Dating after a toxic relationship

If you have been keeping up with my blog posts, or know me, then you know that I am divorced. My relationship with my husband was not a healthy one. He was very toxic, and it effected me in ways I wouldn’t know until I started dating again. I waited until I was separated for a year to really start dating again. I had flings here and there but nothing even worth mentioning. I don’t think it matters how long you decide to wait, it should be whenever you think you are ready. But I was ready at around the year mark.

Some people might be wondering how I knew I was ready.

1. I had done some work on myself. I knew what needed fixing and I started working on changing those things.

2. I no longer were looking at my kids as baggage. I’ve had a few single mom friends who have started dating again. Something I’ve talked about with almost all of them is, how is another man going to love me with (insert # of kids)? Your kids are not baggage. They are amazing and worthy of loving. Any guy you date will see that as well. If they don’t they aren’t the guy for you.

3. I wasn’t just wanting someone to comfort me at night. I wanted someone with me all the time. At breakfast. At my children’s meltdowns. Shopping for groceries. Diaper changes. Movie nights. Dinner. Trips to the park. Trips to the mall. Holiday activities. Depression. Sadness, and my happy times too.

Dating apps are a nightmare! You either get the guy who thinks he’s the shit and sends you a picture of his junk right off the bat, you can also get the guy who thinks he is shit, has been working at McDonald’s his whole life and has no motivation to do anything with his life. Or my favorite, the guy who seems perfect and is everything you wanted but ghosts you after meeting or texting for a while. I can tell you that I’ve talked to all three guys and none of those options are good ones.

It’s easy to get discouraged after running into these three guys. Most of my friends have. Maybe I should just stop trying there is no one out there for me. I remember thinking that often. Dating just didn’t seem worth the hassle anymore.

After a couple months on dating sites I was ready to give up. An advertisement for “hinge” appeared in my Facebook news feed. I have seen it several times before, but had ignored it. This time I thought why the heck not? What did I really have to lose at this point? Absolutely nothing. I downloaded it and started talking to this guy Alan. We hit it off right away. We scheduled our first date after a week of texting. I hadn’t been on a first date since my ex husband so it was super scary. My mom and friends kept trying to remind me that even if this didn’t work out at least I got away from the kids for a bit. Which was true. Who cares how the date goes if it means a break? The date went great though. He texted me immediately after to let me know what a great time we had and we even scheduled a second date for the following week.

Six months later here we are. I’m still dating Alan. He loves my kids just as much as he loves me. He changes diapers, he gets up with the kids at night, he buys them anything they need. He scratches the parts I can’t itch. He rubs my feet tells me he loves me. He cooks me dinner and paints pumpkins with us even if he does think it’s silly. He communicates with me. If I look in another guys direction he doesn’t get mad at me. If I leave the house he isn’t blowing up my phone asking where I am. I’m allowed to spend my money how I please. I can talk to my mom without getting attitude. I can hang out with my friends. I can have friends!

A lot of this stuff is things that are standard. I want you to know that I know this, and I want you to know this in case you don’t. Alan isn’t doing anything special. He’s not the perfect guy. He just does what he is supposed to be doing. He does what all of you reading this deserve. A man should be doing all of the stuff I mentioned. If he isn’t then he isn’t someone you should be wasting your time on.

I think it’s hard to not jump into the first relationship that presents itself. But dont unless it’s the right one for you. Dont date someone just because you don’t think someone else is out there willing to put up with you. Don’t date someone just because he’s the first guy who went on a third date with you. Don’t settle. That is how you got back here in the first place. You are worthy. You deserve the world. If you are not ready for dating that is fine too. Don’t rush yourself you will get there. But if you are, hold out for someone good.

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Having a child with sensory processing disorder (SPD)

I remember when I was little my mom enrolled my sister and I into a ballet class. I was super excited to finally be able to be like the beautiful ballerinas I seen on tv. I loved ballet class, my sister though? Not so much. I remember my sister screaming before every ballet class. The tags were bothering her, and the tights were too tight. At the time I just thought she was being over dramatic, now I know and recognize this as sensory processing disorder.

Sensory processing disorder a condition where the brain has trouble receiving and responding to information that comes in through the senses

Noah was a clingy baby (and is a clingy toddler). Every time I put him down he would scream. I would let him cry occasionally, but he would scream for hours if I had let him. I couldn’t do anything without Noah. I couldn’t eat, sleep, shower, do chores, or even get dressed. Noah wanted me to hold him for all of that. Eventually I got a boba wrap which helped us a lot. I was able to carry him on me and still get things done. When I wanted to take a shower I would leave part of it open so he could still see me. This was just the beginning signs of sensory processing disorder for my son.

Around six months Noah was ready to start purées. At first he liked them all, but as time went on he stopped eating all but three flavors. Sweet potatoes, pears, and bananas. He would spit out anything that wasn’t those three things. Eventually Noah was ready to start solid foods. Again, he started out eating most of what I offered him and then he stopped. At first he would eat macaroni&cheese and applesauce. Sometimes I would get lucky and he would eat the applesauces with veggies blended in. One day he decided he was done with applesauce and only would eat macaroni and cheese. I had mentioned something to his pediatrician, who said he’s a toddler as long as he’s eating he is fine. His weight was a bit of a concern because he’s so skinny, but they were satisfied because he was following his own growth curve. I knew something else was going on though, and so did my mother who had also dealt with this before.

Noah loved bath time as a baby. He would splash around and play with his toys. Bath time was fun! When I was feeling nice I would even put bubbles in the tub and he would play with those for hours if I had let him. One day Noah started screaming during bath time though. I thought it was just a fluke, maybe he was in a bad mood that day. But it continued. Bath time became miserable. He would scream every time water touched his skin. If it touched his hair? Prepare for a World War III.

Often times on my day off or after work I take the kids to the park. Noah has always loved playing on the playground, and if other kids are there? Even better! One day I decided to take Noah on the swings. He screamed. I pushed him to show him that this was okay and it was fun. It wasn’t fun to Noah though. He screamed even harder. As a baby he hated them too, but I had thought maybe he was just too young for the swings. It was obvious now there was more to it than that. As I said before Noah loved playing with other kids on the playground. If there were too many kids though he would freeze up. He wouldn’t move from the spot he was standing. One time it took me an hour to coax him down from the top of the slide. I would’ve gotten him but I had his sister with us. It would’ve been too hard to climb up there with her.

Noah has always loved to chew things. When they’re babies you just assume it’s because they’re babies. When Noah was roughly 2 he had a wooden toy that he chewed in half. I thought this was alarming. Eventually he started chewing everything. My bathroom door (as shown). Books, puzzles, toys, dressers, blocks, anything you think should or shouldn’t be chewed my son has chewed it.

It took me forever to get Noah to accept a sippy cup. He loved the bottle nipple. My stepdad found a sippy cup with a spout similar to that of a bottle nipple. Thankfully he took to that. Unfortunately, that is the ONLY sippy cup Noah will take. He won’t take the ones with cute Characters or cool colors. He won’t even take other sippy cups with nipples like a bottle. It has to be the thinkbaby sippy cup.

We have been in occupational therapy for a few months now. Noah has shown some huge improvements. He can now take a bath without screaming. He will now at least try new foods. However, he still chews on things and still will only take that one sippy cup. Yesterday I accidentally broke his sippy cup. Noah was up screaming all night because he didn’t want a drink in a different sippy cup. Even a soft spout one.

The reason I mostly wanted to write this, is to let you moms know. If you think something is off about your child, something probably is. Having a child with a sensory processing disorder is HARD. I have to think before I do anything. Is this going to overstimulate him? Is this going to be too loud? Will this upset him? I get overwhelmed and touched out very quickly because Noah still wants to be touching me at all times. If your child has SPD you are not alone, and I see you.

6 things I wish I had known before having baby #2

Either you are pregnant with your second child, are planning on having a second child, or you have a second child and can relate to this. Today I am going to talk about what I wish I had known before I had my second child.

*disclaimer, this will not apply to everyone these are just my thoughts and experiences* *most of these are only relevant to younger kids*

1. The messes become messier- you must be thinking, duh. With two kids you probably would expect things to be messier. There’s two of them. Let me explain though.

•When you’re potty training your toddler and he has an accident on the floor, your second child will see a cool puddle and start to play in it! My advice for this: quickly remove baby and then tend to the toddler who just peed all over himself.

•When you have both kids eating in their high chairs one of them will always reach over to the other ones tray and start making a mess of the food. my advice: separate the high chairs!

•when you give the toddler a snack in the side by side double stroller more than likely their younger sibling will want some as well. They will grab the snack from your toddler and the snack will spill all over the floor. My advice: give toddler the snack out of the stroller.

2. The cries become louder. Yup. As expected. There’s not just one crying kid, there are two. They both cry at the same time. If one starts you can bet $5 they other will follow suit. If you don’t know what stress is you will after this happens. My advice: let them cry. Leave the room.

3. You can’t compare your youngest to your oldest. But you will anyways. You’ll remember everything that your oldest was doing at this time and wonder why your youngest isn’t doing it. My advice: every baby & child grows at their own rate and does things on their own timeline. They don’t care about keeping up with their sibling, neither should you.

4. There will be no quick trips ANYWHERE. Never again will you just go in for a candy bar at the gas station. Now you have TWO kids to get out of the car. You have to put both kids in the car, take them out, and then put them in, only to take them back out again!! How exhausting!!

5. Your heart will make room for two children. I have mentioned in a previous post the anxieties that can come from having a second child. One of those worries I had was am I going to love this second child as much as I did the first? Absolutely. Your heart will grow. My advice: relax. Breathe. Know that it’s okay to have this worry because you absolutely are not alone.

6. Your kids will love each other. BUT they will also fight. It will depend on how they’re feeling at the second. One minute they will be fighting over the cocomelon toy, and the next they will be hugging. My advice: watch them closely. Don’t leave them alone together. Encourage older sibling to help in the care of the younger one.

If you had your second child already I’d love to hear things you wish you had known or what you have figured out along the way! If you’re expecting I would be happy to listen to some of your worries.

The Apartment

Writing my post last night about new beginnings has me thinking a lot about where I was to where I am now. It feels like everything and nothing happened between now and then. Posted above are some pictures from the first apartment I’ve ever lived in alone.

There are only five pictures, and two of those pictures are from the same room. It is only a studio, but it might as well have been a castle to me. I had never lived alone before. This was scary. I had enough room for all of our stuff though. The apartment made my mother and I get creative with spaces.

I sat my work computer up in a corner. It sat on two cardboard boxes. In front of it I sat my moms llama lawn chair that she graciously let me borrow. Mind you, I was also pregnant so this chair hurt my back, (although it probably would’ve regardless). Often times I would be on call with a customer and you would hear my son running and screeching in the background. If you looked at him you would see him with a broom in one hand and his diaper in the other.

Thankfully, his diaper was still on in this one.

Shortly after moving into this apartment I decided I needed to find a job that was based in the state I was living in. I got a job a few weeks later working for another company whom I’ve almost been with for a year now on November 9th. This job started out in the office, so my son had to go to a babysitters house. Eventually though my pregnancy was too much on me and I was able to work from home. Ive now been working from home for nine months. My son is here with me and so is my daughter. How I do it…I don’t know! I’m losing my mind send help!! Anyways, long story short I enjoy the job I’m at now. Ive met some good people and it allows me to stay home with my beautiful children while still making money.

If you saw the apartment now, you wouldn’t believe it was the same one in the pictures above. Just like myself, the apartment too did some changing. It now has pictures of my kids and I on the walls. I have wall stickers. I have a memory bunny made out of my daughters hospital blanket on a shelf. My bed has a duvet on it now that I bought. Most of the stuff I entered in this apartment with my parents bought for me. Now, there are just as many things that I’ve bought in here that my parents have bought, if not more.

The bunny mentioned above. On its foot it has her DOB and weight/inches

It looks like a home. My son has done a lot of growing up here. He started occupational and speech therapy in this home. He’s talked sentences to me in this home. He has rubbed my back while I had my head in the toilet (morning sickness). He has cuddled up in bed with me watching Disney movies way past our bed time. He has went up a diaper size, started potty training, went up a clothing size, and has become a big brother in this home.

Staying up too late, watching too many movies
This was our first night home. He surprised me by giving her a kiss!

I have done some changing in this home too, though. I became a mother again. I learned that if you spend your rent money on Amazon the rent money just doesn’t magically reappear again. I have learned how to be alone, and to be okay with that. I have enjoyed the time with just my son and I. The few months where it was just us were priceless. Then when his sister came I have enjoyed the times where it has just been us three. I have put myself in therapy. I made doctor appointments I have been putting off. I have prayed. I have cried, and screamed. I went into labor in this home! I have learned how to set boundaries and communicate (still a work in progress). I have formed a relationship with the man who is everything I’ve ever wanted and plus some. This apartment was born into a home, and I was born into me.

Today!
Had to share a picture of her too!

The Guilt of Self Care

As a mom we are always putting everyone else first, especially our children.

If you ask a mom why this is 9/10 times I hear, “I just don’t have the time. I’m always busy taking care of the kids, I get them up (or my friends with young children say they wake me up), I feed them breakfast, get ready for the day, play with them, do some learning, then it’s lunch time, nap time. By the time it’s nap time the house is destroyed so I need to clean it. So I spend nap time cleaning and when they wake up it’s pretty much a repeat of the morning.”

Something I always like to tell my friends is, “we make time for the things that are important to us.” But getting the kids taken care of is important isn’t it? Of course. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take care of you too. It’s important to take care of you. Not just because your kids deserve a mom who is not stressed out all the time, but because YOU as a person are important, you matter, and you deserve not to be stressed.

When I became a mom for the first time I believed I had to do everything. If someone offered help I would immediately say no, even if all I wanted to do was say yes. Why? Because I felt guilty. I didn’t believe that I should need help. I’m a mom now, I’m supposed to do everything. Something I’ve taken note of from my own mother who loved to do everything herself and not accept help from anyone.

I had bad postpartum depression. I wanted to run away. I wanted to cry every second of everyday. This little boy deserves better than me I thought. A lot of people reassured me though that it was okay to accept help and to take care of me. Many of these people were people who did not accept help or practice self care either. How can I listen to advice that no one else was following? Now having two kids though, I’ve learned to accept that help. I’ve learned that it is necessary to practice self care, even if it’s something small like watching “The Office” instead of “cocomelon”.

I have included a picture above that has some small things that take 5 minutes. So no, “I don’t have any time” excuses! To anyone reading this, I challenge you this. Do ONE thing this week for YOU. Even if it’s something small. Make sure to leave me a comment with what you did I’d love to hear! I will include some things I like to do below for myself to give you some ideas.

Things I do to practice self care:

1. Read a book, even if it’s just one chapter.

2. Go for a walk, sometimes I do this with the kids. Even though they’re with me, it’s still nice to get the fresh air.

3. Watch a show or movie I want to watch

4. Listen to music

5. Go to the mall. I often go with my friend Ashley and we bring both our kids. But they sit in the strollers and it’s nice to get out of the house.

6.take a shower-with the door closed. No kids.

7. Go to target- I love to aimlessly wander the aisles.

8. Get my favorite coffee from Starbucks

9. Order my favorite food

10. Take a nap. The kids are sleeping. The dirty house can wait

The Mother

There’s a song I posted on my “About Me” page called, “The Mother” by Brandie Carlile. A song that always makes me feel like I am heard, and there are other mothers out there like me. The song starts out talking about being alone inside your mind, being tied to someone else, and being worried all the time. It makes me think about when I first found out I was pregnant with Noah. From that moment on I would never not be riddled with anxiety. It felt like I was holding my breath until the 13th week of pregnancy when I would finally be in my first trimester. When my second trimester hit then I started worrying about if we would make it to the magical week of 24. Viability week. When that came and passed then I started worrying about my labor and delivery. How bad would it hurt? Would he survive? Would I be able to breastfeed if he did? Will I be a good mother? When the nurse placed Noah on my chest all I could think about was how scared I was. Noah was so tiny, so fragile. “Are you sure I can actually take this kid home?” I thought to myself. My worries never went away. I would check him a million times during the night and a million times during nap time. Often, I would wake him checking on him. Even now, at two and a half years old I still look over at my son to make sure he is still breathing. Unfortunately, that anxiety didn’t go fully away with Evren but the feeling was definitely more manageable, I don’t check on her a million times a night, and I don’t wake her out of a nap to check on her breathing either. Now I religiously follow that expression, “dont wake a sleeping baby!” Anyways, give the song a listen. Let me know what you think about it and how you find yourself relating.