sleep
Don't need opinions

From a shellfish or a sheep
Don't you come for me


You're calculated
I got your number

'Cause you're a joker
And I'm a courtside killer queen
And you will kiss the ring
You best believe


So keep calm, honey, I'ma stick around
For more than a minute, get used to it


14. Grace and Frankie. Just go watch it. You can't go wrong with these two.
 I mean, the Frankie quotes alone should do it:


Frankie: Excuse me. 
[Holding up a container of Ben & Jerry's ice cream
Frankie: Have you ever wondered if Ben and Jerry make more than ice cream together? 
Woman: What? 
Frankie: Ben and Jerry. Are they more than ice cream buddies? 
Woman: How the hell would I know? 
Frankie: Bitch. 
Frankie Bergstein: I must have half the beach in my vagina!
Frankie Bergstein: [folding a fitted sheet] This is harder than you said it would be. 
Grace Hanson: Fold the corners. No, fold. Fold the corners. 
Frankie Bergstein: They're round. They do not fold. Anyone who can do this is a powerful witch. 
Grace Hanson: Well, I can do it. 
Frankie Bergstein: I rest my case. 



And with that, I rest mine.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Why I Don't Have To Take Pictures With The Ex "For The Children", And You Don't Either.

Recently there's been a post going around that talked about how these Two Divorced Individuals were So Great because They Took A Picture Together With Their Kid Every Year. 

And then came the comments from the ignorant:

“This is how EVERYONE should do it!”
“Those parents are doing it right!”
“There is no reason that every parent shouldn't do this! If you don't you're selfish!”

"This is PUTTING THE KIDS FIRST, KUDOS!"

There has been article after article about how wonderful it is when exes are best pals, sharing birthday parties, sitting together at events and games, and the like. It's great for those who can. One side of my own situation gets along in spite of the awful history, (but with boundaries in place), one side has repeatedly caused so much harm through a suspected disorder, lies, revenge, accusations and court that there is no possibility of common ground. Condemning people who are willing but UNABLE to effectively "co-parent" is ignorant.

IF YOU'RE BEST PALS, THEN WHY GET DIVORCED?

For the record, I did not divorce my ex husband because I wanted to hang out with him during holidays or host birthday parties "Come on over!" at my house with him traipsing through the home I've made with my new husband.

If you haven't been through divorce, especially a contentious one, especially one that maybe wasn't your fault but someone else dropped a nuclear weapon in your home and you were left with the high emotions of the fallout from someone's selfish decisions, then you really have no reason to comment.

Every situation is different; and there is a BIG difference between a couple who sat down and said, "This isn't working, let's just go our separate ways" and ones who split up due to abuse, whether emotional through cheating or physical. It is INCREDIBLY insensitive to expect that everyone act the same or that there is some "standard" to strive for, making people question themselves: "What is wrong with ME?" when honey, it's NOT you.

The only rules are not to bash the other parent to your children and don't use them as pawns in your chess game hell bent on revenge. Be civil. If necessary, parallel parent.

Yes, go ahead and unapologetically parallel parent. For your sanity. Go ahead. I support you. 

You can read more about it HERE.




If you had the pleasure of divorcing someone with narcissistic tendencies or a full fledged personality disorder, then NO ONE, and I mean NO ONE can judge your right to protect your own emotions and self-worth, to protect your solid boundaries and as a result of that, protect your children while they're in your care.

You can't rescue your kids from a narcissist/disordered other parent. That will be a road they will have to walk down and recover from on their own. But you CAN enforce boundaries and teach your children valuable life lessons.

And that means putting a hedge of protection around your life, for the sake of your soul and your kids.

Imagine being told by friends, family, internet trolls, that you just HAVE TO sit in a room/talk on the phone/co-mingle at games/pretend to be friends with someone who maybe had:

1. Cheated on you with total disregard for their vows, total disregard for their children in their actions. Imagine you had overheard your spouse on the phone with the person they're cheating on you with, saying "All he/she cares about is the children. Can you believe that?!" (THE AUDACITY).

2. Created a new human with someone other than their spouse.

3. Pretended to be amicable and agreed to all of the divorce stipulations, wanted to hurry and sign the dotted line to marry someone else; then when YOU moved on later, they are so ridiculously jealous that they threatened and then slapped you with court (classic personality disorder behavior!) in an attempt to disrupt your wedding and new marriage.

4. Make false allegations against you and attempted to deny you your parental rights, decision making and custody of your children, when the situation was not your doing. Not even a little bit.

5. Gotten pregnant on purpose knowing you adamantly did not want more children.

6. Not paid any support for years. You can handle it, but you legitimately need some help, and you didn't create them alone.

7. OR Someone who says "I never want child support, time with my children is enough"---until they decide that cheating with--and then marrying--a jobless, unmotivated person wasn't allowing them to keep up the lifestyle they used to have, and they now expect you to fund their life. And then cut their own hours to part time. You work like a dog with 50/50 custody and now cover your own AND the other parent expenses. Seems legit. (See "Golden Uterus Complex" in book below).

8. Dragged your children to so many different doctor and therapist appointments looking for a "fix" for the damage that they have done that you are forced to watch your children trudge through life covered in labels and prescriptions.

9. You also cannot attend any appointments because of the excessive conflict and inability to focus on your children without the other parent insisting on being present. When they are there, they have outbursts and make the therapist uncomfortable. So you have no choice but to keep your distance for the children's sakes.

10. Dragged your new spouse and their children into their unstable world with constant comments about how they're "not really family"; confusing your children and forcing them to show allegiance; attempting to ruin the lives of your new stepchildren with false accusations.  Doing so while promoting themselves publicly as an "advocate for children".

11. Emotionally abused, manipulated, threatened and gaslighted you, used court as a weapon; repeatedly shit on you in ways that make the children fully aware of the tension.

(Just a few, ahem, hypotheticals).

I mean, COME ON. When would you go to a therapist and hear them say, "You should really stay buddies with your abuser. You should let them hang out and make the best of it because THAT JUST MAKES EVERYONE FEEL BETTER". 

It's the same thing.

SOMEONE'S MENTAL ILLNESS, EVEN IF IT'S YOUR CHILDREN'S OTHER PARENT, IS NOT YOUR PROBLEM. Think of it as their new spouse having the life sentence now. You were LUCKY to escape. 


I'm here to tell you, IT'S REALLY OKAY TO SAY NO TO "CO-PARENTING" WITH ANOTHER HUMAN BEING WHO DOESN'T UNDERSTAND THE CONCEPT AND INSTEAD USES THE TERM AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO MANIPULATE YOU THROUGH THE CHILDREN.

Just because you had children with someone does NOT make your life their fair game and mean that they have ANY right to be disruptive, belligerent, abusive or manipulative to you.

And showing your children that you can be civil in their presence while enforcing boundaries to protect yourself?

What a valuable lesson for them!

Show them there are consequences in life if someone violates you, if someone is abusive, no matter who that person is. 

Imagine your children in a relationship that you notice is abusive. Would you not do everything in the world to protect them?

Then give them that strong example. Show them you can be a civil human being to someone who has caused you harm, while still maintaining appropriate distance and a hard line stance against further abuse. Someday they'll remember that Mom or Dad JUST SAID NO. Show them that how you treat someone matters. Break the cycle so they don't go on to abuse their OWN spouse or behave like spawn of Satan. 

Protect yourself. In doing so, you are creating a better life and environment for your children. Mom/Dad aren't as on edge. They are able to focus on their children. They're able to find love again and build a better life and relationship example. They find their own voice and strength and say no to what damages. They protect their kids from the tension at joint parties and school events. 

So go ahead and do you. Sit on the other side of the bleachers. Plan your own parties. Limit contact.

It's your life to live, don't let anyone tell you you have to be or do anything that harms you. 

For an EXCELLENT resource that we've found incredibly helpful (and so on point you wonder if someone has been observing your life), I highly recommend this book:

https://www.amazon.com/Say-Goodbye-Crazy-Restore-Sanity-ebook/dp/B014W0587S




Now go take some pictures of your kid with just you, or you and their new stepparent, or their stepsiblings and rejoice in your new beginnings, your forever family, and being a strong, FREE, DAMN GOOD, parent. 

You don't owe the world (or the ex) a thing.