Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Angie Answers: Help! Mom Is Dating

From time to time I get emails from readers that are looking for a little insight on a personal issue. Most of the time I try to respond directly, but occasionally I get a question that deserves a bit of public attention. 

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Q. Five years ago my dad passed away. Every day he is still on my mind. I can hear a song that reminds me of him and my eyes will still well up with tears. Everyone tells me it will take time but I still miss him more than I can express. I graduate next year and he won’t be there to see it. 

I guess my mom didn't feel the same way. A year after my dad died she started dating and met a man. Now they are talking about getting married.  I am so angry at her. It seems like she doesn't remember how wonderful her marriage was. This guy is nowhere near the man my dad was. How can she forget so easily? How did your kids feel when you started dating? 

A. First and foremost, I am so sorry for your loss. I cannot imagine the pain you must feeling. Just like a physical wound, everyone heals emotionally at a different rate. Your friends are right, it just takes time. 

Let’s get to the heart of the question. Your mom is dating someone who will never be your dad. He’s never going to be able to measure up to your standards because you’re measuring him against someone who, at least in your mind, has achieved sainthood. That's what happens when people die. Is this guy abusive? If so, you might have a leg to stand on. If he makes her smile and treats her right then you should be happy for her. To do otherwise is selfish. She deserves better. 

My kids were not very excited about me dating in the beginning However, their father and I divorced. He didn't die. We chose not to be together. The fact that we weren't trying harder to work things out probably stung. Your parents aren't separated because one or both of them got tired of trying. This wasn't a choice either of them made. He died. She was left alone. 

I know you’re probably thinking what a lot of young adults your age might think, “She’s got me. She’s not alone!” It’s time you knew the truth. It’s not the same. It’s never going to be the same. The love we feel for our children is not the same as the love we feel for a partner. You will probably never love anyone the same way that you love your parents. Does this mean you should never have a loving relationship with another person? Would it be fair for your mom to tell you that you can’t ever get married because you have her? 

Not everyone is meant to be alone. From the sounds of things your mom is not even close to nursing home age. Heck, even people in nursing homes get remarried. They have needs, both physical and emotional ones. For you to wish her to remain alone isn't fair. 

A friend of mine lost her father when she was in her twenties. Her mother lived the life you’re wishing your mom would. They encouraged her to date and find someone to share her life with. She said, "I have all I need with you kids." It sounds lovely, but what do you plan to do with your mom when she has nothing to do and no one to spend time with except you? It might not seem like it now, but I am willing to bet there will come a time when you’ll be thankful she found someone to keep her company. You wouldn't much like having her along on your honeymoon one day, would you? 

No one is ever going to take your dad’s place in your heart or hers. Fortunately, our hearts have a lot of room in them. If they didn't you’d be out in the cold because if we could only love one person you came a little late to the game. 

As a mom I can tell you this much, my kids are my kids forever, but they will grow up and get lives of their own. They will leave, so will you. Be supportive. If momma ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy.

Take a deep breath and put on a smile. Get to know the guy. Chances are he's just as unsure about you as you are about him. He knows he will never be your dad, but you might be missing out on a great friend if you don't open your heart a little. It sounds like he is planning to stick around. If he's been in the picture this long and you're still feeling this conflicted, he probably hasn't had a warm welcome from you. The fact that he's still there says a lot for the man he is. 

If you can't bring yourself to like him, I strongly encourage you to be cordial to him for your mother's sake. Making her choose between spending time with someone who will soon only be around part time and someone who is offering 'til death do us part' is pretty cruel. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

No Wine on the Balance Beam

I usually consider myself well balanced. Most of the time I'm a hot mess. A hot mess can be a composition of all sorts of things. A little of this and a little of that is what keeps me balanced. For example: 

I'm easily distracted, but my ability to obsess about stupid shit is second to none. Score.
I cry more often than I'd like (it's probably the red wine), but I laugh a lot. 
I love to shop, but I'm really good at being poor so I'm very attracted to clearance racks. 
I'm a real girly girl when it comes to love, but I don't think love always needs to be invited to the bedroom. 
Sometimes I blog a lot, but sometimes I don't blog at all. Ahem. 

Winter was longer than usual and sort of threw my normal hot mess balance all out of whack. There was too much work wine and too little treadmill. This is probably a blessing in disguise. I have a feeling that the wine might have made me fall off the treadmill, and we don't want that to happen again. To be fair, my wine girl Sarah and I enjoyed many a bottle of Cakebread Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon in the process. Still, there were too many hours at work and too little time spent enjoying life. 

Fortunately, summer is here! It took a couple months more than usual, but the sun is shining, the weather is warm, and I'm cultivating my sexy farmer tan with each trip outside. It's time to get back to good living. It's time to put away the red wine (sob) and bring back a little health into the eating part of life, which is pretty important I'm told. Here are a couple of things I'm totally digging lately: 

This is an excellent alternative to the million other hummus varieties on the market. 
Spicy Black Bean Hummus
1 garlic clove, peeled
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon tahini (roasted sesame seed paste)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 small jalapeño pepper, chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
Dash of crushed red pepper
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Dash of ground red pepper

Place garlic in a food processor; process until finely chopped. Add lemon juice, tahini, cumin, salt, black beans, jalapeño pepper, and crushed red pepper; process until smooth. Spoon bean mixture into a medium bowl, and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with ground red pepper.

The recipe says you should serve it with pita chips, but I prefer Nan bread or pita bread to the chips. Do what you will. I'll never know. 

I suggest trying to resist the urge to eat all packs in one sitting. 

Sandwich Condiments
I've moved away from the traditional burger condiments and switched to Wholly Guacamole (spicy variety) 100 calorie packs. If you're anything like me, you like sides with your burger. When you're at a grill-out you're likely to find chips and dips to fill out your plate. Personally, I tend to think if 5 chips are good then 10 chips are better. Twenty must be the ideal amount, right? Do you know when chips become less exciting? When you run out of dip, that's when. A squeeze of spicy guac on your burger makes a kick ass condiment and you can use the rest of the pack until you run out. When you're out of guac the chips seem pointless (shut up... this is a lie I choose to tell myself). 

Shit, I thought I had a few more exciting things.

Regardless, I am pretty sure that once my legs are back in show form my life is going to get far more exciting. For real. I figure if I really work my ass off and eat healthy food I will be back in swimsuit form by the time swimsuit season is over. Go me. Until then, I have a new Angie Answers question coming up later this week. I know I've been horrible about responding to these, but I promise to get my ass in gear and respond. If you've got a question, you can follow me on Twitter or Facebook (top left) or way up there on the right you can email me. 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

A Message to the Mommy (and Daddy) Blogs: They get older.

I do this thing where I look at my kids and kick my ass for not being a better parent. Some of you might be familiar with the process. The moment they do something amazing you think, "Wow, they are so much smarter than I was at that age!" It's as if you are incapable of giving yourself any credit for them turning out with a single brain cell, let alone the ability to use those brain cells to do awesome things. It's chalked up to pure chance.  Still, the minute they do something you really wish they hadn't or you see another child in the same age range doing something your child isn't but you know they're capable of you think, "I suck as a parent." 

Been there and done that. Most of us with kids past the toddler age have. Things haven't always been easy at our house. At times life is still a pain in my ass. At least once a week I ask myself,  "How many times do I have to take away their belongings before they realize that I'm not f*cking joking around about the picking up after themselves gig? Apparently quite a few. Perhaps my laziness in the beating the kids department is coming back to haunt me. Instead I've just decided to live the high life and leave them with nothing so they can see what they would have if they bothered to help out a little. I buy things that they don't like, but I do. I go places they don't want to go, but I do. When they wonder why we have no money left for Ramen noodles I'll simply say, "Well if you'd have done the dishes we wouldn't be here would we?"

It obviously hasn't been all bad. There are things I have done right. Both of my kids have managed to make it through life without being malnourished. This is not to say my cooking is stellar, but it is. We only use box dinners on mommy doesn't want to cook nights (we don't have shitty meals if I am eating too). Neither of the kids has been arrested or pregnant (especially Jacob... he's 100% impregnable). Both kids know how to use the washer and dryer as well as the vacuum. Aside from that, they both have a wicked awesome sarcastic sense of humor. 

So anyway, I always wonder if I've been the world's shittiest parent. Fortunately there is this thing called the Internet that allows me to find far worse examples of parenting than I could ever accomplish. I mean, it's not like I put my kids in the dryer...

Okay, so maybe the one time I did. 

Regardless, they have managed to make it pretty far considering my cooking, lax parenting, and the pressures of modern society. Last week my son turned 17. He hugged me today for making lasagna. Today my daughter turned 20. She hasn't spoken to me all day, but she did text to ask if everyone else was done taking showers so she wouldn't steal all the hot water. It's the little things, right? 

But this is my blog and we're going to talk about how this shit pertains to me. Let's not forget what's important here. 

1. I don't think I look old enough to have a 20 year old child. At the very least I don't act old enough. Hooray for immaturity!

2. I made a cake for my daughter today only to realize I'd failed to make a cake for my son's birthday last week because I was out of town. In order to be fair I decorated the cake for both of them and then forbade them from eating any of it. 

3. It's nearly my moment of escape. At this very moment I'm burrowing under the walls of my life and leaving behind a fall-out shelter of life wisdom for the kids when the inevitable happens. I'll be setting off some TNT in the tunnel behind me. 

Recently a friend and I were discussing parenting and the average woman's desire to pop out 12 kids. I stated that most women didn't want to become a baby factory, even in past decades. My friend quickly pointed out that I was not qualified to give input because I "didn't want the kids I already have" and was "already counting down the days until my youngest leaves so I can have a life". 

The last part of what he said was pretty accurate. I do long for a day when I can plan a life of my own without worrying about my kid's school and visitation schedules. The other part seriously pissed me off. It culminated with me pointing at him, in a public place, and stating quite matter of factly, "You do NOT get to talk about my wanting a life of my own. I have been doing this alone for well on 13 years now. YOU have never given up a day, let alone a month or year, of your life for another person." 

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I'm supposed to be that mother who agonizes over the fact that her children are going to leave the nest. Perhaps I'm supposed to spend the next few years of my life giving my youngest everything that he wants, regardless of what he deserves, in order to make myself feel better about the big day. That's not me. 

I'm always there for my kids. I will always be there for my kids. However, being a mother does NOT make me a slave to their lives. So for all the mommy or daddy blogs out there... don't be afraid. The whole process is going to be comical, tragic, happy, sad, momentous, and all the other opposite adjectives you can think of. You'll always have plenty of fodder, but do not for a moment doubt yourself when the day arrives when you really think, "When is it my turn?" Don't hate yourself for making a calendar and marking the days off with a big red X. We deserve to have a fantasy life, even if the fantasy is not doing any one's laundry or leaving the country. 

It is okay to hate yourself if you hang the calendar in plain sight (the kitchen, front door, living room, your child's bedroom door, etc.). That's just uncool. The rest is okay. 

One down. One to go. <3

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Week in Review- Being the Unicorn, Music, My Electrocution, and Other Nonsense

When screwing a light bulb into a socket it is wise to do so with an alternate light source. Performing this task in the dark could inadvertently cause you to grab for the socket and shove a curious thumb into said socket. That thing is alive people. I'll have more frizz to straighten out of my hair tomorrow.

The more you know...

I expected more from my near death experience. It would have been nice to have seen a light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe the light would have made it easier to see what I was grabbing. Perhaps it would have helped me find something else to grab onto when I stumbled back and made my girly shriek. The cement is hard on the old backside, y'all. This is probably my payback for asking God to show me a unicorn.

On that note, I appreciate the comments on that post even though I was a little too bitchy at the time to reply. I will offer this brief update. I decided to just be someones unicorn instead of waiting around. I'm not sure what to use as a horn. Either way, I'm going to show someone a better life whether they like it or not! Update: It's going well so far. It really is great to see someone stepping outside their comfort zone and realizing it's not nearly as frightening as they thought. The look on a person's face when they receive praise for a job well done is enough to make it worth it. Regardless of where it goes from here, I am so glad that I work for a company that allowed me to reach out to someone and offer them a chance.

Work has been a whirlwind. Following the Memorial Day holiday I had two days of work to get my new person in place and catch up on precious missed hours of productivity. Then I managed to escape the office for a couple of days and had a wonderful trip. I managed to squeeze in a little time to try new beers, new foods, new restaurants, and laugh like I haven't laughed in a long while. As exhausting as early flights are, it was productive and well worth the time out of the office.

Aside from the working and relaxing portions of my week, I spent a bit of time over at SprocketInk. Here's what you missed if you've not been there in awhile.

Real Starving Children Not Skinny Enough for Scottsdale Mom

Sometimes verbal guilt isn't enough to make your kids eat the dinner you slaved over. Consider asking a sickly skinny person to come over and shock your child into eating. 

Are you a grower not a show-er? Are you a Gherkin in a big pickle world? It’s time for the little guy to get some praise. The contest isn't until July. There is still time if anyone wants to enter!

On a final note... Ian Somerhalder is single. Just thought I should mention that because it seems pretty important.

That, my friends, is all I have for today, but later this week I'll be stopping by to talk a little about something very near and dear to my heart.... my breasts. Just kidding. I will be stopping by though. So watch out. I feel all energized and shit. It might be the Monster Lo Carb or maybe this... it's peppy!

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