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What Happens to Mom When the Kids Grow Up?

“In the end, I am the only one who can give my children a happy mother who loves life” – Janene Wolsey Baadsgaard

While many women dread milestone birthdays and the inevitable aging that comes with another passing year, I am not usually one of these women. Admittedly, my twenties were quite difficult for me. Though I was Blessed with a healthy, happy, and beautiful son in my early twenties, the majority of my twenties were plagued with crisis after crisis including a devastating miscarriage, death of beloved loved ones, a divorce, and major health problems. So when my milestone thirtieth birthday rolled around bringing with it the promise of a fresh, new, and limitless decade, I welcomed it with open arms. I’m happy to report that so far, my thirties have been the best years of my life. I found love again, I’m more comfortable in my own skin, I’m learning to accept myself as I am, and, perhaps most importantly, I’m learning to accept that I am enough as I am.

Yesterday was my thirty-fourth-birthday and for the first time, I felt the pangs of anxiety, worry, and even dread that women often refer to. As my birthday drew nearer and nearer, these feelings continued to intensify. Confused by these unfamiliar and uncharacteristic feelings, I began looking deep into myself to figure out where these feelings were originating from, and more importantly, why now and never before?

After weeks of soul searching, journaling, and many conversations with my uber-patient husband, what I learned surprised me. It wasn’t my birthday or growing a year older that was instigating apprehension in me. Rather, it was the realization that as I continue to grow older, so does my son. I realized that soon my role as a full-time-stay-at-home-mom may very well come to an end. This realization shook me to my very core. Since having my son, I have dedicated my entire life to him. I have fully embraced and loved being home with him. From the early days of late night and early morning breastfeeding sessions, to reading Good Night Moon countless times before tucking my toddler snugly into bed, to our afternoons at the kitchen table completing his homework together, to helping him create the perfect Science Fair Project, and even to chauffeuring to and from extracurricular activity to extracurricular activity, I’ve loved every minute of it; the good, bad, and the ugly. My epiphany that soon my son won’t need me as much as he once did (and for the time being, still does) left me feeling lost, scared, and sad.

I realized that I no longer know myself outside of my role as “mom.” I have intertwined my identity so completely with being a mom that the days of me being an extremely bright and successful academic scholar seem like a lifetime ago. I worried about what would happen to me when I was no longer needed at the kitchen table to help with homework or Science Fair Projects? I worried about how I will fill both my afternoons and weekends when my son can drive himself to and from his engagements; no longer requiring my chauffeur services? With all this worry torturing both my spirit and mind, I never explored what I could do to remedy my fears. I never even considered invoking my once relentless inner strength and determination to combat my worries and focus on myself, even for a minute.

And then I did. I dug deep into my soul and came to a few major realizations.

I realized that while being my son’s mother has been, and continues to be, the single greatest joy of my life, I need to be whole. It is not, nor has it ever been, my son’s responsibility to ensure my happiness nor to help make me feel whole or successful. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my happiness, wholeness, and success are entirely my responsibility, and I know that I am more than capable of achieving happiness, wholeness, and success as not only a mother, but an educated, thoughtful, and compassionate woman.

I wish I could report that I have formulated a complete and perfect plan for transitioning from my role as a full-time-stay-at-home-mom to that of not only a mom but a wife, a sister, a daughter, an aunt, and a friend. Though I haven’t yet, I have no doubt that I will.

Seriously considering returning to the world of academia and completing both my Master’s Degree and Ph.D., I recently spoke with The Director of Graduate Studies at a university local to me. I must admit, I haven’t been so excited by a conversation in a very, very long time. As I spoke with The Director of Graduate Studies I started recognizing feelings I once knew; feelings of inspiration, and intrigue, and promise. 

And it felt good. It felt really good.

 

 

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Opening My Heart to all the Love

 

The hot, humid July evening back in 2007 when I discovered I was pregnant was one of the best days of my life. I immediately fell in love with the little person growing inside of me, and I knew that my life would never again be the same.

 

Knowing that I had a part of my husband growing inside of my body only intensified my love for him. I remember gazing at him and imagining the baseball playing, hockey coaching Dad he would become. I couldn’t have loved him more. As my pregnancy progressed, things began to change. My husband grew distant and I grew lonely and anxious. I pushed his behavior and my feelings aside as expectant-first-time-parent-jitters.

 

Before we knew it, I was in labor and our son was on his way! My labor was long and hard. I labored for over 32 hours and pushed for 6 hours before requesting a c-section out of sheer exhaustion. During this time, my husband wasn’t much help, in fact, he slept the majority of the time, only rising to join me in the operating room where our son would be delivered. Despite his apathetic attitude toward my labor and delivery, my husband was the first person to hold our son. This still bothers me.

 

Everything changed though the moment my son was placed on my chest for skin-to-skin contact. Looking into his deep, soulful, green  eyes and stroking his silky smooth skin as he nursed consumed me with a love I never knew existed. In those early moments, I knew I would never love my husband in the all consuming, unconditional way that I  loved my son.

 

I guess a part of me expected these feelings to change as I adjusted to motherhood. Instead, my marriage began to fall apart. My husband proved himself to be both an inadequate father and spouse time and time again. Sadly, as I never wanted to nor planned to be divorced,  I was left with no option but to file for divorce on June 1, 2011. Since that fateful day, I can count on my fingers how many times my ex-husband has seen or spoken to my son.

 

After the initial shock, isolation, and devastation of the divorce, I rejoined the living. I returned to the workforce after nearly four years at home with my son, I returned to my graduate studies, I bought a new car, and I even rented an adorable little apartment complete with a white picket fence for my son and myself.

 

Amidst all the changes happening in my life, dating wasn’t on my radar. I had made peace with the idea that I would spend my life as a single woman, whose sole purpose as to guarantee the happiness and success of my son.

 

Once again, life had other plans for me. On June 20, 2011 I met up with one of my oldest and dearest friends for dinner. We’ve been together ever since and were married on March 29, 2015. My husband, Mike, is my best friend. He has shown me unconditional love, support, and encouragement. He picks me up when I fall and celebrates with me my successes. More importantly, Mike loves our (my) son like his own. Mike is the baseball playing, hockey coaching Dad I always imagined for my son. Every night I thank God for Mike and for the fact that our son is learning to be a man from him.

 

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I love my husband like I’ve never loved any man. I love the history we share (20 years), I love how loyal and hardworking  Mike is, I adore the Dad he is, and I love that he wakes up everyday and chooses to love me. From the very core of my being, I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that Mike is my soul mate.

 

My love for Mike inspires, confuses, and fills me with both joy and guilt. I feel as though I’m somehow betraying my son by loving someone else.

 

While I will never love anyone the way I love Jack, I never expected to love someone the way in which I love Mike.

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Reflecting on this post, I can’t help but ask myself what I ever did to get so lucky?

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#divorce, #internal-conflict, #love, #loving-my-child-more-than-my-spouse, #marriage

Opinions

I’d love to open the dialogue surrounding this controversial topic. All opinions are welcome.

Here’s mine: http://us.blastingnews.com/opinion/2017/07/teen-vogue-article-sparks-outrage-001827405.html

#analsex, #teen-vogue, #teenage-sex, #tmi, #toomuchtoosoon

Old Endings Into New Beginnings

At 33 I can count on one hand how many people I consider true friends and this list includes my husband. I’m perfectly content with my family and few close friends and never yearn for more. While I have been unbelievably lucky to meet new friends whom I’ve been able to develop deep, meaningful and lasting friendships with as an adult, most would say I keep my circle small.

I haven’t always been this way, though. An outgoing teenager, I had tons of friends and was always out and about socializing during high school. As high school drew to an end things started changing between a lot of my friends and myself. Some of us were in new relationships (guilty as charged), some were dealing with serious problems, some were moving away (also guilty), some of us just naturally drifted apart, and there was admittedly, some conflict amidst our group.

While some of my friend’s flat out abandoned me, I was consumed by a new relationship and guilty of selfishly neglecting my friend’s during this time. Further complicating my situation was the fact that my parent’s had sold our house and moved across the country. I had no intention of moving 3,000 miles away from home and so my boyfriend and I got an apartment and moved in together.

It wasn’t long before I realized the gravity of the mistake I had made. With my parent’s gone and only one true friend left, I felt alone, scared, and trapped in an astronomically dysfunctional relationship. I held it together for as long as I could; presenting a happy, smiling face at work and school. But behind closed doors, I was a wreck. All that remained of the once bubbly, confident, and outgoing youngwoman I had been was a mere shell, void of happiness, joy, and hope. I missed my friend’s and couldn’t bear being so far away from my parent’s and siblings.

I finally found the courage to come clean to my mother. I told her everything; how I had no friends left, how very bad my relationship was, and how much I hated the distance between us. Without missing a beat my parent’s arranged for movers, an airline ticket, and shipping for my car. I finally began to feel a sense of relief and even a glimmer of hope.

I had a brand new, fresh start waiting for me when I arrived at my parent’s house. I was free to start over; recreate myself any way I saw fit. Unfortunately, I wasn’t quite done making all too common teenage girl mistakes.

Within a month of my leaving both my home and destructive relationship behind me, my boyfriend was on a flight to join me so that we could “start over.” What I didn’t know then, but have since learned, is that he wasn’t a good guy; to say the least. From the time I left home until he boarded his flight to come to me, he spent his time bad mouthing me and carrying on with friends, co-workers, and acquaintances of mine. All of my friends knew this and only one had the nerve or decency, to call and tell me what was going on.

I was too embarrassed to even consider the possibility that my one good friend was telling me the truth about my boyfriend. So, instead of thanking her for her loyalty and honesty, I pulled away from her and alienated myself from all things associated with my “old” life. For over a year I pretended as though none of my former friends ever existed. Though internally heartbroken over our estrangement and missing my friend’s terribly, I carried on like nothing mattered.

After a year away from home I was thrilled to receive a phone call from one of my oldest and dearest friends. I assumed she was calling with the intention of mending our fractured relationship. Much to my dismay, she wasn’t. She was calling to get my confirmation or denial of a nasty rumor that had been spread about me back home. After I confirmed that the rumor was, in fact, false, she hung up, never asking how I was, how I had been, or where I was living. What she didn’t know was that I was scheduled to move back home just two weeks later. I was devastated.

When I did return home I never made any attempts at reconnecting with any of my old friend’s. Despite countless red flags, I stayed with my boyfriend and eventually married and had a child with him. Four years after we were married I filed for divorce. As it turned out, my friend’s had been right all along. Not long after filing for divorce I began reconnecting with old friends. One friend that I reconnected with turned out to be the love of my life and is now my husband.

Recently, that same friend who had made the devastating call to me so many years earlier reached out to me. She invited my husband, our son, and myself to her home for dinner where we would meet her husband and children. As anxious as I was about seeing her again after all of the years that had passed us by, I graciously accepted her invitation, and I am so glad I did. We had a wonderful time laughing, joking, and recounting the tales of our youth. I had no idea how much I had missed her.

Since that initial dinner we have seen each other a few more times, and I find each time more enjoyable than the last. The last fifteen years has done us both a world of good. While we have both faced hardship and heartache, we’ve grown into thoughtful, loving, compassionate, and genuine women who love our families fiercely.

My son and I spent the afternoon with my friend and her family yesterday. As usual, we had a great time. It’s as if no time has passed when we’re together. I’m so happy for the life my friend has made for herself and I’m beyond grateful to have her back in my life.

#enduring, #friendship, #gratitude, #growing-pains, #lasting, #maturing

Question for My Fellow Bloggers

Hello Fellow Bloggers,

I’m wondering if any of you may be able to suggest ways for me to increase traffic? I’d appreciate any feedback.  Thanks!

Thanks!

#blogging, #how-to-increase-traffic, #question-for-fellow-bloggers, #seeking-advice

“Seeking Advice: How Can I…

“Seeking Advice: How Can I Turn My Passion for Writing/Blogging into a Career? Where to Start?”

Hello Fellow Bloggers,

Thank you to all of my loyal followers. I love reading your work and I especially love the honest feedback provided by all of you.

I’ve been blogging for a year now and have been published once, last year, on ScaryMommy.com (). Receiving the news that I would be published was one of the major high lights of my life. I blog here on thebloggingmeetup.com, WordPress (), and recently, mombloggersclub.com.

I have been submitting my work to as many publications as I can. A few times, I’ve received personal emails from editors informing me that “I made the short list,” but they were ultimately going in another direction. I love blogging and believe its going very well for me. I have a healthy amount of loyal followers and post often.

I know I’ve found my passion in writing. I feel alive in a way I can’t explain when I’m writing. My question is, how do I turn this into a career versus a hobby? It seems every time I get close to publication or make “the short list,” I end up falling on my face and having to start all over.

I’d love to hear how some of you have turned your passion for writing/blogging into a career. Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you all in advance!

-Katie

Just Incase

(WordPress: https://perfectlyimperfect32com.blog/)

“Please make sure he’s in the middle.”

“Why?”

“It’s the safest place.”

“Seriously?”

“Well that’s what all the experts say.”

“But we have dual side curtain airbags and reaching in the middle of the truck is a pain in the ass.”

“Can’t you ever just do what I ask?”

“You’re gonna push me on this too, really?”

“We talked about this, when the police officer showed us how to properly install the car seat last week.”

“Whatever, all you do is bitch and nag, as usual.”

“I know, right. Its not like we’re arguing over the safety of our five day old newborn or anything.”

“You’re paranoid.”

“And you’re a lazy asshole. I’m thorough. He goes in the middle. Just incase.”