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Choice

We have a life filled with choices. There are many little choices every single day. And in our lives there are some big choices. It is a series of decisions we make that create our life. Depending on the choices, we must live with the results.  Some decisions will change our lives forever.  While we cannot control the world, we can control our world.

I never felt like I really had any choices. I allowed my circumstances and my obligations to choose for me. I did not realize until writing this piece, not making a choice is actually passively making a choice. Which created a life that is not truly mine. It also created for me a situation where I felt like a victim. Of course I believe in destiny and I know this journey was the one I was meant to be on. I believe your choices and decisions guide you to your destiny.

But I did not actively choose this life for a long time. For me it has always been easier to go with the flow, let life just happen, and let others make my decisions for me.  I spent so long having no personal responsibility for myself or my life, and look where that got me.  35, divorced, two kids and starting over.

And then one day, I stopped all that. I had to make what felt like a million decisions. Stay unhappily married, or divorce? Stay in Connecticut or move? Move where? Full custody or 50/50 custody? Rent or buy a house? Private or public school? Work or stay home? Date or be single? Roommates or no roommates?

Working this new muscle of decision making was uncomfortable, scary, challenging, but also so amazing. I was in control of my life, like it was for the first time ever. Some decisions were 100% the best decision I could have made, and some decisions I need to revisit and change. But those are my mistakes, and life is a growing experience.

The more I know myself, the easier making choices has become.  I stop and think am I making this choice out of fear or love.  I used to make all my choices out of fear or make no choices at all.  Now nearly all my decisions are made out of love; love for myself, my kids, my partner, my community and the world around me.

Trust yourself. Which is easier said then done sometimes. But look at who I was able to become when I did, the suburban goddess mom.

Tidying Up On The Inside

 

Everyone is buzzing about the Netflix series, “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.” While watching the series, I kept thinking how I need to “tidy up” myself on the inside, not my home (although my home could use a little Marie Kondo inspiration and magic).

I do not need to carry my story of loss, trauma, and abuse on my back forever. It is my history, not my present or future. It will always be intertwined in the fabric of my life, a part of my story.

It is time to pack up the things that do not serve me but weigh me down, and release them into the universe. Knowing what to cut out or release takes introspection and wisdom. Being able to be clear and strong enough to make this cut when it is time takes support and courage. Together, this creates an environment of simplicity. I want more than anything a life of simplicity, filled with peace, safety, and pleasure.

I want to fill my mind, body, and soul with only the things that maximize my enjoyment, so I need to take a look at what is truly important for my life. For me that list includes positive and growing experiences with my kids, partnership with Chris, deep understanding and connection with myself, fun and real relationships with my friends, and service and compassion to the community around me.

I want change. There once was a daunting mountain of things to go through, but I have been working on each issue—talking about it, dealing with my feelings around it, and releasing it. The incidents still took place, and will always be a part of my story, but they will no longer take up significant room and emotions in my life.

I release you…

  • guilt over my brother’s car accident when I was 10
  • anger over my father divorcing my mother and leaving my life nearly forever
  • anger and confusion from being raped at 13
  • sadness, loneliness, and anger from my mothers lung cancer and death (13-24)
  • anger and fear from my marriage, including all the abuse, isolation, neglect, and control (25-35)
  • sadness and loneliness from disagreements and stopping communication with my brothers (27-present)
  • heartache and mixed feelings from the numerous miscarriages (30-35)
  • anger and disappointment from the men that came before Chris (35-36)
  • disappointment and judgement for friends and family who were not there for me when I needed them (35-36)

Wow! I actually feel a shift inside myself writing this. With this release I am one step closer to my transformation.

I have limited space inside to hold things and I only want to make room for things that serve me well. Things that bring me peace, strength, joy, laughter, and love. I have this amazing opportunity to go forward and not just live in the past. And this suburban goddess mom is going to take every opportunity given to her.

Who am I?

Who am I? The search for my essence, my identity, is fundamental and necessary. What is most deeply true about my inner voice, my deepest heart and my expanding soul. Some say there is no answer to this question, but I believe there are many.  But no answer can fully get to the true, core sense of self.  Finding yourself is an ongoing process.

I am a mother, partner, ex-wife, sister, friend, cousin, aunt and daughter.  I am Jewish, but also extremely spiritual and want to explore other religions deeply.  I am an ex teacher, ex baby food company owner, ex housewife, stay at home mom, consistent volunteer and writer. My Facebook bio describes me as a “Mother of two, blogger, tattooed, hot pink haired, explorer and wanderer of the world and self, & free”.

These names are worn like shields, they reveal little of my true nature. The more I yearn to go deeper, to find the place that lies beneath these names. I am more than this list of words. I am a collection of emotions, feelings and sensations. Who I really am is always changing.  I have been searching for some unity and purpose within. And this blog is helping me find it.

I think perception plays a huge part in how we view ourselves. There are many perceived versions of me. Who do I think I am? Who do you think I am?  Just as God said to Moses in the dessert, “I am who I am.”  If you want to live a fulfilling life, you must first know who you are; this takes searching to discover.  The answer cannot come when you are stuck in fear, doubt, trauma, or when you are numb or disconnected to your feelings and inner self.

Accepting, loving, and forgiving aids in the discovery of your true self. I spent many years not doing this and my self esteem and self worth suffered.  This also affected my relationship with my kids and with people around me. The more I took control of my life, and changed the things that were not working, the more natural all this became.  I am perpetually redrawing, reorganizing, rethinking, reconsidering, and reevaluating.

If we are preoccupied with what is missing, what is broken and wrong inside of us and around us. We lose sight of the big picture. We are more. We are ever changing, ever evolving people.  I have shed the layers of identity that no longer serve me.  I will remain rooted in being, in existing, in operating, in the power of becoming the architect of my world.  I am the Suburban Goddess Mom: I look forward to seeing who I become on this journey of personal discovery.

I’m Rich, Just Not in Money

I grew up rich. But the way I grew up seemed totally normal. Firstly, everyone around us pretty much had what we had. Secondly, my mother never spoiled us.

I remember in middle school, being at the mall and seeing a sweater I loved at the Limited. The sweater was $50. She said, “you do not need another sweater. But if it is on sale next time we are at the mall, I will buy it for you.” It was gone the next time I visited the mall. I still talk about it.

When I got married, my ex came from an extremely poor family and area but had worked his whole life “to make something of himself” and “to be rich.” And he really wanted to live like we were. There were cars, houses, boats, vacations, jewelry, handbags, fancy parties and dinners, a staff to take care of our needs, etc. I loved being spoiled for a little while, maybe the first year or two. But soon the novelty wore off with our marriage and being rich. By then I realized how money and material items in the world could not buy me happiness, safety, love, support, encouragement, belonging, and acceptance. All the things I truly wanted and needed.

When I decided to get divorced, I knew that my whole life would change. I’m not sure I could ever know how much. During the divorce process there were many times my lawyers tried to push me to ask for more money. I didn’t. I wanted enough for me and the kids to live on. I wanted a different life. Not just from my ex but from all of it. We moved to Portland, Maine. The least affluent area I have ever lived in. We have a sweet little house, had one car now two, no staff, no vacations and the only items we had came from our old life. But a greatly edited catalog of those things.

To anyone looking in on my life now, they would say I have a middle class lifestyle. From my perspective, it’s a financial struggle and I worry about having enough. But only in money. We have exactly what we need to get by, even if it is tight.

I found out that I’m a lot richer once I stopped counting the amount of money in my bank account, and start counting the amount of blessings in my life. I learned to value each experience and relationship. Once you start doing this, you will find yourself becoming a richer person too.

If you want to be rich, start investing in love and happiness. And remember, always count your blessings, and not your quarters.

My life, my heart, my soul is filled with so many riches now. All those things I wanted when I was financially rich I finally have. I am living a life abundant in happiness, safety, love, support, encouragement, belonging, and acceptance. This suburban goddess mom is rich, just not in money.

Motherhood Is Not My Hood

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I am not a natural mother. I am not the mother who looks like she has it all together.  I am not that mom who has no idea who she would be without her kids. I am not that mom who defines herself as a mom first. I am not the mom who always knew she would have kids.

I am the mom who used to hate being a mom. Don’t get me wrong — I love my kids and would do anything for them. But the job description, hours, pay and ability to advance in this career suck. It is physically and emotionally exhausting. Raising children is the most important job in the world, but you can’t put it on a resume.

As much as the scales for equal rights for women have become more balanced, that is not the case if you are a mother, especially a stay at home mother. We work for free with no retirement, health, or other long term benefits. We are not respected or valued by society, and oftentimes our families and friends. Our job is often trivialized. And more often then not we are isolated and overworked.

My short-lived career was as a teacher. While I was doing it, I really enjoyed it. In high school and college, I babysat in all of my free time. So I am not anti-children or childhood. And I do really like kids.

My ex wanted a big family. And he was the boss. I vividly remember feeling uneasy about this. But not feeling like I could say anything. And if you knew me back then I always said that we wanted a big family. All the “we’s” from back then were really “he’s.” We had two kids back to back. And then we we became unable to have more, even with medical assistance. The universe knew better.

When we were married we had a very affluent lifestyle. I was a stay at home wife and mother. That lifestyle included a nanny and housekeeper to help in the raising of the kids and running of the house. It allowed me to do the parts of parenting I loved. The projects, experiences, classes and play dates.

Now as a single mom, raising the kids, I am so thankful to have only two. I don’t want to say I am doing it all on my own but I am doing a lot more. I do have my amazing partner, Chris, who lives with us. We also have a cleaning lady and babysitter one time a week. But mostly, I am a mom, and it’s my full time job. Let’s face it: kids are exhausting, messy, expensive, and a lot of work. And quite honestly, many aspects of parenting contrast with my true nature as an experimental free spirit. Things like schedules, rules, discipline, and bed times.

Over this past year and half I have really grown and begun flourishing in this role as a mother. I truly love being with my kids. Maybe it’s their ages, 6 and 7. Or maybe it’s the stage in my journey. I used to unabashedly tell people I hated being a mother and that I was bad at it. Let me preface it by saying I considered myself a bad mom because I did not enjoy being with them, I kind of dreaded it. I let them watch TV or YouTube to not have to parent, I fed them whatever they wanted, I did whatever was easiest for me. Not what was best for them. There was absolutely no abuse or neglect. I just did the minimum the job required.

As I have been moving through my work on myself something changed. I started loving being with them. I started really parenting. And I started getting really good at it. The better I got the better they got. They are flourishing in all aspects of their lives and that is because I am nourishing them. I stopped judging myself and feeling inferior.

Motherhood will always be the hardest job. It is the toughest job you will ever love. But to me, it is where I am meant to be. After all, I am the Suburban Goddess Mom. It’s in the title.