Change

People say the only constant in life is change. Change is normal. Accept it. Embrace it. It’s a cycle of life, but sometimes it knocks you off your feet and carries you into a life you would never have imagined for yourself. That is what happened to me. Now a little over three years after this change I speak of–I’m finally putting my fingers to the keypad and writing. Funny that I say ‘me’ like I was the only one involved in this big life change. In reality it was myself, my ex and our children–not to mention the family who supports us even to this day. This post is definitely long over due. I have wanted to begin writing again, but I’ve felt that my experiences were to painful for me to be able to share openly. I was only inspired to write this after I heard a commercial on the radio speaking about domestic violence month. Realizing that maybe writing this post could help someone else as much as it could help me is the reason I’m typing these words. I still can’t write the details publicly, but if you feel compelled to email me you are more than welcome to.

Three years and three months ago my family was residing in a disguised nightmare. Everything seemed ok. I tried to pretend that everything was ok, but in reality it was all falling apart. The only real peace I get from thinking back on it all is that Journey and Faith were seemingly unaffected by it all. They were fed, nurtured and thrived in a situation that wasn’t ideal. Not a fairy tale at all.

Three years and three months ago the girls and I flew back to Colorado in a flurry of tears, hugs, and heartbreak. I packed three suitcases; one big one full of clothes (for 2 weeks), one small one with some of the girls favorite toys, and one more with miscellaneous items. Without any identification except a black-eye, I boarded us on a Southwest flight back to my native state. Arriving was bitter-sweet. I was happy to be home, but the prideful side of me felt like a failure. Like a dog with its tail between its legs. I had left with so much potential–I was starting a family with a man I loved, we were living in a beautiful house, I was a stay-at-home Mom  enjoying the gorgeous California weather and then in a flash it was gone.

With the help of my best friend I made the decision to stay in Colorado and to not rush back into a life that was not there. I chose to do what was right for me. It’s still hard for me to do that because so much of my early twenties I spent thinking about what was right for everyone else. I pushed my wants and needs to the back burner. Now that I’m in the forefront life is much more confusing. What is it that I wanted? Love, family, stability, happiness? How can I get those things? Will they ever come? I still have trouble realizing that all of those things still have a place, but not in the mold that I have imagined. Coping with this change, I’m not the same young woman who began this blog with her best friend so many years ago. I look back at past posts and feel tears come to my eyes. I’m even more sad that I let this blog suffer in the process. Sharing my journey through motherhood was therapeutic, fun and the perfect way to chronicle the lives of my two daughters.

They are the real reason that I made the decision to leave and not go back. Rebuilding our lives here, alone, has been so very hard. We have had support from a variety of community resources, friends and family.  Unfortunately, we have experienced homelessness and have lived in a domestic violence shelter for two months and in transitional housing for 10 months until we were able to attain an apartment.

Transitioning from a stay-at-home mom to a single working mother has been hard. I have had to play double duty when it comes to household duties and raising the girls. I find myself becoming envious of mothers who can stay home with their children, but don’t want to. It is a dream to be able to spend time with your children. I’m at least lucky enough to work in the same school that the girls attend, but our nights are busy and I feel stretched thin at times. I worry that I’m not giving Journey and Faith all that I could. I feel guilty for wanting time for myself. I feel like a failure (again) for not being able to provide the family I envisioned for my children. They don’t deserve to live in a single parent home. They don’t deserve to only see their Dad 3 months out of the year.

What keeps me moving forward is knowing that they do deserve a healthy loving life.

I deserve a healthy loving life.

This is only the tip of the iceberg! I have so many more thoughts, but I will save them for another time (and this time I won’t wait three years to share them). I welcome comments and I look forward to putting the Mommy back in Mommy Lounge.

Advertisements

How to cure the “Frump Syndrome”

We are both reading the book “The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands” by Dr. Laura Schlessinger. She talks about the “Frump Syndrome” that we fall into after marriage and especially after children. Dr. Laura lists the symptoms as “wearing flannel pajamas and socks, or sweatpants with oversized T-shirts, to bed instead of some girly thing with lace; not shaving legs or grooming nails; not washing, styling, or even combing hair; taking off (instead of freshening up) makeup from the day just before your husband comes home; using the toilet with him in the room; not making an attempt to smell sweet; and never putting on sexy outfits…in front of your husband.”

Both Reneca and I have fallen into the “Frump Syndrome”, but just taking a little extra effort on our parts has helped to start to cure our “syndrome.” Dr. Laura says that “looking womanly and behaving sweetly and flirtatiously are gifts wives give to their husbands. This gifts communicates to the husband that his is seen as a man and not just a fix-it guy, bread winner or sperm donor.” Men are easy and if we want them to help around the house or be under our control, then be the “girl” that he fell in love with.

Raising kids, taking care of the house, running errands and driving carpools are all time consuming, but taking a few extra minutes in the morning and night can help you to come out of the frumpiness and be the woman you were before kids.

In the morning:

5 minute face; that should be all it takes to look fresh and natural. We still want to be beautiful, but not like a night walker 🙂 This is what we do…

  • Wash face and brush teeth
  • Apply tinted moisturizer or foundation, lip gloss and mascara
  • Spritz a little body spray or light perfume

That’s it–you are ready for the day. Just don’t forget the other essentials like lotion and deodorant 🙂

Now before your husband comes home for the day try to freshen up Touch up your face, more lip gloss and a little sweet smelling spray. Also, change into a spit up and booger free shirt. Just doing this will help you as well as please your husband. Dr. Laura quotes one man saying that “guys have a natural and deep desire to be with a woman who cares enough about herself to look good for her mate.” When we look good–we feel good, no matter what anyone wants to say.

Before bed (usually after the kids are put to bed) take a shower and put on something, not frumpy, that your husband enjoys seeing you in. Guys like different things, so maybe ask him if you don’t know anymore. Or just walk around in panties and a shirt. Just taking the extra effort even if you are exhausted will have big payoffs to your advantage. When they see you making an effort to look good for them they will be more willing to do things to make you happy.

As we grow in our Motherhood we have to keep in mind that we were lovers first and to not forget about the needs of our spouses. Have a great weekend and feel free to comment or ask us questions. We also love this book so go and check it out from the library or buy your own!

Kalisha and Reneca

Family Bonding

We know from experience how difficult it is sometimes to find balance in our lives. We are always being pulled in different directions; by either our partners, kids, daily responisibilities or trying to find our own free time. As you are making your weekly schedule make sure to add in specific family time, me time, date night, and all other chores and duties. But whenever you make that time to be together as a family be sure that you are actually with your family mentally as well. Enjoy the people you love and be in the moment with them. By making time to spend with your family it foster’s family bonding and child development. There are some great tips that we found to help you:

10 Easy Tips to Foster Family Bonding and Child Development

 

Submitted by: John Hitchcock

Work, school, extracurricular activities; these daily activities that make our lives so busy create difficulties for parents to foster a bond with their children. While your children are out of school for the summer you can easily strengthen family relationships by spending time with one another, listening to each other, and respecting each other’s opinions. Below are ten easy things a parent can do to form stronger bonds with their children.

1. Try and eat dinner together with no distractions, such as television or phones. Eating a family meal together not only promotes better eating habits, but also gives family members time to discuss their day and any good or challenging things happening in their life.
2. A great way of having fun while bonding with your family is to create a “Family Night” where the entire family participates in an activity. This can be as easy as a board game night, an evening out at a fun family restaurant, or to go see a movie
3. Helping a child with their homework not only allows you to spend time together, but enables you to see what they are learning and how they are doing academically. Your support and praise will go a long way in boosting their confidence in school.
4. When planning a family vacation you can ask your children where they want to go and what they want to see or do. By incorporating them in the planning process you make them feel like an integral part of the family.
5. Many children have extracurricular activities like sports or dance. By involving yourself in these activities and praising them on their participation you are helping build their confidence as well as strengthening your bond.
6. Many parents know that reading to your child daily increases their literacy, but it also allows for a time when both parent and child are completely focused on one another and can communicate freely about the book or other subjects.
7. Teaching your children the importance of volunteerism and giving back by volunteering for a local charity or organization can show them the importance of what they have and make them a more socially conscience person.
8. Getting involved in your children’s hobbies, whether it is collecting baseball cards or horseback riding, shows your support of their chosen activity and allows them to feel they can express themselves in any way.
9. By encouraging your children to be active and exercising together you foster healthier habits for both you and your child while you both communicate about the activities you are doing.

10. Childhood, especially the adolescent years, is incredibly hard on the self esteem of many children. By telling a child you love them and giving compliments or positive feedback frequently you can foster their confidence and perception of themselves. By listening and being supportive of their ideas, even if you don’t agree, makes them feel as if they can come to you with their problems and discuss their true feelings.

There is nothing better than having a place you can call home, where you feel loved, appreciated and safe. As a parent, having a strong bond with your children creates a feeling of unity and safety. It is important to do all you can to create these family bonds to ensure a happier and healthier family. Following any of the above activities this summer can help assist you and your family in creating a strong life long bond and help foster better parenting skills for you.

Bio: As a licensed clinical social worker, John Hitchcock is the executive director of Hillsides, a Pasadena charity that creates safe places for children in foster care living in its residential treatment center and prevents the cycle of abuse for children at risk and their families. Hitchcock is an expert on child welfare issues and has a blog, http://www.createsafeplaces.blogspot.com , addressing foster care and child advocacy issues. To learn more about Hillsides, visit http://www.Hillsides.org.

 

 

 

 Hope these tips help. Taking small steps to start will allow you and your family to grow together. Just remember that it is very rewarding to turn off the tv and cell phones and just be with your family. Play some silly games or do a project together. Hug and kiss and laugh a lot. You will see how amazing of a day you can have! Let us know how it all went and here are some ideas for games and projects.

  • renting old movies and eating caramel and popcorn
  • going to a new movie and smuggling in candy
  • painting each other’s portrait on canvas place mats
  • decorating bird houses
  • making holiday gifts like beaded jewelry
  • carving pumpkins and baking the seeds
  • having a spa night where everyone gets special treatment, candles are lit, and relaxing music plays
  • reading stories to each other
  • rock climbing
  • hosting an International Ping-Pong Invitational
  • putting together puzzles
  • playing house by reversing roles
  • playing I-spy with a special shell that you found at the beach on your last Family Day
  • playing bingo with a grand prize of another Family Day choice
  • adventuring out to a museum then talking about it by the fire that night
  • telling tall tales
  •  

    Men are our 1st babies

    I feel like I had a breakthrough or something. I don’t know, but it is funny and made me a little sad. I wrote some notes to Brett and one was by the bed and it said “Let’s Spoon!” I thought I was just being silly, but he was serious and really wanted to just spoon.  I hadn’t really realized until that moment that  I have been neglecting my first baby! That moment made me really see that through my busy day and sometimes nights with the girls, Brett is the one who gets left out. In many ways men are like our babies. We just have to realize that before our kids we had our spouse and long after the kids are grown and starting their own lives, we will still have our spouse. So, its not good to put all your efforts into just your kids and neglect your husband. Maybe I’m the only one, but either way I will try each day to give him the love and affection he deserves even through groggy mornings and exhausted nights.

    Ways Men are like our Babies

    • Babies like to breastfeed and so do men!
    • I find myself always cleaning up toys and sippy cups. Also, ipods,hats and sunglasses
    • Babies want to be held; Men want to be held
    • Gotta clean dirty diapers and gotta clean dirty underwear!