About Me (Mommy Mels)

Feeling lonely? Start a dinner club!

I first heard of the idea of a dinner club from one of my great high school friends, who lives too far from me to ever join hers…

Dinner club?  How’s that work?  Do you do a theme?  I had so many questions; it sounded like so much fun and included my fav, wine.

These ideas coincided with the fact that my best friend kept telling me I needed to get involved in something.  She suggested an adult-sports league, fitness classes, something to get me meeting new people.  Finally, I came across this article:

I Started a Dinner Club and It Changed My Life

It’s a fabulous article detailing what one woman did for her dinner club, and the wonderful effects it had on her life.

I live pretty close to my job so I have local friends from work. My high school friends aren’t that close to me and are always busy.  My college friends are all over an hour away, although we do get together at least bi-monthly.  I was in need of some friends.

What I did have, however, were friends scattered here and there that were both local and fabulous.  I went through my contacts and I invited all women that I thought might be interested.

My first step was my interest email.  I received about 10 interest responses.  I invited women who I vibe with but don’t always have the chance to spend time with.  I invited one work friend who has one little girl and no other mom friends.  I invited my neighbor across the street because she’s the sweetest woman I know.  I reached out to friends wives and T-ball moms.  I invited one other single friend from high school.  I even invited the girl that does my facials.

From the interest email I started an invite.  I chose the theme, steak and potatoes, because I was going to host the first dinner club and I wanted to make it a little easy.  I ended up burning my reduction and setting off the fire alarm anyway.  It was perfect.  We ended up with 4 of us that first night and it was fabulous wine talk about men, husbands, kids, and womanhood.

The next Dinner Club we held was about a month later.  We had a fabulous dinner at one of our members river house… it was beautiful.  Collectively, we chose a Hawaiian theme.  I brought Hawaiian coleslaw and pineapple adult drinks.  This time we had 7 women.  Some were quiet, some were cooking, but the conversation and drinks were flowing.

We haven’t been able to get together since August because we all have difficult schedules.  I think what you need to have is a commitment that you keep to one another.  I am going to try to add some more women to our group and have something when I’m off for the holidays.  I am off in the summer so planning two dinner clubs was easy.  Throw me back into work and two small kids in school and it’s so easy to let it slide.  You need women (or men) who are willing to host as well.  Right now, we only have 2 people willing to host and that can be difficult.  I also like to invite people who may need an outlet like I did. I was in a “Summer of Mel” that involved of lot of travel and self-reflection.  I needed to be around positive vibes.  I got exactly that from my dinner club.

About Me (Mommy Mels)

Take the Trip

Recently, I took a trip to Ireland with two close friends.  We were given strict instructions by one of our mothers to “find ourselves” out there.  While I was in the thick of the trip, navigating our way around the country- or letting Jessica do so…it didn’t seem as though we found ourselves.  In hindsight, almost two months later…we found much more than that.

As a single mother who shares custody, I have more freedom to travel than other moms… Over the summer of 2019 I traveled a ton. I went to Seattle and Canada (for the first time) with my mom.  We also did some time at the beach as a family.  It wasn’t until two of my closest friends found themselves needing to travel, however, that we decided to “jump the pond.”  It was difficult being away from my kids that long, but it was transcending.

Jessica was in an interesting spot in her life and she’s one of the most supportive friends I’ve ever had.  She was bouncing around the idea of a road trip while her kids were on vacation.  My wheels started turning about mid-summer and I said, “Let’s jump the pond and drink Guinness in Ireland!”  Within a week we had purchased plane tickets, filled a new board on Pinterest, and created an Airbnb account.

We bought some converters and promised to only travel with a carry-on.  We brought clothes for all seasons but had no reason to bring shorts or flip flops.  We landed and breathed in.  Deep breaths.  Serenity.  Drinks.  Cocktails with egg whites.  Handsome bartenders with cute accents.  Green everywhere.  Cars on the wrong side of the road.  We never quite figured that out, and thank God I was able to talk her out of renting a car.

We spent a night in Dublin and then took a bus to Gallway.  Gallway is the most charming little town.  I highly recommend. We made friends quickly and received great tips on where to go from there… Our final night was also in Dublin.  We skipped Cork because I screwed up on a tour date to the Cliffs of Mohar.  We saw the cliffs, and breathed some more.  The most compelling idea I found there were the Guarda, or Irish Police.  They don’t carry guns, and you don’t see many of them.

When we returned, we felt good!  We had received that time away and that new, fun experience.  What I’ve gained from that trip since then is the reward I wasn’t anticipating.

I came back a better mother. I came back ready to fall in love again, finally.  I didn’t go on one date or really talk to any men all summer.  It was a cleanse.  My head was cleared of bad dating experiences that were holding me back from finding someone special.  I was also ready to return to work for a new year with new challenges.  My school year has faced numerous challenges.  The calm I found on my trip has prepared me for them.  The experience your body has when it’s taken out of its comfort zone and placed in a whole new environment is confounding.  It’s different than the beach or a beautiful resort.  It’s real, and a new kind of real.

Go find your new real.  Take the trip.  Leave the kids with your parents.  They need that time too.  I owe my ex for forcing me to get out of my comfort zone in terms of leaving my children for longer than a weekend.  My children missed me and embraced me when I returned.  I have also been forced to create a life outside of being a mother because my boys are with dad every other weekend…all weekend.  I’ve finally found peace with this and taken the bull by the horns.  Take the trip.

About Me (Mommy Mels)

Chronicles of Dating at 36

I came across this meme on the Gram that had me in tears:

It’s pretty accurate.  I also love updating my peeps on my dating life because it is a guarantee to have all of my friends hysterics. At our most recent girls night, my high school friends told me I need to start a podcast on this topic.  While it is humorous, I’m not sure I have that much material.  I need to have some guest bloggers weigh in on this topic as well.

The last year of dating for me was entertaining for sure.  Most of the fall I didn’t date.  I am sure I went on a couple dates, but I mostly flirted with a friend who kept me out of trouble. Oh- I did go on a few dates with an ex-lover.  He spent the whole weekend with me and then was engaged to someone else about 4 months later.  Poor girl has no clue.  I went on a couple more dates…come spring I met a fellow who refused to take his hat off and then accused me of trying to change him.  I saw recently that he put a “trump 2020” (the only time you won’t see me using correct capitalization) on his truck.  BULLET DODGED.  What’s sad is that he has a daughter and yet is promoting a racist, rapist.  He’s also in a new relationship.  The best part, I have an “fista” Gram account (as my students call it) for my fitness obsession and BOTH these fools have tried to follow me.  We’re not cool, just so we’re clear. Day Ones- am I forgetting anyone?

Red flags continued.  This is a total red flag for me- if you’re so happy with the woman your with, why are you trying to follow me on social media?  Neither will ever read this post- just exposing what’s out there in the land of the leftovers.

The last date I was on was the last day of school.  I’ve spent all summer in love with my children and traveling like a rolling stone.  There are no words for the positive effects this has had on me.  The connections I’ve made and maintained are saved for another post.

It’s so important to continue to recognize red flags and dodge the bullets that come in the form unstable men.  I have one more fabulous trip before I dive back into the job that I love.  I may, mayyyyy get back on the dating scene in the fall.  I have still only been single for 4 years.  I don’t want to look back 30 years from now and think that I didn’t give myself enough time to re-create myself after my divorce.  My children need me all of the time and they will get every fiber of my being that they request.

Most importantly, what is mine will find me.  It may be in 5 months, 5 years, or when I’m 50.  I’m not worried about it because my life is so full.  I’m going back to school to become a school psychologist because there is a overwhelming demand for this career.  I am fully positive that I will find love again and I will fulfill my dream of becoming the millionaire next door so I can enjoy all of the things my family has taught me to desire.  In the meantime, I’ll continue to sprinkle all of my dating experiences, that I simply can’t make up, into the world of my followers.

About Me (Mommy Mels)

Three Rotations Around the Sun

Ok so while I don’t write at work, I’m doing hall duty and it’s far too distracting to get anything worthwhile done.  Our kids are awesome- don’t get me wrong.  Our systems have narrowed it down to just a few that don’t follow policies but I’m blessed to have fans who stop and chat with me on their way to the bathroom while I’m out here.

This past Thanksgiving marked three years since my ex “Ninja Vanished” on us. I could not be at a better place. I am blessed to spend the majority of my time with my children and I feel like I have mastered the art of making the most of my time while they are with their dad.  I’ve realized that the best way to spend my time is in self-care.  Many times that means I’ll fill my night up with the gym, maybe some sushi take-out, and cleaning or organizing my house.  Maybe one night a week I’ll go out to dinner with work friends.  I also go to bed early and catch up on uninterrupted sleep.  It’s not always easy- especially because as I write this- tonight is a Monday and they are headed to dad’s tonight… I’ll miss them, and never a day goes by where my heart doesn’t ache without them.  But, alas, it is what it is.  I’m doing the best I can.

I can say, that as long as I am with my children, I am as happy as I could be.  I have short, short moments when a friend in a happy marriage gets to do something incredible with her husband and I think- How did I screw that up so badly?  But- they’re short.  I had some entertaining insight this weekend when my ex accidentally sent me a long list of screenshots taken of our conversations…including his call log…to show his girlfriend all of our correspondence.  Whoopsie on his end!  I had to call him out- my mom yelled at me for even responding- but it was an impulse thing.  I just said “wow” and “why doesn’t she realize I’m the LAST person on Earth she would need to worry about?” and “It’s sad, and why would she want to isolate herself from me?” That about covers my reaction.  And it was exactly that.  A reaction.

I had to reel myself in and remind myself that I am not dealing with sane people.  My ex-husband has a personality disorder and as my mom reminded me, his girlfriend takes her clothes off for money- clearly not a stable person.  She is very threatened by me- a concept I understand but nonetheless cannot wrap my head around.  Immediately after my reaction, it was turned to “my fault.”  “Because of things I’ve said in the past” she needs to know all that is said between us.  I can’t even remember what I could have said- but the point is, that is a typical response from a Narcissist.  It has nothing to do with me, but he must deflect his  shortcomings onto me.  That is how he functions.  In addition, I found out that he has me in his phone as “Lucifer” with the middle-finger emoji next to it.  Again, his shortcomings, not mine.  It is sad that I have to share my children with someone who has such blatant disrespect, but this is the cross I have to bear.  I wouldn’t trade my children for anything in the world and I have an incredible support system to remind me of all of my blessings when I’m faced with any abuse from their father.  It’s up to me to react to him.  Reacting to him is acknowledging the abuse.  I need to remember that next time.  Sorry mom, you were right.  As always.

As we go into the holidays, it’s amazing to reflect on where I’ve been and where I am now.  I have no pain in my heart like I have in previous years.  I have only joy when I’m with my children and family.  I do not feel like there is anything “missing” from our family, despite my being a single- parent.

On a side note- This past weekend my mom brought some wrapping paper to my house and it was exactly the roll from Walmart that I was going to get…until I saw a better deal with four rolls for the same price.  It took some searching, but I’ve realized that she and I are about the same person.  I can’t think of someone else I’d rather emulate.

About Me (Mommy Mels)

Off-Balance

When I talk to my friends about where I am in life, in terms of recovering from my divorce and being ready for something serious, my response is that I am still off-balance.  There is something that feels off still.  I don’t feel like I am ready for anything serious yet, but also, nothing in that category has come along.

Perhaps my heart was waiting for what it always knew…that my husband was always a cheater.  Recently, I had an a-ha moment.  By accident, my phone brought up a number that I had saved.  It was the number of a girl that used to work for my ex.  I had it in my phone because I used to help him with some administrative stuff with his job.  He fired the girl “because she went crazy and was telling crazy lies, like she wanted to tell you (me, his wife) that we slept together.” He even showed me the texts.  He said, “look at this lunatic and her lies!” She quit/got fired/whatever.  Never heard from her again.  I totally believe him.

Holy crap.  This asshole 100% slept with her.  This happened around Thanksgiving when we had an almost-1 year old and when, I believed, we were very happy.  Originally when we were breaking up and he had an affair, I always believed that it was because he became so unhappy.  That wasn’t the case.  He always cheated.

I will be honest, I tried reaching out to the girl.  I wanted some kind of corroboration to this story that left my heart hurting.  She has 4 different Facebook accounts.

This morning I came across this meme and boy does it hit home.

My ex recently had another baby with his current girlfriend.  Friends have wanted to know how I feel about that.  Indifferent about the baby and relationship, very sorry for the girlfriend.  I really feel like she is his next victim but she won’t have the cushion to land on that I did.  He’s winding himself up in another spiral of debt and over-committing to financial obligations that I know he can’t fulfill.

In no way to I miss my ex.  Being with him would be a total living nightmare.  I don’t even miss the “family dynamic” I thought I had anymore.  I am so happy with my little boys.  My soul, 2 years and some months later, is just still off – balance a little.  I have a very cynical view on men.  Many man I’ve gone on dates with have in fact cheated on their wives too.  Do they all cheat?  I have friends, married friends, who insist they do.  Who knows.  When I stop caring I’ll know that I am more balanced.  In the meantime, it’s momming and fun with friends and family.  I am feeling very positive about this summer as well!  How could I not?  I’m off for 9 weeks.

It takes a really long time to get through a divorce.  It’s not easy.

About Me (Mommy Mels)

What it means to be a BOSS

What makes someone a boss?

Being humble and taking care of shit.

Every day I strive to be a boss lady. I no longer desire to be THE boss lady… but maybe someday? In the meantime I’m not even working towards the classes that would require.

So what am I doing? I’m humble AF and know that all I have is a blessing. I only became a boss after I lost it all and had to work to get it all back. There’s my humble piece.

Taking care of shit is a whole other realm of responsibility.

On New Years Eve, I had to show a girl at the bar that I was a boss. This beautiful tall millennial threw a little hissy fit because I “got in front of her” in line at the bar. First of all sweetheart, this is a bar, there is no line. Second of all, what are you drinking? Two Long Islands. Got it… two seconds and smiles later, drinks in hand. Are you paying for my drinks? Yes. Thank you! Kiss? Sure. Happy New Year!! Darling, real women don’t speak to each other like that. Happy New Year.

The next morning, my sweets wanted to know how the heck I had a $54 tab for two drinks for us?! Love, I had to show a girl what is like to be a boss. Wow Mel, that’s an expensive lesson.

It was, but I have that money because I work HARD for it. In the New Year, I’m tightening up even more because a boss takes care of shit. My children will always be taken care of before me and as I’ve always be taught to worry about the future, I am buggin a little about paying for college etc. My children will know what it was like to be raised by a boss – JUST like I was- and in addition, I’m a Lady Boss. They will respect the hell out of women as well.

The other day my 4 – year -old received a lesson on doing laundry. Again- I was taking care of shit. Putting their clothes in the laundry basket is one of their nightly chores. One they won’t receive training on from their father- that was my bad. Before I was a boss- this is MY LIFE and it is beautiful.

Be a boss.

About Me (Mommy Mels)

Why this single mom is NOT mad at Kristin Cavallari (and neither should you be)

Single momming

What a great time of year, right?  End of summer… school is starting. Hearts are warm.

I am back to work which means I have more time to myself- ironic, but my 90 minute planning period is 90 minutes alone I didn’t have most of the summer unless I was sweating it out in the gym OR my kids were with their dad.  My kids are with dad this morning, so I am enjoying coffee and Kings of Leon alone in my bedroom; I’ve been awake since 6 am because my brain doesn’t turn work or mom off.  I appreciate this time and capitalize on my time without my children to keep my sanity.  I would give it up in a heartbeat to have my children 24/7 but that is not fair to them.  They need time with their dad and his family as much as they need their mother.

While back at work this week I saw a headline in the news about single moms being “outraged” with her “single- mom” comment…

Kristin Cavallari Huff Post article

The first “feeling” I got when I read this was one of empathy.  Before I had no husband, I had an absentee husband.  That was worse.  I’m not saying Jay Cutler is an absentee husband, but – he’s in Miami and she’s in Nashville, according to this article.  When we get married and say our vows we don’t visualize the time we spend raising our children alone while our husbands are out working.  THAT is hard AF. Does this woman have a nanny?  Yes.  Does her husband make bank?  Does she?  Yes and Yes.  Do I ?  Hell no, I am a teacher and my ex is has very questionable financial aim, at best.

Does that mean her shit is easy and she doesn’t struggle?  Hell no.  Everyone has their shit.  She has to do all of the things I do alone and it is hard.  For every single mom, there is a probably a married mom out there with a husband who’s at work she doesn’t see him as much as she wants… (to say the least).  I’ll be honest, I take my kids to the Y in the summer and see all the stay-at-home moms who fight for their husband’s attention as much as they can… and dad’s want to be around (and most don’t need to find attention elsewhere like mine).  But they are torn between emails on the phone and answering texts about work while trying to get in some pool time with their children.  These woman go to swim meets without their husband, they go to tumbling classes without their husband…and they feel sad that he can’t be around.  I’ve been there.  I know what it’s like and it is heartbreaking at times.

This life of a mom who does more than dad because dad has to work is a choice, but that doesn’t make it an easy one.  Having children is a choice, but that doesn’t make it easy.  Wive’s who pick up the domestic slack while Husband is away working don’t have it any easier than this single mom… in fact, I believe in many ways it is more difficult.  My marriage didn’t work out and I have an opportunity to choose a partner who is around every night for dinner and on the weekends.  In the meantime, I have a couple mornings and evenings when I can take care of Mel.  I typically clean my house or work out, but I do it without the fear of someone catapulting himself off of the couch on to a pile of cushions and attempting a landing on a tile floor or hardwood floor.  (I’m sure Kristin has a cleaning service-beside the point).

We all have our struggles and we all have our shit.  Just because Kristin’s bank account doesn’t match mine, doesn’t mean she has it easy.  You can call yourself a single mom, Kristin… and to those Haters who say you can’t:  they are not happy with themselves.  It has nothing to do with Kristin Cavallari.  She’s their scapegoat.  I say that about any complainers.  Let’s face it, yes we all vent – but to be truly happy, we don’t need to bash a celebrity because she’s publicly venting about her mommy struggles that we all have in one form or another.

You go, Kristin.  You’re kicking ass and taking names.  AND looking amazing.

I do wish I could afford her trainer …