Over thinking

So every few months my ex likes to freak the kids out by looking at homes outside their school zone.  This gets them super upset and puts me on high alert mode.  His address is used for school zone based on the hours we work.  I work really early, he works later.  When we divorced, it never occurred to me this would matter.  Naive…..

This freak out session always leaves me wishing I had tougher it out until the kids were older.  That I had somehow worked some miracle so that their lives wouldn’t be so difficult.  

Today timehop gave me the gift of reality.  It had a picture of me 5 years ago where I look beyond exhausted.  My eyes look dead, I’m wrinkled and I look like the 50 year old version of my 34 year old self.  At the time it was a wake up call, and looking back it still is. 

I can’t stop him from freaking them out.  But legally he can’t change their schools without my permission. Given his work hours, he also depends on me to get them to practices etc on his days.  So moving far really isn’t in the cards.  Add in his work is in their school district and you get the idea… 

But between the picture, a slide show on exhausted moms and the meme above it’s made me realize….I couldn’t have toughed it out.  I don’t know what would have happened had I tried.

Grief


The 3rd anniversary of my mothers death is next week, and it’s made me think a lot about grief. 

I’ve come to the conclusion that while society likes to package grief in to a 7 step program, it’s really a crazy long game of shutes and ladders.

One week you think you are cruising right along to the finish line and then BAM! a commercial makes you realize you rolled the number to the space that sets you back up the ladder to a previous stage. Or you think about it and realize you totally slide past a stage, and yet you are ok. 

Realizing this made me feel normal.  

My friends were so worried that I wasn’t progressing the way they thought I should.  And when I was really upset at her 2nd anniversary, they were really confused.  Shouldn’t I be past all that?

Time has made it clear for me.  As much as society like boxes and logic, emotions don’t give a shit.  They will come and go as they please, and you are their bitch.  When society realizes this things will be easier.

Societal demands really did make the grief harder.  Being made to feel like a robot, or a cry baby was miserable.  Being told to feel bad for my sister because she was younger and pregnant made me angry.  Basically, people tried go force me in to that box because they were uncomfortable with what I was dealing with. 

Once you realize all this, and stop fighting, you realize it’s ok, and just go with the flow.  The emotions come and go more gently.  Hitting a ladder also gives you an opportunity to hit a slide.  Regardless, this life we are given, is really fun and exciting.  

Steps and Ex’s and remarriage, Oh My!


I’m getting remarried this weekend.  (Yay!!) and my fiance’s oldest two kids refuse to come.  We fully realize this has nothing to do with us or our relationship. It has to do with his ex refusing to acknowledge us.  She has repeatedly discounted our relationship as a sham, a lie and whatever else she can think of.  They have been separated for almost 9 years, divorced for almost as long.

My ex on the other hand, while certainly not pleased is silent on the matter.  I’m actually pretty proud of his ability to stay quiet about it.  We have been divorced for 3 years.

Getting remarried brings up all sorts of feelings and thoughts and fears.  Being a highly sensitive person I tend to put my self in the ex’s shoes a lot.  And here are the main things I’ve taken away….

1) No matter how healthy you are, it is hard to watch your ex move on.  

Let me explain this.  I like my ex’s girlfriend.  And I would like to think we could be friends if they marry.  But while I want his happiness and stability, a small part of me is afraid that him having a successful relationship means the problem was me.  I realize this isn’t rational.  

The take away? It wasn’t me, it wasn’t him… it was us. Too much crap and not dealt with well. But I’m a healthy adjusted person, so project this in to someone who isn’t, and you can see why my fiance’s ex refuses to see “us”. 

2) Fear the kids will like the step more. 

Of course they will.  The step doesn’t have the burden of raising functional adults.  I don’t care if my step son eats crap and plays video games all night.  I also don’t yell at him for not doing his homework.  All that is on my fiancé and his mom.  I get to be the cool aunt.  I get to be the one who softens the blow by sneaking him cookies when his dad is hard on him.  But the role is reversed with my kids… 

The take away?  Being a parent is a far greater award than being the cool aunt/ step of an older child.  (This doesn’t apply to young kids).  Being a parent is heads and shoulders above this.  So, like with everything else, it’s a lot harder. 

But to a person with a severely damaged ego, the fear is real.  They may be the problem that ruined their marriage, and the step may replace them in their kids lives.

So…. what can we do as the step?  Nothing and everything.  

Reinforce to the kids the role of mom and dad.  Be clear what you want to see your role as.  I call my step son my red headed step child, but have stated I am in no way his mother.  My fiancé has done the same for my kids.  We are the people they can come to when going to mom and dad is too hard.

Offer help and advice…. but only when asked. Just like your mother in law, the real parent may not want your input.  Your spouse will, but the other parent may not.  Accept that.  It’s ok.

And in the end.  If the bad behavior doesn’t affect you, don’t make it an issue.  

In this situation, His kids are adults and I’m not going to make them come to the wedding.  But I have told my fiancé that we need to be clear to them that there are no hard feelings.

Reflection

I recently spent a week in Hawaii for my honeymoon.  It was amazing and eye opening. I realized some really cool things.

1) I realized I actually really like my life.  

All the stuff that annoyed me at home also annoyed me in HI.  I don’t like rude people, thoughtless people, or people who are totally unaware of their surroundings.  I haven’t quite figured out what this mirrors in me.  But I’m working on it.

2) I realized the simple things make me the happiest.

The shops and manicured beaches were fun, but when we rented a car and found a beach with beach glass and shells, I was in heaven.  

3) It doesn’t matter where you are as long as you love who you are with, including you. 

My husband and I were discussing how different the trip would have been with out ex’s.  I had actually been there with my ex so I knew first hand how different it would be.  My first trip to HI, I of course saw the beauty, but not on the scale I saw it this trip.  

4) Money isn’t everything.  

I’ve been so focused on finding a job that pays more, than I’ve overlooked what my job offers.  Lots of freedom and security.  This means I can make money to pay my bills, but focus on what I want to be when I grow up.  And my coworkers… they will support me in my endeavors.  That’s rare.

So in short, a week in paradise living WAY above my normal means showed me that more isn’t better.  That what I have is amazing, and that I just need to focus on doing what I love, the rest will fall in line. 

Journaling

I started journaling years ago.  I would religiously write at least three full pages a day.  I’d spew all my anger, frustration and anxiety out.  After each session, I’d feel better.  What I noticed though, was my problems weren’t going away.  Every day was the same rant.  

I re read my rants and realized the issue.  I was coming up with stuff to fill pages under the disguise of unblocking myself.

So.  I switched gears.  I bought myself a daily planner with blocks large enough to do a daily journal, but I was forced to be selective in what I wrote.  Because my planner tells me to have an amazing ridiculous day, I chose to write the things that make me happy each day. 

I put a heart as my bullet point and a short sentence.  I put starts for thoughts and issues, but try to keep them positive (i.e.. kids are fighting, real issue?) 

I re read them each week and carry my epiphany across on the header of the next week. I also do fun experiments via Pam Grouts books.  

What I’ve learned is that blessings beget blessings and problems beget problems.  

So, why write problems?  If I have an issue… I phrase it as a meditation question and since taking this approach, the answer usually comes before I’m done writing.  So I’ll write the answer down.

What I suggest is, spend 6 weeks spewing and ranting.  The re read.  Then spend 6 weeks with a blessings journal and watch your life transform 🙂