Hopeful New Year!

Hopeful New Year my friends,

Today starts a new year and new opportunities to create the life that best suits and supports us. Holidays can be challenging for everyone – transition or no transition. Holidays have a way of magnifying areas of need and discontentment.  The pain we feel is difficult but it also gives us great clarity. “My life needs to change!” Today is our first step. Today we write our next chapter.

You are on my heart and mind friends – Let’s make this year ROCK!

Always,

Anne

 

Mom and Football

Today I will RSVP for my son’s football banquet. An event I gladly attend solo, yet another uncomfortable “mom and football” scenario.  You see, “mom” and “football” don’t go well together. It is A-OK for a mother to be her son’s biggest fan, cheering him on from the stands. But don’t ask for off-season camp recommendations or worse yet, advocate for your son – That dear mom, is a no-no. There are unspoken rules about a mother’s involvement. Follow the rules or be schooled by both coaching staff and sideline dads. I have tried to work my way around these rules, and again and again I have been shut down. When my son was seven, playing flag-football and punched in the face by a MMA wanna-be, the coach told me “Sit down Mom!” This was before I uttered a word. I stood up from my well-worn Coleman and the coach looked at me with such contempt, I thought he would eject me from the peewee game.

Situations like these are uncomfortable for me, but more importantly they influence my son’s opportunities. Throughout my time in the stands, I have watched while fathers cajole and posture on their son’s behalf.  A pecking order develops off the field with the biggest Peck securing opportunities not necessarily equivalent to his son’s talent. A parent advocating for their child shines a light on that kid in a sea of football players. Of course great talent gets attention. Gifted players give notice on the field. Which leaves the determined players like my son, to make the most of the little time they are given. Gladly, this is how my son went from sitting the bench to starting the second half of the season. He is a great kid. He could use an advocate and he has a “Mom”.

You may be asking what exactly is my gripe. Should parents be able to influence a kid’s sport? Why is it that “Moms and Football” don’t go together?  The reality is that I have no complaints. How can I? What I have come to understand is that my kid has been given a gift. He is learning how to advocate for himself. He is learning that hard work and dedication eventually pay off. His mother is learning that being his biggest fan, is enough. And this fan will sit quietly at that football banquet grinning from ear-to-ear.

Walking the Talk

Since 2009 I have led a divorce support meetup called Transitions and Beyond. I became leader by default – no one would step into the recently vacated role. So my very first meetup ever, I was leader. I didn’t know anything about running a meetup, but I was clear that I needed support. Divorce is excruciatingly painful, affecting every aspect of your life. Recovery takes an average of 3 years and leaves lifelong scars. How life looks and feels moving forward has much to do with the tools, support, and self-awareness we are mature enough to utilize. Recovery takes commitment and a vision for a new and better life ahead.

In other words, Divorce is not for wimps. I am reminded of this as I enter into a new phase of my life. Today I begin writing my next chapter. Often I remind my meetup friends, “How do you want your story to read? Do you want to write a different story or more of the same? Can you be brave? Can you be committed to self discovery? Can you rid yourself of the old self sabotaging behaviors? Can you live your true value?

Guess I better get to walking the talk.

 

 

 

Married to the Job

For some time now I have been thinking a lot about my career. What I know for sure, as Oprah says,  Jobs are a lot like relationships. We seek clarity on what it is that we want.   We court potential employers.  We accept the position… and hope for the best. As my mother used to say, “So much of life is luck.” But I don’t believe that. I believe that we pick what we believe we deserve, in work and in love.

And in both areas, I’ve picked some doozies. Judging from my picks, my self-worth is lacking. Quite clearly, looking at my outcomes, something’s up. In the past, I wouldn’t have believed that I was choosing this crap. I mean, who in their right mind would? But the whole victim thing gets old. And how could I fall for people and engage in jobs so perfectly suited to teach me MY life lessons.

I do believe Harville Hendrix’s theory on love and marriage.
http://www.harvillehendrix.com
Romantic love is subconsciously identifying in another, a major character flaw that your parent or childhood caregiver had. “I feel like I’ve known him my whole life!” Well you have!  In fact, I married both my parents –
Husband #1 = Dad = Hyper Critical
Husband #2 = Mother = Kind, yet Unstable
(I’ve run out of parents, does that mean I’m good?)

Harville says Love is Blind so we don’t recognize our parent’s hurtful ways within our future spouse. We fight in order to change our spouse and get them to stop hurting us. We divorce when our marriage becomes too painful.

But leaving because we are hurt doesn’t solve the problem. We just go out and find another to hurt us. Harville’s theory is that staying in the marriage, is the most efficient way to healing. By working through these difficult issues with our spouse, we heal. You have to read his book to get the full rationale. 

I do hope I’ve learned lessons enough – enough to be in a supportive, respectful, mature relationship with a partner and an employer. I do hope I have the self-awareness  to understand why I am hurt, and the self-esteem to ask for what I need.

Wish me luck:)

Being a Single Parent sucks!

As I sit in my kids’ middle school, waiting for the start of my son’s 504 meeting , I am reminded. It is times like these that I HATE being a single parent.  I sit in these meetings; I listen, I bite my lip, I hold back tears and I do it alone.  I envy the married parents working as a team to resolve the issues facing their child. I have seen these Unicorn parents at parent-teacher conferences. Productive and supportive couples, two grown adults working together in the best interest of their child.

I wonder which is more difficult – going into these meetings solo, or going in with your ex. I can imagine the stress associated with having to sit next to your ex – the discord, the contempt, the pain – lots of  blame and finger pointing. But wouldn’t this anger offer a distraction from the gut wrenching fear for your child’s future? How I wish I had someone else to share the responsibility, the discipline, the decision making. Someone else to help shoulder my guilt. And someone else to blame.

When I divorced, I felt a huge sense of relief. My ex was troubled and I freed myself from the responsibility of cleaning up his messes when I set him free.  I accepted 100% care and responsibility of my children. At the time I thought it was going to be a cake walk compared to parenting my ex.  I was wrong.  I can only hope that my children are better now for having my undivided attention. This one, flawed but loving adult. Heaven help them. Heaven help us all!

Here she is, the school social worker calling me into the meeting. Wish me luck.

 

Goldilocks has nothing on me!

Today I am feeling like a broken chair.

You can own and use a chair for years without issue. A hardy chair can be passed down from generation to generation, sitting just as solidly in your dining room, as it did in your grandmother’s.

But once a chair is broken, no matter how careful the repair, it is never the same. What once was the most reliable, steadfast and cherished piece of furniture, is untrustworthy, precarious.

“Wait, don’t sit in that chair! It is broken!”

Having been blindsided by the demise of my first marriage – that may have been my breaking point. At 31 years old, I had made a thoughtful decision to marry. I idolized my first husband. I thought he was compassionate, handsome, intelligent, and insightful. He met all of my family’s expectations too, college grad, never married, non-smoker. And the icing on the cake, he was Irish Catholic! All the boxes were checked, only cherry-coating the red flags. Shortly after we wed, my ex informed me that he had “made a mistake” and no longer wanted to be married to me. I was devastated and depressed that my dream marriage was shattered. And I was embarrassed and ashamed that I would be the only family member to divorce.

Whether that was my breaking point or some heartache earlier, I am not sure. If I were truly sturdy, would I have entered into that marriage?

Today I am broken. I am unable to stand the pressure that a love relationship brings. I look fine, good as new maybe, but sustaining a long-term love relationship has been beyond my capabilities. I patch, I repair, I bond, and still I collapse under the pressure. Additionally, age appropriate, eligible men are often broken as well. Time brings injury and heartache. Two broken chairs in the dining room and someone surely will end-up on their ass. Bells and whistles, emotional alarms are triggered, one broken chair to another. “Run! Run before you fall!” Not the most promising combination.

You would think that I would have learned my lesson. No more chairs for me. I will stand thank you, alone! But our human condition continues to taunt, poke, and prod us toward companionship and union. We do it. We fall in love again. We hope again. We take all of our insights and hard knocks into a new relationship. We roll the dice and we brace ourselves for a fall. Just like Goldilocks, we keep looking for the chair that is “Just Right”.

As for me, I have made a decision. I’m giving up on chairs. I’m sitting on the floor! I am sitting criss-crossed applesauce, looking myself and my partner squarely in the eye. Maybe if I’m “grounded” in who I am, open and addressing my issues, and confidently sharing my needs… maybe, just maybe…

And if nothing else, by sitting on the floor, I won’t have as far to fall.

 

 

 

 

What flavor is your broken heart?

One of the many things that I appreciate about our divorce support meetup, is our ability to learn from one another. Some folks come in with a ton of anger toward the opposite gender based on pain from their relationship. I often hear, “That’s a woman for ya”  or “Typical Man!” But when we sit and listen to one another’s stories, we learn that good and bad behavior is not gender specific. Our mates have conducted themselves poorly, male or female. We may have conducted ourselves poorly. So we learn to accept ourselves and “others”. We accept that we all suffer from the human condition and a broken heart.

Yesterday I received an email from a woman inquiring about our group. Her spouse had left after 14 years together. And what makes this break-up more difficult, is the step-child she stands to lose.  She wrote me to ask if our group would accept her.

Accept her…? Jeesh, we accept everyone.  Heck we accept the dumpee and the dumper, the transgressy and the transgressor. Heart-ache, pain, anger, unifies us, the human condition…remember?!

“I’m gay,” she writes.

Ha, that’s a good one! Like my response would be any different because she is gay. Hmmmm, let’s see, is she heart-broken, in pain and anger? Does she suffer from the Human Condition?  I’m being sarcastic, but you know what I mean. How unfortunate that she even bothers to ask. I guess the reality is some people may be uncomfortable with her sexual orientation. But let me be clear – divorce teaches us a ton of lessons. Some more difficult than others. Acceptance is one of them and is core to our group.

We are human, we get our hearts broken, all of us. Reaching out for the support of others, helps.

The End