The Places I Go To Cope With Tough Times

We all have tough times in which we feel as if we will never resurface to the other “peaceful” and happy side. We all have times in which the hits seem to keep coming and the hell seems never-ending. It is hard to summon hope and sustain a positive outlook in the middle of strife, stress, and disappointment. Keeping your thoughts positive when you’re basically sitting in the middle of a metaphorical pile of crap isn’t easy, but it’s necessary.

At some point, when you’re feeling stressed, you need to take matters into your own hands and find ways to shut out the madness and bask in some quiet time and peace.
For me, I have a few places that I turn to for stress relief, peace and quiet and a break from reality. As a single parent whose job is to provide emotional and financial stability for my daughter, I feel it is in my job title to maintain my own emotional health. Ultimately, as parents we need to teach our kids how to cope with emotions and tough times, so never, ever, ever feel selfish for taking care of yourself. Like the old airplane adage, if you don’t have your emergency mask on, how can you put your child/children’s mask/s on?

Here are my go-to places when I need “Serenity Now…”

Read More: The Places I Go To Cope With Tough Times 

Finding Peace,

Laura

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15 Signs That You’ve Found Honest-to-Goodness “True Love”

How do you know when it’s true love? You just know. OK, beyond that answer, there are certain signs that make it completely obvious that you and this person are just meant to be. It’s that feeling in your bones that you know this person makes your life inexplicably better, even during the rough times that every couple experiences over the course of their relationship.

Whether it’s that comfortable silence or the complete feeling of trust, true love is such a gift that one must never take for granted, abuse, walk away from, or disrespect. Because if these signs ring true for you . . . you’re one of the lucky ones.

Read More: 15 Signs That You’ve Found Honest-to-Goodness “True Love”

It’s For Real,

Laura

How My Divorce Turned Me Into The Independent Woman I Am Today

When I first met my ex-husband, I was wrapping up a period in which I saw an amazing therapist. I was working on myself and trying to overcome certain things and doing a great job, but still had a ways to go. But hey—each journey begins with one step, right?

I say that I had a ways to go because when I met my ex-husband, I really believed that maybe I wasn’t quite good enough yet and that the relationship was proof that I was indeed, good enough. If you don’t know this, a healthy relationship begins with two people who already know they are worthy of love, and not needing a relationship to “confirm” this belief. Unfortunately, my ex used this to his advantage numerous times, trying to remind me how basically, I wasn’t all that great or smart and that I had “so many problems,” unlike him, who was apparently, untouchable from problems that the rest of the population had. Empathy was not his strong suit.

This isn’t to say that he never said good things about me and this isn’t to say I was the perfect wife. I wasn’t perfect. I made mistakes of course like anyone, but that narrative was I was slightly lesser than and needed his help. Who wrote the narrative? Was it me? Him? Both of us?

Read More: How My Divorce Turned Me Into The Independent Woman I Am Today 

Stronger,

Laura

Two Spiritual Changes In My Life That I Once Snubbed, But Needed To Make

I am not religious. My parents came from two religious backgrounds, and so we weren’t particularly religious or observant. But growing up, I was completely fascinated by religion and people’s cultural and familial habits. I loved (and still love) learning about what religious beliefs people practice, how they formed or learned about these practices, what texts/traditions and habits surround their beliefs and how they honor/or don’t honor them today as adults. So, I guess you could say that I was always interested in spirituality, but at the same time I feel conflicted. I’ve read a bunch of religious texts and studied around, but I don’t have watertight convictions that I am certain of. I’m half romantic, and half skeptic/scientist. I want proof, I’m not sure there is any proof, but at the same time, I want to believe in faith, hope, and a divine power and being.

So I’ve had a hard time throughout life really figuring out where I fall in because often, religion proves to be too strict or too narrow-minded for me, and yet, spirituality…sounds too open-ended. Or too hippie-ish for me. But as times got harder after my divorce, I realized I needed something for myself…something to help provide a place of peace and happiness. Positivity, even if it’s just a spark of positivity, because sometimes one little spark can set my attitude aflame, in the right kind of way. I started to realize that instead of saying, “Yeah, I should really do this for my own well-being,” I had to actually start doing it instead of simply talking the talk and not walking the walk.

Read More: Two Spiritual Changes In My Life That I Once Snubbed, But Needed To Make 

Breathe Deep & Reflect,

Laura

The One Change You Need To Make Before Going Out On A Date

When it comes to dating, you’re concerned. You have a laundry list of fears. You’re worried about the size of your thighs. You’re worried someone won’t accept your kids. You’re worried you won’t have the time for someone. You’re concerned people will judge you for your divorce. You’re feeling old. Isn’t that a count against you? And truly, will someone else love you for you? Or was your former marriage the last chance that happened, if your ex even loved you for you in the first place?

The fears I hear from people, men and women, but especially women after divorce, usually sound like the ones I listed above. The fear that ultimately, you have lost your chance at love, forever, simply because your marriage failed.

By the way, that’s a flat-out no, you haven’t, but it’s a fear many people have—men and women, alike.

Yet, there is one thing that I see many women forgetting as they start dating after divorce that if they considered it would really change the way they date and meet someone, for good.

Read More: The One Change You Need To Make Before Going Out On A Date

Is He/She Worthy?

Laura

6 Things I Want My Daughter to Remember About Me, Even After I’m Gone

We always want our children to think the best of us — just as much as they want us to think the best of them. Have you ever sat down and thought about what exactly you want your kids to remember most about you when it’s all said and done? The reality is this — so much of how we are can become how our children are. They absorb so much of us, from our behaviors and habits to our likes and dislikes, even when we don’t realize they’re watching and listening.

As a single mom raising an only child, I really feel the weight of all I do. Worrying about caring for her and having the entire financial burden on my shoulders sometimes makes me think I’m going to break, but I don’t. I keep carrying on and doing my thing. And that’s just one of the things I want her to remember about me: that I never give up, no matter how hard life gets. I take the punches like a big girl, and I dish it right back, fighting and appreciating the little things in life.

Here are the six big things I want my daughter to always remember about me.

Read More: 6 Things I Want My Daughter to Remember About Me, Even After I’m Gone

Love Is Never-Ending,

Laura

7 Reasons for Breast Pain Before Your Period (& Sometimes, After)

“Why are my breasts sore?” It’s a question many women ask themselves, especially if they’re suffering from sore breasts before period cycles.

I have dealt with severe pain and sore breasts for the past few years because I have fibrocystic breasts. I didn’t know, however, that I had fibrocysts until I ended up with a painful lump after my yearly breast exam and had to go for an early mammogram.

In general, it’s not unusual to have tender breasts before your period, but why does it happen in the first place? And what else could be causing you to have general breast pain? Here are 10 things that could be causing your breast pain:

1. Progesterone

During the second half of your menstrual cycle, your progesterone levels rise. In particular, these levels rise the week before your period. When progesterone levels rise, this causes your milk ducts to swell. Translation? It can make your breasts very tender.

Read More: 7 Reasons for Breast Pain Before Your Period (& Sometimes, After)

Periods Are A Pain,

Laura

How My Friendships Feed Me (Literally & Emotionally) After Divorce

While many people internally panic about the idea of being alone after divorce, one of the few anecdotes to “divorce” depression is not another partner, but the people you call your friends. In fact, for a lot of people, divorce can really fracture friendships because couples may have shared a lot of mutual friends, leaving people to more often than not, pick sides over who they are going to align with, even if in truth they really like both spouses a lot. In my case, my ex and I had some mutual friends that had to navigate new friendships with us after divorce, but most of my close friends were mine solely. The larger issue for us was that many people know us both since we went to high school in the same town.
So, if you’re not as fortunate as I was to have a tight crew already, you can be left almost friendless after divorce. Even if you’ve got a group of friends like I did, when I first separated from my ex, I really wanted to meet other people who were either divorced or on the journey like myself. It helps to have that support group. Over time, I met more single parents like myself, which made me feel less alone.

Read More: How My Friendships Feed Me (Literally & Emotionally) After Divorce

Get By With a Little Help From My Friends,

Laura

8 Ways to Shut Down Questions About When Baby No. 2 Is Coming

Don’t you love how people are utterly offended and horrified by the fact that your kid is an only child? I mean, what could possibly be worse than not having a sibling?

Because having siblings is always easy. Your brother is never publicly intoxicated and your sister is completely normal, sane and never yanked your hair like she was pulling weeds, right? Siblings always get along, too! I mean everyone knows that!

Yeah, what sort of demon leaves his or her child to be a lone soul in the world without a sibling around to kick that kid’s ass?

Apparently, having an only child makes other parents consider us parents of only kids, slackers. It’s like we’re all competing in this major parenting Olympics and if you only have one kid, you’re cheating at life and therefore, getting by way too damn easy.

Read More: 8 Ways to Shut Down Questions About When Baby No. 2 Is Coming

None of Their Beeswax,

Laura

What You Thought Motherhood Would Be Like vs. What It’s Actually Like

The funniest thing in the world just might be someone without kids sharing their “wisdom” on how they will be upon becoming a parent. It’s amazing how awesome and well-behaved both you and your kids are in your own little fantasy world of how you’ll parent when you’re not actually a parent, isn’t it?

You think motherhood is going to be one way and that you’ll always get big fat A-pluses on all your motherhood “assignments,” but then reality gives you a beat down like nobody’s business.

BIRTH

Expectation:

You thought you’d go all natural with childbirth.

Reality:

Meanwhile, that birth hurt like a mutha and the anesthesiologist became your BFF. Epidurals FTW.

Read More: What You Thought Motherhood Would Be Like vs. What It’s Actually Like

Reality is a B*tch,

Laura