Important lesson from divorce

When I separated from my son’s dad three years ago, I thought the world was going to end. Never did I think that I would grow so much and find so much happiness, strength, and power from such a devastating situation. I feel blessed to have been able to take so many positive things from that heart-wrenching time and although I still continue to learn and grow, three years later, there is one thing that I learned along this wayward road that I use every single day.

Some call it a sixth-sense. Other’s call it their gut (which is what I tend to call it). Some say they “have a feeling.” Some might even refer it to their “third-eye.” There are people that might even refer to it as “following your heart.” Whatever you call it, the most useful lesson that I thank my divorce for is trusting my intuition.

While married, my then-husband suffered from PTSD (more to come on this at a later date). PTSD has different “symptoms” for everyone and it shows it’s ugly face in many different ways depending on the person and what they have gone through. For my son’s dad, one of the outcomes of his PTSD was lying. During our marriage, he started lying about the little things. There were such small lies that when I suspected it and had a “feeling” that he might be lying, I would tell myself that I was wrong because “it was so silly for him to lie about something so unimportant – there’s no way he would do that.” Or, I would chose to ignore them because I thought I was “choosing my battles” and I didn’t think something so small was worth the trouble of an argument. Funny thing is, the few times that I did catch him in a lie and did bring it up, I would always say “if you lie about the little things – you’ll lie about the big things.” He would tell me he wouldn’t do it again and of course, I had the “gut feeling” that this wouldn’t be the last time.

Boy, was I right!

Once we separated, weeks/months after finding out about his affair, a handful of lies that he had told while we were together finally came to light and I nearly kicked myself. All those times that I “had a feeling” that things weren’t quite right – were in fact, not quite right. He had lied.

Morale of the story: I had an intuition about it and I purposely chose not to listen to it. Would anything have changed if I would have listened? Who knows! But the point here is not what could have changed. The point is – when did I stop trusting myself and my gut? Looking back – I don’t know when I stopped. And I suppose it didn’t matter – the important thing is to get back to knowing and trusting myself.

It took time, and I still struggle with it sometimes, but I’m happy to report that now, when I get that “feeling” about something – I listen! And guess what?! In the past three years, it has NEVER let me down – which is probably why I’m so happy with my growth through this and where I am in my life right now.

Trusting my gut has helped me end dating situations that I “had a feeling” weren’t right for me. It has led me to take certain paths in my life that have led me to meet some wonderful new friends. Listening to my intuition has helped me manage co-parenting when my son’s dad has been difficult (and that’s a mild word for it). Trusting that feeling has led me to take a HUGE risk in my career that led me to my current job that I love sooooo much and has provided such amazing things for me in the short time I have been here! Trusting my gut has even made me a better mother and to trust the fact that although what I do as a mom might not be perfect, it’s still right for us in this moment in time.

I’m not sure if you know who Theresa Caputo is (Long Island Medium ring a bell?), but my sister and I just went to see one of her live readings and she said something that kind of stuck with me. Now, I’m not sure if you believe in this sort of thing (and I’m not even 100% positive that I do), but I am open to learning and taking things in – so during her reading she was talking to a mother who lost her child when he was 3 years old while the child was under her ex-husband’s care. While she described her situation she mentioned, “That morning, when I dropped off my son at his dad’s and said goodbye, I don’t know why but I held him tighter. I felt like I wasn’t going to see him again. I just had this bad feeling. It was so strange.” Theresa gave her this understanding smile and said, “So you had a gut feeling that something wasn’t right? Like something was going to happen that day? . . . of course you did. That was your soul telling you what was going to happen – you just couldn’t understand it.”

She went on to explain her belief that our souls are a living, active energy within us. How our soul lives somewhere in our subconscious mind – somewhere where we can’t really reach it. But our soul knows exactly what we are here to do in this lifetime. It knows our purpose in life and it knows what our journey in this world is meant to be. And when we ask ourselves questions and listen to our “inner voice” – that’s when we get that “feeling” of something that is about to happen because our souls are giving us the answer, since it already knows the outcome.

I took that statement home with me. I thought about it on the hour drive home from her show and I realized the statement actually brought me comfort that night. The thought that my inner self already knows my purpose and my path in this world made me feel less anxiety about the uncertainty the future brings. It made me feel more at ease knowing that whatever tough situation comes up, one way or another, I will “know” the right choice for me.

Again, I don’t know if you believe in that sort of thinking and you might think I’m crazy that something so silly brought me comfort but honestly, you don’t have to believe in it. The point here is that we all have that inner voice – some of us just choose to ignore it, while others choose to listen to it. The important thing is to TRUST that our inner self knows us better than we realize and that trusting our intuition will lead us where we are meant to be.

A Mother’s Day to Remember

Mothers’ Day is in a few days and this year will be the 3rd Mothers’ Day I get to celebrate.  The thing is, the last two haven’t been pleasant (for reasons I am about to share) and instead of enjoying the day, I’ve spent it in a state of darkness and pity on my current situation and how I ended up where I am.  But this year, I’ve made a decision to make it different.  This year, for me, Mothers’ Day will be a day that I’ve decided to turn into a day of appreciation and positive reflection.

Three years ago, on my FIRST Mothers’ Day, I found out that my then-husband was having an affair (I’ll let that sink in for a moment).

Without my knowledge or suspicion, my husband had met a woman during a work function and began a text-relationship for a month, which led to a physical relationship soon there after.  As if that wasn’t bad enough, he fabricated an alternative reality with her.  A world where he told her lies about me in order to make himself seem like a “good guy” in a “bad situation.”  The list of lies consisted of: us never actually being married, I had a tendency to sleep with other men, our son was actually not his, I made his life miserable, etc – honestly, there’s a lot more to this list, but it’s not even worth rehashing anymore.

On Mothers’ Day 2014, my FIRST Mothers’ Day as a mom, my heart fell to the floor and ripped my soul on its way down.  After screaming, crying, laughing, more crying and more screaming,  I found myself as a single parent, a new mom, broke (since I was a stay-at-home mom at the time), with a husband who was suffering from PTSD (more to come on that in another post) and with the rug yanked from underneath me.

Things were hard.  They sometimes still are.  But now, enough time has past that I can honestly say I’m in a much better place and I’m actually better for the things that I have gone through.  I’ve spent the last 3 years providing for my son and for myself and trying to better our lives.  I’ve provided a stable home for my son, a great foundation of family and friends that we both love spending time with, I have been able to find some sort of life/work/mom balance that keeps me grounded, and I have been able to grow my career and financially support the life we are able to live.

Not only have I been able to provide for my son, but in these past 3 years I’ve realized how strong I truly am.  I use my strength every day to get me through and I’ve realized that I am in more control of our lives than I think I am.  Overcoming the hard situations these past 3 years, I’ve realized that I’m a strong and confident woman – I make things happen for us – and that’s a powerful feeling.

Knowing all the hardship that I have overcome and feeling that power and confidence because I’m on the “other side” of it now is what has led me to be a better mom, a better friend, a better daughter, a better sister, a better worker and overall, a better person.

So this Mothers’ Day I am making an effort to use the day to yes, remember what happened 3 years ago – but instead of remembering it with that normal feeling of sadness and anger, I will remember the day with appreciation.  If that day didn’t happen (and everything that followed), I wouldn’t be where I am today – and today, I have a lot to be thankful for.

mommy blogging

“Excuse me, do you like to write?”

It all happened unexpectedly.  And even when I look back at it now, years later, I continue to think – did that really happen?

It was an ordinary Fall day in November 2015 and I was minding my own business at Jo-Ann Fabrics, waiting for my fabric to be cut just like the other 10 people in front and behind me.  As I was walking through the aisle, I locked eyes with a stranger.  She seemed like an ordinary woman in her 30s.  Petite, with a cute baby bump and in the usual mommy uniform (yoga pants and a t-shirt).  I didn’t think anything of it and as I continued to walk around the fabric area, that stranger approached me and with a warm smile on her face said, “excuse me, do you like to write?”

The truth is, yes.  I always have.  I remember writing about everything and anything in middle school which led me to write for my high school’s newspaper.  I enjoyed it so much that I actually decided to emphasize in Print Journalism in college and continued writing as a reporter for my campus newspaper and later became an editor. Unfortunately, at that time, writing became more of a chore then an outlet for my creativity.  I started dreading writing and life also began getting in the way.

I looked at her with a smile of confusion and said, “Yea, I guess.  Why?”  The words that came out of her month next, literally stopped me dead in my tracks.  She casually said to me, “Oh because God is telling me you should be writing.”

Yup, you read that correctly.  She said “God is telling me you should be writing.”  Now, I consider myself to be spiritual rather then religions and I do believe in God and his influence in our daily lives, but God speaking to a stranger about me was the last thing I expected to hear.  Honestly, all I was looking to hear was my fabric number to be called in order to end the agonizingly long wait.

She must of sense that I couldn’t find the words because she continued to say, “Maybe, a blog or a book or something about you, your life or maybe your style.”  I finally got my bearings and muttered, “I’m sorry.  Where are you getting things?”  And very nonchalantly she said, “Oh, sometimes God speaks to me and he’s telling me that you should be writing.  Like I said, maybe a blog about you and your style.  Actually more about your life-”  She stopped abruptly at that sentence, as if she was being fed information right in front of me and with a slight head nod said, “You’ve been through a a lot in the last few years, haven’t you?  The things that you have gone through are very close to your heart and they are very delicate.  It really is a delicate situation, but you should share your story.  I know you hold it really close to your heart, but share your story – you don’t know who you might be able to help.  You really should be writing.”

As you continue to read this blog in the future, you will realize that yes, in fact, I have been through a lot the last few years.  My ex-husband of 4 years began suffering from PTSD and had a complete personality shift which led to the end of our marriage in a very dramatic way (which you will read about in future posts) while I was raising our 6 month old son.  So as you can imagine, her telling me that I have been through a lot of delicate things these past few years touched me in a way that I will never forget.  But more specifically, what impacted and shocked me was the fact that writing about my life experiences is something that I have contemplated since this all began.  In fact, I’ve discussed the possibility of it with my best friend several times.  Unfortunately, I just haven’t found the inner courage to put myself out there – until now that is.

As she once again told me “You really should be writing” her fabric number was called and she said “oh that’s me.”  I’m pretty sure I opened my mouth but no words came out.  She smiled at me again, softly touched my wrists and said “It’s going to be OK.  It really is.”  I finally managed to say “thank you” and that was that.  She walked away.

Weeks went by, months, and now over a year – that “itch” to write has gotten bigger and bigger and bigger.  All I keep thinking about is writing, yet I haven’t managed to type one word.  But now, things are changing within me – I can feel it.  In fact, I feel something big is just around the corner and I’m not sure if writing will lead to that “big” thing, but it’s time to take the risk, it’s time to tell my story.

In the upcoming posts, you’ll read about how the end of my marriage has shaped my current life, how a tiny little human I call my son saved my soul, how at 30something I am finding myself each and every day and how co-parenting with someone suffering from PTSD challenges our daily lives.  And despite of all the challenges and the life lesson’s I’ll post about, you’ll also find “every day things” such as being a working mom in corporate America, my love for do it yourself projects, my passion for seeking new goals to reach, books I enjoy, finger-licking-good recipes and other wonderfully ordinary things.

So make sure to follow Wayward Dash. I would love to take you on this unpredictable journey with me.  🙂

The World is Still Standing

I did the unthinkable tonight.

Yea.  That’s right.  I did it. And you know what?!  I’m not sorry about it and if I had the chance – I’d do it all over again.

Today, for the first time – I decided to put my feet up after putting my son to bed instead of doing the nightly chores I usually do – one of them being the dishes.

I looked at them, all two-days worth of them, looking all dirty and grimy, staring back at me.  Taunting me with the memory of meals-past.  Reminding me of the sinful meals that I probably shouldn’t of eaten and now feel enlarging within my thighs and my guilt.  And as we stared each other down, I said “not today, satan – not today!”  I gave them the middle finger, turned around and walked straight out of the kitchen, letting them remain where they were – in the past.

And what did I learn about my bravery?  The roof didn’t tumble down at my feet.  As far as I can tell, the sky hasn’t come crashing down.  And I’m pretty sure the hours will continue to pass.  Hmmm – look at that….I chose to ask myself “why” they needed to get done and “what” would happened if they didn’t.  And when I realized it wouldn’t be the end of the world if they were ignore for the night, I decided to do just that – I ignore the mundane and life didn’t end. How about that!?

Sure, they’ll be there tomorrow (unless fairy tales finally come true overnight and the morning birds help me by cleaning up my dishes AND putting away Sunday’s laundry) – but that’s another problem for another day.  Tonight. . . I rejoice.

But mommy, why?

My three-year-old is at this “adorable” stage (and when I say adorable I do mean extremely irritating part of his life), where after every statement I make he  follows it with “but mommy, why?” And yes….I’ve done the typical “because I say so!”  Sure, it’s a phase he’s going through and most kids his age go through it, but I do admire his curiosity for life and as he continues to grow up, I would like him to continue to question the things around him and to not just accept something as is.  And if I want that for him – why don’t I do it as an adult?  So, lately, I’ve taken a cue from my Pre-Schooler.  I’ve started asking myself “why” for things that I “feel” like I need to do.

It’s no secret that I’m busy, as most of us are.  I have a job that requires a far commute, so I start my day at 5am.  Between taking my son to school, commuting, working, school pick up, dinner, soccer practice, finding time to workout, and getting ready for the following day – I don’t finally get to relax until 8-9pm.  And by then, there are tons of other things I need to do:  household chores, PTA work, school items, more work, and…oh – sleep! So, I decided to start asking myself why?

By the time I’m home at 6:30pm, I would have a list of things I needed to do that evening before bed, with no time for myself.  And guess what?  Most of them wouldn’t get done due to lack of time and that would just add to my stress levels which would trickle over to the following day, which would bring additional things to do and so on and so on.  It was an on going cycle.  So now, once I’m ready to do my to-do list, I just ask myself why after every task I list for myself:

  • I have a pile of laundry to do. . . but why?  Because we might not have clothes or essentials for the next day. Then, ok – that needs to get done.
  • I need to do the dishes . . . but why?  Well, they are dirty – although I have plenty of clean dishes.  So what will happen if they don’t get done? Well…nothing.  Then, its not a priority!  Next….!
  • I should fold laundry….but why? Well, they will be wrinkly.  Is that the end of the world? Will an iron not do the trick?  Well, no – the world won’t end.  Then, it’s not a priority!  Next….!
  • I need to bake cupcakes for my son’s school . . . by why?  Well, I committed to brining dessert for his event.  So what, I can’t buy cupcakes in the morning?  Hmm – I guess so.  Great. then, it’s not a priority!  Next….!
  • And so on . . .

Trust me, I get it.  There’s so many dirty dishes that you can keep in the sink before you are eating with your hands and believe it or not, my house isn’t a total mess (I actually consider myself pretty Type A) – but

the point of asking why is to realize what is a priority THAT day and what’s not.

Yes, its a lot of self talk but, just simply questioning myself on why I feel something needs to get done and what will happen if it doesn’t has really lighten the weight I feel on my shoulders every day.  It has given me the opportunity to spend more time doing the important things, taking time to spend with my son after school, using up my weekends to the fullest and taking time to just relax a bit and let my mind rest – which has changed my attitude completly.

I don’t feel on edge as much.  I don’t feel stressed and disappointed with myself when I don’t finish my list.  I live more in the moment than thinking about what needs to get done in a few hours and overall, I just feel more present and more at peace than before.

So mamas – whether you’re a single-mom, stay-at-home-mom, working-mom, or if your a dad or just someone who is just busy . . . whatever your status is, we are all bombarded with things to do every single day.  So step back for a minute, and just think – “WHY do I have to pick up all the toys right now?  WHAT will happen if you don’t do it now and maybe do it tomorrow?  Ah ha!  nothing right?

Well then, put your feet up during nap time instead of during chores and just relax – you deserve it!