Single mom on the run.

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Just wanted to post an update (on this post) that my running is still going strong. I’m getting faster and I’m running more hills. I’m still just doing 30 minute run/walks and my body already feels and looks different and I just just feel so good about it all. If you are thinking about doing something similar I highly encourage you!!! Fitness improvement really can happen fast and it’s very motivating. I also wanted to share that I’ve been loving this yoga video. One little 20 minute segment feels great for after a run. I’m looking forward to next month when I should have time to go on five quick runs per week!

On being a single parent.

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Being a single parent wasn’t how I thought my adult life would look if you asked me even a few years ago. I thought I would either partner up and have a biological or adopted family or live a wandering and adventurous life as a single person. Many of my friends felt the same way about motherhood – and when I chose to go it alone some of them told me flat out that it was a mistake and to other I simply became an invisible non-person. So weird what happens between friends who do and don’t have children. I hate it and I think about it a lot, but I mostly feel at a loss to fully bridge that gap.

Holding on to some special friends and finding new friends – building a community for my family – has been some of my hardest but most important work over the last few years. Where I was NEVER one to ask for help before – as soon as I had my son I found myself asking for help daily. It was an extreme crash course considering I was seriously ill for the first three months of his life – but I guess a crash course was needed! As someone who struck out on her own at the age of 15, it has been a major point of pride that I take care of business. By myself. But I stand convinced that a child cannot be raised 100% alone. Whether you have a partner a preschool teacher or an auntie or two…you are going to need some help. Asking for my friends to show up for me sometimes backfired but has more often deepened my relationships. (Now that I my “baby” is 2.5 years old I’m feeling space to turn around and help those who helped me as well as new friends who have come along. It’s a good feeling).

Along with making sure all the basic needs are covered there is a little thing called identity I found myself contending with. When I became a single parent I lost my identity as a freewheeling, carefree single person who was down for an adventure on a moments notice. I lost my identity as a workaholic, list finishing, go-getter. I lost my identity as romantically available and pursuable. And I lost the ability to keep up with all those perfect Joneses. Instead I had to find myself again. And continue to see myself as a whole person with a really lucky life – though many would have told me differently. Not everyone goes through this, but I have found motherhood to be peppered with such isolating and alienating moments and I haven’t loved that part of it. I think the rule is I’m supposed to follow sentences like that with “but it’s totally worth it” and “I love my child and he gives my life so much meaning” or something like that. And those things are totally true – but they also not the point and they shut down the conversation which just furthers the isolation.

What I will end with instead is the thought that I have actually enjoyed this soul searching, finding myself all over again opportunity. I’ve reinvented myself before and now I’ve done it again and that is dang lucky. I’ve enjoyed the “closet cleaning” – literally and figuratively. I thought I was an adventurer before… but I had nothing on this new life.

A single parent camping tip.

Check out this tent! It practically sets itself up. I’m pretty sure my toddler could do the rest…

Time flies when you are a single mom.

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Not to belabor a potentially heart-wrenching point. But have you seen this infographic yet? I think what it all means is that we should waste no time in doing and saying the things we want. I’m out of here to go work outside in the cool breezy sunshine! How about you?!

Big book little book.

autumn single parent bookCan you tell someone is looking forward to Fall? Yeah, it’s me. I’m not sure my toddler has grasped the seasons yet (especially since we live where the weather is pretty mild all year). Anyway, The Apple Pie That Papa Baked is really sweet and dreamy will make you want some apple pie. And live on a farm. It’s a great sing-songy rhythm and lots of repetition (in a good way) for little language learners. And it gave me pause at first since it features a Papa, but since we talk about everything in our family it wasn’t so awkward after all and we both love it. Plus it could be interpreted as a single father household – another awesome type of household!

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I’ve been working on this one for a while, but finally decided to turn my attention to it. I like Boys Will be Men because I happen to agree with a lot of the ideas. And also because the writing is just so good. I’m a fan of a well constructed sentence and I found myself stopping here and there just to admire how he put things together. Overall I really appreciate an open minded presentation about genderization of kids so this was a good one that I would recommend whether your child is male, female anything else or none of the above. So yea, pretty much any parent.

Saying goodbye to graduating preschoolers

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This past Saturday my son’s preschool had a party for the kids who will be moving on to Kindergarten. Four kids are graduating and all four are moving on to different elementary schools. I love when all the families get together so I was really looking forward to this celebration. What I was not expecting at all was to feel so sad and to even get teary eyed when talking with the graduating families. We still have three more years to be part of this close-knit community but already it feels like it’s going by so fast. I think though, feeling sad about it is a good sign. It means we have a really good thing going on over there. I’m so grateful to have found it.

A pain in the neck.

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Yikes. So I recently hurt my neck. While sleeping. Hmmm I’d say I didn’t know that was possible except it’s the third time it has happened this year. Perhaps I need a firmer mattress? I don’t know. But I do know that this massage pillow that a friend lent me has saved my neck this time. This thing is awesome! I wish I knew it existed before! I’m definitely getting one and I think it’s a great thing for a single parent (or any parent!) to have. Oh! It would make a great babyshower or postpartum gift!

Amazing things: links to look at.

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Oh wow, this cracked me up so hard it actually brought tears to my eyes. On top of that? It actually makes sense. So much sense it’s funny.

Have you seen “The Ethical Slut” web-series? It’s hilarious and thought provoking, too. Plus, if you have ever been to Madison Wisconsin it’s a little extra fun to watch.

Anyone out there enjoy a good horoscope? I’m a scientist and I’m not ashamed to say I read Rob Brezny’s horoscope newsletter every week. He says some really interesting things and I enjoy his counterculture perspective.

I’ve been getting into Yin yoga lately. Not only is it the easiest/simplest yoga I have ever done but it really makes my body feel better in minutes.

How old is your pillow? Mine was 13 years old. Gross right? I got this new one a few weeks ago and it is amazing. Feels like a new lease on life!

Big books little books.

I’ve shared abut many of my favorite books on the blog recently. I thought it would be fun to do a recurring “book report” of sorts to share and record what we are enjoying now. I’m hoping to keep this going every week if I can. Here goes!

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Oh dang. Go Set a Watchman was good. It has gotten a lot of mixed reviews and I know some people have qualms about whether or not Harper Lee truly wanted it published. I completely enjoyed and was challenged by it and I’m glad it was published. If you are a fan of To Kill a Mockingbird you will not be disappointed. Not only was the story so good but it also took me back to the time I read To Kill a Mockingbird as a kid and then the time I listened to it on tape on a cross-country road-trip. Not very many authors have cut such a long swath through my life. I really am grateful this was published and I can’t wait to talk with friends about it.

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We’ve also been reading Jim Abbott: He Beat the Odds. Over and over again as we tend to do. We’ve been on quite a baseball kick this summer and it’s been a really good thing. Bonus points for learning about Jim Abbott’s story which has elements of adversity, diversity and team playing. Even when we aren’t reading the book the story has been a thread that we’ve followed in our daily life about working hard, taking care of yourself and “ability” in general. I highly recommend this book whether you are into baseball or you are looking for ways to talk about what “disability” means.

6 things becoming a parent has given me the courage to do.

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Give birth. Wow – what a physical feat! Probably the hardest one I will ever accomplish. It really is like climbing Everest. Or running 6 marathons back to back. I knew it could be done because…well it’s been done before. But even while I was giving birth I had moments of thinking I could not do it. Immediately afterward though? I had the distinct feeling I could have done it again almost immediately. It really was an incredible experience. That I was so lucky to have the opportunity to birth and care for a newborn is not lost on me. I’m still sailing on that moment.

Own and solely run a business. This always scared me. I’d done business planning and worked on a couple of start-up teams in the past but never quite felt ready to work for myself. Alone. I took the leap recently because I felt stuck at a certain salary level and really wanted to shoot for the moon. I also wanted the flexibility to be there for my son since I don’t have a partner and we don’t have any other family members to pitch in. And in dealing with my own child’s tantrums at home I quickly grew tired of weathering the tantrums of adults in the office.

Weed out the bad. I had a lot of leeway for people before. I also had a lot of space in my brain for bad memories. I’m glad to say the arrival of my child has pushed some of that aside. Having a child gave me very clear priorities.

Stand alone. I’ve had to stand alone in a lot of scary moments in the past few years. When I was homeless during part of my pregnancy. When I’ve disagreed with a doctor. When I’ve felt at odds with other parents. When I’ve felt at odds with old friends who don’t have kids. When I’ve listened to my intuition while my closest advisers have told me no no no.

Be single. I don’t know that this was too scary before – but I know that I had rarely been single since I was 15 years old. What can I say? I had a really fun romantic life. I learned a lot and I’m grateful that I was able to fall in love and have such great times with people. I’m also grateful that I survived my share of heartbreak! There were times that it seemed impossible. And learned how to fight fair – an invaluable skill. It’s interesting, I thought I had loved so deeply before – but now that I’ve had a child and experienced that kind of love… I wonder if I will ever be able to fall in love with a partner again or if it will always seem to fall short.

Get over the fear of missing out. It’s funny now how full my calendar was in the decade leading up to my child’s entrance into my life. I had SO MUCH fun. Would I go to one party on Saturday night? No. Two? Nope. Three? Four? Now we are talking. I was soooo overbooked and could not and would not change that. On top of that I was a complete and total, certifiable workaholic. Now I wish I spent more of those years stocking up on sleep, restful experiences and self-care. But I just could not say no to anything that sounded fun. There were solid years where I was getting on a plane pretty much every month to go somewhere even just for a weekend. Would it be nice if I had saved up all that money for a nice little nesting fund? Yep. But it’s also nice that I get to dip into all that bank of memories anytime I want or need to. These days I don’t feel like the world is passing me by when I’m not up on all the latest hot spots, gossip and trends. I have it pretty sweet with my kid and my solid group of amazing friends.