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Aging Goddess, No Ageless Goddess

Lately, I have been doing a lot of thinking about aging as a woman, mother, partner, and goddess. My mother passed away when she 59 but was sick since she was 40 or so. My mother’s grandmother passed away when I was two, and my father’s mother passed when I was around 10. The point is, I have no aging female role models to observe, ask questions, etc. At 37, I am graying, wrinkling, sagging, aching, and more.

I don’t want to let society’s ageist cultural messages and ideas about what the ‘30s, ‘40s, or ’50s mean inform how I see myself.  Age is just a number, but aging is an inevitable process. We begin to get older the moment we are born, and nothing we do can stop that process except death. Aging is all about deterioration. Agelessness, however, is not buying into the idea that a number determines everything from your state of health, to your attractiveness, to your value.  

I want to embrace and learn to live agelessly. I believe an ageless attitude will help me flourish physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. It is courageous to live like this. The soul is ageless, even if our physical body is not. I am in the process of discovering my ageless goddess self, and I have many ways to express my creativity and experience all the pleasures in life, from feeling good in my body and rediscovering my sexuality, to new projects and new ways of living.

Getting older is not something to fear. The number one thing many doctors say you can do for your health is to live joyously, indulging in sustainable pleasure, living fully and with a sense of joy and adventure. The body is constantly in a state of reinvention, starting at a cellular level and going all the way up. An important part of living agelessly for me is finding a way for my health span to match my lifespan. I do not want to die in the prime of my life, nor do I want to live forever sick, in pain, and miserable.

I want to be an ageless goddess who continues on this post-divorce, single mom, suburban goddess journey, recognizing there are always new things to learn and discover and new relationships to begin.  I will continue to be exuberant about life and never give up on my curiosities and playful spirit. It is all about vitality, the creative force that gives birth to this new ageless life.

I believe that the real fountain of youth will be happiness, well-being, and connection to self, community, and the greater divine spirit- whatever or whoever that is for you. For each of us, our path to agelessness is different. You get to decide what makes you feel ageless and how you want to express yourself as such. It means you make your own decisions based not on a fear of looking foolish, but on feeling comfortable in your body and being keenly interested in the world around you.

This Suburban Goddess Mom is embracing the idea of agelessness, guilt free pleasures, self-love, and joy. It will be a daily practice. I will teach my daughter to be ageless too. She will learn to reject the notion that at a certain age her value declines. This lesson starts with me!







Cupcake-How 5 lbs of Fluff Changed Us

In my divorce decree, I took the two kids and Howie took the two dogs. I was not a dog lover at heart, and I was not going to have dogs anymore. For the first year post divorce, I’d been saying an absolute no. No to extra responsibility, no to one more thing to care for, no to the hair on me and my stuff, no to the scratch marks on doors and wood floors, no to the messes—inside or out—no to the expenses of feeding and vets. I mean, why would I want to spend money on something that would mess up my house, make my life harder, and give me yet one more thing to take care of? No way, no thank you!

But then a year went by. I was feeling stable and at home in my new life. I had a wonderful partner, and the kids and Chris started talking about us getting a dog. The thing that sealed the deal was a recommendation from JoJo’s therapist that she could really use an emotional support pet. I remember thinking so clearly, “Goddamn it! We are getting a dog.”

We looked into emotional support dogs. An emotional support animal is a companion animal that provides some benefit for a person. Often the owners suffer from a disability. For JoJo, it was anxiety. Emotional support animals are typically dogs but can be cats; I have even heard of a peacock being an emotional support animal. Any animal can be a support animal, but there is a process of having your pet approved and certified. They need to be trained, and then you need a letter from your mental health professional. There are also all kinds of certifications you can apply for online.

So, we were getting a dog. We picked a beautiful female Maltese puppy, which JoJo named Cupcake Kitty. She was and still is so tiny and gorgeous. She is sassy and wild when the situation warrants it and snuggly, loving, calming and concerned when needed. We all love her and take turns caring for and being cared for by her. But without a doubt JoJo and Cupcake have the most special bond of all.

Cupcake has changed JoJo so much. She is much better about her fears of being alone and bugs, and overall she is less anxious, happier, more open, and more loving. This little, less than 5 lb. dog has done so much. And I don’t know what we would do or what life would be without her. It is very important to get the right kind of pet for your family. For us, it was a small, mostly inside, lap dog,

She is so very much a part of our family. She was in our first day of school pics and Christmas photo this year. I dare say I love her like one of my kids. Cupcake has changed me, and she’s changed my family. We have more love and more laughter, more expenses, more mess, a little more commotion, and a lot more calm and peace in our souls. The Suburban Goddess Mom and Cupcake Kitty are an odd pairing, but sometimes that’s all that your family needs: a little 5 lbs. of fluff.

Grow Together

I have numerous “failed” relationships or relationships that just did not work for many reasons. But as I think about it, almost all of them did not work because I was not with someone who balanced or complimented me, which lead to me not being myself fully. With Chris, it is different. He loves me and accepts me fully, balances me, and compliments me so well. But I worry about the future sometimes.

I wonder if we will continue to fit together and grow together or if we will inevitably grow apart. If I am constantly working on my own personal growth and fixing aspects of myself I view as damaged or broken, can he keep up or meet me where I am? I am writing this blog with all the hope in the world that he can, but these days more relationships fail than succeed. And out of those that succeed, are those individuals complacent or accepting of a subpar partner or relationship?

There’s no denying it, relationships are hard work. They take time, attention, communication, care, attraction, and so much more. But, when you find someone you want to be with long term, all that hard work becomes infinitely worth it. Nothing feels better than feeling in love and being the best version of yourself in that relationship. At this point in my life I do not believe someone can complete someone else as much as compliment them.

My ultimate goal for this relationship is to have it based on mutual growth and a wonderful adventure of discovery. Mutual growth cultivates a deeper sense of self, develops the values of integrity, honesty and transparency, uncovers our true selves, and inspires us to be the best we can be as human beings. In this kind of relationship, you realize your highest aspirations and spark change for the common good. I think these types of relationships are rare. And when you find them for yourself or you see them around you, you absolutely know.

Here are some ways to work on growing together:

  1. Be honest with each other from the start
  2. Discuss the future
  3. Be open to compromise
  4. Be straightforward with your feelings
  5. Accept your partner for who they are
  6. Be good to each other
  7. Commit to growing together
  8. Balance time apart and time together
  9. Learn things together
  10. Communicate in a way that allows the other to listen
  11. Laugh together, have inside jokes
  12. Go on adventures
  13. Say you are sorry and own it
  14. Make time to talk about your relationship

When all else fails, remember nothing and no one is perfect, and remember why you fell in love in the first place. Being in a relationship is a choice, and I reaffirm my choice to be with Chris each and every day. Who knows what the future will hold, but I will trust in myself, Chris, and our relationship. This Suburban Goddess Mom is nothing without her faith and belief in positive personal growth.

My Modern Blended Family

I am the mom of a weird but working modern blended family. Our family includes me, Chris (my partner), my ex (Howie), and our kids, JoJo and Brayden. When it comes to family, especially in this day and age, they come in all shapes and sizes. Differences and diversity seem to be the new norm—couples with children, some married, some cohabitating, couples without children, same-sex couples, single parents, and blended families created through remarriage and re-partnering. Blended families like mine are created through divorce. And divorce can be painful and messy, which can make blended families messy and complicated and exhausting. But my modern blended family is the best family option for me, Chris, Howie, and my kids!

According to Susan Merrill, “Successful blended families can be difficult to achieve. That’s why so many blended families ultimately fail. There are disputes over parenting, money, privacy, vacations, responsibilities, boundaries, rituals, holidays, stepchild behaviors like disrespect, “acting out,” and/or “favoritism”; common stepchild discipline problems; custody, visitation, and/or financial support issues; stepsibling relationship problems. The list goes on and on.”

It took us over a year to get to this point of comfortable, happy, loving “blendedness”. We needed the time and space to heal and grow. And we needed to put the children and co-parenting above all else. I am so happy and lucky that this happened. My kids are happy and loved. Our life is stable and predictable. They know who they can count on and what each of us contributes. It is not always smooth or easy, and there are times when it is a lot of hurt. But it is important to remember why we are doing this, always speak from a place of love, and work through any issues. For us, it is also important that discipline comes from the birth parents. Chris fills a loving, fun, supporting role. Don’t expect instant love, instant family, or instant harmony. Take your time, go slow, and don’t force it.

My kids had to deal with a lot of change. They moved, came to a very different climate (both weather-wise and people-wise), switched schools, and suddenly had a second parent in the house. My poor partner gave up the role of lifelong bachelor to embrace his new instant family, which happened to include two very chatty, high-needs kids and their very challenging mother. Lucky him! But if you ask him, he would tell you he is the luckiest man on earth. He has a family and home that he loves, and he would not trade it for anything.

Now, Howie stays with us in our home when he visits the kids. We have meals together, shop together, bonfires, watch movies, and play baseball. Yes, it was weird at the beginning and still is sometimes, but it works. My kids love when daddy comes. They are comfortable and want him here, and Howie seems happy and comfortable too. We are even planning a modern blended family summer vacation.

Without a doubt, I can say that 15 months later, we are all a family; a family that loves and respects each other, and a family that takes care of each other. Chris refers to the kids as “our kids” but always maintains a respectful boundary, reminding them that he would never try to (or want to) replace their dad. The kids call him dad or stepdad, even Howie refers to Chris as their stepdad. It’s a work in progress, always, but the Suburban Goddess Mom would not have it any other way.

An Anxious Child

JoJo is my anxious child, though she did not used to be. She used to be so carefree, friendly, and full of life. But all of our life transitions have taken their toll on her. She is now an anxious, overthinking, introverted child. We have spent the better part of two years working on helping her manage her anxiety. We have done play therapy, talk therapy, gotten her an emotional support dog, talked about everything, exposed her to her triggers, and many other things. And we have made huge improvements.

JoJo’s anxiety played out in many ways. She was deathly afraid of bugs. If she saw one, she would scream and cry and claw at me. This would go on for hours, until she passed out from exhaustion. She would not be alone, ever; not to use the bathroom, shower, or even sleep. She had constant stomach aches; the gastroenterologist did all kinds of tests and found nothing. She struggled with transitions, changes to routine, and was obsessive about her eating. JoJo ate only a maybe 5 or 6 things, and if she did not have those things, she would starve. It was not an easy time for any of us, especially JoJo.

Dealing with anxiety can be difficult, especially in children. Anxiety triggers do not always make sense. For instance, JoJo is much bigger than ants and ants do not hurt people, but she was scared to death of them. The anxiety comes from an overactive, overly protective brain. People with anxiety are often very intelligent which makes sense. As a parent of an anxious child, it is very important that you remain calm, loving, and patient when dealing with their anxiety.

No one wants to see a child unhappy or anxious. Many anxious children have a parent who has anxiety themselves. While we all get anxiety from time to time, it is our job to help them work through any difficulties. It is important to understand these issues and get your child the proper help. It is important to help them learn to tolerate their anxiety and function “normally”, or as well as they can. And it is important to know that your child’s anxiety is not your fault. You are not a failure, and there is nothing “wrong” with them.

JoJo is now a much less anxious child. Most people would never even know that she suffers from anxiety. She sleeps alone, showers, and goes to the bathroom alone. She can be inside or outside alone. She even eats a few more things. Bugs are still an issue, but she recovers much more quickly. Her stomach aches are much less frequent. In my eyes, we are on the path of successful management of her anxiety.

Change and growth is always possible, but it takes support, knowledge, intention, and work. This Suburban Goddess Mom is doing everything she can to help her little goddess, JoJo, work through her anxiety and lead a much less anxious life.