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Jan 27 2014

The Three Surprising Life Lessons I’ve Learned From Divorce

By at 3:53 pm

three surprising lessons i've learned from divorce

Several weeks ago there was a terrible ice storm, and though I have lived on the east coast now for over a decade, I have rarely driven in such severe weather conditions.

My frightening journey home from work required navigating icy streets and a rather steep incline that proved impossible to ascend with what little traction remained on my tires. As the wheels spun, and the smell of burning rubber filled my car, I began to panic. I attempted to flag down passing drivers, hopeful someone would come to my aid and get me up the hill. When no one stopped, I started making desperate phone calls, first to my brother in Texas, then to friends seeking guidance. After over an hour sitting on the side of the road cold and scared, I pulled myself together and said these words that now also guide me through my divorceI have to save myself.

No one is going to write a check and save me from bankruptcy or rescue my house from foreclosure. No one is going to help our children cope with the changes or tell me what to do throughout this process. Even my attorney, though amazing, has his limitations. Ultimately I control my attitude, my emotions, and my actions. I am in the driver seat and it is up to me to get up the hill or find an alternative route home.

While it may sound naïve, I firmly believe that the trials I am facing throughout this divorce are sculpting me into a better human being. Divorce has taught me many lessons and though I would not wish this on my worst enemy, I am grateful for the emotional growth. Below are three life lessons I have learned as a result of my divorce. Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 11 2013

Ten Lessons I’ve Learned from 10 Years of Parenting

By at 11:48 am

ten lessons i've learned from ten years of parenting

Today is what LinkedIn would call my 10 year “job anniversary”: 10 years ago today, my first son was born. He was an easy baby. Of course, having had no experience whatsoever taking care of children, I thought he was absolutely impossible.

Over the past 10 years, I’ve had five kids and a veritable boatload of that unquantifiable entity we like to call “experience.” These are the 10 lessons I’ve learned over the course of the past 10 years, in no particular order.

1. There Will Be Nakedness.

When I went into the hospital to give birth to my first son, the nurse in the labor and delivery room gave me that not-exactly-couture excuse for a “gown” (otherwise known as “cloth with a few snaps”) and told me to change. I headed for the bathroom. The labor and delivery nurse cracked up laughing. “Honey, is it your first time doing this?” she said in a half-kind, half-condescending way. “Because there’s no such thing as modesty in these parts.”

After pooping on the table–oh, and giving birth–I got it. But I really only just began to get it. Parenting is nakedness, literal and metaphorical. But let’s start with the literal. Over the past 10 years, I have long abandoned the quaint idea of using the bathroom by myself, whether to shower or defecate. I have had my genitalia critiqued by toddlers (“MOMMY! WHERE IS YOUR PENIS???”). I have been watched by beady little eyes while attaching a maxipad to postpartum disposable underwear (“Mommy! I don’t want a bandaid on my jay-jay!”). I have bared my breasts in non-Girls Gone Wild fashion in airports, restaurants, shopping malls, and in front of the elderly and faint of heart. I have showered and bathed with children. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 29 2013

Five Things My Young Kids Have Taught Me

By at 10:17 am

kids playing with tableware

I always assumed that being a parent meant teaching my children the basic skills–and with luck, perhaps a few extras they’d need to become productive members of society. As it turns out, I’m learning just as much about life from them. Remember that book, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten? I think the lessons start much earlier. Here are some that I’ve learned:

Lesson 1. Be yourself. Somewhere along the way, we–or at least I–got caught up in worrying about how others see us. We put on our best face and maybe if we’re starting to wear our hearts on our sleeve, we throw on a cardigan. I’m not advocating for throwing public temper tantrums or sob fests, but I’ve noticed that if my kids are tired or otherwise having a cranky day, they don’t hide their feelings and most people cut them slack. As adults, we’re quick to dismiss others as rude or snobby when they might simply be having a bad day.

Perhaps one of the worst places for a kid to lose it is on a typical commercial airliner when 100-plus people are stuck riding out the tantrum. When I flew alone with both my kids (ages 3 and 1), from Virginia to Florida, I felt prepared for anything. Except for what I got: My daughter, Ellie, decided to flip out at the end of the flight. Read the rest of this entry →

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