In love. In life. In parenthood. In anything. It’s a good rule – why be ordinary?
The above quote says it all for me as we head towards the big V-day. And I may not be going where you think I’m am with this. It’s not a “To heck with jerks! You go tell him where to stick it girl!” kind of thing.
We are all so incredibly unique. Nope – we’re not all special little snowflakes to be coddled and protected from every bump in the road. But we are unique.
No two people have exactly the same life experience, outlook, talents or challenges.
Valentine’s Day is bittersweet for many, sweet for some and just plain bitter for others.
We’ve heard it all, right? ‘Love yourself first’ and ‘you can’t love another person until you love yourself’. And these are true.
We get totally sick of hearing them when we’d rather have an awkward date with Mr. Not-Quite-Right than sit at home alone with take-out and binge-watching GOT one more night. There’s nothing wrong with going on that date if you are just looking for a fun night out, and everyone involved has a realistic expectation of outcomes.
But please routinely put in the effort to make those statements above true.
Don’t waste too much time on Mr. (or Ms!) Not Quite Right – buy yourself a treat instead – a handbag you’ve wanted, a ticket to a sporting event, a dinner out at a lovely restaurant – and it doesn’t have to be expensive – do it on a shoestring – a walk in the park or hiking expedition of your own can be so incredibly gratifying. Take a lesson in something you’ve been dying to learn – rock climbing or painting or whatever tickles your fancy.
Self-care takes a lot of practice – you might not have that rosy “I love me!” feeling. It doesn’t matter – do the thing anyway. Take the moment – if it’s nothing but stopping working on all the other things to read for 30 minutes and have a bath. Your heart, mind and body all three will thank you. (The rosy feelings do sometimes come! I promise!)
Next, let’s consider ‘Don’t expend energy loving someone who doesn’t love you more than you love you.’
A mouthful – I know. I’m no Oscar Wilde. But I think the point is important.
Once we remember how to love ourselves, we shouldn’t work so hard to love someone who doesn’t cherish all the parts of us at least as much as we do.
When you truly love someone, you even find ways to cherish the parts of them that drive you crazy.
My SO and I have this piece down. For example – he’s reticent. Completely. HUGELY. And it drives me totally bonkers most of the time. He doesn’t communicate AT ALL when he’s upset. Then I get upset because he’s not communicating – and then he’s upset that I’m upset, and it can get really stupid.
BUT – I’ve learned from his reticence. Running off at the mouth has always been a problem of mine – but being around him has caused me to slow down and consider more carefully the things that come out of my mouth. It has taught me that not everything needs an immediate response and sometimes it doesn’t need a response at all.
Still drives me nuts when he does it sometimes (and funnily enough was the most infuriating part to me about my dad! Wished I’d learned from him instead of waiting this long.) But it’s part of who he is as a person – and it does have value.
I *think* I’m teaching him something about empathy – which drives him bonkers. We have to stop before leaving DQ to say hi to the older fellow sitting alone with his cone. He has to wait for me constantly because I have a need to know EVERYONE’S story. I want them all. He was not previously overly concerned about other’s stories – or with sharing his own.
I think he sees through my crazy eyes that wanting to know about others, because you’re truly interested in their story, can be beautiful thing, and can create some wonderful bonds (and get you some fantastic stories!) He tells me routinely that it’s part of who I am – so he loves it too.
So if you’re going to be with someone, choose a person who is willing to think that you’re a special snowflake and treat you with all the care that should afford – but who’s also willing to push you and inspire you to being bigger, better and more than you were.
No one less is worth it – have many lovely friends and people around you – but don’t sacrifice your time and effort for someone who doesn’t cherish your soul.
Don’t expend energy loving someone who doesn’t love you more than you love you. 🙂
I’m certain I’m missing important opportunities all the time. Chances to make a point, better myself, be mom-o-the-year and et cetera.
BUT – I’m trying to seize the moments and opportunities more these days, and it resulted in a pretty important perspective shift this weekend.
The ex took off for the weekend with the new GF, and as it was a kid weekend for me anyway, this shouldn’t have been a deal. And really it wasn’t for the most part. He made it to their school orientation before he took off (better late than never!) He called them a couple of times. Mostly it was an average weekend.
BUT – 5 nights a week, he spends about an hour and a half with them – his week or mine – so I can work at a barn to cover Sweet Pea’s riding lessons. And this starts on Sunday evenings.
The past 2 weekends that the kids were with me, he has forfeited that time on Sunday night. He’s had plans. He’s been known to randomly forfeit this time anyway – but not really consistently.
Today is the kids’ last day off before school. He’s off work. Yet somehow, they’re with me while I work from home.
Again, he’s forfeiting time with them.
I have historically not been very understanding of this.
I want him to step up, say, “I am off and want to be with the kiddos, please bring them to me.” But he doesn’t. Fact is, he possibly never will. He certainly didn’t when we all lived together, so this isn’t new.
But this weekend – I let it go.
Mostly (hey – full honesty here).
It still rankles a bit that he’s off while I work with the kids here. But it’s okay. We’ve been to the pool, and out for dinner, rock climbing and for an epic drive in the past few days. We’ve had plenty of snuggle time during movies ,and tonight we’ll cook out before they head to his house for a spell.
If I’m diligent and complete my tasks – we’ll head to the pool again here in a bit (we didn’t even have access to a pool when I lived with the ex!) and that’s not bad at all.
Every opportunity that he gives up is one more that I have. One more moment to cherish this VERY limited time I get with them. Sweet Pea is 9. She’s halfway out my door!!
So – moving forward – as opposed to being frustrated that he’s not doing what I’d like – I’m trying to cherish that I get those extra moments with these boogers who have my whole heart.
It’s not easy. And I’m sure it never will be – though I imagine it will get easier. In the mean time, I’m trying to relish every extra second that I get.
***warning*** adult language ahead – so no kiddies form this point on… go do your homework!
This is *not* intended to be sacrilegious in any way. Moses was the man – these are my personal take on what we should do – above and beyond not stealing, coveting, murdering and suchlike.
1 –Thou shalt Drink the wine.
Really – If t’s your thing, have a bit. Keep it moderate. Don’t get shit-faced around the kids. That’s never cool. Do enjoy a glass or two out with friends or the hubby or your damn self. If it’s not your thing – then have that thing you love – the cheesecake or whatever every once in a while… all the time makes for bad news. Furthermore – don’t give a shit whether or not anyone else is having the wine or cheesecake – unless they’re out of hand. Then take the keys and get them an uber.
2 – Thou shalt Clean the house… sometimes.
Sometimes the house needs cleaning. Family or company is coming. It hasn’t been done in 3 months and you’re pretty sure the toilet requires a hazmat suit. The kids are complaining about wading through trash. Whatever. But seriously – there are times it is way more important that you take the kids for that hike or bike ride or dinosaur-monster display insanity than it is that you mop today.
3 – Thou shalt not be an asshole.
Firstly, if you’re a parent, the surest way to raise an asshole is to be one. Secondly, you never freaking know what someone else is dealing with. That guy in front of you driving slow? Who the hell knows? Maybe he just got the worst news of his life and is trying to drive through the tears. Or maybe he’s just a dick – either way, if you’re not an asshole, life if happier for everyone.
4 – Thou shalt not give shit tonnes of unsolicited advice
Every kid is different. Every marriage, divorce, dating relationship – oh wait.. Every PERSON is different. So stop thinking that anyone else’s experience with, well, anything, will be like yours was. It won’t. Similarities, maybe. But their experience is theirs. Shut your cakehole, and listen for once. They’ll thank you for it.
5 – Thou shalt get off thine ass and move a bit.
That amazing metabolism will not last forever. The ass will spread. The dress size will increase. You’ve had kids and/or a desk job and/or an addiction to Supernatural that means binge watching for hours at a time – for whatever reason, it seems many of us don’t make the time for this. Do it. Don’t feel guilty about it. I can’t run a 5k without hella knee pain anymore. But I can walk it. Better yet I can get the kiddos outdoors take a hike or similar. This is self-care. It counts. Do it. There isn’t time. Find it.
6 – Thou shalt not envy another’s joy.
Be happy for your friends when they’re happy. It’s not your life. Maybe you think this relationship is a terrible idea – see commandment #4. Shut the hell up – be there when they’re on cloud nine and be there when you have to scrape them off the pavement. It’s freaking hard when your husband hasn’t told you that you’re attractive in 7 years and you have a screaming kid tied to your leg. Do it anyway. Escape into their joy – and hope that one day they’ll get to do the same. Speaking of family….
7 – Thou shalt not cut off thy nose to spite thine face.
Unless there is something seriously heinous in your family relationships (obviously we make accomodation here for abuse and all things similar) – suck it up and restore those relationships. Yup – your brother is annoying as hell. Your sister constantly insults you. Deal with it twice a year and see them for Christmas and Easter (no one said Thanksgiving too – twice in 2 months is friggin’ ridiculous). There comes a day when you need them – when your mom passes away, you won’t want to be rehashing the fight over the family trip that time. Not to be ignored is the family you choose – love those friends like hell – see them more than twice a year and learn to forgive – because damn it – they’ll have to forgive you for that time you stole their boyfriend – ruined their dress – insulted their kid – whatever.
8 – Thou shalt suck it up.
Yes. In general. Stop being such a damn whiner. We all have shit. Unless someone asks, we don’t all want to hear yours any more than you want to hear ours. Save it for the spouse/bestie/therapist (blog?!) and find that stiff upper lip. (And don’t even start on the ‘you don’t understand’ thing here. Depression? Had it. Anxiety? Had It. Lost a parent? Done it. Shitty marriage? Done it. Kid illness? Done it. ) Seriously – many of your friends have been through more than you have any damn idea. Stop thinking you’re alone and find adequate support to grow.
9 – Thou shalt give back –
Volunteer. Donate. Be kind. Your theology may not agree – but I’m pretty damn sure most religions actually require that we don’t judge our fellow humans. Stop it. Not your problem. Be kind and help other people however you are able. Take the kids with you – they’ll learn something too. (See #3)
10 – Thou shalt forgive thyself.
While you’re at it not being so hard on others, stop being so hard on yourself. See all rules above. You deserve a little slack too. This is not an excuse to not stop driving yourself to excellence – just leeway to not kick yourself in the shins when it’s not your best day and you yelled at the kids, the guy on the road was an asshole and your friend drank all the wine – forget every day being new. Every moment is new. Start over. Right now.
Drink the wine. Be kind. Don’t be an asshole. Listen. Love. Cry. Suck it up. Give. Hug.
I’ve been here before. More than once. I had a general journal-type blog. I had a knitting blog. I even tried to have a blog on fingernail polish (no lie! I have proof )
But that was all long before 2015 happened. It was seriously one hell of a year. To the point that a friend and I kept saying to one another “2015 and everything after.” The idea was just to get through it. And I did. We all did.
I’ve spent a good deal of the past year reading books, articles and posts on so many things – but there’s a theme – “How to get through divorce without turning your children into insecure, angry brats”, “How to survive the onslaught of blame and hatred from your spouse after you leave”, “What to do if you’re not sure leaving was the right decision”, “How to stop yelling at your children”…. you get the idea.
Somewhere in the past few months as this new year has begun, I have found that I’m writing as much as I’m reading – and it’s time to share.
So look forward to thoughts, opinions and etc on daily life, separation and divorce, child-rearing, work-from-home mommying, possibly cooking and crafting, as well as whatever other nonsense I can find to throw in the pot!
I’m more aware now than ever that we all have our journey, experience, advice and admonishments – these are just mine 🙂