You Can Do It!

Monday, April 16, 2018

One of the things I worried about upon my divorce was my ability to provide my children with the life I envisioned for us. Simple things like - could we never buy Ikea furniture because I couldn't lift the boxes by myself? Can we not own a house because I know like limited information on lawn maintenance or plumbing problems? Would I have to PAY for help with nearly every aspect of our lives because I couldn't do it? UGH. Talk about self-deprecation. Not cheering on myself and having confidence in my ability to do stuff (adult stuff!) that's part of every day life.

Now, I'm no master plumber or landscaper. I actually need to tighten the bolt on my kitchen faucet and kinda want to throw up at the thought of having to do that myself because I just envision the entire faucet flying off and nailing me in the face and then my kitchen flooding. A tad dramatic, are we? But it's true! But I have been slowly doing stuff on my own - stuff I know for a fact that my ex would scoff at because I never did it during our relationship and it's been building up my confidence that all is not lost on my crafty nor handy skills. And ladies - if I can do it ... you can do it!

Here's what I've tackled since moving into my house in September:

1. hung pictures (yes - minimal, but whatevs)
2. hung my flat screen tv above my fireplace (it hasn't fallen on anyone!)
3. ordered and oversaw my vents being cleaned out (I didn't do the work, but I recognized it severely needed to be done!!)
5. Picked up allllll the leaves in my yard this fall (and my backyard was seriously covered in it in layers)
6. Repainted all of my kitchen cabinets (yoooo!)
7. Added faux backsplash and kitchen counters (peel n stick baby!!!)
8. Replaced all of my kitchen drawer pulls
9. Painted nearly my entire interior of my home
10. Moved most of my belongings into my house by myself (did get help for the furniture because I'm no fool)
11. Put together my daughters bed frames
12. Removed a shower door in my bathroom and carried it outside for garbage day! (those things are HEAV-Y!)
13. Removed (and sold!) old closet doors in our guest bedroom.
14. Replaced floor vents in home
15. Put together a swingset!!!

So #15 is my current project. And yes, I'm putting together a cedar swingset by myself. And - it's very stable so BOOYAH! 

Working on putting the walls together.

Put together the "slide" side!

When you become divorced, you sometimes have to learn to live life alone. You're going to be the bug killer for your children, you'll be in charge of taking the garbage out on garbage day and if you can't afford to hire help - you might be the one putting together a swingset someday. But I promise you, YOU CAN DO IT! And guess what? Your kids will remember how strong and ABLE their mother was. I think it's especially important for little girls to see their mom doing all of the these things so they realize that they're strong and capable too. 

What's been your proudest single mom accomplishment? Sound off in the comments! 

Book Review: The Year of Less by Cait Flanders

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

I'm a podcast listener - I love them and can't get enough of the chatter. On one of my regular podcasts, they mentioned the book "The Year of Less" by Cait Flanders - a look into one woman's experiment of living with less, spending less and trying to live more.


Holy cow. This woman is ME. Cait dives into a little bit of her past, some break ups that have stirred some big pain and the fact that she uses food and booze to numb the pain. She decides to try to experiment and live on spending less - or basically going on a no-spend year. She sets up rules of what she can actually purchase (basic necessities or things she knows she'll need) and even rules on what she's NOT allowed to purchase during the next 12 months. Each month she tracks her progress on her savings, purging (getting out the crap in her life that aren't serving her) and even her confidence of fulfilling a full year of no-spending.

It's a quick and easy read (only 166 pages) - and sooooo relatable to not just spending habits but such transitional content to various areas of your life. If you're looking for a quick weekend or beach read or just want some motivation to clear the clutter in your life (emotionally or tangibly) I highly recommend this read!

Bonus! The kindle version is only $1.99 - and you can download the Kindle reader app on your phone! Boom!

What are your favorite recent reads?

Dealing with the Anger

Thursday, April 5, 2018

One of the emotions I struggled with most, during and post-divorce, was my anger. Yes, I was heartbroken and hurt - but when that faded away, I realized I was intensely angry at my ex. I blamed her for the fall of our marriage, and her betrayal to me only fueled that even more. I felt she took everything away from me: her family, my children 50% of the time, our future, etc. And as I moved forward and through the things I wanted in my single-Ashley life, I continued to find anger towards her in pockets, since we still have to interact because we're co-parenting.

I won't sit here and say I'm 100% anger-free. It's been nearly 3 years since we separated and the anger has subsided greatly, but I think some of it always lingers. And that's due to not having forgiveness for her in my heart. I've accepted what's happened, I've accepted my life currently - I have not forgiven her and the blame I place upon her. The anger was helpful at first - it pushed me forward into acceptance a lot faster than I normal have been able to get there in the past. It moved me to agree to the divorce and to set up a parenting plan without dragging my feet or "kicking and screaming" for her to stay with me. The anger withdrew funds from my 401k and signed my apartment lease - it signed the divorce documents and it showed up in court when we appeared before a judge.

My anger has been like an adrenaline rush when I need it. It moves me to action - but the one thing that it doesn't really do is allow me to sit and feel the emotions outside of anger (like sadness or grief). And that's why I don't think I've been able to move towards full forgiveness for the end of my marriage. Anger can only get you so far. Eventually, you have to deal with the other emotions that may feel uncomfortable. For the past 3 years, I've used food and wine as a comfort to help numb those feels. While anger drives my actions, food and wine numb the pain. I've tried several times to get healthier, stop drinking, exercise more, etc. But I'm not there yet. I bark out that I'm waiting for motivation or something to ignite the drive in me - but really, that's not going to happen until I allow myself to feel something and quit self-numbing.

Working through the anger is one thing - dealing with the aftermath is another. And at some point, your anger will subside. Mine has. I feel like I'm floating in my life right now. Maybe it's deep down under the surface hanging out with my forgiveness, but it's definitely not on the "fight" or flight motivation that it once was.

My point is that you'll have anger when going through a divorce. There are a lot of hopes, dreams and expectations that are no longer being fulfilled and your life can seem upside down. It's easy - so easy - to be rightfully angry at that. And if you need that anger to help you move forward towards acceptance or to get you to a safe place (physically or mentally) then use that anger. However, eventually on this journey the anger will subside and you'll have to deal with a slew of other emotions that skim the surface. Divorce doesn't mean just signing papers and it's over. It's something you'll deal with emotionally (maybe financially) for a long time. Continue to do the work. Recognize when your habits become unhealthy - and when the anger seems to dissipate and you're left with other feelings you haven't been as aware of. Don't ignore them or try to mute them. You're only delaying your progress and emotional recovery. Let's work through this... we're still on a journey.