You Weigh Your Body. I’ll Weigh My Options.

accessorize

I’m gonna just put it out there – I am NOT a fan of exercise.  There, I said it.

Yes, I know it’s necessary.

It keeps the bad cholesterol down and the good cholesterol up.  You know, so you live longer.  Or something like that.

It produces those “feel good” hormones that make you look better and sleep better and feel better.  Or wait, maybe that’s sex. I can’t remember.

And if you do it long enough, you can wear cuter clothes and not be so embarrassed when people see your skin.

But I still hate it.  It’s not the panting or being out of breath.  Although I could think of better reasons to endure that, but again, I can’t remember.

It’s not even the sweating.  I’m almost 50.  Sweating is a given.

But exercise, for me, is pretty much an invitation for catastrophe.

Let me ‘splain.

I am what most people would refer to as “awkward”.  A clutz.  A walking (barely), talking (always) danger to myself.  And sometimes, others. Always have been.  Always will be.

And in case you didn’t know, exercise and the ability to trip over nothing are not a good mix.

When I was in middle school, I was content to just sit on the sidelines and let the other kids play.  I’m a REALLY good spectator.  But apparently, you have to actually participate in order to get a good grade in P.E. class and so I was forced into games I hated.  Like soccer.  In fact, I once tried to kick a soccer ball (in the wrong direction, mind you).  Do you know what I got for my efforts?  A broken wrist.  Because I fell down and tripped another girl who fell on top of me.

See?  A danger to myself AND others.

In middle school, I joined the basketball team.  Because, you know, that made total sense.  When my team mate passed me the ball, I actually caught it.  With my nose.

In high school, I played softball.  And tripped running to first base.

I also ran track.  Hurdles.  You see where this is going, right?

But one thing I can say is that I tried.  No pain, no gain.  Oh, there was LOTS of pain.  The only true gain was embarrassment and several trips to the ER.

Fast forward and now I’m a mom.  Luckily, all the kids were athletes.  Good athletes.  And I took my rightful spot in the bleachers.  Where. I. Belong.

But something happens after you’ve shot some kids out of your hoo-ha and spent your days cutting the crusts off, and answering questions about why dogs sniff each others’ butts, and picking up socks and sippy cups.  You get a little…soft.

Now, there is only one kid left at home and he’s about to get a driver’s license (cue the tears).  And since his dad left, there’s just me.  And God willing, I’d like to enter this new chapter of my life a little less…soft.

So last year, I started what I call “The Road to 50 and Fabulous”.  I still have until December to turn 50, but I am determined that when I do, I will like what I see in the mirror.

Since last March, I have lost close to 40 lbs.  Most of that was by watching everything I put into my face hole.  But I have incorporated some actual exercise in there as well.

5K

This is me, after having been talked into a 5K last April with my bestie.  See the double chin starting?  See the pudge around the middle?

I haven’t joined a gym because it feels too competitive there.  And there’s an audience.

I don’t do any classes because I’m cheap.  And there’s an audience.

But here’s what I HAVE done:

I bought a treadmill.  Lemme tell you a little something about my treadmill and me.  When I first bought it (only $50 from a co-worker, holla!) I put it in the garage.  One day, while my son was napping on the couch, I decided to go out and do a 20-minute walk.  About 5 minutes in, I got a “low battery” message on my phone and I can’t walk without my music.

So, I left the belt of the treadmill going so I could run in and grab the charger.  I went back into the garage, plugged my phone into the outlet behind the treadmill and attempted to walk around the back of a freakin’ moving treadmill and you can pretty much guess what happened next.

My shoe caught the belt and propelled me forward.  First, all my weight landed on my left knee.  Then, I was launched sideways and hit my left shoulder on the front of the treadmill itself, right before hitting the back of my head on the concrete garage floor.  Luckily, my son heard the commotion and ran out to help me.  Not gonna lie…he had to stifle the laughter because he KNOWS me.  But he did help me and gave me ice for my injuries.  In fact, he recently helped me bring the thing into the house and set it up in the spare bedroom – which is carpeted!

I still ride my bicycle around the neighborhood.  Of course, it only takes a barking dog, a rock or SQUIRREL to distract me and down I go.  But, I get up, dust myself off, swallow my pride, and continue on.

attempt yoga via my fitness and exercise channel.  Turns out that yoga pants are really comfy when doing actual yoga.

I lift weights.  Although, I will tell you…when a weight falls on your pinky toe, it hurts like a mofo!!

The weight is still coming off and I have actually gotten to buy some cute clothes.  The double chin has mostly disappeared and I have found my waistline.  I do actually sleep better and feel better about myself.

penny

This is me TODAY – 40 lbs. down

But I’m still not a “fan” of exercise.  What I AM a fan of is balance.  And me.  That’s right…me.  Because I’ve stuck with it and forged on, in spite of life’s best efforts to throw me off course (quite literally sometimes).  And there’s nothing wrong with being my own biggest fan.

Who knows?  Maybe some day, with my new body and my new outlook, I’ll get to try some of those other activities that make you pant and sweat.  ;0)

With a Little Help From My Friends

I have been a huge Beatles fan ever since I can remember.  In fact, when I was three years old, my mother gave me a music box that was shaped liked a treasure chest.  When I opened it, it played “Let it Be”, which is still one of my all time favorites.  By that time, Lennon and McCartney has just penned “With a Little Help From My Friends”, which Ringo Starr later sang on their Sgt. Pepper album.  Another one of my favorites.

Friendships evolve over a person’s lifetime.  There are the friends made at daycare, at the library lap-sit, or at the park.  There are play dates and friends made on the T-ball diamond or the soccer field.  Kids start to forge friendships with neighborhood kids and classmates.  Very few of them stick in the beginning.  Only after we mature, do we find out who we are as people, and then we can learn what it takes to hold onto to those friendships.

At the beginning of my 21 year relationship with my ex-husband, I had a wide variety of friends.  There were a couple life long friendships I had managed to hold onto from my school days.  There were friends I had made during different jobs I had.  There were the parents of kids that my own kids had developed friendships with.  There were the online friends I made as a mom blogger.  And there were the “friend couples” that my ex-husband and I had together.

Sadly, there’s nothing quite like a divorce to find out which friendships will “stick”.  My experience with friends (and those I thought were my friends) has been a little shocking and a little tricky at times.  But here’s what I’ve learned:

1.  Even though “friend couples” might say they are neutral and will try to assure you that “we are friends with both of you”, that wasn’t the case in my situation.  The couple chose a side and that was that.  In a few situations, I was a bit shocked that I wasn’t the one who was chosen (because I’m the FUN one – duh!!) but I had to let it go.  Friend couples tend to want to hang out with other couples and I was no longer part of one.

2.  Some friends who weren’t necessarily part of a “friend couple” but had a significant other nonetheless, did the ol’ “drop it like it’s hot”.  Except the “it” was me and I certainly didn’t feel “hot”.  It seems that sometimes ladies don’t like the idea that you’re suddenly single (because you’ll go after their man.  Obviously.  Sheesh!)

3.  There will be “friends” (and I use the term loosely) who will try to make you over.  Because let’s face it, the entire reason I got divorced was because I didn’t have the right color hair, or the right clothes, or a tan, or the right figure, etc.  While I’m all about self improvement, the last thing I wanted was to make rash decisions and turn myself into someone else.

4.  Some friends are afraid that divorce is contagious.  Seriously.  Because if it looked on the outside like YOU had everything going for you, and then YOU got divorced, then it could happen to them.  They don’t want to be reminded of the “what if”.  And so buh bye divorcee and best of luck to ya!

5.  And there are friends who just don’t know how to help.  They may feel badly for you and want to reach out in some way, but they just don’t know how.  So they don’t.  And time wears on and you run into them at the grocery store and they a) pretend they didn’t see you; or b) give you the “I am so sorry I haven’t called, but I have been SO busy, and you know how it is, but I really have to go, it was nice to see you, please take care and know I’ll be thinking of you, see ya later…….” in the produce section.

BUT………….there are the keepers.  And I’m proud to say that, although my list isn’t nearly as long as some others, my friendship circle is SOLID.  Here’s why:

BFF

1.  They accept me EXACTLY as I am.  And a lot of times that means with no make up, in my pajamas, and my 3 day unwashed hair pulled back in a pony.

2.  They’re REAL with me.  Which means they’ll be the first to say “dude, take a shower, wash your hair, throw on some clean clothes and for God’s sake, put a little makeup on.  Have you no self respect?”

3.  They aren’t afraid of my divorce disease.  They don’t worry that I’ll rub my divorce cooties all over them.  They will even volunteer their husbands/boyfriends/significant others to look under my hood (of the car – easy now!).

4.  They help me to see what’s good in my life – my son, my family, my job, my home and they help me to see my PROGRESS.

5.  They make me laugh.  They know I’ve come TOO far to wallow in self pity.  A cry every now and again is fine and they will hand out the tissues.  A bitch session is great and they’d take someone down if that person tried to hurt me.  But they don’t let me stay there.  And for that, I’m immensely grateful!

And I’ve learned to be a friend to myself.  Because really, who knows me better than…..me?

I know when I’ve eaten my weight in Oreos and it’s time to get on the treadmill.  I know when Rum Chata is a harmless, little distraction after a long week of work, or a blatant cry for help.  I know when I’m aggravated to the point of needing a padded room and someone needs to talk me down from the ledge.

And so, at those times when my other friends are busy tending to their own lives, I am my own friend.  And the good news is that, no matter what, this friendship will stick.

A Nag, Some Sag and a Brown Paper Bag

Penny at Mom Rants and Comfy Pants:

Some days, I look forward to 50 and fabulous! Other days, I foresee “a nag, some sag and a brown paper bag”.

Originally posted on Mom Rants and Comfy Pants:

I remember the day vividly.  My brother and I had come home from school to find my dad cooking dinner in the kitchen.  This was a completely foreign concept to me because in all of my 10 years on the planet, I had never seen a man (except for Mel on the show Alice) cook before.

mel in alice (2)

There was a chocolate, lopsided cake on the table with one loan pink candle in it that looked like it came straight out of my Easy Bake Oven.  There was a single flower in a large glass that my mom used to drink her iced tea (at least that’s what she told us she was drinking).  And there was a big box wrapped in multi-colored paper that I later found out to be a bathrobe and slippers.  My dad was nothing if not practical.

When my mom arrived home, we all sat down…

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Parenting After Divorce – Top 10 Things I’ve Learned

Divorce can be ugly.  In my case, it was stressful, often contentious, and incredibly expensive.  And until I went through the process, I didn’t realize just how many people would be affected.  Or have an opinion.

But it was necessary.  And that’s all I have to say about that.

And although life isn’t always rainbows and rose petals, it is pretty good.  And I know my 15 year old son would tell you the same thing.  Here’s why:

1.  Although I’m not advocating divorce by any means, my marriage had become incredibly unhealthy.  Day to day life in our home was filled with tension and stress.  And it went on far too long.  When only one party is a willing participant in the relationship, it will eventually break down and suffer irreparable damage.  THAT is not the model of marriage that I wanted my son to see.

Instead, I expose him quite frequently to my parents, who laugh together.  They show affection to each other.  When they disagree, they do so respectfully.  They share responsibilities.  They support and encourage each other.  THAT is the model of marriage I hope my son carries into adulthood.

2.  Now that my ex-husband and I don’t live in the same home, we get along much better.  I am not annoyed by his day to day habits and he is not annoyed by mine.  We respect each others’ spaces and are not sniping about little things that quickly turn into big things.  It is so much easier to model respect for one another, and that is an aspect of our relationship that was missing at the end.  Our son knows it.

3.  My ex-husband and I had VERY different views about money and spending.  Although I love to give my son nice things, I am a firm believer that you a) give it two weeks to see if you really want it; b) shop around to get the best deal; and then (most important to me) c) you SAVE for it.  My son has no choice but to live this way now and it’s really helping him develop a different mindset when it comes to money.  He has a part time job at school and gives careful consideration to how he spends not only his money, but his time.  And that is a beautiful thing.

4.  Without the day to day arguing (or passive-aggressive behavior I dealt with), I am much more relaxed.  My son will tell you I’m calmer and I have more clarity.  I know I sleep better at night.  And that has helped me to be a more level headed mom overall.

5.  I don’t have that extra person to cook for.  Or do laundry for.  Or run errands and make phone calls for.  Or clean up after.  I know, I know.  Many wives do those things willingly for their husbands.  I get it.  I did them as well – for 21 years. But at some point, you’re being taken advantage of and not being met half way.  Working a full time job outside the home AND doing 99% of the work IN the home, and doing 99% of the child rearing while he got to go where he wanted, when he wanted and with whom he wanted just wasn’t cutting it anymore.  But I digress.

The point to that is this:  My son sees that wives and moms shouldn’t be taken advantage of.  Everyone has to do his or her part.  And my son has stepped up and embraced that philosophy wholeheartedly.  He realizes now that he can do his own laundry.  And wash dishes.  And run the vacuum.  He will take care of the grass or shovel the driveway.  He will cook dinner.  He even checks the fluids in my car.  I have taught him that there is no such thing as men’s work or women’s work at home.  It’s just work and everyone pitches in.

6.  Now that my son is developing a more mature outlook and taking on more responsibility at home, I have been given the gift of time.  We can use that time together to watch a movie, play a game, practice his driving skills (5 more months for a driver’s license – holla!!) or just talk.  That has helped us bond even more.

7.  And let’s face it.  My son IS 15 now.  Not all of that free time is spent with him because, hello!!  Teenager.  So that has forced me to develop more of my own interests.  Like reading.  Or writing on this blog.  Or spending time with my girlfriends who I neglected for years.  My son will tell you that he loves seeing me doing things I love.  It’s like giving HIM permission to be happy.

8.  And one thing I’ve pursued since the divorce is health and exercise again.  Being a single mom really has me thinking about how I care for myself.  So I not only preach to my son about healthy eating, I model it.  I also exercise.  I make sure I get enough sleep.  I’ll go back to getting regular check ups.  Because taking care of myself means I’m around longer for my son and his future family.

9.  Being the only parent in this house means that I am the sole authority.  Don’t get me wrong, my son knows he can call on his dad at any time and I encourage him to do so.  But many times, an answer is needed right away or a situation has to be dealt with right away.  I have learned to (as the Bible says) “let my yes be yes and my no be no”.  It has taken some time, but my son has a newfound respect for me.  If his dad and I are able to discuss something beforehand, we don’t hand down the decision until we can come to a consensus.  But if I have to make a decision on the fly, his dad knows that I am the authority and he will stand by me.  It has made parenting much easier.

10.  Finally, my son now sees me as a flawed human being.  And that takes a lot of pressure off him to be perfect. Understand.  I do NOT talk about “divorce stuff” or things like “visitation” or “child support” or any of those things with my son.  I do NOT refer to him as the “man of the house”, nor do I lean on him or make him feel responsible for my happiness now that his dad moved away.  I have seen those situations play out and they’re not pretty.

But…..my son sees that sometimes I make mistakes.  Going through the divorce process made me realize some things about myself.  Things I wanted to change.  Things I needed to change.  And although my son doesn’t need to know the details, he no longer only sees me as:  chauffeur, cook, housekeeper, nursemaid, laundress, educator, bread winner, etc.

He sees me as a person.  A person who not only makes mistakes, but OWNS those mistakes.  A person who is willing to apologize.  A person who is willing to make amends.  A person who sees her flaws and is willing to put forth her best effort, but is not willing to judge herself too harshly or critically for them.  A person who is willing to accept herself, embrace herself and love herself.

And if I can model that for my son, and he grows up to treat himself the same way, that may just be the most important part of my parenting journey with him.

How about you?  Are you a single parent?  I’d love to hear about your own parenting journey.  Leave me a comment.  Like I said, I’ve got LOTS more time on my hands!!

And don’t forget to LIKE me on Facebook (Mom Rants and Comfy Pants) or FOLLOW me on Twitter (@ComfyPants2).

2014 – What the Heck Just Happened? Happy New Year Pals!

You’ve no doubt heard plenty of people say that 2014 went by way too fast.  Or maybe they’re saying they’re glad it’s over.

To be honest, I could say both.

2014 was the year I came home from work to find that my husband had moved out almost every single thing we owned.

2014 was also the year my son got his driving permit and was all too happy to transport my butt around town.

2014 was the year my step-daughter decided she hated me and I was no longer allowed to see her baby girl.

2014 was also the year I finally lost those 50 pounds I’d been carrying around for TOO long.

2014 was the year that I had to say goodbye to a toxic friendship that was bringing me down.

2014 was also the year my son found his first love.

2014 was the year my son got his first heartbreak.

2014 was the year that my husband dragged my name through the mud because he was pissed that I’d actually stand up for myself (for ONCE) and divorce his sorry ass.

2014 was also the year that the company I had been temping for hired me outright and gave me a raise and benefits.

2014 was the year that my mother-in-law accosted me at my son’s baseball game to tell me how wrong I was to end my marriage.

2014 was also the year I realized I could provide everything my son needed and I sure didn’t need a man to pay my way.

2014 was the year that made me take stock of who I was, how I wanted to look, what I wanted, what I wanted to see and listen to, how I wanted to spend my time and money, and where my life was headed.

2014 was also the year that I realized how much my family, friends, and my son truly love me.  And support me.  And encourage me.  And are willing to kick me in the butt if I ever start acting like an a-hole (because that’s necessary sometimes).

And finally, 2014 was the year that I decided to come back to this blog.  Sometimes for fun.  Sometimes for serious.  But always for realz!  Thank you for sticking it out with me.  Here’s to an extraordinary 2015!!

By the way, THIS kid is what kept me sane all 2014 long!!

Mason Easter 2014

What We Have Here is a Failure to Communicate

Ahh – good communication skills.  Have you noticed how much we tend to throw those three words around?  We claim to want them – in our relationships with our spouses, our kids, our friends, our parents, at work.

We even put those words on our resumes:

…I am very organized and possess “good communication skills”… and blah, blah, blah.

And yet – people are communicating less and less.  Sure, our Facebook friends like our statuses.  Our followers retweet our tweets.  Our family members comment on our Instagram photos.  And we text each other like texting is our job.

And yet….

When J. and I were first married, there was no Internet.  No texting.  Just phone calls and face to face…wait for it…communication.  Looking back, I don’t know that it was necessarily good communication.  But that’s what happens in the honeymoon phase:

I don’t have to tell him what I want or need because he just knows (yeah, I think I just threw up in my mouth a little).

She doesn’t need me to tell her.  After all, she finishes my sentences for me.  Um, yeah.

While a lack of communication isn’t the sole reason our marriage broke down, it was certainly a contributing factor.  But just because we aren’t together anymore, doesn’t mean we don’t still have to communicate.  After all, we still have a son to parent and he is watching us more now than ever before.

Apparently, we have a loooooooong way to go as evidenced by today’s events:

My teenager was set to attend a field trip today, leaving the school at 9:30 am and returning at 5 pm.  Because I was supposed to have attended a concert with my parents and wouldn’t be back in time to pick the teen up, I had texted my teen’s dad on Saturday asking him to pick the teen up instead.  My text read:

“Can you pick M. up from school tomorrow at 5pm and bring him home?  I will be at J’s performance and won’t make it home in time.”

His response (via text of course) was “ok”.

Once I got the response I was looking for, I texted my teenager (who stayed the night at a buddy’s house):  “Dad is picking you up from your field trip tomorrow, but I will still drop you off in the morning, ok?”

To which my son, texted “ok”.

Seems pretty straightforward, right?  Here’s what really went down.

I took my teen to the bus at 9:30 am.  He’d had breakfast, his vitamins and I gave him spending money.  What he neglected to tell me until we were walking out of the front door was that his phone charger had broken the day before (at his buddys house), his phone was now dead, and he needed a charger.  My charger.

So, of course I gave it to him because you never know when there is an emergency, right?

Fast forward to mid-afternoon.  I had been home sick the entire weekend but was relieved that at least the teen’s dad would be picking him up from the field trip so I didn’t have to leave the house again.  Wrong.

Teen texted me to say “I’m here”.

Not, “I’ll be at the school in about 15 minutes”.

“I’m here”.

It was not 5pm.  It was 4:10pm.

Problem #1.  Why was my son texting me?  His dad was supposed to be picking him up.  After all, he had texted the words “ok”.

But his dad lives in a town 15 minutes away.  Although I was sick, I was home and not at the concert.  Easier to just go pick him up.

Problem #2.  Because my own phone wasn’t fully charged and I was without my charger, my phone DIED as soon as my son’s text came in.  But that shouldn’t matter because I’d be seeing him in 5 minutes anyway and would get my charger back, right?  Wrong.

Problem #3.  I sat at the school for 20 minutes watching every other kid get into a car.  My own kid was nowhere to be found.  It occurred to me that my son must have realized that his dad was supposed to have picked him and he texted him instead.  So I came home…to find an empty house.

Problem #4.  My son did come a few minutes later.  One of the other kids gave him a ride home and he was completely oblivious to what had occurred.  “But Mom, I texted you “Nvm I got a ride”.  Yeah.

Problem #5.  I put my phone on MY charger and, as soon as I could, I texted my son’s dad.  “Never mind about picking up M.  He is already home.”

And do you know what my son’s dad did?  Texted me back:  “What do you mean?  I’m picking him up Monday right?”

See, he actually read the text on SUNDAY.  Even though it was delivered on SATURDAY.  So, to him, “tomorrow” was Monday.  You see where this is going right?

So, I have come to a new understanding of what it means to have “good communication”.  Because the message you send isn’t necessarily the message that is received.

And we only have to look at the breakdown of families, the loss of friendships, and the problems in the workplace as proof.  Emails have a purpose.  Texts can be quick and efficient.  Facebook is fun.

But when it comes to good communication...dare I say real communication, word of mouth is best.  And even though I’ve been parenting for 25 years (my son is the only one left at home) I have to make some changes myself.  Because if I don’t start modeling better communication skills NOW, I’ll be doing a lot of apologizing to my future daughter-in-law later.