Remember this book? Well I order it, it arrived today and I finished it today. Yeah, I know I'm about 7-8 years too late on this bandwagon but when this book was released I was married and pregnant with my first child and really could
not have cared less about what this book had to say.An unfortunate fact since, had a cared and read the book at the time, I probably would have saved myself a LOT of heartache over the course of the last 7-8 years. I'm not going to get into talking too much about a book that is old news. (I KNOW, I'm seriously late on the bandwagon). But as I was reading the book I started thinking... There seems to be this general agreement that there are far more good women than there are good men. And that women just need to "be strong" and hold out for her "Prince Charming". But what if that's a bunch of crap?
With all of the changes in society, the economy and the general roll of a woman over the last few decades, it's easy to make the argument that women are more evolved then men, and maybe we are. But have we evolved ourselves onto an impossibly high pedestal?Do we now think so highly of ourselves and our Hollywood-induced concept of romance that we are our own worst enemy? Have we become big-headed
and unnecessarily critical of men? Are WE the reason we are still single? Or are we simply less tolerant of behavior we previously HAD to tur
n a blind eye to?
Let's put it this way: 50 years ago a woman depended on a man for survival. She depended on him to pay her bills and to buy her nice things. She HAD to be more tolerant of his behavior, her survival depended on it. If he cheated or hit her or yelled at her, she turned a blind eye, wrote it off as having "had a bad day" and went about her business. But what about now? Now she is able to kick him out. She is able to be picky. She no longer depends on him or her survival, she only wants companionship and maybe a family. But honestly, in this day and age, a woman doesn't NEED a man to have a family. Just a clinic and his best swimmers. And the general consensus is that this puts us women at an advantage. It puts us in a place where we can afford to hold out and wait for our "Prince Charming". But I think this whole situation has a downside that we women, sitting up here on our highly evolved pedestals, seem to be overlooking. It seems to me that we are becoming less and less tolerant of behavior that is simply the behavior of a human being and a MAN. We get annoyed when we don't get wined and dined or when he checks out another woman. Or that he needs us to iron his shirt. We resent that he expects a cooked meal at the end of an exhausting work day. We don't need them to take care of us anymore and we resent that they still needs us.But that's just it. Women have evolved in a area that men have not, an area that men may
never evolve in. But more than that, we women have become intolerant of behavior that is quite simply the behavior of a man.
We sit here on our pedestals and criticize men for being men. We don't try and understand them AS THEY ARE. Instead we compare them to our delusional concept of what we think a man should be. Listen ladies, MEN ARE THE WAY THEY ARE. That's all.
Nothing more. Nothing less. Somehow men have this figured out far better than us women do. They KNOW we can be a little crazy, they know we overreact, get emotional and need romantic gestures that are not intrinsic to their God given behavior. They know this, they accept this and THEY LOVE US ANYWAY. But not us women. Nope. We criticize them for "not evolving" and move through them like we change outfits simply because he did not meet our expectation of what we think a man should be like. Am I saying you should put up with shitty behavior from a man? No. I am not. But I am saying that we women need to start loving men for who they are, not some deluded concept of what we now think they should be. It takes patience and tolerance to love a man. It's not a walk in the park. They do stupid things sometimes and need to be taken care of in ways we think they should have outgrown by now. Then again, women are no walk in the park either!But there is a difference between not tolerating bad and toxic behavior and simply being intolerant. This may not be a popular idea but I think we, as women, are becoming intolerant.
And not in a strong, kick-ass way. But in a biased, "my gender is better than yours" way. Ladies, if you want a husband then expect to get a husband and everything that goes with it, whether it be good or bad. Don't expect a wife in husband clothing. So my advice to anyone currently unhappy with the scarcity of "good men" is to start loving men for who they really are.
Men are not the way they are because they are "unevolved". They are the way they are because they are MEN. And, while we're at it, let's be honest with ourselves. If we REALLY didn't need men, then why the hell did this book end up a New York Times best-seller? Want to read more on this topic? Try my post: An Open Letter To All Men
I had an inspired thought the other day that was something along the lines of this:
Wouldn't it be great if I could find it in me to love what I AM instead of wishing I were something I'm not?
Wouldn't it be great if, when I looked in the mirror, I admired something about my body that I love instead of focusing on the parts that I wish were different?
What if, while I'm wading though life's many obstacles; instead of beating myself up for my shortcomings, I celebrated my strengths?
What IF, right?
And then I thought: WHY NOT?
So I tried it.
When I looked in the mirror I focused on things I could admire. Instead of groaning and wishing my thighs were smaller, I decided I liked my curves. Instead of squishing my forehead and saying a little Botox prayer; I decided that I liked my big, brown eyes.
Then I focused internally.
Being now on the upside of a break up, I am all too aware of my flaws. (WHY do break ups always highlight our flaws??) I'm moody and I overreact. Sometimes I talk too much about myself and fail to ask about the other person. I'm demanding and I hold things back until I can no longer take it and it blows up.
But instead of focusing on these things, I decided to focus on my strengths and to do something to celebrate them.
And then I thought, what if I could inspire others to embrace their internal and external beauty and strengths and celebrate them too? What if I could encourage someone else to take a look and see that it's not their flaws that define them, but their strengths?
So the "I Am" Project was born.
Each week, right here on this blog, I will feature the story of someone and their journey to find something about themselves that they would like to celebrate.
It will look something like this:
The "I Am" Project - Jessica
My name is Jessica and I'm a 28 year old, single mother of two.
Somehow, through out the course of a failed marriage and several failed relationships, I realized I had come to an understanding with myself that I really didn't matter. That my happiness didn't really matter.
How I got here, I don't fully know. Except that I had gotten to a place where I was my last priority. A dark, dark place where I felt guilty taking time to myself or spending money on myself. And those were just the minor things.
I didn't sleep much because I was needed by someone in the evening and needed by someone in the early morning. The work around the house was endless and someone always needed me.
I had made sacrifices in my marriage and relationships and given to everyone around me to the point where there was just nothing left to give.
And when I stopped giving, because I just couldn't do it any more, the less than savory people around me started to take what they felt was rightfully theirs. And that's when I broke.
It has been a long road back. I have fought battles and personal demons and now I am finally back to a place where I can say that happiness is mine.
But before I could get there, I had to realize one thing:
And THAT is the gist of the "I Am" Project. Now this is where you come in!
Send me your stories and your "I Am" picture. Tell me something great about yourself and your journey to the realization of that greatness. Or just tell me how completely badass you are!
Email your stories and your picture to:
singlemotherhoodbliss AT gmail DOT com
And every other Wednesday we will celebrate YOU and all your strong, badass, beautiful, kickass-ness!
I can't wait to get your stories!
BE CREATIVE!!! :)
First of all, I apologize that I have been MIA for the last week.
Actually, screw that. I don't apologize. I had a week off from motherhood. An ENTIRE week.
Yes, it's true that I promised myself that I would get ahead on blog posts and catch up on networking and the endless household to-do list.
Yet, I did none of that.
What I DID do was: I slept in. I drank far too much wine. I bought shoes and Victoria's Secret items that I don't need. (REALLY don't need). I cleaned practically nothing. I cooked ABSOLUTELY nothing. I took walks in parks that look like this:
And I enjoyed EVERY. FRIGGEN. MINUTE of it.
So yeah, I don't apologize.
In fact, this last week was probably the first time in many, many years that I've been able to just BE. I was able to focus on myself with NO guilt for doing so.
It was virtually stress free and virtually drama free. (Ok, I'm lying. I totally flipped out at my ex, but what can I say? Stress free or not, I'm still me. Deal with it.)
But I digress...
In short, it was amazing and it was exactly what I needed.
And I really, really wanted to share it with you all. I did attempt to sit down and blog on several occasions and I just could not do it!
Whether it was too little stress and therefore not enough pressure or just too many pairs of shoes calling my name. Or possibly, and maybe the most likely, too far in to a bottle of wine to compose a rational thought. (I know, I know. Who am I kidding with the "rational thoughts"? The irrational, drunk-off-my-ass ones would have been far more fun. For you.)
But regardless of the reason, I could not think of a single thing to write and could not find the discipline to sit down and try until my kids came back and I was forced back in to the daily routine of things.
But fortunately (or unfortunately) for you, they are back and so am I.
AND this is exciting because I'm going to be launching a new series on this blog on Wednesday and I am really, REALLY going to need your help!
This new series is inspiring for me and I think it will be for you as well.
So don't forget to check back here on Wednesday.
I'm seriously, really, REALLY gonna need your help.
For real. :)
You know that "Friday" feeling? That one where the weather is absolutely gorgeous outside, the weekend lies ahead of you and you just can not make yourself focus on the work that you need to get done?
Well, that's me today. Only not only is it Friday, but tomorrow my kids will get on a plane and go visit their dad for a week. ONE WHOLE WEEK.
To fully understand my excitement, you must first understand that the last time I had ANY time off to myself was in March.
Yes, I said March.
Let's count that, folks. That's SIX MONTHS of no time to myself. SIX.
So needless to say, I'm VERY excited.
I'm so excited, in fact, that the mere contemplation of the quantity of things that I will be able to get done over the next week has me in complete overwhelm.
And I know, if left to my own devices, I will spend the entire week cleaning, organizing, working and getting caught up on the endless list of things that need to get done.
Which is fine and, admittedly, exciting in it's own right. However, I know that my own sanity and well-being depends on me using this time, not only wisely, but also for myself.
I've contemplated spas and a night or two out of town at a B&B but I can't quite figure out what exactly it is that I want to do with this time. And now it's 24 hours before they depart and the only plans I have involve cleaning supplies and tools.
So I'm appealing to you all for ideas. Help me out here, peeps! If I don't plan something now, I will hit the end of next week just as frazzled as I started it.
If you had a week to yourself, what would you do with it??
I'm going to take a minute to get a little fired up about something.
As a parent, I often here things like, "If you don't advocate for your children then who will?" Or, "If you don't stand for your children then what do you stand for?"
And, while I wholeheartedly agree, I would like to add: You can not advocate for something you are not properly EDUCATED on!
Let's look at this. Dictionary.com defines "advocate" as: to speak or write in favor of; support or urge by argument; recommend publicly: He advocated higher salaries for teachers.
It would stand to reason that you could not advocate for something you are not educated in, right?
For example: Let's say you were a firm believer a person's right to have access to affordable but healthy food. Sounds reasonable, right? And then you found a local chain that promised exactly that. Healthy food that is affordable by most. So you advocate and you support it and your picket and boycott local, higher priced chains. Well, that's all great and noble until you find out that the only way that chain is getting those prices is by over seas child labor in sweat shops. Suddenly you're not quite the noble advocate you thought you were!
The same thing goes for our kids. How can you advocate for them if you are not educated in what you are advocating on?
You can NOT, as a parent, blindly follow the advice of experts, or teachers or the fellow mother next door. You MUST do the research yourself. You MUST dig in and understand FULLY the ramifications of the decision you are about to make.
Our children depend on us to do this. They depend on us to know what we are doing and to make the right choices for them. They depend on us to fight for their rights. To stand up on their behalf. And we must do this. This is our job. It is not a luxury. It is not something only the most "ballsy" should do. This is something we all MUST do and we MUST do it WELL.
Your child's teacher thinks your child has ADHD? Well, parents, you had better research the crap out of ADHD. You had better know what it means, what the tests are, what the treatment is, what are the side effects of that treatment, what are the alternative treatments, what allergies can cause ADHD-like symptoms and does your child have any of these?
You get my point.
You had better research every aspect and every facet of the decision you are about to make for your child. You CAN NOT be lazy about it. You CAN NOT blindly follow "experts".
Frankly, you don't have that right. With your own life? Sure. Be as lazy as you like. But this is your child. It is your job to be diligent. It is your job to advocate for them until they can do it themselves. And it is your job to educate yourself on every possible aspect, side effect and ramification of the decision you are about to make.
Experts are valuable resources. They are experts in their field. They are supposed to be thoroughly educated in the field in which they are an "expert". Some of them really are experts and some of them only claim to be.
But hear me when I say this: NONE OF THEM ARE EXPERTS IN YOUR CHILD. Only YOU are an expert in your child. Only YOU know your child well enough to make the ultimate judgment call.
In a perfect world, with a well intentioned and unbiased expert who did what he/she did only for the good of those involved and not for the money; that expert is still only, AT BEST, half of the information you need to make a decision. The rest of the information has to do with your child and ONLY YOU have that data!
But man, you had also better do your research. You had better KNOW.
If you come across something that doesn't make sense or something that seems to conflict with something else, then you question it further! Don't stop questioning and researching until every last bit of it makes sense!
NEVER accept a non-optimum situation for your child without first educating yourself on it and then advocating for what you KNOW is right.
But you can't KNOW until you are EDUCATED on it.
I know and I understand that impulse to fiercely protect and nurture your child. Believe me.
I would stand in front of a moving freight train if that's what I had to do to protect my child. And I know you all would too.
But facing a moving freight train head on only makes sense if you know EXACTLY what the ramifications are, exactly what will happen and know FOR SURE that it is the best and only way to protect your child.
Otherwise, facing that freight train head on doesn't make you noble, or an advocate or a protector. It makes you an idiot.
So, by all means, advocate. Shout from roof tops, pound your fists and fiercely protect your children. But KNOW what you are advocating. KNOW what you stand for. And most importantly, KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt, that what you are doing IS what is best for your child.
This isn't optional. It's our job.
Me: Ahhhh!!! *smash*
Michael: Mom! What? Are you ok?
Me: Yeah, just a big spider. Don't worry.
Michael: A daddy long leg?
Me: No. It was bigger.
Michael: A grandpa long leg?