Forgiving Yourself Is As Important As Forgiving Others

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Growing up with parents coming from two different religious backgrounds has so many pluses. One is it has made me more open to others’ viewpoints. At the same time, I don’t feel aligned with any religion really. I do find both Jewish and Christian traditions interesting and meaningful. So, I am spiritual but I’m not religious.

But for the first year ever, I thought about what Yom Kippur really means. Asking for forgiveness for sins and forgiveness of others. Supposedly, it’s the time of year where G-d decides your fate and therefore, you’ve got to make amends, and fast.

I thought about who I would apologize to, however anyone I may have wronged I’ve certainly apologized to. And if there’s anyone out there I offended, well, I am truly sorry!

But I think the person I am most sorry to is myself. For being so hard on myself.
The way I’ve talked to myself and about myself.
The way I’ve judged myself and compared myself.
The way I’ve doubted myself and criticized myself.
The way I talk to myself is most often, much harder than how I’ve talked to anyone else!
It is like I’m in some competition where the goals to be fabulous are so high and not obtainable that I beat myself to death for not being enough.
But if there is one thing I am, it is tenacious and persistent. I try so hard to be my best self. To be better. To do better. Be a better mom. Person. Partner. Friend. Worker. Etc.

Here is what I don’t do: give myself a break. Be kind to myself. Compliment myself. Believe in myself.

So here is a huge apology to myself for being so bad to myself at times.

Lovingly,

Laura

A Single Mom Birthday

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When you’re a single mom and it’s your birthday, it’s pretty much like every other day. Chores. Cleaning. School responsibilities. Figuring out all 3 meals and snacks. Usually, making most, all or planning out all of those said meals. Virtual school. The same old same old.

Your kids don’t always remember it’s your birthday. Mine didn’t. She thought my birthday was next week. It’s not. It was this past Friday. I think I’ll cut her slack since she’s 9 and we’re living in a pandemic without a real sense of a calendar or time as hard as I try to have a schedule. It was truly the first year though, that it didn’t even feel like my birthday. It didn’t feel celebratory. I did see friends over the weekend, but I don’t know. Between virtual school and the responsibility of working from home and everything else, this year has felt so depressing and isolating. I really don’t know if I will make it through 2020.

In the Dark,

Laura

Under the Knife: Dealing With Medical Anxiety

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As a kid, I had no fear of doctors or dentists. I had Lymes Disease as a teen, and I barely fussed when they came to my house to put in a PICC line. My dad on the other hand, almost fainted.
When I had to go for an MRI to check for a potential brain tumor, I thought it was too enclosed, but I dealt with it and wasn’t nervous about the tests.
Boy, have times changed me!

i’m not exactly sure when it happened, but I would say my anxiety towards medicine, doctors and being sick really started when I was pregnant and had Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Things started happening to me that I had never experienced. I’ve never been in a hospital so much in my life until that time. A few years prior, someone in my family had gotten really sick. A few years prior to even that, another family member had quite a few major surgeries and Cancer. I think as we get older, it’s more likely that we will deal with illness and health issues. My experience with Lymes taught me that I had some drug allergies, but I rarely complained. I got blood work constantly and I wasn’t anxious, but did want to get better.

Now as an adult and single mom, I’ve learned I have many allergies to medications and I really get anxious when it comes to medical situations. I think getting a divorce and becoming a single parent through the years also heightened my level of anxiety: I must be ok so I can be here for my daughter.

I’ve learned a few things though to help manage these fears, and it’s a work in progress always:

1. Don’t Google Your Symptoms.

2. Meditation Helps You Manage Anxiety.


3. Taking Charge of Your Health Through Diet and Exercise Helps.

4. Find a Friend Who Understands Your Anxiety as a Support.

5. Don’t Google Your Symptoms.

Those five things definitely help me! Not to mention realizing I can only control so much. Diet, exercise, fresh air, supplements, and rest are also key tools to keep me in as control of my health as possible.

So, today when I learned I might need to have something cut open on me— nothing major— I felt anxious. But not like I normally would. Sure, my stomach is grumbly. Sure, I’m worrying about it a bit more than I’d like, but it’s not overtaking me. I am doing what I can to avoid having to do that, and in the meantime, I have as much of a plan as I can. I called a supportive person and that helped also.

The moral of this anxious story? When it comes to anxiety, it’s important to understand what may have triggered your anxiety or reasons for having it. For me, a rough pregnancy and becoming a single parent definitely contributed to my anxious feelings over medical situations. Knowing this and realizing that I tend to worry over these things has allowed me to help take control over my fears and refocus in a more positive way.

Breathe in and Breathe Out,

Laura

What If Nothing Is Really Worth It?

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The other weekend, I found myself in the woods with someone I’ll call a friend as there is no real word to describe him. It was a beautiful day and a nice hike together.
Of course, I had a great and special time. It was a beautiful evening and late afternoon. But a few times as I walked an occasional muddy path, I thought back to a really horrible memory for me. At 14, I was basically taken advantage of by a 22 year old male. Thirty years later, I can still envision myself lying in the leaves that late summer evening. I can remember wanting it to stop.

This wasn’t the “Me Too” days. This was the “It’s My Fault” decade, where women and girls and men and boys alike all remained silent about these things.
I shook the memories off, and was able to fully enjoy the time with my friend who is at times, very creative and thoughtful with plans. This was a surprise trip and a thoughtful one at that. I wanted to go back with my friend and expressed it right away. We were hiking or walking mostly on a flat path amongst a garden and the woods. It was really special. It gave the woods a better definition for me— superseding those bad memories which have left a mark on my mind that will never go away. No one tells you that. That the memories never leave but the power they once had does— if you work on it.


Lately, I have felt a struggle to stay on an enlightened and positive path. I have made huge progress and gotten so far and I’m proud of that, but I keep falling and stumbling anyway, without fail. Perhaps it’s the isolation of COVID, or maybe it’s being a single parent for a long almost seven years, but I wonder if I have anything to offer. If anything I’m writing resonates or clicks within others. I wonder if I’m really connecting with people. I see myself hitting roadblocks and nothing I do seems to get me past them, despite the fact that I work very hard. If you know me, you know I’m a dedicated friend and partner and parent. That when I commit to something, anything— I really commit to it. That’s why I drive almost an hour to train weekly. Because I’m committed.

But I have to wonder if all my hard work is really getting me anywhere and if my writing really natters anymore. If I matter anymore. Maybe it’s best I just go dark and stop writing. Maybe I’m not really offering anything to anyone.
In the small of my mind where it is quiet and dim, I feel a real loss and feel directionless and hopeless at times.

Everyone feels stuck. Everyone feels darkness and hard times. The question I’m wondering is when it ends? And when does someone’s years of dedication and hard work really pay off? When do things pay off for me?

Maybe though me writing is not adding up to anything. Maybe there is nothing left to say because, nothing has changed for me. To develop, I need new experiences and I feel I’m not finding them. I feel defeated.

Peace and love is solely underestimated. To me, it’s the only things worth living for. Without peace of mind and love, life is worthless. Money can only carry someone so far.

love,

Laura

12 Days of Christmas, Single Mom Style

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Photo by Ira Ostafijchuk on Unsplash

I tend to listen to holiday music ad nausem because I miss singing in choir; this season always reminds me of numerous years of concerts I either sang or sang and played an instrument in over the years. But, as I “race” to get stuff done– and try to remember hiding the elves for my daughter, and oh can’t forget Hanukkah too, it all blurs by. This is when I wish I had four hands instead of two, but part of being a single mom is learning how to be more than one person. Guess what? I still haven’t quite learned because it’s just not possible.

It had me making up my own little 12 days of Christmas song– if only.

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Giving Up Things You Need & Love: Life As a Single Parent

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Photo by Sergei Gavrilov on Unsplash

Sometimes we hit hard patches in life and we have to give up things we love. At the tail end of this year, I got hit with something that cost me financially a lot to handle– but I had to handle it. I couldn’t walk away or retreat from the matter and I ended up doing the right thing. But as a single parent, it was a financial hit I didn’t need as I already had endured enough the past six years. Not to mention the holidays– as much as I try to watch my funds and stick to a budget– it still costs– even with me being mindful.

So, after tallying up what I will need to pay for the next month or so, it hit me I may have to give up some things I love and some I even need in order to keep going, which really hurts. No one truly knows the financial sacrifices involved when you are a single parent– unless you are one as well.

My most favorite thing and really my one source of consistent artistic and physical joy, is dance.

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A Single Mom’s Christmas (Er, Hanukkah too) List

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Photo by Food Photographer | Jennifer Pallian on Unsplash

The other day my daughter said she was upset because Santa leaves her way more presents than he does for me.

I’m a single parent and also, single. Thankfully, she believes in Santa. Not thankfully, I can only buy so many “fake” presents for myself. I told her that I tell Santa to not bring gifts for me and instead, to leave for her. This seemed to placate her.

In truth, while I wouldn’t mind a pair of diamond earrings, some dance classes and new shoes and a nice coat, I don’t view gifts in the same light as I used to. Or the holidays.

I won’t lie that nice gifts are attractive, but they don’t mean the same thing to me anymore. It’s not a priority for me. When I envision the holidays, I consider the people I will be spending them with and the experiences I will have with them. I would rather have love than diamonds. Time with someone than a gift to unwrap.

Today, as I cleared off my car of the first ice and snow of the season, I was reminded of how great it would be if I had had someone to do it for me while I got my kid ready for school, instead of spending 20 minutes doing it on top of everything else.

And while that’s not the same as seeing the tree in NYC with your partner or sharing champagne on New Year’s, it’s truly just the snapshot of how wonderful having someone great can be. Having someone to be present for you and helpful, is better than a present.

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5 Things I Won’t Ever Apologize for as a Single Mom

I’ve said sorry more times than I care to admit. I’ve apologized for so many things.

I’ve apologized …

  • For stuff I’ve actually done
  • Crap I thought about doing
  • Things I wanted to do
  • For things I worried I might do
  • For things I’ve never even done
  • For my existence

Women are raised to apologize and be “good” all the time. Couple that with some insecurities and, bam, you’ve got a walking, talking apology machine.

But each day, week, month, and year, I get a bit stronger and a bit more sure of myself. And I’m tired of saying “sorry,” “my apologies,” “I didn’t mean to,” and a whole bunch of other phrases that all make me put my metaphorical tail between my legs.

Read More: 5 Things I Won’t Ever Apologize for as a Single Mom

NOT Sorry,

Laura

I Never Thought Being a Single Parent Would Be So Hard Financially

In today’s world, kids are expensive.

Actually, everything is expensive and in my home state, it’s doubly so. When my ex and I started talking about divorce, I knew it would be financially hard. I lived on my own before getting married, and I knew it would be a costly endeavor, especially with a kid. It definitely was discouraging, but I knew we had to make the call. Even if I ended up struggling for eternity, this marriage was ending.

I never believed that I would struggle for eternity (and still don’t). If you asked me five years ago when we separated what my financial long-term plan was, I’d tell you it was to pay off debts, save and live. Are those bad goals? Nope, they’re fine — but they weren’t concrete or specific enough.

I talked to a financial planner thanks to the amazing organization, Savvy Ladies. I budgeted. In fact, I still tweak my budget often and track my spending daily. I even budgeted for emergencies and stuff that might happen along the way while I planned out my “financial life” as a single parent.

 

Read More:  I Never Thought Being a Single Parent Would Be So Hard Financially

 

Hang Tight,

Laura

4 Perspectives to Embrace When Supporting Your Kids After Divorce

Our children are bystanders in the divorce process. Theyoverave no control in the matter and can often just sit or stand by and watch as their families change, drastically. Depending on the age of the child and the child’s individual personality, some kids will roll with divorce more easily than others. Not to mention, a child will fare better and come out happy despite divorce if the two parents are both active parents who for the most part, get along. This doesn’t mean you and your former spouse have to be “BFF’s,” but that the more you get along, the easier it is in general.

Keeping this in mind that our children are bystanders and the “audience” of the whole divorce debacle, how can we minimize the negative impacts a divorce can bring? Because our kids aren’t part of a passive audience: the divorce changes their lives in many ways.

Whether you’re separating, newly divorced or an old seasoned “pro” at divorce, keep in mind these 4 perspectives when parenting children after divorce.

Read More: 4 Perspectives to Embrace When Supporting Your Kids After Divorce

Support Them,

Laura