10 Things I Don’t Say

I recently read an interesting blog article,

10 th

You can find the original article here. I found it thought provoking, mainly because my own experience is much different from the author’s.

(Spoiler: It’s never crossed my mind to say (or think) most of these – fear of judgment or not.)

1. “Your words hurt.” I have never experienced a person saying something to me in regard to my single parent state that was intentionally mean or hurtful. I have been saddened and hurt by words, but the intention behind the words was never hurtful. Words that hurt, hurt because they touch an open wound. A “Daddy-Daughter Dance” is a lovely thing, but when your daughter doesn’t have a Daddy to attend with, those words hurt, even though the words themselves were never ever intended for that purpose.

2. “We will freak out if you ever refer to our kids as ‘baggage.’”   No one has ever referred to my children as “baggage.” Ever. People really say that to single parents?

However, I do agree with the dating piece of the author’s point, and I would/will say this. Don’t date me if you are unsure of the “whole kids thing. Just. Don’t.

3. “We’re not rich.” Ha! I doubt that anyone even assumes that we are. And I do not receive child support.

4. “There will always be some “drama” with our kid’s other parent, if they’re around.” My children’s other parent is not around, so our drama level is way low.

5. “We feel isolated and lonely.” This is a hard one. Yes, absolutely, Single Moms are in a world of their own. I agree that connecting with like moms, single or married is key. News flash, there are married  moms out there who feel isolated and lonely. I’m thankful to work in an office with my parents and brother; if I didn’t, I would definitely feel more isolated and lonelier. But, I also believe isolation and loneliness are situations that, under most circumstances, we can change. Conclusion: Occasionally, on a cold, dark night I have felt isolated and lonely, but in the warm light of day, it rarely crosses my mind.

6. “We worry constantly that we aren’t doing a good enough job.” Absolutely not. I don’t worry, and definitely not about this. The reason: I have Christ in my life and He loves my children even more than I do. How could I worry about my  job of raising them when I have the God of the Universe sticking it out and walking with me? I trust Him. Worry is futile.

7. “We aren’t very much fun.” Huh. How many married people with children are super fun? Really. Come on, be honest. By our mid-thirties we’re already falling asleep on the couch in the middle of our favorite show. We can’t go out for coffee because it keeps us awake and we can’t drink wine because it knocks us out. This is not a single parent thing. This is a parent thing. Kids wear us out and it doesn’t matter if there are 1 or 2 or 10 parents. You know it’s true. However, I’m definitely still fun.

8. “We don’t have a strong sense of ‘self'” Yes, I do. I’m a Mother. 😉  I think I covered this in my recent post 1%. Or 5.

9. “Long before our kids could understand adult conversation, we talked to them like they could.”  I have no idea if this is true. How would I? I have no way of knowing whether I would talk in the same manner to my children if I were still married or not. I’m kind of at a loss here.

10. “Someone complimenting our kid means the world to us.” Yes. Yes. And YES! Wait, doesn’t every  parent feel this way?

Yet, In all honestly, I think it does mean more to single parents. On this point, I agree whole-heartedly with the author of the article. I think #10 is a gauge with which we can measure how well things are going in #6 . When nice things are relayed to us about our children we get a sense that:

They really are turning out OK.

Being raised by only one parent isn’t scarring them for life.

They are well-adjusted and kind and happy.

joy l

I suppose every parenting journey, married, single or other, is unique. The paths of our lives rarely lead where we expected. I latch on to the joy that is found in the brief moments that build our days. Eventually, they will build a lifetime.

cwj 3Isn’t that exactly what this blog is all about?

I’ve been a single parent of four children for three & a half years.

 

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1%. Or 5.

The kids and I watched the movie, Blended, starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore the other night.

blended_movie_poster_wallpaper

While it was showing in the theaters I saw that it didn’t receive great reviews but we figured that for a Friday night family movie, it was worth a try. This Is Not a movie review post, but I will say that we, kind and uncritical people, loved it and my kids want to own it. For a single parent, like myself, it was hauntingly accurate and funny; as well as being funny and sweet and, did I mention, laugh-out-loud funny? (Disclaimer: it does contain the regular dosage of Sandler crudeness, but mostly in brief spurts.)

On to the purpose of the post… At one point in the movie Sandler & Barrymore are agreeing that, as parents, you must give your kids 100% of yourself. They finally agree to 99%, with 1% withheld for the Parent’s personal wants.

If you are a parent, especially a single parent, you are probably shrugging your shoulders in reluctant agreement; or , possibly, you don’t agree at all. My own children have not seen their father in over 3 and half years. He calls them about six times a year. What I’m saying is, sometimes parents – peace out. Even my own daughter disagreed with the 1% thing.

“Mom, I don’t think that what they said in the movie is right. It’s not 1%, I think it’s more like 5%.”

Okay. I’ll buy that. Yet, is it really possible that 95-99% of our time goes to our children? Do we really only have 5% (or less) of ourselves and our time to pursue our own interests?

Let’s explore this. This weekend my colleagues are traveling to MN for a three-day conference. I would have liked to attend. My colleagues also would have liked for me to attend. But I won’t be attending. – Because I am a single mother. I have four children. And no one to watch them for that many nights.

On the other hand, I am glad that I am not going because it frees up my weekend, because if  I were gone my children would have missed a birthday party (or I would have had to arrange transportation.) I would miss a meeting after church about youth group, (which is important to me.) I would have missed all kinds of important things. And ALL of them kid-related. 

Do you see what I am saying? – even the HIGH points about not being able to attend the conference this weekend are positive because they benefit my children

That 99% is starting to seem a lot more realistic.

For single parents, is there time and room in our lives for romance? Apparently so. At least it seems so in the movies. I haven’t found it true in my own life, but then again I often say, there is a Whole Lot of Female Awesomeness  in this family. It would have to be a special man to be willing to blend in some of that.

What about activities, hobbies, free time? I suppose I have that. I do love to write. Then again, my kids influence my writing – a lot. (eh hem – this whole post and most of what I write.) I like to crochet – generally scarves and beanies – for my kids. Occasionally, I create other things, especially around Christmas, that usually end up as gifts, for teachers, of my children… Hmmmm.

I go to the movies alone sometimes…

Before you start getting all poor Rebecca on me consider, when I left my husband I asked God for my children. Nothing else. Not a portion of our five bedroom/five bathroom home, our lucrative business, vehicles, land, savings, or anything else. We left him (I write a bit about why here and a little bit here) and carried away with us a single suitcase. Eleven years of living. Five people. One suitcase.

The rest of the possessions were, and still are, his.

Hear this: I Totally Got the Better End of That Deal.

Imagine a scale that weighs everything left behind or unrealized in my life on one side and my children seated on the other side. Yeah, no comparison. None.

I asked my chubby little seven year old tonight if she liked watching movies with us on Family Movie Night and she shrugged her shoulders and said, “I just like ‘nuggling with you.”

I’m delighted with my 1%. Or 5.

And hey, it’s not going to be 99% forever, right? They do grow up, don’t they…?

me writer

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Making It Happen: CLEANING

mih cLEANING

Fact: Not being married negatively affects the state of my house.

This is a  follow-up/weekly post  where YOU my blog audience “come home” with me to see if having you here helps me get home improvement projects done. For previous post go here.

Premise (same as last week – if read previously – skip down to Projects.)

I find being unattached affects the status of my home improvement projects in two ways.

1. The fact that there is someone coming home kind of gives me a kick in the pants to get stuff done. Clean up, pick up, make improvements.

2. I am so much more motivated to do home improvements when someone else is doing it with me.

Projects:

Sand entire vanity – Fail. Sand antique desk – DONE

mih sand

Mostly sanded. Rough week, I’m happy with 50% completed.

 

 

 

 

Projects for Next Week:

Clean up the new bedroom.

house 2

It’s gonna be beautiful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I will be moving into a new bedroom. The previous occupant left it a mess. (read about that here) I’ve already had some professionals come through to clean out the big stuff, I now need to sweep, mop and paint the room. Sweeping, mopping and arranging are on the agenda for this week. 

Since I will be expanding into the other half of the house, my home improvement workload is gonna be huge. Here are some BEFORE pics:

house 4

Drywall, electricity, painting. Lot of work in this soon-to-be bedroom for my 13 yr old. Beautiful sun room with 4 windows and 2 window seats. 

house 3

Oh, the kitchen. New floor, new mantel. It’s gonna be a gorgeous dining room/kitchen once I’m done with it. Cannot wait. How cool to have a fireplace in your kitchen! Just like Little House on the Prairie.

 

 

house 5

Bathroom. New toilet. Resurface tub. Seriously scrub floor. But this original tile floor is going to look great! (I hope)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am like the perkiest person ever in this post.

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Making It Happen: GLITTER

MIH glitter

Fact: Not being married negatively affects the state of my house.

This is a  follow-up/weekly post  where YOU my blog audience “come home” with me to see if having you here helps me get home improvement projects done. For previous post go here.

Premise (same as last week – if read previously – skip down to Projects.)

I find being unattached affects the status of my home improvement projects in two ways.

1. The fact that there is someone coming home kind of gives me a kick in the pants to get stuff done. Clean up, pick up, make improvements.

2. I am so much more motivated to do home improvements when someone else is doing it with me.

Projects:

Put some kind of sealant or another coat of paint on my bedroom vanity. It needs it.

(Two weeks ago I chose this as my next project, as you may know, last week It Didn’t Happen. However, if you were a stink bug on the wall you would have seen me  finishing this up this morning.)

ML

I found this cool Glitter Glaze type stuff at Home Depot. It worked wonderfully! Unfortunately, it also brought out the major flaw in the entire paint and shabby chic the vanity project – I didn’t sand first. After putting on this super fantastic subtle glitter, the brown, original varnish bled through. ML1

 

 

 

NOT TO BE DISCOURAGED!

I now have in my possession an electric sander. Which leads me to the project for next week…

Projects for Next Week:

Sand entire vanity. (I am sanding, repainting and reglittering, not shabby chic-ing this time. Live and learn.) This week I plan to sand this and an antique desk I bought at a Thrift Store.

From Sunday I will also be spending two nights and three days away. Alone. Just Being-ing. Quiet.

Therefore, I am not giving myself too much in the way of projects. Oh, and I’m holding a yard sale. W/e.

😉

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Making It Happen: Closets

mih closetsFact: Not being married negatively affects the state of my house.

This is a  follow-up/weekly post  where YOU my blog audience “come home” with me to see if having you here helps me get home improvement projects done. For previous post go here.

Premise (same as last week – if read previously – skip down to Projects.)

I find being unattached affects the status of my home improvement projects in two ways.

1. The fact that there is someone coming home kind of gives me a kick in the pants to get stuff done. Clean up, pick up, make improvements.

2. I am so much more motivated to do home improvements when someone else is doing it with me.

Projects:

1. Clean fridge.  DONE! (No pictures, come on, nobody wants to see that. You’re welcome. )

2. Clean out dining room closet.

Before                                                After

closetclo

 

stuff

Pile of crapola.

squ

Squirrel trap. Seriously.

 

clean

Everything that’s supposed to be in there, back in.

It has become apparent that I have a bag issues. I save them. All of them. Big, small, decorative and utilitarian. I might need a special counselor – cleaning out forced me to throw most of them away. I kept a few…

Projects for Next Week:

Easter, Good Friday, Spring Break and a child’s birthday loom ahead of me. Plus, we are getting closer to moving into the other half of the apartments since Bill’s daughter finished cleaning it out today. All this to say – I have 1 project on the list for this coming week:

Put some kind of sealant or another coat of paint on my bedroom vanity. It needs it.

Seriously – 99% of what I have posted over the last several weeks WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN COMPLETED (OR STARTED) without this blog series. 

So, whoohoo!

Making It Happen – HOME

HOME

Fact: Not being married negatively affects the state of my house.

This is a  follow-up/weekly post  where YOU my blog audience “come home” with me to see if having you here helps me get home improvement projects done. For previous post go here.

Premise (same as last week – if read previously – skip down to Projects.)

I find being unattached affects the status of my home improvement projects in two ways.

 

1. The fact that there is someone coming home kind of gives me a kick in the pants to get stuff done. Clean up, pick up, make improvements.

There is no one coming home.

2. I am so much more motivated to do home improvements when someone else is doing it with me.

I’ve lived in this apartment for the last three years and it’s really only been over the past six months that I’ve started to feel like this is my home. (I briefly wrote about this in my post, Dwelling.)

Then, a recent post where I discussed my cleaning habits got me thinking that maybe what I need is motivation. Since no one is coming home to motivate me, dear readers, YOU have become my motivation. I plan to post two small home improvement projects that I would like to work on during the next week and then follow up with you next Wednesday to see if this kind of accountability works for me.

Projects:

Gardening. Thank you for all the wonderful suggestions last week! I did get out and clean up and made some decisions for the planting. STARTED!

seeds

 

I’ll also plant tomatoes. Planting for the Northeast is May-June – so I have a few weeks until these go in the ground.

My 5 year old, P, chose the sunflowers. They’re my favorites, so she didn’t have to convince me. 🙂

Garden 2

I’ve decided to take this plot out and put in a glider or picnic table. Bye bye.

lilac

 

My beloved lilac tree is blooming. ❤ P and I mulched the front of the house this week – squirrels are already digging it up. Furry Monsters.

Earlier this week I wrote about my neighbor dying (here) and how that affects my Making it HAPPEN posts. Home improvement projects are on a short hiatus until we can move into the other half of the apartment later next month. (we hope) Then it’s gonna get CRAZY.

 

Projects for this week:

Clean fridge. (No pictures. You’re welcome. )

Clean out dining room closet.

closet

Welcome to my life. This is why I need this weekly post, without you, Beloved Readers, cleaning this out DOESN’T happen.

Making It Happen at Home – BEDROOMS

MIH BR

My neighbor died this week and that will greatly affect my Making it Happen posts in the coming weeks/months. More on this below – like all the way below…

Fact: Not being married negatively affects the state of my house.

This is a  follow-up/weekly post  where YOU my blog audience “come home” with me to see if having you here helps me get home improvement projects done. For previous post go here.

Premise (same as last week – if read previously – skip down to Projects.)

I find being unattached affects the status of my home improvement projects in two ways.

1. The fact that there is someone coming home kind of gives me a kick in the pants to get stuff done. Clean up, pick up, make improvements.

There is no one coming home.

2. I am so much more motivated to do home improvements when someone else is doing it with me.

I’ve lived in this apartment for the last three years and it’s really only been over the past six months that I’ve started to feel like this is my home. (I briefly wrote about this in my post, Dwelling.)

Then, a recent post where I discussed my cleaning habits got me thinking that maybe what I need is motivation. Since no one is coming home to motivate me, dear readers, YOU have become my motivation. I plan to post two small home improvement projects that I would like to work on during the next week and then follow up with you next Wednesday to see if this kind of accountability works for me.

Projects:

1. Paint and shabby chic vintage vanity in my bedroom. DONE!

Before

 vanity

 

After

vanity I realize that this looks pretty crappy in the picture – it actually looks pretty good in real life. I do need to put some kind of sealant or something on top, but I’ll get to that. I probably added a little too much baking soda paste to the white paint and I’m sure I should have sanded the whole piece first – which I didn’t – but all in all, I’m happy with it. I found the recipe for the paint here.

 

The part where I tell you why my neighbor dying affects my Making it Happen momentum:

I will be blogging about this in more detail in a couple days, but the short story is, when I say neighbor, I mean the person who shares this residence with me. I live in an old Victorian that is split into two apartments and offices. Both apartments and offices share common areas, so my neighbor is not someone far away, but a person I see everyday and whose kitchen I need to walk into to go down to the basement to do my laundry. Communal like that.

For the last three years my daughters and I have shared two bedrooms and one bathroom, not the worst life by far, but with the death of my neighbor and the other half of the house opening up, we will be expanding into two more bedrooms, a large kitchen and another bathroom. All four of these rooms are in terrible shape and will need much work. Hence – why things are kind of in a flux right now.

My goal, after painting the vanity was to redo my BEDROOM (B for A to Z Challenge). However, my present bedroom is now to become my ten year old’s bedroom – I’m moving down to the second floor, etc. What this means is:

Projects for this week:

Gardening. I’ve got a black thumb, but my neighbor left some nice little plots that need to be cleaned up and planted.

garden 4

There have been tomatoes, peppers and flowers in here in the past. Any suggestions for good things to grow in the Northeast? Keep in mind my Black Thumb.

Garden 2

My own little plot. I’ve only ever gotten cilantro to grow here – I planted wildflowers in the Fall – we’ll see how they work out.

Grandmom's rose

My Grandmother LOVED pink and LOVED roses. She moved these roses from house to house three times before moving them here in the early eighties (She lived in this house for many years.) I cannot wait til they bloom again, this picture is from the Fall.

I realize the news of my neighbor’s passing is glossed over in this post, the reason being, I have an entire post dedicated to it already written and ready to post in a couple days.

Making It Happen at Home – Episode 4

MIH new

Fact: Not being married negatively affects the state of my house.

This is a  follow-up/weekly post  where YOU my blog audience “come home” with me to see if having you here helps me get home improvement projects done. For previous post go here.

Premise (same as last week – if read previously – skip down to Projects.)

I find being unattached affects the status of my home improvement projects in two ways.

1. The fact that there is someone coming home kind of gives me a kick in the pants to get stuff done. Clean up, pick up, make improvements.

There is no one coming home.

2. I am so much more motivated to do home improvements when someone else is doing it with me.

I’ve lived in this apartment for the last three years and it’s really only been over the past six months that I’ve started to feel like this is my home. (I briefly wrote about this in my post, Dwelling.)

Then, a recent post where I discussed my cleaning habits got me thinking that maybe what I need is motivation. Since no one is coming home to motivate me, dear readers, YOU have become my motivation. I plan to post two small home improvement projects that I would like to work on during the next week and then follow up with you next Wednesday to see if this kind of accountability works for me.

Projects:

1. Clean inside of car. DONE! I can even open the door without trash falling out. (I’ll spare you the pictures.)

2. Finish cutting quilting squares and start piecing together. DONE! I am ready to sew. This took til this morning, but we are ready to move forward.

I’ve been thinking this week about whether having or not having children affects my willingness to do projects. I came to the conclusion that it doesn’t matter. Yes, there is more everyday cleanup stuff to do with kids around and, in general, I’m more tired. But I lived in this same apartment pre-husband and pre-children and I was no more likely then to initiate home improvement projects than now.

I obviously need adult accountability.

Project for this week:

1. Paint and shabby chic vintage vanity in my bedroom.

vanity

This is just a third of the whole thing, but you get the picture, it’s nasty. I got it for free, pretty much anything I do to it will be an improvement.

I am choosing only one project this week, because A. this is a big one and B. this is the initial step in re-doing my bedroom. Which is HUGE!

Also, overall I’ve discovered that the success of this blog accountability thing is flowing over to other areas and I’m getting more and more projects done. Ones that are not even on the list (i.e. blog post)! That’s pretty exciting.

Productivity is producing productivity!

Has anyone else tried this? Thinking of trying it? I’ll be your virtual person coming home if you’d like me to.

Making It Happen at Home – Episode 3

making happen real

Fact: Not being married negatively affects the state of my house.

This is a  follow-up/weekly post  where YOU my blog audience “come home” with me to see if having you here helps me get home improvement projects done. For previous post go here.

Premise (same as last week – if read previously – skip down to Project.)

I find being unattached affects the status of my home improvement projects in two ways.

1. The fact that there is someone coming home kind of gives me a kick in the pants to get stuff done. Clean up, pick up, make improvements.

There is no one coming home.

2. I am so much more motivated to do home improvements when someone else is doing it with me.

I’ve lived in this apartment for the last three years and it’s really only been over the past six months that I’ve started to feel like this is my home. (I briefly wrote about this in my post, Dwelling.)

Then, a recent post where I discussed my cleaning habits got me thinking that maybe what I need is motivation. Since no one is coming home to motivate me, dear readers, YOU have become my motivation. I plan to post two small home improvement projects that I would like to work on during the next week and then follow up with you next Wednesday to see if this kind of accountability works for me.

Project: 1. Make curtains for dining room. DONE! I did it!!

BEFORE

lace

AFTER

win 2 good

Had we gone to the fabric store and attempted to find a material that matched the LEAST with our dining room wallpaper – we could not have done any better. 🙂

Let me be VERY clear – I’ve had this material since before Christmas – there is No Way these curtains would have been made this week had not I challenged myself on this blog. 

Project: Cut More Quilting Blocks

The other thing I wanted to accomplish last week was to continuing cutting quilting blocks from vintage bed sheets I got from Goodwill. I didn’t need to make the whole quilt – I just wanted to start cutting out the blocks.

quilt 1

Two dozen more blocks cut! I had to push to get this done last night, again – but – WE DID IT!

It is amazing how you can find time and energy to do things when you commit to it and have people keeping you accountable.

Has anyone else tried this? Thinking of trying it? I’ll be your virtual person coming home if you’d like me to.

Projects for this week:

1. Clean inside of car. Yuck.

2. Finish cutting quilting squares and start piecing together. 

Making It Happen at Home – Episode 2

making happen real

Fact: Not being married negatively affects the state of my house.

This is a  follow-up/weekly post  where YOU my blog audience “come home” with me to see if having you here helps me get home improvement projects done. For original post go here.

Premise (same as last week – if read previously – skip down to Project.)

I find being unattached affects the status of my home improvement projects in two ways.

1. The fact that there is someone coming home kind of gives me a kick in the pants to get stuff done. Clean up, pick up, make improvements.

There is no one coming home.

2. I am so much more motivated to do home improvements when someone else is doing it with me.

I’ve lived in this apartment for the last three years and it’s really only been over the past six months that I’ve started to feel like this is my home. (I briefly wrote about this in my post, Dwelling.)

Then, a recent post where I discussed my cleaning habits got me thinking that maybe what I need is motivation. Since no one is coming home to motivate me, dear readers, YOU have become my motivation. I plan to post two small home improvement projects that I would like to work on during the next week and then follow up with you next Wednesday to see if this kind of accountability works for me.

Project: Paint the Chifferobe. DONE! I did it!!

BEFORE                                                               AFTER

chif 2Chiffer DONE

PS – I Like my Christmas decorations on there…

Ewww – Remember this?                                                          Look at it now!

chif 1Chiff side by

This blog audience accountability thing seems to be working!

Project: Cut Quilting Blocks

The other thing I wanted to accomplish last week was to start cutting quilting blocks from vintage bed sheets I got from Goodwill. I didn’t need to make the whole quilt – I just wanted to start cutting out the blocks.

BEFORE                                                                 AFTER

Vintage fab 2quilting blocks 2

Three dozen blocks cut! I had to push to get this done last night – but – WE DID IT!

Thank You Blog Readers – this blog accountability thing works!

Projects for this week:

1. Make curtains for dining room

lace

These are nasty and gross.

I have the material, hooks, and double sided hem tape. I’m gonna do it!

2. Continue cutting quilting squares. (not too exciting – but let’s get this done!)

Thanks for being the person coming home – it’s working!  XO. Rebecca