Wednesday night was perfect. Warm but not too warm.The kids were happy. The beach wasn’t too crowded. We hung out, played, laughed, and smiled.
Our vacation is nearly over. My husband returns to school next Wednesday. I’m on my own for the next four months. He’ll be tied up with a bunch of classes, recruiting, school events, and travel.
I’m trying not to dread it. The kids and I will be fine but we’ll miss him. We’re a pretty tight bunch.
He’s still so tan from Indiana. I have issues with exposing him properly because I’m not used to him being so tan. Look right above his knee
She looks exactly like him and adores him.
This pretty much sums up life with Cameron. Add snuggling and eating nonstop and you get a whole picture. Total character.
Such a pretty day even if those stupid seagulls pooped all over the beach.
He’s 3 now so I get a lot of this. He won’t model unless there’s chocolate involved. Oh, and he says his name is Optimus Prime.
At least he isn’t transforming.
And my day, week, month, summer, year, and life were complete.
I love them more than anything.
My father is the Mayor of my hometown. He is the first Latino Mayor in Massachusetts history. We’ve been on different sides of the political spectrum in the past but I have always been proud of his incredible career. He’s done a ton for the community and cares deeply about helping the residents of Lawrence.
I’m incredibly proud. The kids are too young to understand but they love visiting Abuelo aka “Spanish Grandpa”, as Preston calls him, in his city hall office.
Here are a few shots from our visit a few weeks ago.These photos mean a lot to me because they’re of my family (of course) but my Abuelita’s photos are in the background. It’s almost like she was there. She passed away when I was pregnant with Cameron. They never met.
It’s nice having a photo of them together. Well, at least in the same shot. May she rest in peace.
Cara is hilarious. Period. She is a former MBA wife I met on Twitter. She recently started her own blog and I can’t get enough of her fresh and unfiltered writing so I invited her to guest post.
This post was inspired and partly titled by my dear friend, and sometimes sanity coach, Mia Austin. She is the originator of the Recovering Single Mom Brand, and I am ever indebted to her for making me aware of this very serious problem, and for inspiring me to believe help is available.
I have four-year olds. Up until they were 3 years and 8 months old, I was a single mom. My husband and I accidentally conceived our fraternal twins, and for the most part, both didn’t want to rush into a relationship based ONLY upon the fact that we had children. We had both seen our fair share of relationships in our families and friend circles die for that very reason, and because we both loved our children too much to disappoint them, we both decided it was best to parent together but hold off on marriage until we both were certain we were ready. Even if that meant we didn’t end up married to one another. Luckily, we got it together, did marry one another, and I am currently 5 months recovering from being a Single Mom.
Admittedly, I have relapses probably once a month. I override their father with at least one form of discipline every 30 days or so. I excuse them from something he had them do, and blatantly undermine his authority, because I didn’t feel what he did was best, and probably didn’t understand why it was even a good idea to do it in the first place. Every time I send him to the store I have a “GEEZ I should have just gone MYSELF!” moment. And what I most suffer from is the tendency to FLIP OUT monumentally when anyone praises his effort as a father. But right now, I am telling you I will overcome…
Recently I was upset because my husband reprimanded our son for spilling a drink and not telling us. Wait…why? Well, because my son spilled a drink my husband left out on the brand new dining room table all night. Doesn’t he notice me diligently cleaning up every single solitary dish we own nightly? Doesn’t he see me make the effort to rid our space of cups of anything because no matter how cute that little pie faced girl from Signs was, leaving cups of liquid around preschoolers is begging for disaster? NO ONE WANTS TO SWING AWAY, M. NIGHT SHAMALYAN; WE DON’T HAVE ENOUGH PAPER TOWELS FOR THAT. Instead of being happy that my husband was correcting a poor behavior we were having trouble with, I was mad that the guy couldn’t put a cup away. Don’t question my priorities though, you would be mad too. Maybe.
I like doing things MY WAY. Usher Raymond my way. What I say goes…and I’m in control. *busts into a body flex* I wouldn’t say I was controlling, but I know my husband would. In fact, when I was having trouble writing this, he laughed at me about how the only time I am not controlling is when it’s in direct comparison to other people…like Kim Jong IL, and Fidel Castro.
But, let’s be honest, being a mom is about having some sort of control. The likelihood that you can control your children and their needs is slim, so you should have a handle on at least, oh; I don’t know…EVERYTHING ELSE. And I did. I fed, bathed, clothed, and cared for my household my way. I had to. No one else was there to do so, because of circumstances that I could have sat around crying about, but I didn’t. I got a grip and starting to maintain a safe and happy home for my twins. We created a life that worked for us, and I was in charge of it. Fast forward to the present though, and relinquishing that control gets a bit tough.
The funny thing is, most of the stories I could complain about here, as a recovering single mom, could very well be called “Things Wives Complain About”. The only difference is the back story. I was often told as a single mother, during tough times, that having a husband wasn’t some magic band-aid that fixed all my single mom problems. In a lot of situations a man might just have added to the chaos, or frustration because of the added opinion, stress, or just the addition of another human to the mix. But you don’t really listen to that when you’re alone and feeling struggly (yes, struggly. Don’t judge my grammar).
When you’re a single mom, you think of a husband as a magical, mythical being riding in on a noble steed in the sunset. Like Fabio, or Harry Potter. You think to yourself “…Goodness, self. If I only had a husband I wouldn’t have (insert problem here).” That just isn’t true. One of my favorite posts on this very blog is about NOT praising husbands for rudimentary things that they should do just because they are husbands and fathers. The big difference is women who are married have always had the extra set of hands, opinions and chaos. I learned how to move without all that weight, and now that I’ve gained it, and am having trouble adjusting my wardrobe.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, my husband is a great dad. He always has done absolutely the BEST he knew to do in every situation concerning our children. We lived 6 hours away from one another for the bulk of the time I was raising them, so obviously our relationship could have been poor and totally strained. We had our ups and downs, but really, on the whole worked well together as parents. That doesn’t mean everything was perfect, but “deadbeat dad” was NEVER a thought with the guy.
The problem is we live in a society that praises men but expects from women. When I was raising my children ALONE no one was giving me the raised glass, and congratulating me for being their mom. Now that we live together though, he gets props for being a dad ALL THE TIME. Even though it gets irritating, I have to constantly remind myself hey, it could be worse. He could be getting no props and you could still be parenting alone.
And that my friends, is why I am still a RECOVERING Single Mom. The spirit of the head honcho is still burning deep within me. When I am totally cured, I am definitely going to go ahead and write a 12 step program. And NO ONE better EVER try to improvise or add steps….just kidding.
Cara is a 28 year old Recovering Single Mom living in Annapolis, Maryland with her husband and ridiculously adorable 4 year old twins. New to the blogging world Cara is a SAHM that can usually be found reading books, blowing bubbles, or singing along to the Fresh Beat Band in her kitchen.
I’m really excited to introduce you to Doña. We met while taking one of Meagan Francis’ writing classes and have been online friends since. She is a super smart and talented mom who knows what it’s like to juggle motherhood with writing while making it work. Doña was kind enough to share some tips with us on making it all work.
Are you struggling to balance your writing and your family? Your blog and your babies?
Trying to work at home when you have little ones certainly presents some special challenges. But with some straightforward planning and boundary-setting, you can manage running a business and running a family without damaging or neglecting either.
Have Dedicated Work Hours
We all need schedules. Babies need nap and bedtimes at regular times, and your brain needs to know when to turn off the parenting switches and turn on the working ones.
Find a schedule that fits your life (around school and activity schedules) and your rhythms (are you an early bird or a night owl?) and then do your best to stick to it. Things will come up and kids will get sick, so sometimes you may find yourself squeezing work into unusual times when your schedule gets shaken up or you have a deadline approaching.
Be willing to be flexible, but get back to a regular routine as soon as you can.
Take Yourself – And Your Time – Seriously
Train your family that when you are working you are unavailable to solve problems, lend an ear, or provide a taxi ride. If you treat your work hours seriously, it will help your family learn to respect them, too. Promise yourself you will focus during your work time and give yourself permission not to work outside of that. It will be easier for your kids — and you, too! — to know that when you shut the office door (even if the office is your bedroom) you are unavailable to be mom for a while.
From the outside it may look like successful work-at-home moms are managing to do it all, but the truth is they nearly always have help. That help may be a work-at-home partner, a babysitter, a cleaner or a mother’s helper. Identify which areas of your life can be best delegated to someone else and get comfortable asking for what you need.
Know Your Goals
The best way to get where you want to go is to know where you want to go. Brainstorm big goals for your business. How much do you want to make this year? How many clients or readers do you want to gain? Now break that into smaller goals to help you get there. How many clients must you gain each month to get to your annual goal? What kind of marketing is needed to snag them? How many guest posts should you write?
Break that list down further to what you can accomplish in a week, a day, an hour. When you are ready to work, pull out your lists and you will know exactly what you need to do next without spinning your wheels and wasting your precious time. Being clear about your goals will also make it easy to say no to tasks and time-eaters that will not help you achieve them.
Lose the Distractions
Research shows our brains cannot focus on multiple tasks at once. Multi-tasking just means doing more things, slower. When you have limited working hours, efficiency is critical. Strive for what Timothy Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek, calls “single-tasking.” First, turn off all distractions like the internet, the phone’s ringer, and (if you can) turn over the baby monitor to someone else. Identify the next task you need to do toward your goals and do only that. When that is done, begin the next task.
Doña Bumgarner traded in a career running huge projects at Apple with engineers who called her The Mom for a freelance writing business at home with the toddler who calls her Mama. She blogs at Aubergine and lives in Santa Cruz, CA.