Sustainably Single Parenting

Making the most of life's journey alongside my three!!!

Casting Calls and All May 27, 2013

This past Saturday I took my daughters to their first open call at a modeling/acting agency. What an experience! My older two have shown an interest in the industry for some time now; after everything we watch they ask me to look up the actors who played their favorite parts, they look through my dust-collecting parenting magazines for pictures of kids modeling, they marvel at the posters and billboards of children their ages and “want to do that too!”

I considered it when they were babies, but I always felt like I’d be exploiting them and it wasn’t fair. I’m not sure now if someone else planted that guilty seed or if it was my own doing, but with my current baby I don’t feel that way at all. My big girls want to know what the industry is about and my infant just so happens to really enjoy smiling, so I figured…I’m not working a 9-5, we’re finally close to a big city that has major industry connections, why not give it a try?

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All of our professional pictures were taken by Shannon Culpepper ❤

So we went. I didn’t get to bed until 1am on Saturday morning because I’d spent the night preparing their applications, arranging their photos in folders, packing our meals, and being anxious about it. I had to wake up at 5am to shower, pack the van, and wake/groom the girls before getting on the road to the first open call.

My GPS lead me astray, but we eventually made it to the parking garage. We suited up for the rain, and walked for thirty minutes to the first agency. So far so so…it was wet, and cold, and Boston’s sidewalks are not very accommodating to parties of…more than one. But we’d made it, and we weren’t late. We went inside and took some open seats next to another family of curly headed children. The mother and father of the curly headed siblings were drop dead gorgeous; I couldn’t even keep eye contact with the father out of fear that I’d blush too much. Wow. It’s not that I lusted for him, it just seemed impossible to me that anyone could look that gorgeous without being Photoshopped!

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Anyway. The accented agency man explained the business to us and what would happen if our children were accepted. Since I had both a baby and children for the older division he had us stay behind and wait for the second session to end before interviewing my girls. They had to sit quietly for over an hour before it was their turn to be interviewed and I was incredibly impressed with their behavior and their answers when it was finally their turn to speak.

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I’m not sure what will happen, but it was a learning experience either way. We left that agency and headed to another. It was another good 45 minute walk away in the cold, in the rain, but we were already prepared for it so I wanted to stick it out. We got there on time, parked the stroller, walked up three flights of stairs, and waited…and waited…and waited…and waited some more. No one every showed up. What?! We have no idea what happened, but we were not the only family waiting for the agency to open its doors. Several other mothers, one of them a mother of six who had traveled from Rhode Island for the open call, were just as confused as I was. Calls made to the agency earlier in the week verified that the agency would still be having the open call, but the doors never opened, and it made me a little unsure of whether or not I’d want to work with them regardless now.

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So after an hour of waiting around quiet at the second agency I wrote a note, slipped our folder of applications and pictures under the door, and we headed toward the Boston Children’s Museum. It was still raining out, and still cold, and we were getting hungry. I’d planned to go back to the van, grab our tennis shoes and lunch and the baby carrier, then head to the Children’s Museum after the open calls. I found, however, the navigating Boston’s subway system with a stroller is not the easiest thing to do, by far. After making circles around the subway stations, searching for elevator access and smelling the stench of the elevators we found, I scratched visiting the van from our list and head directly to the Museum.

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When we finally arrived at the Museum the line was longer than I’ve ever seen it. It was raining harder than it had all day, and there were at least twenty families in line ahead of us. I just laughed because I couldn’t have imagined things getting much worse. We’d watched a few clips from “Singing in the Rain” a few days prior so the girls attempted umbrella tricks while we waited in line, but I was nearing the end of my energy.

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We finally got into the Museum, but being inside wasn’t much better. We weren’t cold and wet, but I swear that every child in Boston was there as well. The place was so packed full of people you could barely get from one room/activity to the next. We stayed for three hours, but spent most of our time maneuvering around the mass of bodies, and visiting the bathrooms. Ugh! It was so overwhelming.

When we finally made it back to our van, after another ridiculous attempt trying to navigate the handicap subway exits, I packed us up, distributed snacks, and drove for three minutes before Nohra was crying so hard that I had to pull over for fear that she’d choke on her tears. It had been a hard day for all of us. We eventually made it home, did Bedtime Business, and fell asleep.

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I must admit, it wasn’t all headache-inducing craziness. One perk of hoofing it around the city to the two agencies was that we wound up right in the middle of Boston’s Anime Convention. The girls loved seeing all of the colorful costumes and even took a picture with some girls dressed as Madoka Magica characters! We also hadn’t known prior to arriving in the city, that the last official mile of the Boston Marathon was being run at Copley, and we got to watch and cheer awhile as people crossed the finish line. And a friend of mine from Emerson met up with us at the Children’s Museum and brought us brownies from the bakery where she works. It was nice getting to see my friend, see Boston Strong again, and hear my daughters say, “I can’t wait to grow up so I can dress up like those people!” 🙂

 

An Uncelebrated Anniversary May 24, 2013

Wednesday marked the one year anniversary of The Big Incident.

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Picture links to a blog with another woman’s domestic violence story

It brought back a lot of feelings; a lot of fears. But it also brought the closing of the most difficult year of my life.

My therapist says things tend to get better after the first year. She says that the first time experiencing Christmas, and Thanksgiving and the kids’ birthdays, and our wedding Anniversary, and the Hallmark holidays without him, would be the hardest. But that when it gets hard during those important events next time I can remember that I’ve gotten through it once before, and I’ll know I can do it again.

I CAN do it, but it’s still hard. I miss the good parts of him. I miss his friendship. I miss the comfort of saying “husband” even though I was covering up the pain of what my relationship was really like when no one was watching. I’m still grieving him. I may grieve awhile.

Sigh.

For those who have never been in an abusive relationship, the thought of longing for someone who has caused pain and hardship is unfathomable. If you’d have read the police report, or seen what I’ve been through, or know how hard things are for me now, without also understanding domestic violence, you’d probably think, “Miss him? What is she, crazy? She must have enjoyed the abuse.” It’s difficult to explain, but I had so much faith and pride and commitment wrapped up into that relationship making it; I had so many childhood dreams tied to being with him…it seemed almost impossible to let him go.

And things weren’t all bad. Of course they weren’t. Had they been all bad it wouldn’t have lasted nearly as long as it did. There were periods of calm, of comfort, of deep connection, and quiet evenings, and afternoon hiking trips. There were pancake breakfasts, and road trips, and board games, and our first garden. There was our first car accident, and house, and child. There was the time I cut his hair and we saved it to donate to charity, but I forgot to research it and we found it in a Ziplock bag after we moved.

There were some really great times. We could have a lot of fun together. I considered him my best friend. But then…then my best friend would turn really nasty, and I’d never know when to expect it. He would lash out and blame me, saying things like, “You just can’t ever get too happy. Things get too good for you and you have to go make it negative!” While I’m reeling with confusion, trying to figure out what made him go from smiles to screaming, apologizing profusely for setting him off again, trying to toe the line to keep him calm so it doesn’t get worse, but knowing that whether I fight or stay silent things will get worse, and then hiding within my self, weakening, waiting, praying for my friend to come back again. The one I used to enjoy, not the one who makes me hate knowing him.

It’s complicated.

But I made it through one year. I did it. It’s a bittersweet accomplishment. I miss my friend. But that part of him isn’t, and never will be, all of him. So I’ll always miss him, and I’ll grieve awhile, but if the first year is the hardest…I can do this.

 

My Last Semester May 20, 2013

Filed under: Mama Moments — Jet @ 10:04 pm
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Today was the first day of classes for my last semester of graduate school. I’m so excited! I always get giddy on the first day of class. Yes. I was that girl. The one who couldn’t wait to get her assigned reading list and textbooks. The one who’d work on assignments weeks in advance and turn them in the first day that the rest of the class got the guidelines. The one who would read history textbooks like YA fiction, and play “school” in her free time. Yes. That was me!

This time I’m not necessarily itching with anticipation for the upcoming educational quest. I am certainly excited for the work that I’ll produce and the skills that I’ll obtain, but to know that I am close to the end of my graduate school career is what makes it so phenomenal.

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This will be the easiest and most challenging semester combined. The easiest because, at the back of my mind, and on the final read-through for all of my assignments I’ll be chanting, almost done! The most challenging because…well…where do I begin? I’m single-parenting three children, one of which is just 12 weeks old; I’m going to have to take these courses and job-hunt simultaneously, because once school is done I have absolutely no money to live off of; I’m slowly overcoming the trauma that was my marriage (and still technically is my marriage as I’m not yet divorced); and so much more.

But I’m going to make it. I’m almost done, and in three months I’m going to look back on my accomplishment with so much pride. One day my daughters will understand what it meant for me to finish, what it took for me to stick with this commitment, and how it improved our lives. One day, even I might say, how the  hell did I get through that? Someone told me that I was born with perseverance; she said either you have it or you don’t. I don’t know if it’s impossible to attain, but she was right about me – I’ve been determined to succeed for as long as I can remember.

I’m almost finished! I could bounce off of the walls right now if they weren’t so thin and I wasn’t risking waking the neighbors 🙂

 

Beautiful Blogger Award May 17, 2013

beautiful-bloggerMy appreciation goes out to Jenness, the kind heart behind Journal of the Everyday, for nominating me for the Beautiful Blogger Award. Jenness has such a wonderful spirit, and I love the honesty in her posts. Life as a single mother is very trying, and I applaud her courage for candidly allowing us to share the ups and downs. Thank you so much for this award, Jenness!

I started blogging less than a year ago, and when I first began I remember being amazed by the variety of awards other bloggers had amassed. The awards may seem frivolous to some, but they always make me happy to receive and share. It never hurts to feel valued.

For the Beautiful Blogger Award to be accepted and passed along one must:

  • Post the award on to your blog.
  • Remember to thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to their site.
  • Post 7 random facts about yourself to help us to get to know you better.
  • Nominate 7 new bloggers you consider noteworthy.
  • Inform your nominees that you’ve chosen them (4 and 5 can be combined if you pingback).

 

So without further ado, seven random facts about me:

1. My favorite color is purple (an additional reason to love this award)!My first coach bag

2. My sister bought me my first Coach bag for graduation (I’m not done with my Master’s until August, but had I walked for commencement it would’ve been on May 12, 2013) and I had no idea I was that kind of girl, but I’m in love with this tote!!!

3. I’m 27 and I’m 99.9% sure that I’ll never have sex again. EVER.

4. I think humans are awesome, but I don’t believe we’re the only intelligent beings in existence.

5. I’m still not sure if I’d rather be a Jack of All Trades or a Master of One (but I’m leaning more towards Jack at the moment).

6. I love documentaries, independent films, and stand-up comedy.

7. I’ve still only told a handful of people that I’m a single mother (most of my real-life acquaintances, Facebook/high school friends and the like have no idea).

 

And my seven nominees are:

Becki Duckworth of I Survived a Murder Attack – My Family Didn’t

Prego and the Loon

Wambui Bahati of You Don’t Know Crazy

April Thursday of Surviving a Narcissist…or Two

Alone But Strong

Kim of Afternoon Storm

Rohan of Rohan 7 Things

 

My dear thanks again, to Jenness. Also, to my nominees, I am grateful for your blogs, your honesty, and your taking the time to leave encouraging comments for me. Enjoy your award!!!

 

A Day for Me May 13, 2013

Mother’s Day was lots of fun this year. My oldest daughter, Amara, had a good understanding of what the day meant (thanks to my teachings and what she learned on the Sprout channel) and went to great lengths to make it special for me. She was very well behaved that day, let me pick all of the games and things we’d do, and even volunteered to get her curls combed out without whining. AMAZING!

Mother's Day Bouquet

Mother’s Day Bouquet

It was a nice day. I did clean the kitchen and bathe the girls and wash a few loads of laundry, but I knew I couldn’t take the day off completely. We’d already planned to go the the Museum of Science in Boston today, so doing a few chores on Mother’s Day was necessary.

It was off and on rainy on Mother’s Day. In the morning, I let the girls jump in puddles before their bath. They had a blast! I didn’t get to go hiking like I’d wanted to, but we went outside awhile to search for inchworms. We found about 30 in as many minutes!

We mostly stayed inside though, eating homemade popcorn, playing board games, dancing to rock and roll and saying “I Love You” a lot. In Boston, my classmates were walking the stage for graduation, but I’d take dancing in the living room with my daughters to La Bamba any day. It was grand 🙂Blog5.1

I tried not to think about him too much. It’s tough, but I did alright. I think it’s harder to push the thoughts away because it’s so close to The Big Incident’s anniversary (and another hearing for his felony charges, and another few hearings for our divorce), but I didn’t let it ruin my celebration.

Mother’s Day isn’t about flowers and candy and gifts from a husband; it’s a day to reflect on how much I love being a mother, a day to do something special with my kids. Mother’s Day recharges my ability to enjoy this craziness for another year.

We had fun at the Museum of Science today too. It had been awhile since our last visit, but we’ll go again soon.

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Tough Week May 10, 2013

This has been a really tough week for me. I tried to relax and enjoy the fact that I’d have two full weeks between semesters. I tried to take it easy and just work slowly, calmly through my to-do list. I tried to keep up on self-care and CBT and even toyed with the idea of doing some guided meditations. But none of those things happened.

TheKillerSpeaksAfter a few days of cleaning I wound up freaking out that I was running out of time to get things done. I had that horrible nightmare (I mentioned it in my last post) and sleep has been impossible ever since (I’m not staying awake all night, but committing to sleep isn’t easy. Once I am asleep I have intense, violent, and exhausting dreams). I got an A in my class (yay!), but the joy faded quickly. I saw myself in a friend’s mirror, and within hours I was picking apart the image I’d seen. I’ve been watching The Killer Speaks way too frequently. It frightens me. The killers’ personalities are eerily similar to my husband’s.

I am feeling all out of sorts. Things are just swimming through my head. There’s so much to accomplish, but I have so little energy, and so little desire. Everything I do with my three young daughters takes an entire day. Every trip to the grocery store, every support group, every karate class, every therapy session; I only plan to do one big thing each day, if at all, because the simplest things take us five hours.

Even when we stay at home we’re busy from breakfast to bedtime business. It’s insane, and I’m completely drained. I would never really, but I wish I could just run away and do absolutely nothing for a couple of days. I need to rejuvenate. I want to rest. But that’s waaaay too much to ask. It’s tough to think that this will be my life, more or less, for another two decades.

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Okay, maybe I’m being dramatic. Maybe it will get easier over time. No. Not maybe. It will. I  am just very overwhelmed with right now. And to be completely honest, right now is not all that bad. I get to be at home with my daughters. Yes, the housework is endless, and everyday presents new challenges, but everyday I’m presented with their smiles and bright eyes, everyday I get to kiss chubby baby thighs, and when I do finally manage to get some sleep at night it is in a safe place.

There are people who care about me and my daughters. I am two courses shy of finishing my Master’s degree. No matter how hideous I feel there are people who reassure me of my beauty. I know that I still have the potential to go after my dreams. This week has been tough for me. I’ve been feeling low, but this week is just one more hurdle. I refuse to drop out of the race.

 

Fun and a Festival May 6, 2013

My break from classes has been going well thus far 🙂 The girls and I had family pictures taken on Saturday (well…we gave it a go…not quite sure how the pictures will turn out because one of my daughters was tired and cranky and another was being defiant and whiny, but…I had a good time), and on Sunday we attended a Wizard of Oz themed Kids Festival!

Sleeping baby :)

Sleeping baby 🙂

Amara and Terra beneath the balloon arc

Amara and Terra beneath the balloon arc

Terra and Amara riding ponies

Riding ponies

Amara and Terra getting as fire safety lesson from the fire deputy

Getting a fire safety lesson from the fire deputy

Showing off their sand necklaces

Showing off their sand necklaces

Climbing into the bounce house

Climbing into the bounce house

Shooting apples into the trees

Shooting apples into the trees

Aaugh! The Wicked Witch of the East is dead!

Aaugh! The Wicked Witch of the East is dead!

Amara made it through a hole and won a prize!

Amara made it through a hole and won a prize!

Terra made "Emerald City" out of sparkly green play-doh

Terra made “Emerald City” out of sparkly green play-doh

The lion must have been hiding from the Wicked Witch of the West

The lion must have been hiding from the Wicked Witch of the West

After the festival we went to the playground :)

After the festival we went to the playground 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today I got started on my cleaning (I am nowhere near finished), and I began scheduling interviews with babysitters. I think the interviews will go well; I’ve already got a feeling about the one I think will be the one 😉 I still have a ton of things to accomplish, but I’m attempting to just allow myself to take it slow and only do what I’m capable of doing without feeling too stressed and/or overwhelmed. Besides the unshakeable nightmare that I had last night (actually NOT about him this time, about the baby…it was terrible…that’s all I’ll say) things have been quite well. I’m hoping it only gets better throughout the week.