Abuse has many forms

Abuse comes in many different forms. In the case of spousal abuse that is doubly troubling as when there is limited physical or no physical aspect to it people tend to ignore the warning signs. I know I did. I was in an abusive relationship for years and never realized it until the very end when the physical abuse kicked in from time to time. Only then did all the pieces come together for me and I then realized I needed to get us both into therapy to deal with the problem. Unfortunately I never had the chance to do that as my ex walked out on us to be with his mistress before that could happen.

So what were those signs I missed… First off, he was controlling. His comments about some of my friends cost me those friendships. When the man you love says he can’t stand so-and-so and you want to be with your man for the long haul and not annoy him with your friend you slowly do less and less with that person until the friendship dies off. This happened to me with a few of my friends. My ex claimed not to like them (probably because they saw him for what he truly was) and did his best to discourage me from seeing my friends and spending any time with them. Eventually, the relationships changed and now while I am still friends with a few of these people the closeness and ability to count on one another no matter what is no longer there. He so isolated me from everyone that I used to be friends with so that I now have to rebuild friendships or make new ones to take their place.

My ex also controlled my life in other ways. Since he never valued me for me he never put me first in anything. We always did what he wanted to do and rarely did anything I really wanted to do. If he needed or wanted something I took care of it because I loved him and cared for him. If on the other hand I needed something or wanted something I had to get it for myself or live without. We basically had a one sided relationship that I had never realized was so one sided until we were apart. When one partner decides that their needs take constant precedence over the other partners needs to the point of suppressing their partners needs it is a form of abuse.

I also never realized how oppressed I was by him. I never realized the weight on my shoulders every day wondering who would be coming in the door today, the loving husband, the cranky assed husband, the loving father, the indifferent father, the angry annoyed husband, the helpful partner, the recluse, or simply the jerk I married. Yes there were times he was a good husband and father but those times were few and did not last long before reverting to indifference or anger or just plain sleeping all day and ignoring us all.

So why did I a smart woman put up with all this? Well, at first I did not realize it was happening because it all happened slowly over time. And when you love someone, really love them with all your heart, you want to please them and make them happy. My problem was I didn’t realize until it was too late that I was not happy. I was too busy taking care of everyone else that I did not take care of myself. It was only when he left that I realized how oppressed my life was and how much happier I was without him there.

So for all you women out there who find themselves oppressed and working hard to please a partner who does not care enough to treat them with respect. Remember this, you are an abused spouse just as I was. Please reach out to whomever you can and get the help you need. You deserve better! We all do!

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You never know

You never know what’s going on in someone else’s life… Sometimes I wonder if anyone really knows anyone else. We all have so much going on that we rarely know what’s really going on in our friends lives. I know I rarely let anyone in to my world and let them know what is really going on with me and I wonder how may others do the same.

Now that the holiday season is upon us it is even harder to reach out and find the time for a serious chat with each other about our lives. To vent about what we need to vent about and even ask for help if we need it.

Do you know that that woman you talk to a few times a week, the one that seems like she has it all together could actually use a hand – both physically and emotionally. Do you know that her ex was abusive? Do you know that she worries about her kids wanting things she cannot provide? Do you know she has to sell her house because she can’t afford it and that both she and her kids are devastated by this? Do you know that she is in physical pain each and every day, but has no time to go to the doctor? Do you know that she worries how she will make ends meet because her ex refuses to pay for things for the children and that what little support he does pay he purposely pays late? No you don’t know all this because she hides it too well.

What about the elderly lady down the street? Do you know her? Do you know she is lonely and has no family living nearby? That she sees her family maybe once a year? That both her husband and her best friend died last year? That you are the only person she has talked to all day? That she is worried she may have to move to an assisted living facility? No you don’t know all this because she seems cheerful and happy every time you see her.

How many people like this do you know? Do you ever reach out to them? Do you offer your support and help?

Unless we take the time to really connect with each other we will never know what is going on with those we know. During this holiday season please take the time to remember that a little love and caring for your fellow man can be better than any gift you can give. So Reach out to the single moms you know, the elderly neighbor down the street, the harried married mom (or dad) in your child’s class or after school activity and offer a helping hand or lend an ear. For it is only once you know what is really going on in someones life that you can truly help them.

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Mommy time… Does it exist?

Every mom out there needs some “mommy time”, as in “this is mommy’s time now, please go play somewhere else and keep it down”. But do we get it, rarely if at all. I can’t speak for you married mommies or those with partners or other live-in type help, but for me and most of the single moms I know the time we have to ourselves is precious and happens very rarely.

Why is it so hard to get some time to ourselves? Even when my kids are with their dad for the weekend half of my “me time” is spent cleaning, dealing with that ever present laundry pile (be it washing, folding or putting it away), shopping for things my boys need, or getting things ready for the following week. Of course I could just say f**k this and let it all slide, but trust me that would make my week much more crazy, long and stressful so it is just not worth skipping getting all these chores out of the way.

For now I’ll be happy if I can just go to the bathroom for a moment without someone yelling “MOMMY!!!“. Really guys, is it that hard to give mommy a minute or 2 to herself? And why is it that you guys can be quiet and well behaved for a long period of time, but the moment my butt touches that toilet seat you start fighting and/or calling for me? And on a similar note… why is it that you need mommy the moment she starts talking on the phone to someone?

So I sit here with my fingers crossed that this will be the week I will get an hour to myself to just sit and rest, and by sitting and resting I mean before 10 or 11 pm when I get to start to unwind from my day. So please wish me and all the other single mom’s out there that this will be our week to finally get some mommy time!

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Buy my house… please!

kitchen02_1200

While I rather not have to sell my house circumstances beyond my control have forced me to put my dream home, the house I  thought I’d raise my kids in, the house I’d celebrate fun times with family and friends, the house I’d live in until the day I died on the market. (And from much much less than what it cost me to build a few years ago).

So please check this link out and buy my house so my kids and I can move on with our lives.

The house has the following features and is in a great school district (in Nassau County) on Long Island, NY:

  • modern design w/large open floor plan
  • floor to ceiling windows – lots of natural light (even in the basement – we rarely put the lights on during the day)
  • electric shades
  • dramatic lighting
  • radiant heat on all 3 floors
  • 2 large fireplaces (1 in the master bedroom)
  • built in cabinetry from Italy
  • Arclinea kitchen with 14 foot long island, Kuppersbush 5 gas burners, 2 sinks, 2 Miele dishwashers, 1 large Subzero fridge, 1 large Subzero freezer, 1 under-the-counter Subzero fridge, 2 large Miele ovens, 1 smaller Miele oven/microwave.
  • 2 Jerusalem stone patios
  • Jerusalem stone walkways
  • 6 bedrooms
  • 4 full bathrooms/2 half-baths
  • bedrooms wired with ethernet
  • balcony off the master bedroom
  • large master bath with 6 foot long tub and large separate steam shower
  • large 2 car garage (yes I can park my huge SUV there easily)
  • large finished basement
  • 5 zones of AC/heat
  • server room
  • home office
  • fish tank room
  • fenced in yard
  • playset in the backyard with protective flooring underneath for the kids

I really wish I would get a winning lottery ticket so I could keep the house as my boys wish we could do (so if you have a winning ticket for me please let me know), but for now because of my divorce I cannot afford to keep it. Sadly, I need to sell it and move on with my life. Hopefully to someplace where my kids and I can live happily with our dogs.

So please help me get the word out about my house… tell anyone you know who maybe looking to check out this great home in a great school district!

Thank you and please help me sell my house!!!

 

 

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The things that make a mom happy…

It’s the little things that make a mom with small kids happy…

- taking a shower (even better when it is earlier in the day – as in before noon – rather than right before you pass out for the night,  but hey we’ll take what we can get).

- all the toys are put away where they belong – not just thrown in a basket or closet to hide them but actually put away the right way. Even better when the kids did it rather than mommy having to do it. Doubly better if they did it on their own without mommy’s help.

- a clean house. Moms love it when the kitchen and bathrooms are clean and everything is put away where it belongs… Yes we know it won’t stay that way long (especially in my case with 3 young boys) but hey we can enjoy the feeling while it lasts. :-)

- all the laundry washed, folded and put away.  This is one of the best feelings in the world as no mom particularly likes doing laundry. Unfortunately, this feeling is usually short lived as once this task is completed and a mom with great trepidation dares to look in the laundry bins again she typically finds them full and it is time to start the process all over. But we moms know to take a moment and enjoy the fact that the laundry is done (even if it is only done for a few minutes it is still considered done until we take that load in the overflowing hamper to the laundry room and start the whole process over again).

- clean sheet day – the day that you finally have a moment to change your own bedsheets and can lay down on clean comfy sheets and your body just goes “ahhhh”. Almost nothing feels better than that after a busy day with the kids, especially knowing that in the next 24-48 hours someone will jump on your bed and mess up the clean smell be it the kids or the dogs.

- when your older child helps your younger child shower so you can (1) fix dinner, (2) clean up the kitchen after dinner, or and this one is the best of all options, (3) you can sit down and rest for 5-10 minutes – woohoo!!!

- when one of your children thanks you out of the blue for something you do for them.

- hearing the words I love you, mom... even better when combined with a hug.

- those little hugs and kisses you get throughout the day – even the ones they give you when they are angling to get something like ice cream before dinner ;-).

- those days when everyone goes to bed on time and nobody calls “mommy” after they have been tucked into bed and you can sit and relax after a long day and luckily one of the shows you like is on and you can for once watch it live rather than a taped version as another miracle occurred earlier in the day and you got to shower that morning.

- but the number one thing that makes a mom happy is knowing her kids are happy and healthy.

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It kills me when my son cries himself to sleep

It kills me when I can’t give my kids something they really want because I just don’t have the money for it. When I have to tell my 8 year old that sorry he cannot go to the Tae Kwon Do board breaking competition because I just can’t afford the entrance fee it kills me. It kills me even more when I then have to watch him break down and cry himself to sleep over the disappointment.  I had not realized how much he had his heart set on going this year as we had to skip last years event  (it was on his dad’s weekend and his dad would not take them). My 7 year old was also hurt and disappointed over the cost issue, but he’s a bit more accepting of it at least outwardly but I know that inside he is hurting just as much as his older brother.

Yes, I wish things could be different. Yes, I’d pay for it in a second if I could. Yes, it would be nice if his dad would help pay for it, but unfortunately there is so much it would be nice if his dad would pay for that I’ve lost count. (Hell, if he’d just pay the support payments on time I’d be happy).

So for now, I will stay up all night trying to juggle the numbers to see if and how I could possibly swing not only his entrance fee, but that of his younger brother as well, and of course the fee for me to enter and watch them and possibly the fee for his youngest brother to either watch or participate as well.

I’ll do this because:  (1) I am a mom who loves her kids and wants to see them happy, (2) it would be a great experience for the boys, (3) it would be fun to watch all the board breaking demonstrations, and (4) most importantly it means so much to both of my oldest sons to go and participate.

But the more I try to find the funds to help my boys realize a dream they had the more I know I will have to end up dissapointing them and it kills me to do so. It is just so heartbreaking to know you have to disappoint your sons because you just don’t have the funds when their dad could help but refuses to do so. Yes it is not going to be the end of the world if my boys can’t participate in the board breaking contest, but it is the shattered hopes and dreams that hurt me so much.

While this is not the first time since the divorce that I had to tell them no due to money issues this was the hardest because this event means a lot to them. (And because this event has a deadline after which the opportunity to participate in it will be gone.) It means more to them than any video game or toy or thing they have ever asked me for that I had to say no to due to lack of funds. I hate to see their dreams shattered over something that can be fixed so easily with a few dollars. Hopefully a miracle will occur and I will find the money to do it, but for now I will just have to cry myself to sleep along with my boy.

 

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Brave Face – Tough On the Outside

As a single mom you learn to put on a brave face and be tough on the outside. We need to do this to project a confident controlled self to our kids and the world in general. However this brave face we put on comes around every so often and bites us in the ass. Nobody can be tough and brave all the time. Unfortunately lots of us don’t get the support we could use from friends and family because they buy into our facade.

It is just not possible to always be in control to never get any help – especially when you have more than 1 child. Those of us who put on a better show of being in control and on top of things are the ones that tend to suffer the most internally. Because we are such good actresses people (even close friends and family) don’t notice the signs that we need help and of course our brave front prevents us for asking for it.

Those of you who know someone like us may wonder, why don’t you just ask? We’d gladly help it you just told us you needed help. The answer is simple, for if we ask and are turned down we will fall apart. By the time we get to our breaking point and ask you to help with even a very simple or trivial item we are already past the point of breaking and are on overdrive. To break our concentration on maintaining the status quo and being able to function is hard. Once we break out of our facade and ask for help it is too late… either we get the help we need in the exact form we are asking it or we will break down and lose it.

So what can you do as a caring and loving friend or family member… the answer is simple… just ask. Ask us if there is anything you can do to help us this week. Tell us you’d like to do something fun with us and ask when might be a good time for us to do it. Offer to  take us out to dinner or bring us dinner for the kids one night in that works better for our schedule. You can even offer to treat us to mani/pedi or a spa day while you take care of the kids for the afternoon. Sometimes a few hours off duty and some time for ourselves is what we need to recharge. Basically, just be there for us and make sure you follow through on your offers and promises.

Just remember, single moms run on overdrive 24/7. We make sure our kids have all they need before we take care of ourselves. We need to put on a brave face and seem like we are tough to make it through the day, day after day. It is your job as our friends and family to help us feel strong enough on the inside to make it through this. So please ask us if there is something you can do to help, offer your services, and follow through on all your promises to us. (This advice holds true for all the moms out there not just single moms, but it is especially important for the single moms who may not have as much support as moms with spouses). Your help will make us stronger on the inside as well as the outside and allow us to be better moms and friends to everyone.

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