We are all Pioneers

You’ll notice around my blog the mention of the word “Pioneer” and there’s a very good reason for it.

According to Webster’s dictionary, “Pioneer”:
to explore or open up ways or regions for others to follow; to begin something new or take part in the early development.

When I went through my divorce, I decided to see a therapist and it was life changing (in the best way possible).  It gave me insight on myself, others around me, and my ex-husband as well.

In one of the sessions, she asked about my mother.  I told her that she is originally from Uruguay, and at 18 she moved to Argentina to work and create a better life for herself.  She later met my father and when she was in her 30s, she moved along with my father, my sister and I to the United States for better opportunities.  I went on to explain how when I was 16, she divorced my dad and worked three jobs at once to help me through college.

My therapist stopped and thought for a moment and said, “Wow.  So you two are very much alike in your strength to move forward.  You both moved away at a young age to stretch your independence and make a name for yourselves.  And when facing trouble you both sacrificed and push forward so others can thrive.  She’s a sort of pioneer, isn’t she?  Like you.”

I never thought about it that way, but the moment she mentioned “Pioneer,” I automatically thought of a song that I love by The Band Perry, called Pioneer (from their Album, Pioneer):

Oh Pioneer, I sing your song
Well it’s the hymn of those who’ve gone before and those who carry on
Pioneer, your work is hard
But the future of us all rests on the shoulders of your heart

Where are we going
Oh I don’t know
But still I’ve got to go
What will become of us
Oh I don’t care
All I know is I’ll go anywhere
Pioneer

Oh Pioneer
So young and brave
Be careful of the careful souls who doubt you along the way
Pioneer, you orphaned child
Your mother is adventure and your father is the wild

Where are we going, oh I don’t know
But still I’ve got to go
What will become of us
Oh I don’t care
All I know is I’ll go anywhere
Pioneer
Let your heart not be troubled

I won’t run when bullets chase me
I won’t rest where arms embrace me
I will love when people hate me
I won’t hush, no you can’t make me
Send the dark but it won’t break me
You can try but you can’t change me
Take my life, they will replace me
I won’t hush, no you can’t make me
I won’t hush, no we will sing

Where are we going
Oh I don’t know
But still I’ve got to go
What will become of us
Oh I don’t care
All I know is I’ll go anywhere
Pioneer

Let your heart not be troubled

Now, I’ not a country music fan, but that album got me through an extremely rough time in my life when I found out that my ex-husband had cheated on me and it was up to me to raise my 6-month old son on my own.  It spoke straight to me and I realized, that yea – I am a pioneer.  Heck, we all are!

So to all you the moms, dads, guardians, caregivers – you are more than just a mom or a dad or a caregiver – you’re a damn PIONEER!

Without sight of what the next day will bring, you are the one to take the first to step forward to pave the way for those who will follow, you’re children.  And because of you, they’ll path will be a lot smoother.

We face the turmoil that may cross our paths, shielding those behind us from the hardship it brings because the truth is “your work is hard, But the future of us all rests on the shoulders of your heart.”

So, my dear Pioneer, I hope you take comfort in knowing that we are all leading in our own paths. Sure, we all have visions of where we would like to go, but the truth is, none of us know where we are going “but still we’ve got to go” and we walk through each day in hopes that we get “there” – wherever “there” is for us.

Lets talk about divorce.

I have to ask – where area all my single or divorced parents at?!

I wanted to do a little research on single/divorced parent blogging, so naturally, I took to Google and let me tell you, it wasn’t as easy finding this niche as I thought.  Divorce now a days is more common than it previously was – so I figured, someone HAS to be blogging about it.  Well, I can’t find one – or at least, one that has really drawn me in.

Current Divorce Blogs

Now, don’t get me wrong – there are definitely some single/divorced parent blogs out there – it’s not like they don’t exists.  But there are few and far between and the ones that I did find included impersonal posts that just weren’t relatable.

I found posts that included, “the top 5 lessons from divorce, what not to do during a divorce, how to tell your children about divorce” – all these posts sounded more from a therapists point of view than from the person who sat there and had to maneuver through life as a newly divorced person.

Why are we not talking publicly about divorce?

Statistics show that there are more of us than there once was – so why aren’t we talking publicly about it?  Is it the shame that comes with the word “divorce?” Is it the stigma that is put on us for being divorced – especially a divorced mom?  Is it because we see divorce as a “failure” and don’t want to admit it?  Or is it because society sees divorce as something so negative that we shouldn’t discuss it openly?

Why are we still ashamed of talking about divorce publicly?

Well, let me tell you something! . . . It’s time we come out of hiding.  It’s time we celebrate our freedom.  It’s time we share our triumph over hardship.  It’s time we sit down, turn on our computers and start talking about what we have overcome without shame or guilt.

Lets make it better – starting here!

Divorce/separation is a long, hard, and lonely road.  So why are we making it even more isolating?  The truth is – we never know who we can help by sharing our journey with others.  So, Wayward Dash readers, my Pioneers – I’m promising you that here – I WILL talk about my divorce.  I will not only give you tips and tricks on how to deal with certain situations, but I will give you an insight look at my personal struggles and my personal situations and how I handled them.  Here, you will get a REAL inside look into the good, the bad, the ugly, and everything in between because the truth is – that’s life! Divorce happens!

So here I am Pioneers . . . I’m 33. I’m a mother. I’m a sister. I’m a daughter. I’m a friend. I’m a working professional in the marketing field.  I’m passionate.  I’m creative.  I’m a DIYer.  I’m hard working.  I’m a writer. I’m a dreamer. I’m a loyal.  I’m genuine.  I’m sensitive.  I’m a provider.  I’m a fur-mom.  And . . . I’M DIVORCED!

So, where are the rest of you?!

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.

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!

Cake for Dinner

I love the celebration of things.  Taking the time to cherish, honor and celebrate that specific time of year.  Whether it’s a grand opening of something, a good grade on a test, an anniversary, or in this case – a birthday . . . I just love the festivities that come with specific moments of life, including when you are celebrating others.

While I was married, I made a point to celebrating the little things.  But thinking about it now, I realized that I celebrated in hopes to get the same in return.  I wanted so bad to receive some sort of attention from him, that I celebrated his moments in hopes that he would celebrate mine when the time came.  Unfortunetly, my attempts failed.  He was so invested in his own being that he never celebrated my moments and in turn, I began to feel unimportant, not worth the hassle, not worth celebrating.

As the years passed by, and year after year, event after event, it all ended with me being crushed at the feeling of expectations being shattered and then blaming it on myself – that maybe I just wasn’t worth it.  “Why should he celebrate me?  My accomplishment wasn’t worth the festivity.”  And without realizing it, my soul began to shriveled into its self, not wanting to be seen, not wanting to be noticed and not wanting to speak – while keeping a hard exterior that could be shattered with one single push.  Only thing was, that no one noticed – not even myself.

Now, I’m in my 30s, single, divorced, and a mom of a 3 year old with a birthday that suddenly, without even the slightest notice – showed up….yet again.  The thought of taking yet another step deeper into my 30s doesn’t really bother me.  A lot of people, especially women, dread birthdays after 30s or even 40s, but not me.  I don’t mind.  What I was dreading was turning 33 by myself.  My family and friends live out of town, my son is only three and sure, I have coworkers – but no one to really make the day just a little special for me or to make it feel like it had a slight different energy then the rest.

The weeks approaching my birthday crept closer and closer and I began to feel that heaviness in my stomach, until, on April 11th, at 5am, I woke up to start what I thought would be just another day although, it was the day I came into the world, 33 years ago.

The day began just like any other and without any expectations, but as it progressed, the energy around me did change.  My coworkers celebrated my day with fresh cookies from a local bakery – a small gesture that not only filled that empty feeling in my stomach with sugar, but that also brought a smile to my face.  My social media filled with best wishes from people that I hadn’t spoken to in a while but have so many memories of joy and laughter with.  I received sweet phone calls and texts messages that made me feel that for at least that day, I was noticed.  But what really changed my day was my son.

That morning, I told him it was my birthday which he quickly asked “is there cake?” – cause of course, what 3 year old doesn’t associate birthdays with cake ? . . . I mean, I’m 33 and I still do.  And I casually blew off the question as I distracted him by getting him dressed for the day because no, we didn’t have a cake – we weren’t going to even acknowledge the day.

At 6pm, I picked him up at school and as I walked the hallways his teachers wished me happy birthday and as I finally arrived in his classroom, I realized, “Wait.  How do they know it’s my birthday?  I didn’t tell any of them.”  That’s when one of them said “Oh, since this morning he’s been telling all of us and his friends that it’s mommy’s birthday and you guys were going to eat cake together.”

I knew I loved that kid!  That comment absolutely melted my heart.  This child, loves me so deeply that he continues to think about me throughout his busy pre-k day.  Even as he’s playing with his friends, creating art projects, expanding his vocabulary or playing outside – this child loves me so much that mommy is even in his thoughts throughout the day.

Right then and there, I realized that this day was very different – today I realized that I am noticed.  I’m noticed every day  by the one little person that brings me so much joy in my life – and heck, I bring him joy too!  He warms my heart with his sweetness, lightens my load with laughter, and keeps me moving forward by just being himself.  In his little head, I’m celebrated every day and I can’t put into words how much I appreciate that from him.  I know that I do things for him on a daily basis, but what he gives me every day doesn’t come close to what I try to offer him.

On the other hand – maybe he was just working me for some cake.  🙂 Either way . . . we had cake for dinner that day.