Mommy Issues

So this morning as I scrolled through my facebook newsfeed, sipping my coffee, I come across a new single written by Pink. You all know I am a Pink fan, so I was excited, I click the link and read the article, turns out, this song was written for Pink’s mom… My initial reaction to this news was conflicting. I have serious mommy issues (You’ve heard about my daddy issues already.) and I have hesitated to blog about them because… Well for one it fucking hurts. As I type tears burn my eyes and and my throat is tight, also, this stuff is personal. I know I have been open about a lot, but this is the most sensitive subject for me, I’ve told you about the time I was attacked, and I don’t even cry anymore when I talk about that. I have told you about my history with the cult, and I have even publicly apologized to a friend (<—- I even mentioned some mommy issues.) But this mom stuff is really hard to choke out.

My sisters and my mama at my wedding
My sisters and my mama at my wedding

“No one ever held you, no single moment of truth, but if you were mine I would have looked into those eyes and said, tell me the words you long to hear and I’ll sing them loud and clear, let me heal the wounds you’ve held onto for all these years. Break the cycle break the chain, cause love is louder than all your pain.”

It’s like she took the words from my heart, words I have never been able to even think. “But if you were mine….” right there, that’s when I broke, that’s when the tears came. When I was pregnant and didn’t want a baby, I promised this baby that I would be the mother that my mom couldn’t be. I was so afraid to continue the cycle. Every day since Jo was born has been therapy for me, I have spent the last 5 years cleaning up the mess my mom left, I have loved Jo, and hugged her, and connected with her in all the ways I SHOULD have been loved, all the ways I DESERVED to be loved. I don’t have memories of not being wanted, but it became clear while I was in CFD, you may remember the Justine Doll Incident:

“When I was in treatment for my eating disorder I was given an assignment, to make a doll that represented me, a baby Justine doll, and nurture her for a day. It was supposed to be me when I was 2, around the time my mom left us. After making the doll, I promptly threw it over my shoulder, and did not touch it for a week. The next time we had group with all of our therapists, mine asked me if I had completed the task. I said I made the doll, and no I did not nurture it, it’s not even real, after all. I should have known better because my next assignment was to nurture that damn thing for the next WEEK! My therapist asked me to go get the doll. I got it and put her down in front of me.

She asked me to hold her…
I picked it up by it’s hair.
She asked me to hold her like a baby.
I did.
She asked me to look at her.
I couldn’t.
“Why won’t you look at her?”
Me: “I can’t.”
“Why not?”
Me: “I don’t know, I hate it.”
“Why?”
Me: “I don’t know.”
“Look at her.”
Me: (I looked at her, and started to cry) “She is ugly, and fat, and I hate her.”
“She is only a baby, how can you hate a baby?”
Me: “I don’t know… I hate her.”
“Hug her, tell her you love her.”
Me: (Hugging her) I can’t, I don’t love her.

At this point I broke down. It was crazy to me that I could HATE a doll so much. I had never realized how worthless I felt, how ugly, and disgusting I thought I was. Those are the voices in my head when I look in the mirror sometimes. When I got out of treatment I threw that doll away.

I can’t imagine my beautiful, perfect, smart baby girl feeling the way I felt towards that doll… I mean myself.”

I’m not saying it’s ALL my mom’s fault that I literally hated myself and did not think I deserved to be nurtured or loved, there were a lot of factors, but I’m pretty sure being essentially abandoned is a huge contributing factor. Thinking back on that doll I have such a sick feeling, who can leave their little girl? I look at my daughter and I have a hard time imagining a day without her, I cry every time she goes to her dad’s house. Jo changed me, she changed my perspective on life. I could’t help but wonder… why didn’t I do that for my mom? Why didn’t I change her? Why didn’t she look at me, and fall in love? It’s not very fair is it? I can’t imagine walking away from my baby girl, but my mom felt that I would be better off without her. She may have been right, but that’s not really the point is it?

Break the cycle break the chain, cause love is louder than all your pain.”

I have spent the last 5 years breaking the chain. I could have been my mom, I could have left when it was hard, I could have given up at any point, but I promised Joliene while she was in my belly that even if I didn’t love her, I would ALWAYS do everything in my power to make her feel loved, and I would never EVER leave her. I promised to show that her she is perfect and beautiful, that she is essential and loved. I vowed to be better and to give her everything I should have had. I broke the cycle.

Me and my Jojo <3
Me and my Jojo <3

“If you were mine…”

I have spent the last 5 years wishing I had been my own mom. Wondering what it would have been like if my mom had been like me, would I have been more confident? Would I have still starved myself? More importantly, would I be the mother I am today? What I never thought until hearing those words was, what if she was mine? What if I could go back and nurture my mother? What if I was HER mother? Would she have stayed?

Disclaimer: “Too many missing pieces, that’s always been your reason to justify how you feel inside” To be honest, I know my mom can’t help who she was. She has more than enough reasons. She was dealt a pretty shitty hand in life. It just sucks that I had to suffer because of HER past. But I love her, and have come a really long way. I think this song really reminded me to be compassionate.

 

 

F.Y.I

 

Welcome!

I’m  just writing a “welcome” blog now for 2 reasons:

1. A lot of people recently registered to this blog, and since I have no “website building skills”, there is a lot you wouldn’t know about this website unless you’ve been following me for the last year or so.

2. Things have changed recently, and I feel I should address those changes. (Yes, I’m referring to the cult)

HELLO

Hi, My name is Justine and I started blogging because I needed a place to pour out my heart. As a mother, step-mother, wife, health coach and writer, my hands were very full, my time extremely limited, and the ‘vacations” I require in my head to write or read were diminishing. Making a commitment to this blog was a commitment to myself.

You will notice that in the beginning my blogs were centered completely around health and parenting. As I have become more comfortable, I have written more personal and therapeutic posts.

HEALTH and PARENTING

Half of you are here because you are on the road to health, or you’re a parent and *hopefully* felt refreshed by my candor on the struggles with parenting. I have no shame in saying that my pregnancy was a bitch, I hated every minute of it, and think labor is the most disgusting experience of my life. I have no desire to repeat either endeavor, therefore, my tubes are tied. I was blessed with 2 amazing step children, whom, along with my daughter and my husband complete me. They inspired me to get healthy, you see I was “skinny fat”, and over the last few years have made the life style change and commitment to eating whole, real, non-GMO and preferably organic food. This was a huge change for my husband and my step-son and step-daughter (and the in-laws) *See my blog for details: http://healthymama.net/fast-food-fight/ * but it has made a huge difference in our energy, attitudes and certain behavior issues we were having with one of our little rascals.

***I used to be associated with a health company, however it would seem they do not appreciate blogs about their products so I am removing all information pertaining to this company. I apologize, it appears I was not in “compliance” when I posted that my husband and I had no wedding debt thanks to “this company”(…. It’s true, I made $9,000 in a couple months which paid for our wedding.)

THE CULT

The other half of you… actually at this point maybe more than half of you are here because you read one or more of my blogs about the International Church of Christ (ICC)/ International Christian Churches (ICC). I want to start this subject by saying that I never imagined my little blog could cause such a stir. Upon writing the first blog about my past with the ICOC, “Because The Bible Says So” * http://healthymama.net/lets-make-parenting-less-of-a-dictatorship/  * Some feathers were ruffled, but all in all, it was not a big deal, so MONTHS later… maybe a year later, I wrote “So… I Grew Up In A Cult…” * http://healthymama.net/so-i-grew-up-in-a-cult/ * and holy WOW! Facebook blew up (I am friends with a lot of members and former members) I started getting lots of emails and tons of views on this particular post. The emails were (mostly) people saying Thank-You for being the voice of those who were burned so badly by the ICOC. I had no intention or writing another blog on the subject until I was accused of lying, and to back me up, and to gain closure, a few people asked me to share their stories, too.  Although I’m a Pisces (typically a go with the flow kind of person) my moon (emotions) is in Aries, which is code for: I’m a stubborn f*ck. So, being accused of lying only ignited my Aries emotion. The more I was challenged, the more my fire was fueled. After a few weeks of compiling stories and quotes, I posted “Queen of the Damned (Recovering from Cult Life)” *http://healthymama.net/queen-of-the-damned-recovering-from-cult-life/ * and this one has been read over 1,000 times, in less than 5 days. Which is insanity to me, but, I’ll be honest, I get it. Not only was I validating hundreds of people’s pain and suffering, I evidently struck a chord with current members. If someone else had written it, I would have been sharing it all over Facebook and Twitter saying “OMG! Someone gets it! Someone else feels the way I do! See, I’m not crazy!!!”

I want you to know something, I am proud to be the voice of former Kingdom Kids. I wish someone had stepped out a long time ago, because I needed this fellowship to heal. I have decided to take my role a little further. I have started a Facebook page called ICOC Recovery *https://www.facebook.com/icocrecovery * and I encourage you to “like” the page so we can start some healthy dialogue. If you don’t feel comfortable posting publicly, feel free to private message me. I am here for you. I believe it is my calling to be support for people in need (there is that Pisces nature), if you need to tell your story, TELL ME. (I only posted stories that people specifically asked me to publish) If you need help getting out, I will help. If you disagree with me and want to tell me how the ICOC/ICC is the only way to god, go for it. I enjoy a healthy debate.

I have definitely had my character attacked by people in one of these organizations in order to discredit me, and I fully understand. They are scared. Their church is young, made up of young impressionable (sheeple) people, and I know from experience that they don’t want me to shake their young one’s faith with my facts, memories and reasons. It must be scary to see a little fish make such a huge wave, especially when you’re trying to rule the pond.

I want to make it clear here that I don’t believe in god, but I don’t consider myself a soul-less heathen. My heart is good, and I know it can be hard for Christians to see good in someone who doesn’t believe same way, it’s OK. I won’t lose sleep if you condemn me to hell. Just bear in mind, I know The Bible (as my best friend said, “You give her a book, she’ll read it!”) and YOU can’t condemn me to anywhere, Jesus said. If you are curious to know my personal spiritual views, click here * http://healthymama.net/the-god-thing/ * I also want to make it clear that I am an LGBT advocate, and I do not tolerate racism, sexism, bigotry or hate.  I believe in love, and I hope for everyone to find their other half, regardless of race, color or sex. Love is love, and it is beautiful. For more on this, read “Stop! Hating is bad” * http://healthymama.net/stop-hating-is-bad/ *

I hope this has cleared things up, and I am working on making some sort of an archive for all 60-ish blogs, and to make this website easier to navigate. If any of you happen to be tech savvy, I would love some help 😉

****If you are reading this because you have had a similar experience, have history with the ICOC/ICC, or you need help leaving, I am going to post some resources here for you. Free to email me at isahealthymama@yahoo.com or find my “recovery page” on facebook www.facebook.com/icocrecovery Here are a few blogs and websites from people who have left the ICOC/ICC and have shared their experiences and knowledge:

http://www.reveal.org/ <— This page has the truth about the ICOC.
http://www.spiritualpornography.com/ <— Don’t worry, it’s totally appropriate, she named it Spiritual Pornography because that’s what Kip McKean called it when you read anything negative about the church. They post information it might be harder to find, such as Kip’s (supposed) resignation, and letters written to the church.

http://henrykriete.com/ <— Here you can read what REALLY happened with Henry Kriete and his family.
http://ministeriolatino.blogspot.com/ <—- Here you can read a blog from a former member of Kip’s current church (City of Angels International Church of Christ). He has written actually experiences between himself and Kip, AND other “leaders”. A very interesting read. He came across my blog and actually recognized someone I had written about (I kept it confidential).
http://www.tolc.org/ <—- Here you can read Henry Kriete’s letter and other letters written to the church. You can also click “debate” and you will be transferred to http://forums.delphiforums.com/n/main.asp?webtag=ICCdiscussion&nav=start&prettyurl=%2FICCdiscussion%2Fstart where you can interact with current and former members.

 

Started From The Bottom Now We’re Here

 

Art by ShonRochelle
Art by ShonRochelle

We were twins. OK maybe not “technically”, but I never knew life without her. I was 15 months old when she was born. Contrary to popular rumor, (that was probably started by a grandma somewhere who had severe empty nest syndrome) breastfeeding IS NOT birth control! She is proof!

 

Art by ShonRochelle
Art by ShonRochelle

As children we were attached, if one of us got time out, the other went to sit in time out as well. We were partners in crime, at ages 4 and 5 we conspired to steal and eat our grandmothers chocolate cake while our dad was in the shower… he figured it out, but I don’t think he got any cake. I may have tattled on her when she decided to cut her own hair, little did we know, she actually has a talent as a hair stylist. We played together at recess, and all of our friends were mutual.

Charcoal by ShonRochelle
Charcoal by ShonRochelle

 

We couldn’t have been more different, in fact we still are polar opposites, she is everything I am not, blond, tall, big blue eyes, big butt (If this is being read in a future where anorexia is back “in”, just bear in mind that big butts are all the rage right now), she’s a dancer, a singer AND an artist. She is has a big personality, as a Gemini she is nearly impossible to pin down, she’s always wherever the drama is, and will surprise the shit out of you when she is suddenly completely down to earth, understanding, and will bend over backwards to help you because most of the time she is blunt and tactless… although always truthful… whether you like it or not. (That last part may be a family trait, come to think of it.)

Abstract by ShonRochelle
Abstract by ShonRochelle

 

I am 5 feet (short) tall, I have brown eyes that I call hazel because sometimes they change, and it makes me feel like I have some individual, and defining characteristic that the rest of us brown eyed girls never get complemented on. I have brown hair, no rhythm, and I can draw stick figures, which is the extent of my artistic ability. My only claim to fame is that I am a writer. I am a Pisces. And growing up I was very sweet, quiet, overly emotional, and sensitive. Even though I was the older sister, I relied on her to be the things I wasn’t, SHE stood up for ME, when I was bullied, she came to my rescue when I got hurt or cried, she was basically my big sister. MY whole life I have gotten away with being… a princess, I guess. I managed to always find someone to do what needed to be done, my sister and my friends used to have homework pow wows where we would all do all of my math homework for the week (I was in independent studies, and I am terrible at math, if we wanted to hang out, we as a group would do my homework.) To this day I do not have a drivers license (long story), even in my jobs I have managed to get away with not doing things… or doing things that I shouldn’t. There have been times where I get so frustrated because it always seemed like it was easier for people to do things FOR me, instead of teach me how to do it. I have had to force people to teach me things, or I have become a master at Googling. It’s not that I am not smart, it’s that people seem to LIKE helping me. All of this started with my sister, who probably didn’t want to be the youngest, or maybe she noticed my weakness, and instead of exploiting them, she spent years helping me cover them up.

Art by ShonRochelle
Art by ShonRochelle

 

What you are not expecting, is that my bombshell little sister was teased mercilessly from 5th grade to 8th grade. She had what you call “baby fat” she didn’t overeat, at least not initially, eventually she did use food as comfort, which only made the situation worse. I don’t even know if she was teased for being “fat”, or if there were other things… but I do know that this was the same age that my sister began to notice that she is not like other girls. While she had typical crushes on boys, she also had crushes on girls. It’s funny, we both had the same feelings, but again, the way things played out couldn’t be more opposite. Her defense mechanism was to be mean. She turned into a bully, a bully that was bullied. I remember people telling me how mean my sister was, and I didn’t get it. She wasn’t mean to me, and she always stood up for me. During that time I was too self absorbed to pay attention to what was going on with my little sister. She was having problems at church and school, and I wasn’t. I was never “popular” but I had a lot of friends, I have the ability to get along with just about anyone. (I think it was more my need to be liked and accepted though, because now, as an adult, I am very particular about my friendships, and I listen to my intuition about people.)

Art by ShonRochelle
Art by ShonRochelle

I was the squeaky wheel in the family. So while everyone was paying attention to me (I had depression, and an eating disorder) and taking me to therapy, and checking in on me… and grounding me (Ask my friends, I spent at least 2 full years grounded). No one paid attention to her. No one saw that she was sad, lonely and confused. I don’t think she even felt like she could say anything, about anything. I don’t know if she felt it would matter? My Sophomore year, her Freshman year was a turning point, I had switched to a new school (yes, I was the diva of the family who needed to change schools… I did this several times before Independent Studies became the obvious solution) and she started selling drugs, my moms medications, I think. She had already been doing other students homework for cash, for a few years. She must have felt gypped when she did my homework, anyway, from what I remember this was the year that she started using. The previous year we had dabbled in drinking and smoked pot, but it was really experimental, at least for me. It’s a trip to me that she managed to get loaded while we lived in our dad’s house. I mean, he was not only sober, but he worked in rehabs our whole lives! Maybe that’s why my vice became an eating disorder, instead? I have to confess I had no clue what was going on with her at this point. We lived in the same house, but we didn’t really talk. She really must have felt invisible then.

 

Art by ShonRochelle
Art by ShonRochelle

It wasn’t until the day she came stumbling home (and by home I mean our mom’s house, we had moved in full time with her at this point) after vanishing for 3 days, and she was a mess. She was obviously loaded, I don’t know what she was using, but it was obvious. She then proceeded to molest my boyfriend at the time. I was horrified, and more horrified, I think because I realized that not only had I not realized she’d been gone so long, no one else had either. This was the first time I called my dad and said that she needed help. This was the first time she went to rehab. Little did I know, she would go 5 more times.

 

Charcoal by ShonRpchelle
Charcoal by ShonRpchelle

I confess that I don’t know her current sobriety date, but I do know it’s been about 4 years, and the last time she went into Treatment it was thanks to a phone call from me to my dad… again. But this time was different than the other times to me, she’s changed. I feel like I have a friend again. The best part is, she is painting again. I mentioned earlier that my sister is an artist, well I feel like it’s an understatement. A lot of people claim artistic ability, her art, is unbelievable. There is something about the way she puts her soul on canvas, actually, she paints the way I write, she completely opens herself up, and puts it out there. There is a vulnerable honesty that I see when I look at her paintings. I am so happy she has found a healthy way to be noticed, and not just to be seen, but to be understood. Something she has needed for years. And as her big sister, I want to publically acknowledge my little sister, her talents, her accomplishments, and her strength.

 

Art by ShonRochelle
Art by ShonRochelle

She came out about 8 years ago, and I think that was one of the proudest moments of my life, I felt like she had finally began to find herself… my heart also broke knowing what a hard road she had in front of her. Some of our family members have completely written her off, she has been shamed, guilted and rebuked for her “choice”. I know, from personal experience that whom you love, is not a choice, yes there are decisions in love, but the heart you are drawn to has nothing to do with gender. I have been bisexual since I can remember, and for whatever reason I never felt like it was wrong. In fact, I felt like denying that part of myself was unnatural. I am happily married and madly in love with my husband, however, it would not have surprised me if my soul mate had been a woman. Even though her path is not easy, I think the one gift I have given my sister is my 100% support. I have fought for equality passionately, because I am fighting not only for what I believe to be “right”, not only for myself, and anyone else who deviates from the norm, I am fighting for my little sister.

 

Art by ShonRochelle
Art by ShonRochelle

Feel free to check out her are pages, you can follow her on

Instagram, her name is Shonlieberman

and order her original art here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/darshonna?ref=search_shop_redirect

or order her prints here: http://twenty20.com/shonlieberman

 

Mean Girls

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Let’s talk about judgments.

Women are known for being judgmental. In fact women are known for being ruthless. It’s sad really, that women attack each other. Not just women, girls do it, too. Middle school was ridiculous, girls would steal boyfriends, back stab, gossip, play tricks, start rumors… you name it. The funny thing is that I was never warned about females. I was warned about boys. In fact, I was protected from boys. I was not allowed to date, and my time with the opposite sex was limited extremely. Meanwhile, I was coming home from elementary school in tears every few days because this little girl was mean to me. By middle school I was on a first name basis with our school councilor. (Not to mention, I was seeing my own therapist weekly.) They called it mediation. Left to our own devices, I imagine “Lord of the Flies” would have become a reality in our middle school.

Someone told me once that when you boil female lobsters you do not need to put a lid on the pot.  But you MUST put a lid on a pot with male lobsters. Why? Male lobsters will make a ladder so that they can escape, they help each other, while female lobsters will down each other. I have never boiled lobsters, but it sounds about right!

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It’s sad to see they way women attack each other. I have been totally guilty of this, and have made a conscious effort to stop. Women should build each other up, we should be able to trust each other, and be a team. We all know we can’t. We all know that once we get to a certain place, the women around us will feel threatened, and suddenly you have an enemy. You may not even know you are enemies. That’s the thing about women, we act like we love each other to pieces, and then  talk shit behind each other’s backs.

How do we stop this when we cannot ever trust each other? That’s what stops me. I would like to say I always give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Generally upon meeting someone I will give them a chance, but if I have heard about you… well… I keep that in the back of my mind. There is a girl code, and if you’re my best friend’s enemy, I am expected to hate you. It’s unfair, and ridiculous, really. One of my closest friend’s is actually someone that another friend had a falling out with, and had nothing nice to say about… It just goes to show, we never know about a person until we give them a chance!

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I saw a lot of this “female rivalry” during my wedding planning, you see I have this general rule, I don’t bring 2 or more groups of friends together. I have seen this backfire over and over again, usually because women just can’t handle it, hell, I can’t always handle it. I have had some pretty mortifying moments by mixing friends (and sometimes adding alcohol). You know those moments you just wish NEVER happened, and it’s much more comfortable to pretend it didn’t? Like the time I got mad at my ex for being mad at me… (Girl Math, if you’re new to my blog, “Girl Math” is a way that women rationalize a decision, like eating a carrot, doing sit ups, or taking a laxative to counteract that piece of chocolate, so, I admit, it tends to be pointless, and sometimes harmful (in the case of the laxative) but women are the queens of rationalizing… I’m sorry we are the kings, men just can’t rationalize the way we do, or maybe they can, but they certainly cannot articulate it fast enough.) after having most of a bottle of Moscato (you know this was ages ago since I was drinking Moscato!) at a party, and I ran off down the street, got lost and ended up in tears, and my tears I mean I was sobbing uncontrollably and my friends had to search for me because I didn’t know where I was. (Yeah that happened, and I try to forget, but for the sake of my story, I am reliving it.) Well this was a result of “friend mixing”, and too much alcohol. I would like to say this was the last time I mixed friends, it wasn’t, but I’m not telling you what happened the next time, however, it’s safe to say that I learned my lesson. And then I got engaged. It was an awkward position for me, knowing that my friends and family, and James’ friends and family now had to in the very least spend one day together, and trust me, I tried for the minimum. I did not know what to expect, but it’s these occasions where you just hope that everyone will behave themselves for… well in this case for me. Last year my ex and I were both invited to a wedding, we both attended, I went with my fiance (at the time) and we were polite, we didn’t sit together, (no need to make things uncomfortable) but we both had a great time. Are we friends, no, but we chose to be bigger people for our friends. So I really was hoping the same thing could happen for my wedding. I have to admit that a lot of things could have gone wrong, but didn’t. There was still a lot of awkwardness, and only one uninvited guest ( a great story for another time, perhaps). But my bridesmaids did not all like each other, they still behaved, banded together, and sucked it p to make my day special. I know it was hard for some of them, and I am well aware that most of them were very thankful that I had a falling out with the one girl that was close to me, but treated them all like crap, maybe it was the fact that she wasn’t there that they all proved themselves. I would never undermine the willpower of a woman who is proving she is better than her best friend’s (ex) best friend. In fact a lot of them don’t like each other, but they still behaved. Why does it have to take a special occasion for everyone to be on their best behavior? I have heard, and been a part of gossiping and shit talking, and it’s not OK, I have made a conscious effort to stop being petty. It does no good… Ok at the time, when you’re pissed, it seems like it’s a great idea, and you might even feel better, not better than you did, better than her. But that just makes us bullies and mean girls. Not to be biblical, but how would YOU feel. Maybe you wouldn’t care, and if you don’t, maybe you are just more mature than the rest of us, maybe you’re Madonna who said, ” It’s none of my business what people say about me.” I have to admit it’s true… Usually hearing what others think of you is painful. Maybe we can work on ourselves, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” This is easier said than done… I know, but neither is eating clean, but it’s so worth it to have more energy and love your body! I am making an effort to cleanse my soul, no more shit talking, bad mouthing or gossiping. I’m going to do yoga, and meditate, no more festering and dwelling on negativity. I want to be a better person. Life is too short to be a petty bitch.

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No One’s The Bitch

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My daughter was playing with a friend a few weeks ago in our garage/converted play room and she says, “My other mom’s favorite color is green.” I almost dropped the broom that was in my hand. I heard that wrong… I had to have heard that wrong!

“Baby? Why did you call her your other mom? She is your step-mom.” (By the way, she has only carried this title for a few days at this point.)

Jo answered, “Because I have two moms now.”

My heart raced, inside I screamed “NO!!! You do not have two moms! I am your mama, you grew inside MY belly, I felt your first kicks, I kissed you first! I am your mama, I got up every night with you and sacrificed my body for 9 months to bring you to this world, and for another almost two years breast feeding. I am your mama, I slept on the floor next to your bed every night, every shower I took for 3 years was a shower slash bath so you could play and stay close to me because all you ever wanted was your mama. I am your mama, I fell in love with you, you were my first love, and I was yours.”

I didn’t say that. I walked away and cried. This new woman has been in my daughters life for about 5 months, and as far as I am concerned the title, “Mom” is earned. Not to say you have to birth children to become a mother, I have a step mom and she is one of my closest friends. I also had a somewhat absent mother. While I saw my mom on occasional weekends, she never really exhibited the “mom” role in my life. Nevertheless, she is still my mama. I refer to my step mom by her name, although I do consider her a parent. And coincidentally I am even closer to her than either of my biological mother.

I myself am a step mother, as well. My step children call me “Mom”… So you might think that I have a double standard? It took my stepchildren (my kids) about a year to start referring to me as their mom. It wasn’t something I asked or told them to do, it was organic. My husband and I are their primary care givers. Their biological mom passed away a few years before I came into the picture. For all intents and purposes, I am mom. I stay home, I help with homework, I clean, prepare dinner, read books, wipe away tears, ice boo-boos, bandage scrapes… you name it. they asked me if it was OK for them to call me mom. My biological daughter, Jo was excited to share her mama. Granted it took her about the same amount of time to become comfortable with me performing all of the maternal duties for children other than her. I know it was a hard thing for the grandparents to hear, and to get used to, but we all decided that we wanted the kids to know that we are a family, and and even though their biological mother can’t be here, I will be here. (We also do not refer to my husband as Jo’s dad, he is her step dad and she has nicknames for him.)

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Sometimes you have to do very uncomfortable things for the greater good. Hearing my daughter call her step mom her “other mom” put a few things into perspective for me. I had a lot of bitterness, and a part of me didn’t want to let go of it. Because if I let go of my bitterness, I couldn’t be angry anymore. Sometimes we hold onto our bitterness because it justifies the real feelings, the ones we don’t want to talk about. It took a long time for me to get to a healing place within myself in regards to my ex. (For an example check out my truce with daddies http://healthymama.net/?p=22) And most dads for that matter. Granted my ex and I are not BFFs, but at least I have worked through and owned MY shit. I honestly didn’t realize how threatened I would be by “The Other Woman”. My insecurities came flooding out, and I knew I had a BIG problem. My husband said, “It’s OK if you’re jealous…” Aaaannnddd I verbally ripped his head off. “Me? Jealous? I don’t get jealous! I’m not one of THOSE girls. I don’t want HER life, in fact she’s living my old life, the life I fled, wrote off, the life that scarred me.” (OK maybe it wasn’t THAT bad… in reality it just wasn’t right for me. And let’s face it… I have been through MUCH worse than an unhappy relationship. (See  http://healthymama.net/?p=38 for my cult back round and http://healthymama.net/?p=306 for physical and emotional physical trauma) I can think of a million reasons I am pissed not “jealous”.

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Luckily for me, a friend offered me a book called “No One’s The Bitch” (http://www.noonesthebitch.com/) and at this point I am desperate. I couldn’t live with these insecurities any more. I had to find some peace. It was really hard for me because I didn’t dislike Jo’s step mom… I honestly didn’t know her, I was just… Ok I’ll say it: I was jealous. Jealous that my daughter referred to her as a mom, and she seemed comfortable with it, jealous that she is living my old life, has my old friends, and probably has heard about all of my dirty laundry (and then some, knowing the vicious rumors I have heard about myself). Jealous that my baby is spending so much time with a stranger, and that my ex still wouldn’t communicate with me the way I needed. My insecurities were festering. Everyone told me not to bother with the book, that I should just “hate” the step mom because she will inevitably hate me. That she shouldn’t step on MY toes, and I have every right to be angry. I am the mom.

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But I was looking at this from a different point of view. I went to a place where I was happy and relieved that my ex found someone, that he seemed happy. My daughter obviously liked her, too. Jo has been through enough, and the last thing we need is for me to make everyone’s life miserable because I can’t handle my insecurities. I have always been very… judgmental of parents who do not put their kids first. Not to be mean, and I know judging is not OK, but I cannot respect a parent who puts their children in a dangerous situation out of selfishness or convenience. So how can I put my daughter in the middle of a territorial fight? How is that fair? It’s not like we can cut her in half! (Yes, that was a biblical reference) I had to find a way to share, a way that wasn’t going to break my heart.

So over the last few weeks I have been working through my shit, and it’s not an easy thing to admit where I need to change. I feel vulnerable. But I also feel lucky. Lucky that I found help so quickly, that the other woman is very respectful towards me, and we have found we have more in common than either of us expected. That we both have Joliene’s best interest at heart. We found that we communicate better with each other than I do with my ex!

I still don’t want to hear her referred to as Jo’s “other mom”, I am still protective of my title, and my relationship with my daughter. I am, however, working through these feelings, and learning to deal with them in a healthy way. No one has to be the villain. No One’s The Bitch. Except me, I was kind of being a bitch.

 

 

 

Weddings: a wolf in sheep’s clothing

I am getting married in a few weeks, I have been meaning to blog about all of the stresses of wedding planning, but thanks to all the planning and stresses… I have not found time to blog! I have heard stories, and seen movies about Bridezilla’s, and I wondered if that would be me. I would hope no one would use that word to describe me, but to be honest, it has taken every ounce of self control not to lose my shit. Let me tell you why…

We have been engaged since May 2012, it is now July 2013. We had many possible plans leading up to this point, but nothing stuck. We were barely making ends meet and the thought of spending $10,000 (or more) on a wedding was daunting and outrageous, really. We hardly had any savings, and every time we added to our savings account something happened and we needed that money. While I was perfectly content just being together, we were engaged, and wanted to take that next step. Never in my life had I wanted to legally bind myself to someone, until James asked me to marry him. It was in that moment that I thought, “Yes! I want to be with you. I want to be stuck with you, to be legally and spiritually bound to you, and this isn’t a scary thought!” I have been in relationships before, where marriage talk happened, and every time I had nauseating anxiety. With James, it was so freeing. It helps, too, that we both have kids, and we want to have a ceremony that includes them, a moment where we all officially become family. I wouldn’t have minded this happening very privately… but you know how parents are! They want the wedding, they want to share in the celebration. To be honest it was surprising to me that my parents were so supportive, and I was excited to have them on my side. So when I suggested a private City Hall wedding, and my step mom said, “OK, but if you do that, can we at least buy you a dress?” I said, “OK!” And then when she said, “Well, since you’ll have a dress, can we have a photo shoot in a garden?” I said, “Sure!” And then when she said, “Well if we are doing that, we may as well have a small ceremony.” … So here we are, a “small” 100 guest wedding on a golf course in 18 days. (If you are thinking 100 guests isn’t small, you haven’t met my ginormous family, between all the divorces, remarriages and children, we could form our own town!)

At this point we were hardly able to keep our savings account over $600, and what happens? James got laid off. I am pretty sure, if I had time I would have literally had a heart attack, or in the very least, a mental break down. Luckily, and oddly, We stepped up our game. I worked harder, I followed up, I must have sent out thousands of text messages to clients and friends. We NEEDED to make extra income. And, you know what, I unloaded on the universe! I completely unleashed all of my insecurities, anger, and frustrations, and asked for what I needed, and wanted. Thankfully, we didn’t have to cancel the wedding… I honestly do not know what we would have done, my parents had already put a non refundable down payment on the venue, and I had a dress! Meanwhile, it’s summer, the kids are out of school, and we are doing everything we can think of to keep them occupied, because bored children, are the most annoying little people on the planet, especially to stressed out parents! As if parenting over the summer isn’t stressful enough, we are also planning a wedding and working a home business.

There are so many itty bitty details, that if forgotten are extreme etiquette breaches, so my poor brain is lost in zillions of check lists. There are so many things you have to do for other people, and they keep saying, “It’s your day.” I don’t like corsages or boutineers, but for whatever reason they “honor” the family members. And which family members do you give them to? Our families are big, and like I mentioned divorces and remarriages just adds to the confusion, not to mention the people who may or may not show up, do we get them a corsage/boutineer? Won’t it be a waste if they don’t come? Won’t it be frustrating if they do? Do you deserve a “special” gift if you are not actively participating in our wedding? Then of course you have to tip your vendors, while they quote you a price, you need to remember to add $100 to each one. We also have people who we love dearly in our wedding party, but they are EXTREMELY unreliable, I mean these people have yet to buy or order their wedding attire (some of which takes a month to arrive).

There has also been anxiety dreams that have woken me up in the middle of the night out of breath! I dreamed that zombies attacked my wedding, and my dad chopped off one of their heads. A dream where I walked down the isle wearing a Spongebob t shirt, and my dad forgot his pants, and the only beverage served was red wine (which is a dangerous choice when you’re wearing white!… and when a lot of your guests are recovering alcoholics). Another where a guest arrived wearing HER wedding dress. And in another I lost my shoes! The list goes on!

Let’s not stop there, what’s a wedding without a little family drama? I actually cannot explain the ridiculous and childish situations that have happened over the last few weeks because people like to read my blog for the sole purpose of judging, taking personal offense, and shit talking. I will, however give you a taste: One “important” family member has announced *they* will not be attending the wedding, for no reason… at least no reason we are aware of. I got into a huge fight with my sister and she almost decided not to come (she’s my maid of honor, and is kind of imperative to the whole ordeal), another “important” family member completely ignored that we are even getting married at all. I have had several people tell us they will not be attending if their significant other is not invited, and remember how this is a small wedding, so we are not able to accommodate “plus one’s” unless the couple is married, or we happen to be friends with BOTH. Even my wedding party is not bringing dates, but somehow, it’s OK to either give me an ultimatum, or simply not attend my first (and only) wedding. Codependent much? I really wish I could get into all of the bullshit that has happened, it would feel really nice to let it out.

However, this is not the point of my blog today. I had a little spark of perspective today, and I wanted to share it with you. A friend of mine said this to me today: “Truth be told, the wedding is for everyone else. the honeymoon is for you. You should definitely look forward to your wedding, but the true value is the marriage itself, not the event.” Reading those words my jaw dropped and I immediately began my phases of acceptance.

DENIAL: NO! It IS my day! Everyone has said it’s my day! Every time someone tells me what to do, gives me an ultimatum or upsets me, someone else is there to say, “It’s your day.” If the honeymoon is “our” time, then why are we even having a wedding?

ANGER: WTF?!? Everyone KNEW this wasn’t my day, but they all pretended it was just to get their way? They lied to me? This IS MY DAY, and I will make the decisions! How dare you all hijack my wedding? Fuck it, I don’t want a wedding, I never wanted a damn wedding.

BARGAINING: Well, almost everything is paid for, and I do actually WANT to marry him… maybe we can just fix everything and make it “my day”, like everyone says? Maybe we can find a way to make everyone happy?

DEPRESSION: I feel used, and like people have been hating me and laughing at me. Like no one except James is here for me. And he is all I wanted anyways. Everyone was so excited, but it wasn’t for me, it was for them. I’ll bet they hate all my plans, colors and ideas and are just going with it so they can have their wedding… I’m over it…

ACCEPTANCE: OMG, this wedding isn’t just about James and me, it’s a day for everyone who loves us to come together and have a part, for all of us to have a special piece of today, to be a part of the memories. It’s not about the bride and groom, we get the honeymoon, the wedding is to bond us all. This day is as much for James and I, as it is for our guests.

To be honest, I’m still pissed. I’m pissed that no one told me that It’s not my day. I’m pissed that people lied. I’m pissed that I can’t really be pissed because people put so much time energy and money into this day, that is really a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and I will be the ungrateful one if I actually feel my feelings. I’m pissed that I am excited about it because now I feel like I don’t know what my place is, and I don’t feel comfortable. I’m pissed that I should have known better than to this, oh but to rob you all of my wedding? How could I? I’m pissed that I have to add “weddings” to the list of events that are supposed to be beautiful. Let’s think back…

Pregnancy: I was told over and over how beautiful pregnancy is, and how amazing some women feel. The “glow”, that I would be “all belly”… OK the truth is, I gained almost 80 pounds, I threw up every day (LITERALLY), I got horrible acne. I also was depressed the entire time! It was a horrible experience.

Labor: I was told how beautiful it is, and how the epidural was great, and that the second I held my baby in my arms I would be in love and it would all be worth it. OK, not so much, I was in painful labor for hours before the epidural was offered, 23 hours later, AFTER the epidural wore off the baby came, and, no I was no where near in love with it, I had no idea what to do with it. (It took about 24 hours for me to feel any sort of bond with her, funny because NOW she is my favorite human being!)

Breastfeeding: I was told its bonding a beautiful and natural. I spent 3 weeks in pain, trying to figure out the proper latch, crying every time I fed her, and pumping after each feeding. 3 weeks is a long time. Although I must admit that breast feeding was one of the better experiences, and I would do it all over again if I had to.

And here we are at weddings! So far, while it hasn’t all been horrible, I NEVER WANT TO DO THIS AGAIN. I wish people would just be honest. Maybe they knew it wouldn’t happen if they told the truth. I really don’t think all of the drama, heartache, tears and anxiety is worth it. I’d like to think that it is, and you know what, maybe it will be for our family and friends, maybe, hopefully they will all look back on our wedding and think, “Wow! What a beautiful day, it was so amazing, I am so happy we were a part of it.” If that happens, I guess that’s the point. Maybe I’ll have great time, too?

 

GO GREEN (Guest Blog)

I have never done this before, but I wanted to share these GREEN and ORGANIC tips from a fellow blogger!
“Go Green This St. Patrick’s Day”

Wearing green to avoid a painful pinch is a fun tradition on St Patrick’s Day, but anyone can take the tradition a step further and add meaning by going green.  “Going green” can relate to everything from purchasing organic, natural products to being less wasteful at home.  The movement toward sustainable living is a noble effort that can only be successful through an increase in participation, so people celebrating St. Patrick’s Day can use the symbolism of the color green as inspiration to use environmentally-friendly skin care techniques.

Green products are not always green in color.  Any product that is marketed as being green includes ingredients that are natural, healthy for the environment and good for the body.  There are usually no chemicals in these types of products.

Unfortunately, green skin care products have a reputation for being expensive.  The good news is that there is no need for these products to cost any more than typical skin care products on the market today.  People who are proactive about personal health and sustainability of the environment can concoct their own products at home.

To enjoy the benefits of going green this St. Patrick’s Day, consider putting together a simple, natural body scrub.

Gather sweet almond oil, mint essential oil and sea salt.  These are all basic kitchen ingredients that can be found in most grocery stores.

To make the body scrub:
Use two parts salt for every one part of oil.  One batch of the scrub involves mixing together one cup of salt and one-half of a cup of almond oil.  The mint essential oil is used for fragrance and as a refreshing addition to the scrub.  Only use a few drops of the mint; more can be added later if desired.

This scrub will last approximately one week when stored in a mason jar (or other airtight container).  Coarse sugar can be substituted for the sea salt if desired.

Using the body scrub:
The scrub can be used in a warm shower.  Apply the scrub directly to the skin by rubbing the mixture in circular motions on to the area to be conditioned.  Make sure to rinse off all of the body scrub.

This mixture is an exfoliating scrub that gets rid of the flaky, dead skin that builds up over dry winter months.  Oils act as a moisturizer, and the mint refreshes the skin.

There’s no need to spend a lot of money to feel healthier and go green on St. Patrick’s Day.  Condition your skin for the upcoming spring months by using this simple, natural body scrub.

“Using natural, environmentally friendly products is something we take very seriously here at Skana, the spa at Turning Stone Resort and Casino where I work. It’s my pleasure to be able to share simple, useful tips like these for women to try right at home.” – Michelle Pino 

I found a great acne scrub on Pinterest a few months ago that I use daily, and it is also green/organic:

1 Lemon

1 cup sugar

1-2 tbs olive oil

1-2 tbs honey

Juice the lemon and mix everything together, wet your face, scrub gently, and let it sit for 5 minutes. This simple recipe has made a huge difference in my skin! I have tried Michelle’s scrub for my body, and it feels fantastic! Go pamper yourself!

START HERE!

I am not very good at this whole website situation, and there are things that I wish I could do but have no clue how to do them, and more importantly, I do not have time to mess around with this site… YET… One day I hope to! Until then, this is my table on contents. I hope it makes navigating my website easier!!! AND Thank you for reading!!! Please register, find me on Facebook and Twitter!!!

 

1. Welcome! http://healthymama.net/?p=1

2. This is my first time http://healthymama.net/?p=6

3. The way it was, and the way it is now http://healthymama.net/?p=6

4. Cinderelee, Cinderelee http://healthymama.net/?p=10

5. Support System… We all need one! http://healthymama.net/?p=16

6. Easy Healthy Food  http://healthymama.net/?p=18

7. Day in and day out http://healthymama.net/?p=20

8. If I knew then what I know now http://healthymama.net/?p=22

9. Baby Steps http://healthymama.net/?p=24

10. When they are gone http://healthymama.net/?p=28

11. Yoga Breaths for Life… Out with the bad… In with the good http://healthymama.net/?p=30

12. Bonding http://healthymama.net/?p=32

13. Making Commitments, Setting Boundaries, and Keeping Promises http://healthymama.net/?p=34

14. Let’s get organized! http://healthymama.net/?p=36

15. Let’s make parenting less of a dictatorship http://healthymama.net/?p=38

16. Food and Feelings http://healthymama.net/?p=40

17. Body Image http://healthymama.net/?p=42

18. Tantrums… adults have them, too! http://healthymama.net/?p=44

19. PMS http://healthymama.net/?p=46

20.Healthy is the new skinny  http://healthymama.net/?p=48

21. The importance of cleansing http://healthymama.net/?p=50

22. Consistency http://healthymama.net/?p=52

23. Team Work http://healthymama.net/?p=54

24. Workout HELL http://healthymama.net/?p=56

25. The glamorous life of a stay at home mom  http://healthymama.net/?p=58

26. Organizing and cleaning… not the same thing! http://healthymama.net/?p=60

27. Work at home mama! http://healthymama.net/?p=62

28. Fool proof, my @$$ http://healthymama.net/?p=72

29. Intimacy after kids (TMI!!!) http://healthymama.net/?p=76

30. Terrible horrible no good very bad… luck. http://healthymama.net/?p=80

31. Food = Fat… I mean FUEL. http://healthymama.net/?p=83

32. Parenting and health: Uphill battles http://healthymama.net/?p=85

33. Happily Ever After… reminiscing <3 http://healthymama.net/?p=88

34. The goal is happiness http://healthymama.net/?p=92

35. Taste testing and scheduling  http://healthymama.net/?p=94

36. Is Subway Junk Food? http://healthymama.net/?p=96

37. 30 Day Fitness Challenge!!! http://healthymama.net/?p=99

38. Week ONE! 30 Day Fitness Challenge!!! http://healthymama.net/?p=103

39. It must be love. http://healthymama.net/?p=111

40. (Fast) Food Fight! http://healthymama.net/?p=113

41. Live and Let Live http://healthymama.net/?p=117

42. Bridesmaidzilla! http://healthymama.net/?p=120

43. It’s bleeds for 5 days and doesn’t die 😉 http://healthymama.net/?p=123

44. The God Thing http://healthymama.net/?p=125

45. The Fighter http://healthymama.net/?p=128

46. “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” http://healthymama.net/?p=131

 

It’s bleeds for 5 days and doesn’t die ;)

*WARNING! Lots of female related issues*

I am so discouraged right now. In May I got my tubes tied which was a blessing! A few months later the depo shot wore off (depo is a birth control shot that was a requirement before and for 3 months after my tubes were tied to make sure there were no “oop’s” before I was officially blocked.) I have had problems with EVERY SINGLE birth control I have ever tried! I figured this one was fool proof. In August/September the depo wore off and I got my period back for the first time in over 6 months. I was so relieved, not to be crampy and bloated and bleeding, or for the acne, the anxiety and headaches. I was relieved because this means I am back to only having my own hormones to deal with. The months leading up to this had been horrible emotionally. I should mention, I was not unhappy in my life, I was just having a very difficult time with the extra hormones from my birth control. I was so emotional, I cried, I lashed out, I had severe anxiety… I was a mess! It’s a wonder James is still around, I managed to misplace most of my friends during this time period.

Something weird happened the week after my period, I got cramps again, and a week later I had a second period. And a week later I had a third period. Since late August I have had a period every other week. (I am 25, I know periods, this is not spotting, and I’m not in severe pain, although I have considered that I might have a cyst …) So that’s weird, right? I blew it off for a few weeks thinking maybe my body is making up for all the months I did not have a period. Maybe it’s a hormonal imbalance? In fact, it must be!

I am so tired. In June my health sky rocketed, I did this awesome cellular cleanse and I felt better than I had felt in years, maybe in my whole life, but certainly better than I have felt since I was pregnant (my daughter is about to turn 4). I was able to get out of bed without pressing snooze! I did not need t sleep in, I had more energy throughout the day, I was able to workout harder, and see results faster. Everything changed for me when I cleansed toxins out of my body. It was a whole new me! I stayed on the products, I knew I couldn’t stop, I finally found me, I finally had the energy to run around with the kids all day, and keep the house clean, and stay up late with my fiance. I have been so tired the past 3 weeks. I don’t want to get out of bed, it takes serious convincing to workout, and I get lightheaded in the middle of my workout. I know what needs to be done, but I want so badly to just rest. You have no idea how comfy my couch looks right now! I have not taken the kids to the park in weeks because it’s just too much. This isn’t me. This certainly is not me while I’m drinking my shakes. In fact, my shakes and vitamins probably are the only reason I am able to still keep up with the house and the kids at all! I did another cleanse, thinking maybe I needed to clear out more toxins… I felt fantastic for 2 days, and then I started bleeding again, and my energy plummeted.

As if that’s not enough I have had an eye opening week. Someone I love betrayed me (over a year ago, I just found out though), I have no health insurance and would like to see a doctor, two of my sources of income just ended, my mom is going through a (hideous) custody battle, and an adult in my life is acting like a teenager, and I’m now uncomfortable with several of my soon to be family members. I even deleted one off of my facebook for being rude to me over something I had nothing to do with, and coincidentally had nothing to do with THEM either. To say the least I’m too tired to even be stressed, and once my energy is back up, I’ll be too anxious to function!

Intimacy after kids (TMI!!!)

After a day of running around chasing kids, doing chores, living in workout clothes and having my hair in a perpetual bun, no make up, feeling like a drill sergeant  and basically always being hungry, its hard to feel sexy. Add serious insecurities to that list and it’s hard to find time to be intimate. Even if you have the “time”, feeling into it is a whole different story.

I have been in relationships with no kids, one where we had a child together, and now one where we entered the relationship both having kids. It is very clear to me why my past relationships did not work, hind sight is 20/20, right? First of all, my relationships before kids were superficial. I did not have the emotional maturity to have a deep sexual relationship. Although, my platonic friendships have always been something resembling immersion. I think growing up in the “church-cult” (If you missed that blog read “Let’s make parenting less of a dictatorship”) confused me to no end. Growing up my friendships were incredibly close. My friends and I grew up in this fake world where the only things that mattered were church related, we were kinda weird I’m sure, to the rest of the world. But we didn’t know. We were brought up confessing our sins to each other… in groups… it was humiliating. We were rebuked in front of each other. It was nearly impossible to not be “too close” to each other. Maybe you can imagine how odd it was for me to enter the real world and find out that you actually cannot trust people. I could not turn off my way of loving people. Even today I have trouble letting go after someone hurts me. If that is not weird enough, while I am having these insanely deep relationships with my friends, I can’t have any closeness in a relationship. As soon as a friendship crossed that line (and because I was so close to guys and girls, I was constantly stumbling over it.) I would emotionally shut off. This was probably very confusing for my boyfriends and girlfriends. One second we are closer than family, and the next I can’t look them in he eye. Of course because they already had a taste of closeness, they knew it existed somewhere, and would try to force it. That explains why pre baby relationships did not work out.

Now, why didn’t my relationship work out when I had a baby with someone? Obviously the first problem is that at this point I am still incredibly unhealthy and have not figured out how to have a healthy relationship yet; however a baby is coming. (For more info on how all this came about read “Yoga breaths for life…out with the bad…in with the good”) I was really hoping I would grow to be in love for the first time in my life, I was hoping having this baby would change me. Funny story, it did. I changed, I became maternal, responsible, emotional… a parent. I DID fall in love. I fell in love with my baby.

I am hoping for those of you that have had children or are planning a family, that you have already developed a healthy relationship, unlike me. I do know people who were in happy relationships and had children and their relationships fell apart. MY theory on this is that once the baby comes, one of the parents evolves, and the other doesn’t. Maybe they just can’t relate, maybe they can’t connect. Maybe adding a new person to the relationship was just too much. Your life gets flipped upside down. (I wrote a lot about this in “If I knew then what I know now” I keep referencing other blogs I have written because I do not want to go through it all over again, especially for those of you who have been following me, but I do think it would explain a lot about where I come from for those of you who are new.)

So, after failing miserably at relationships, before embarking on a new one I had to soul search. I had to let go, be vulnerable, accept love, be completely overly ridiculously honest and sit with myself naked. I know that sounds weird. It is weird. I have serious body image issues (You bet I have a blog on that, too, “Body Image”) and I could not be naked in front of a mirror, or in front of anyone else. Sex was almost embarrassing for me before. It was painful for me to let someone look at me. To look them in the eyes. True intimacy was nearly impossible. I knew I had grown up a lot since I had my daughter. For the first time in my life I knew what I needed in a man. My ex informed me that no one would ever put up with me, and I expected too much. At the time I figured that maybe that was true, but I was sick of being constantly disappointed.

James and I had been friends for years, and I had always been impressed by how much he loves his kids, he is such a good dad. And to a single mom… or even a mom in a relationship with someone who is not so interested in parenting, it was pretty sexy. I’m not kidding when I say I was completely honest, I laid out exactly what I need in a relationship, I told him things I can’t stand, things that I love, things I wish existed. I already knew he was the one, but I was not taking ANY chances. This relationship would not fail because I am incapable of having a relationship. It was so freeing, and scary to be naked in every way. He knows everything about me. Some things I’m sure he wishes he didn’t. I wanted to come to this completely open. I needed to be able to look him in he eyes and even though I feel naked, and feel loved, and be ok with that.

That all happened long before we moved in together, and added our kids to the mix. It’s tough to maintain an intimate relationship with 3 kids! However, it MUST be done! I need to feel physically close to James for us to work. Being physical and emotionally open with each other goes hand in hand. I can’t have sex when I don’t feel close to him, so it’s important to me to keep open communication and a “regular” sex life. I don’t mean normal, because what is. I mean lots of sex. When I start to feel a little distanced, sex brings me back. It happens, we get too tired too busy, too irritated and too overwhelmed for sex, and I can’t tell you how often I’m in the mood and he is at work and by the time he gets home I’m sweaty from a workout or  taking care of the house and kids and I do not feel sexy! Even if I did it would be pointless because between the hours of 3:00p-9:00p are completely crazy! Occasionally we can sneak in the bedroom for a quickie, but it’s usually impossible. Knowing that it is important helps, there are days when it’s not that I don’t want to, I’m just not really feeling like getting all hot and sticky… I do it anyways, because it is always worth it! Besides sex, James and I have a specific bed time for the kids which turns into our time. We get to talk about our day, plan the week, catch up on episodes of whatever we are watching at the time, and just be together. We also go on dates. I usually don’t want to. I am too tired to get dressed up and go out, but it’s good for us to go somewhere! It also gives us a chance to add to the places we’ve done it 😉

This is the day after he proposed
This is the day after he proposed