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Morning Mantras

Ever since middle school, I have been a lover of quotes, proverbs, and positive words of any kind. I remember being in 8th grade writing them on my mirrored closet doors in lipstick. I would go to bed looking at them and wake up looking at them. They made me feel strong, powerful, and invincible at a time in my life when I wasn’t. Let’s face it, middle school can be rough. On top of that, we moved, and I switched schools for 8th grade. Also, my mom and dad got divorced, and my mom was diagnosed as cancer. To say it was a difficult, sucky time is an understatement, so focusing on positive things and words helped me get through it.

This love of positive words and surrounding myself with them continued into high school. For the holidays one year, I even bought each one of my close friends a journal and wrote a quote that reminded me of each of them.

Now as an adult I still love quotes, positive words, and affirmations. In my newly finished office, an entire back wall is slowly being filled with them. One of my current forms of self-care is reciting a daily affirmation in the mirror every morning. I recite the affirmation repeatedly until it either feels like a part of me or like it has become an undeniable truth. This practice brings me the peace, positivity, and strength to start my days. I love it!

Daily affirmations are simple, positive statements or empowering mantras. They help me to overcome negative thoughts and self-talks and stop me before my self-sabotaging can begin. Daily affirmations are to the mind what exercise is to the body!

There are three keys to creating your own affirmations. They are always in the present tense, they include positive words, and they are always said as fact and truth.

My List of Favorite Affirmations

  1. I am attracting joy into my life.
  2. I am confidently expressing myself openly and honestly.
  3. I am feeling exhilarated, agile, and alive.
  4. I am effectively communicating my needs and desires to my loving partner.
  5. I am feeling relaxed and grateful.
  6. I know, accept, and am true to myself.
  7. I learn from my mistakes.
  8. I accept others for who they are.
  9. I commit to learning new things.
  10. I endeavor to be the best that I can be.
  11. I have inner peace.
  12. Each day I am moving towards my goals.
  13. I radiate love, and others reflect love back to me.
  14. Life is full of love, and I find it everywhere I go.
  15. My words are always kind and loving, and in return, I hear kindness and love from others.
  16. Everything about me is lovable and worthy of love.
  17. I wake up every morning filled with joy, because I know that I face each day with the support and love of my partner.
  18. All of my relationships are healthy, because they are based in love and compassion.
  19. My body is filled with healing energy every time I inhale.
  20. I radiate confidence and others respect me.
  21. I am filled with love, hope, and confidence.
  22. I am grateful for the life force and energy that runs through my body.
  23. Everything I think, say, and do makes me healthier.
  24. I feel safe and comfortable in my body and life.
  25. I wake up happy and excited every single day.
  26. Each day of my life is filled with joy and love.
  27. I crave new healthy experiences.
  28. I easily accomplish all my goals.
  29. I instantly manifest my desires.
  30. My life is full of magic and serendipity.
  31. I see beauty in everything.
  32. My environment is calm and supportive.
  33. I am surrounded by peaceful people.

This Suburban Goddess Mom wakes up every morning and spends a few minutes with myself and my mantras in the bathroom mirror. What a way to start the day!

Mom Gone Wild

There are so many hard, challenging, and difficult aspects to separating and divorce, but there are also many positives in the short term and long term. For me, one of the best things is the schedule; for the first time since having kids I have regular days of kid-free time. I am a full-time mom most days. Then they go to their dad’s or he comes here, and I am off. Free of the kids and the jobs associated with them. Free from the bedtime rituals, the nightmares, the early wake-ups, the baths, the refereeing fights, the endless snacks, meals, dishes, laundry, nagging, etc.  

Originally when we separated we were still living in the same state, so I had the children living with me full time. My ex would have them at the marital home Wednesday evenings and every weekend. This was by far the best schedule. Every Wednesday he took the kids, and I went to a movie and out for a drink. Every weekend I traveled, usually to Maine where I was planning to move. 

I had the best time! Those weekends were a blur of sleeping, partying, drinking, meeting people, dating, and so much fun. I was a mom gone wild! Sometimes those weekends were all that I had to look forward to. It also reaffirmed for me how much I did not want to be married and how unhappy and stifled I felt in the marriage.

Then the kids and I moved to Maine, and the divorce became official. The visitation schedule became every other weekend, school holidays, and most of summer. I missed having so much free/off time, and the traveling back and forth between Connecticut and Maine was less than fun for all of us. But I made it work. Most weeks I counted down the days until my days off.  I lived each “off” weekend to the fullest. Those weekends made it possible to get through that first year as a nearly full-time single mother with almost no support or help.

Things have certainly changed since Chris came into my life 15 months ago. There is far less drinking and partying and no dating random men, but we still enjoy our off time to the fullest. We sleep a lot and spend tons of quality uninterrupted time, which our relationship needs.

For many moms going through a separation or divorce, the idea of kid-free time is paralyzing, depressing, and scary. It is definitely difficult to get used to no children when you are usually their full time caretaker. Also, many women do not have exes that they trust and feel comfortable with taking care of the children. I want to express how much I totally understand how women in that situation feel. But I also want to let those women know it is more than okay to enjoy your kid-free time. It will help rejuvenate you for all the times you do have your kids. Enjoying your time does not have to mean drinking, partying, or lots of men, even though that seems to be a normal pattern in the first year post divorce. It can mean family time, yoga, baths, Netflix binges, sleeping in, and travel. It could be whatever suits and serves you best.

You can still be a devoted and good mother even if you are divorced and not a full-time mom. I know for me, I am a much better mother now than I ever was. I am happier, more well-rounded, and more whole. I miss my kids when they are gone, and we text and talk regularly, but I also love my breaks. I got divorced to show my kids a better example of how to be happy, how to love and how to be loved. I am proud to say I have accomplished that with the help of my “moms gone wild” weekends. This Suburban Goddess Mom fully embraces her kid-free time and her kid-full time!

Karma Is Not A Bitch

Almost everyone has heard of karma. People say things like, “Karma’s a bitch”, “I can’t wait for karma to catch up with them”, and “Karma will take care of her.” The truth is, we have it all wrong. As Lachlan Brown says, “When you truly understand what karma means, it can be used as a powerful tool for personal development and spiritual growth.”

The term “karma” is often used casually. We incorrectly believe that if you do the right thing, good things will come back to you as rewards. If you do the wrong thing, bad things will come back to you as punishments. Wrong.

Karma originated in Buddhist teachings. As a general rule, Buddhism only speaks in positives, not in negatives. Karma is a positive tool. It means that “by seeking to do the right thing in any given situation you as well as those around will become conditioned for peace and happiness in a very real and concrete sense.”[1]

“Karma has nothing to do with ‘fate’. If you do something negative, it doesn’t mean that something negative must happen to you to ‘even things out.’”[2] Karma is about positive actions, not fate.

According to Barbara O’Brien of Buddhism.about.com, karma is created by “willful action, through thoughts, words and deeds. We are all creating karma every minute, and the karma we create affects us every minute… The future is not set in stone. You can change the course of your life right now by changing your volitional (intentional) actions and self-destructive patterns.” We ourselves are responsible for our own happiness and misery. We are responsible for our fate.

Karma has become a pop culture term in recent years, but you can see that we have been using it all wrong. “Karma in pop culture often means that people get what they deserve.”[2] However, if we can change this thought we can better understand happiness and positive actions. “We can see that all we really need is to live deeply in the present moment with mindfulness and discover our true nature”, to be kind to ourselves and those around us.[2]

Matt Valentine suggests that in order to “use karma as a force for our own personal and spiritual development, a force for great good, you need only shine the light of mindfulness on your life in order to identify your karmic energy and work to heal any karmic energy holding you back.”[1]  This Suburban Goddess Mom is striving to do this each and every day. I personally use the saying, “keeping my side of the street clean.” I worry only about my actions and doing the right thing in my eyes and for me!

[1] Matt Valentine https://buddhaimonia.com/blog/karma

[2] Lachlan Brown https://hackspirit.com/truth-karma-can-use-guiding-force-life-1/

Magical Thinking

Brian Vandenburg defines magical thinking as “the belief that one’s ideas, thoughts, actions, words, or use of symbols can influence the course of events in the material world. It presumes a causal link between one’s inner, personal experience and the external, physical world.” It is something people all over the globe engage in. In fact, many religious and folk rituals center around it. Magical thinking can be a very normal human response, and there are aspects of it that can have psychological benefits. However, at times it can also be counterproductive or even a sign of a mental health concern.

Magical thinking has its roots in childhood, particularly the toddler years. Children in this stage are becoming more aware of what’s around them and looking to make connections that answer their favorite question: Why? They are also in an egocentric stage of development; it’s easy for them to believe that something they do can affect something totally unrelated, such as having good weather. As children age, higher-level cognition comes into play, and they begin to realize that an example such as this is not actually possible. Still, older children and even adults may continue some aspects of magical thinking for various reasons that they may not even be aware of.

Activating good luck superstitions is a common way people positively engage in magical thinking. This practice may increase perceived self-effectiveness and have a corresponding improvement on one’s performance.

Magical thinking can become a concern when it gets in the way of normal daily functioning. It may bring upon harmful, compulsive behaviors in those with OCD; it does so by mediating a cognitive bias that results from a distrust of the senses and a primary reliance on imagination.

The Suburban Goddess Mom believes in the magic of the universe, the magic inside all of us, and the magic of a greater power.  I think we all need something to believe in and a little more magic in our lives.

Saying “I Don’t”

I have no interest in getting married again. Been there, done that. It was awful. Not just the whole abusive, controlling, manipulative ex part but the whole thing.

I was married once, and now I am in a very serious relationship. When I mention this, people often ask how long it lasted, and 10 years seems to satisfy them. To them, 10 years shows that yes, I did give it the good college try and do understand what this “marriage business” is all about. Then, they always want to know if I will marry again.  I was divorced at the age of 35, and I have become increasingly certain I’ll never marry again.

It seems the assumption is that I must want to be married, that marriage is the natural completion of a relationship, and that it is just what you do if you love somebody. There’s nothing fundamental about marriage in human relationships, though – marriage is a cultural and legal institution that’s a product of a specific history. A lot of what might seem fundamental about marriage is just commitment, and you don’t need the government or anyone else involved to be committed to each other.

As far as commitment goes, I personally don’t feel like I need tradition, religion, or social norms to validate my commitment. What’s more is that I don’t need the law and the often-high costs of divorce to enforce that commitment. Marriage isn’t the lifelong bond that some think it is, with the possibility of divorce usually a statistical coin toss. Marriage isn’t the finish line for a relationship. Relationships require a lot of continuous work. You must sustain them to keep them healthy and worthwhile. And people change. If our partner wants to end things, we’d rather they were free to do so with as little trouble as possible.

Marriage made a lot of sense once upon a time. Mostly, when women didn’t have the same roles and rights as men.

Marriage or the idea that my worth, purpose, or happiness should be tied to a man came to symbolize entrapment, restriction, and the loss of identity.  I do believe that life is better in a pair than it is single; especially if you find someone who is your “perfect” match, which does not mean they are perfect, rather they are perfect for you.  When I say I don’t believe in marriage, what I mean to say is that I understand the financial and legal benefits, but I don’t believe the government or a church or a department store registry can change the way I already feel and behave.

When you’re in a serious, long-term relationship, the terms “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” can begin to feel a bit juvenile, or at least insufficient for describing your level of commitment. But what do you call the person you share a life with when you’re not married, and don’t necessarily want to be? For me and Chris, we have settled on the term partner.

I wake up in the morning and I look at Chris and think, “I love you and I want you. I choose you above any other person. I chose you 14 months ago, and I choose you today. I believe you to be a constant in my life, and I a constant in yours. I am the Suburban Goddess Mom and you are the Suburban God.”