Dating 101 at 36 with Little Ones at Home...

Adventures in Dating as a 35-Year-Old- Single-Mom

OK… here are the facts:

  1. It’s hard
  2. It’s entertaining AF
  3. It’s STILL better than being married to a cheating ass

So I have officially been single for 2 years and divorced for 1.  I am right in the thick of my adult (single-parent) dating life.  Some really awesome things have happened to me.  I have an amazing support system that keeps me going and keeps me reminded of the fact that I am, under no circumstance, willing to settle.  My support comes from my family, my “Day Ones,” my college roomies, awesome work squad, and a few other amazing women who have always been there for me.  The most important things my village reminds me of is the fact that 1. Real men are out there 2. There are a lot of loser playboys out there and 3. I don’t need a damn either one of them. My friends and family are so much fun to be around that I truly do not feel like something is missing.

I was in a committed relationship for around 6 months with a man who was not ready to be in one.  His wounds were far too fresh and he often took this out on me.  It was difficult to identify this but as always, my people were there to help me. Eventually, I realized that, as my mom put it, “The right man will never make you cry.”  It was awful to let her see me cry but at the same time, it brought us closer and helped me realize that I had let my standards down for a few weeks and that is unacceptable.  I am first and foremost a mother and I am raising two boys to be men.  How dare I let them see me cry over someone who certainly wasn’t crying over me.

This actually ended at the right time, although I did wish I hadn’t let it go on as long as I did.  Either way, I made the decision to part ways with this fella and I have been undoubtly happier since.

Now I am dating.  I also have a few friends in the same boat and I have to say, if it is nothing else, it is entertaining AF! This a-ha moment came to me over margaritas last week with two girlfriends. Personally, I don’t want to spend a moment thinking about a man who isn’t swooning over me.  I mean, completely swooning.  Do I?  Occasionally – but definitely not currently.  My one friend is broken-hearted over a man who won’t commit to her because his family doesn’t approve of her.  My other lunch date has a ton of fun meeting new guys.  For some reason she cannot explain, she has caught feelings for her “F-boy” who is probably still hooking up with an ex and lies to her all the time.  My a-ha moment came when I realized that I am completely single and not waiting for or worrying about anyone texting me or not texting me.  I want to embrace this moment forever.  It is an amazing feeling.

That being said, I went out to dinner with a “friend” recently who has his own “stuff” he’s getting through.  I met a 25-year old at the bar who wanted to marry me but only after he checked with my bestie to make sure I’m “not a whore.”  I had 1 date with a dentist who wasn’t swooning over me, but asked me out again…only to not take me out again.  I have an old fling who wants to see me again but never drove anywhere when we saw each other before which is just strange… I also have a match.com account I can’t figure out how to delete.  Why would I want to delete it?  Because those men all seem to want to cuff up and the free sites, like “Bumble” are full of men who only want to see pics of the play-by-play of my day.

The freedom of being single and happy?  I don’t have to pay attention to any of them.  Mr. Right will swoon over me, and that’s how I’ll know.

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.

Co-Parenting with a Narcissist

What in the Hell is it actually like?

Seriously, I used to tell my ex-husband that my best friend was living my worse nightmare (a couple of friends, actually- one was single, ones husband left).  I used to wonder what the HELL that would be like at my age and status.  Then, low and behold, he pulled the rug out from under me when I had a 5 – week – old baby.  Oh and a two year old.  This was almost two years ago.

What is it like?  Most days are great.  Most days.  Most days I look at my two beautiful children and think, “boy am I lucky I have these two little miracles and DON’T have to deal with their father!” He’s someone else’s baggage now.  Thank the sweet baby Jesus.  No, really.  He was an awful husband but I would have stayed with him for the sake of my family for at least a little longer.

So there’s the relief of not having to be stuck in a miserable marriage.  Then there’s the insanity of dating.  I call it insanity because sometimes it’s sooooo fun, and sometimes it really sucks.  I’ve fallen in love again since my marriage ended, only to have my heart broken.  It stings, but nothing will ever hurt as bad as what my husband did… so I don’t fear heartache. I’ve had suggestions from dear friends to not date at all- that it’s a waste of time because I’m not ready and have things to deal with.  This may be partially true, but at the same time, I feel like dating is definitely more fun than not.  There is no shortage of men to go out to dinner with and as long as I take things slowly (which I admittedly have not always) then I think it’s a safe bet. There is so much to learn about myself still and I really pride myself on the fact that as soon as I see red flags, I remove myself from the situation.

My ex and I are usually on good terms but it has NOT always been that way.  For this reason, I won’t even go on a date with someone who is only “separated.” I had to navigate through some serious uncharted waters in the first AND second year of my separation. The one to finally reel me in wasn’t ready himself.  Like I said, it hurt and I miss him at times, but what a revelation.  This is the beginning of year 3 without a husband.  I still have so much to learn. I am however, at a very happy and confident place.  I’ve never been more confident in what is important to me, and who I am as a human.  I am out of the water in terms of treading… my parents are well and can watch my children when I need to do adult things… like bachelorette parties.

One thing I have found really astounding was that I firmly have no desire to have more children.  When I first was alone, my friends would re-assure me that I would have a girl someday with my perfect husband that I was yet to find.  I appreciate that but my ex-husband has another baby on the way and that has me feeling all types of ways for my own children.  As if he hasn’t given them the shaft enough in this lifetime, he’s going to bring yet another person into this world that will take away from the time and attention he gives them.  It’s heartbreaking for them, and I will never do anything to make them feel that way.

I’m on my 3rd holiday season without my ex-husband.  He left the day after Thanksgiving.  Since that Thanksgiving was a 2-day bender for him that resulted in my discovering an affair, I didn’t even enjoy that last holiday together.   Last years holidays were pretty good, but the ex and I were still not getting along too well.  This year is much more established and no part of him or that family facade I tried to paint will be missed.

So here’s to year three… may I be smart, resilient, have fun, and stop over-thinking.

And save more money.

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 …

About Me (Mommy Mels)

What you can expect with a 5-day cleanse (of your own design)

In my last post, I listed 6 changes that I wanted to make to sort of re-focus my goals.  After about 3 days I realized I needed a straight detox from my vices.

For 5 days, I decided to give up/obstain from the following:

Alcohol

Any white flour products

ANY spending

Sugar

Caffeine (no more than 2 c/day-I’m still a working single mom who needs to be able to function)

By the end of the 5 days I felt like a different person.  I thought the first Friday with no wine would be miserable but I was so totally engaged with my children that I didn’t even have time to think about it.  It was easy not to spend any money- just a little habit breaking.  I skipped Starbucks on the way to the Y on Saturday, but since I was cutting down on coffee, it all worked together. Most importantly, my brain fog went away.  I am still getting sinus headaches, but nothing like the head cloud I had been suffering from.  Skipping sugar meant that I spent less time in my building coordinators office because she keeps a huge jar of amazing candy in her office.  That is tough because we’re great girlfriends.  Again, this was just a matter of breaking a habit.

Everything worked together to sort-of re-ground me… I like the replenished feeling I get when I mix things up.  As a working, single-mom I easily get caught up in my kids and busy life, that I forget to practice self-care.  I work out for the endorphins and I eat well for the energy, but I don’t often sit back and assess what my lifestyle does for me.  It is a great practice to sit back and reflect upon what is working for you, and by YOU I mean your PERSON- not mom, teacher, friend (in my case) -but my soul.

I have never felt better than I have those five days… I also feel the need to clarify that although I write about fitness and a healthy lifestyle, it is merely an interest to me.  My lifestyle and dieting does not define me in anyway.

That being said, it has been about a month since my little “re-group” and I am starting a 15-day challenge on Monday, June 5th.  This challenge can be found here:

http://www.idealfit.com/blog/15-day-fit-body-challenge/workouts.php

What I love MOST about this challenge is that it is entirely created by women.  As most know, I’m a huge feminist so that is a bonus for me.  Also, I work out aside men every day- it’s the WOMEN I see in the gym that make me feel the drive… We’re just too different to compare… stay tuned: )

About Me (Mommy Mels)

A list of cliches? Or self-love? Or both?

Many self-help books ask you to look inside yourself to fix your issues.  That may be true, but either way- I always go back to the gas-mask analogy from airplane flights – You put it on before giving it to your child.

The other day, I gave my son my protein shake before I drank it which is hysterical for two reasons: I was worried – should I be taking care or myself first?  And are mine the only children that love and ASK FOR protein shakes?

After some deep thought recently, I’ve realized I am really lacking in self-love.  The result of this has been a conscious out-of-balance soul and some serious brain fog.  Currently, I’m taking steps to become re-balanced.

The first thing I did was start seeing a life-coach.  We’ve met once but it was a powerful meeting. I told her I don’t even know where to start in terms of finding balance and peace. I’ve come a long way but she was very surprised by my story.  I told her I’m over the shock of the road my life has taken, but that I’m still rebuilding and I’m not sure where I am anymore in terms of what direction next?  We discussed my goals and she noted that my goals are not short, measurable and obtainable.  This is insane because it’s exactly the opposite of what I teach my students AND do for a living.  I had some serious goals in Jan/Feb/March- none of which I accomplished because they were too broad and unattainable given my lifestyle and responsibilities.

The thing she said that resonated the most was that we can “control two things in life: our thoughts and our reactions.”  I have come a long way with my reactions because I get daily practice with my ex.  My thoughts, however, are still not controlled. I want to get out of my head and control my thoughts.  I am beginning by writing them down.  This allows me to look over my thoughts and recognize and processes which are irrational.  I have a lot of irrational thoughts- some of them about being a good mom (or not) and some about how I treat my body (or not).  Time to make a change here.

My brain fog is back from last spring as well… which is honestly debilitating.  I was beginning to write it off as something from allergies but after doing some research, I think it’s a result of diet and coffee.  For someone as neurotic about their body as me, I’ve been treating it like trash.  Instead of meal prepping, I’ve been grabbing whatever is in the fridge.  I am not eating things that are necessarily bad for the average individual, but for example, I had a piece of pizza for lunch the last two days.  That is too many processed carbs and refined sugar for me.  Makes me feel bloated and [I think] gives me a headache. I have also been drinking 3-4 cups of coffee a day, which is insane.  I get 8-9 hours of sleep a night and there’s no need for me to drink that much coffee.  I’m really ready to make small changes that will lead to big results…so cliche, and yet so true!

So what are my small changes/goals?  I want to stop weighing myself at the gym because my body is solid and my weight doesn’t reflect my body fat.  I literally have no idea what my body fat and weight should be.  I’m going to look into have it measured at the Y. (Add that to my to-do list- Thank you AK White for the tip!)

I am also going to start drinking lemon water in the morning because my friend Megan told me it has made her feel amazing.

My self-love plan:

1. Write down my thoughts- especially the negative ones.  Then I can look back and re-frame them in a positive way- the way I would to a friend whom I love, hense: self-love.

2. Cut down on my coffee intake to 1-2 cups/day and replace 2 with lemon water/apple cider vinegar (mother) /BCAAs mix

3. Keep alcohol use to a minimum and only on the weekends

4. Cut out refined carbs (pizza- no, Mel.)

5. Keep track of the things that make me feel good about myself: being mindful with my children, wearing pink lipstick and nail polish, for example.

6.  Embrace happiness- I have a lot to be thankful for.  My children are beautiful and healthy, I have been blessed beyond belief by my parents and friends/extended family, and I am healthy and successful in my career- to name only a few.

So this looks like a lot, but it’s really 3 small diet changes (although they will be challenging) and three mental changes.  I am not going to “keep track” in the traditional sense, but I’ll keep notes in my “NOTES” book Kate gave me for Christmas and check in in a month- around Mother’s Day- one of my favorite days of the year: ) That is how I will measure my goals.  My goals are obtainable because they’re small changes and short because I’m going to “check in” in a month… less pressure with a “check in.” Stay tuned, friends…


Oh and I almost forgot: Coach Cristal on IG also gave me some serious motivation for making some changes.  Check her out too:

View this post on Instagram

Some people think making changes is hard (and it can be) but I think staying the same is harder.🙌 I'm thankful I committed to becoming a healthier and better me.💕 In that first photo : the green drink in my hand is a store bought green smoothie loaded with sugar and probably no vitamins, and then I added vodka to it.🙈 I was most likely convincing myself that the 'green smoothie' made it healthy. Ha! Who was I kidding?😂 There was also an energy drink next to me in this photo but you can't see it. And chances are, I had drugs in my system as well. I treated my body like shit back then. And because of that, I felt like shit too.💩👎 No energy, poor digestion, brain fog, you name it I was probably dealing with it. But I just kept living life like that for awhile. Only looking forward to the next party.🍹🍸🍻 It makes me sad looking back and thinking that my life was ever like this and that I actually treated my body like a garbage can.🗑 But I guess some of us just need to get to that point when enough is enough🙅 and that's what happened to me a few years ago when coaching showed up in my life. The Universe is always bringing us exactly what we need when we exactly need it.✨ I'm glad I listened.🤗 Now thanks to coaching I have daily accountability for my health and fitness, + personal growth, and I am surrounded by a supportive tribe of badass women bettering their lives too.👭 Could I have become healthy without coaching? Well sure I could have…but I know for me having that ongoing support from the coaching community has been life changing.💗💗💗 👉Always here if you want to chat ladies about my joining my next virtual bootcamp to crush your health and fitness goals, or about bizzznassss if you want to learn about coaching.😘 #HealthIsTrueWealth 🌿 #TransformationTuesday 💪 #FitBlissTribe 🦄

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About Me (Mommy Mels)

Evolving

Ali Kate called me out last weekend for not blogging anymore… I remember asking her what she wanted to read about-but not her response.  I found my voice as I was scrolling through my own Facebook page instead of getting ready for work this morning.

It’s insane to me how much we can evolve in one month.  My last blog post was right after I returned from a trip to see my best friend in Boston. The trip must have really been a reset for me because I feel like I’ve changed so much in one month.

In terms of my diet, I’m “cutting” and eating a lot less- ridiculous amounts of protein still.  Struggling to get all of my workouts in because I’m so busy with my little guys and my social life.  Not complaining.

I have been spending my time doing things that suit me the best.  I had dinner this week with all of my best friends, celebrating my #1 not once, but twice this week.  Meeting new people,  getting baby boy hair cuts, catching up with old friends,  embracing professional development opportunities at work, focusing on and getting to the beginning of the forth and final marking period.  Dating a little … : )

What I have left behind is any traces of negativity from my old life.  I sold my house last week which was the final transaction in my marriage.  I omit my ex from my life as much as possible because we still have some raw negative feelings towards each other.  I try to omit him from conversations although I guess some wine may bring that up from time to time. I get along well with his girlfriend so we do most of the communicating.  I have also omitted anyone who brought negative energy to my life.  My new life was a gift and I don’t have time to have anyone threaten that for me.  We will evolve.  Not everyone evolves with us…

I am constantly reminded of the people who have evolved with me and the immense support I’ve received from them.  The lead secretary calls me “gorgeous” when she is looking for me- not because she thinks I am- but because she at school loves how all of my things call me “beautiful” or “gorgeous.”  My lunch bag from my sister-cousin says “you’re beautiful, don’t change.”  My coffee mug from Katy/Boston bestie says “Hello Gorgeous.” These are some of the things that symbolize the support I’ve received throughout the last year.  It took me a year to get through the mess but I’m through it and past it and life is beautiful.

Happy Friday, friends.