Category Archives: Settled in Singleness

Table For One

I walked into one of my favorite restaurants seeking a carb fix and sat alone. It wasn’t the first time I dined alone, but this time was a little more poignant. I ordered my meal, and a heavy pour of Merlot, and sat at a table for one. I picked up my book I’m currently reading, and as my food came, I enjoyed the quiet, the uninteruption and just read.

This used to be one of the hardest things for me to do; to just sit and enjoy myself. Granted I do still have a lot on my mind at any given moment – the dishes, the laundry, the kids, school, etc – but I no longer find myself so compelled to get up and do it all right in that moment that I don’t enjoy the moment itself.

It’s no secret that the last year and nine months have been incredibly hard. This week marks one year since my divorce was finalized, and one year since my kids have had overnight visitations with their Dad on standard weekends, etc. Those weekends are the hardest for me because they’re my babies and I only want to see them safe.

“Oh, but Amanda, you get every other weekend off from having to do any Mom duties! How nice is that?!” 

Ya, I used to be one of those too. Envious of the Moms who got regular overnight breaks from their kids. Let me be the first to tell you though, sisters, that the cost I had to pay to get those “overnight breaks” from my dear, precious children, was NOT worth it. Their family was torn apart. Their Mom and Dad don’t live together. They have to constantly transition from one house to another. They will deal with the pain and confusion of coming from a divorced family for a very long time, if not forever. Watching their pain pains me. As I’ve said before, though, yes, I’m happier and I feel that us being divorced is even healthier for the kids than us staying together, especially with how our marriage ended and how he continues to behave, but it doesn’t trump the fact that that their little worlds were still rocked in a way I never wished for them.

So to all you single ladies and moms out there, get out and order a table for one. Bring your favorite book, or hell, play on your phone if you want! Enjoy yourself. Relax. Get a drink. Order a giant ass bowl of pasta and eat it with no regret! Spend some time not having to answer five thousand questions from someone. Go to bed early and sleep in late. Take time to recharge yourself, because self-care is NOT the same thing as selfishness. Do you hear me?

Married moms and ladies, get out and order a table for one. Bring your favorite book, or hell, play on your phone if you want! Enjoy yourself. Relax. Get a drink. Order a giant ass bowl of pasta and eat it with no regret! Spend some time not having to answer five thousand questions from someone. Go to bed early and sleep in late. Take time to recharge yourself, because self-care is NOT the same thing as selfishness. Do you hear me?

Do y’all hear me?!

Whether you’re single or married, with or without kids, you MUST take time for yourself! We, as women, tend to take on the problems and emotions of the world around us, and if we don’t take time to take care of ourselves we will crumble under that weight. Take time. If you have to make arrangements for yourself with a babysitter or swap out with a friend to make that time, then do it! You need it, but more importantly you deserve it.

“Hi, how many?”

“Table for one, please.”

Marriage Isn’t [Meant To Be] Hard

A couple of months ago a sweet friend of mine posted a link to a blog titled, “Marriage Isn’t Hard.” My first instinct reading the title was, “Ha!” Even after reading the first few paragraphs where the author admits to having only been married for 10 months I wanted to write and invite her to a coffee where I could share my wisdom with this dear, sweet, naïve young woman. In the last 19 months I’ve become a single mom, finalized my divorce, started grad school and closed a business. After experiencing the kind of heartache I did I was reading this post thinking, “You’ve got to be kidding me! What do you mean marriage isn’t hard?!”

In my almost 9 years of marriage my ex-husband and I experienced 3 layoffs between the two of us, moved 6 times, fell behind on bills more times than I’d like to count, had 3 miscarriages, had 2 children after that, fought and battled more than I’m proud to say, and ultimately our marriage failed. The writer talks about how in 10 months they experienced a pay cut, adding a mortgage and balancing time, and yes, I wanted to laugh in her face. I mean, how could she seriously say any of that was hard? Did she not realize the real challenges her and her new husband would surely face, possibly sooner than later?

Then I kept reading.

The truths this young woman shared showed that she is wise for her age. And when I allowed my emotions to settle and really think about my own personal situation from an unbiased perspective I realized she was right, but I threw a twist on it, because, after all, I am a divorcee. I’ve learned much about myself and my ex since becoming single, and in no way will ever excuse his actions that ultimately ended our marriage, but to say I didn’t contribute to our failure isn’t true. What I now realize is…

Marriage Isn’t [Meant To Be] Hard.

In my failed marriage we wouldn’t settle arguments; we’d yell, scream, throw names and accusations at one another to heighten the sense of resentment, hurt and disappointment the other caused. “You promised! You vowed! Why can’t you just….?!” Week after week, year after year, our relationship became more and more poisoned with resentment and disdain for one another. We allowed the difficulty of life to take hold of what was supposed to be most important – Fighting for one another instead of with one another.

When money was tight we’d fight and place blame – “You’re not making enough money! You’re spending too much money! You’re not following the budget! You’re not updating the budget with what you spend!” Round and round we went. We were so good at getting on that crazy cycle that spiraled us downward!

As I read on in this post I slowly came to realize something. What’s really hard is life, not marriage, not love.

Your wedding is meant to be special. Whether you get dressed up and have a big ceremony, or run away together or with a few people and elope, there’s a sense of excitement and euphoria that’s impossible to replace. You come home and the typical saying of, “The honeymoon’s over,” sets in. You adjust to blending two different lifestyles, sharing holidays, doing laundry, cooking dinner, sharing the bathroom, getting woken up by snores, adopting a dog, and the list goes on….

After time life gets really hard. You start to experience your first grown up disappointments, and sometimes major, expensive changes together. Like I mentioned above my ex and I experienced 3 layoffs between us; two in a row for him when the economy crashed in 2007/2008, one for me when our oldest daughter was just 6 weeks old. Life got really hard.

Looking back though I realized where I was disrespecting my husband without realizing it. I wasn’t creating a peaceful happy home, I wasn’t encouraging him to pursue better things or to be his best, I wasn’t pushing my fears and anxiety out of the way of my anger and resentment. I was making things harder, as life just got harder on its own.

Please, let me reiterate, the emotional and verbal abuse I now realize I was living under are not excused by me recognizing where I too failed and contributed to my divorce. I’m simply learning from my past, because you see, when you’re given an opportunity for true love, it’s important, and mature, to grow as people.

I’ve learned in my late 20s and now 30s that we must grow and progress as survivors of pain. If we don’t we will fall into the trap of victimization and expect the world to cater to our bad attitudes, pushing away the people who love us most and ones we truly need in our lives. For years I lived with this mindset of, “I am who I am. Take it or leave it.” Oh, how immature and heartbreaking for me, because that attitude didn’t invite people in to love me well, thus throwing away the opportunity for me to do the same for others! I’ve come to learn now that the hardships I’ve endured in life are blessings, because I’ve chosen to grow through them and have come out on the other side with the ability to love well with compassion. I can respond with empathy when a woman who’s experienced infertility, miscarriage, abuse, single parenting, job loss or divorce comes into my life. I can be a true reflection of Christ if I allow the Holy Spirit to work in me as He sees fit instead of trying to control outcomes.

Now that I have a good and true love in my life I feel that I can return that love in a form that holds no expectations. We both experienced divorce last year for the same reasons, so yes, there’s a camaraderie there that initially brought us together, but we also just work really well together. Both of our past relationships were riddled with unhealthy habits, and we’ve both learned from them and grown in a beautiful way. We choose to respond in love first rather than condemnation. We choose to communicate and talk things out, no matter how awkward, rather than allow our hurt feeling to fester resentment. We choose to plan and dream together, even if the reality of those dreams are years away. We choose to remember that we’re working together, not against one another.

This is what the original blog post was trying to remind us all of! When you stand before a large crowd or by yourselves and you say, “I accept you, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, as long as we both shall live,” it means, “No matter how bad or crazy shit may I get I’m in this for you, no one else! Not for future kids, a house, car, jewelry, money or titles, but for you! You’re worth fighting this fight with, because life will get hard.”

Married folks, please remember this! Both my love and I are in agreement that divorce sucks and it’s something we never want to experience again! When there’s kids involved there’s so much hurt, confusion and pain experienced with constant change and separation of households. Even when there’s not kids involved, as with him, there’s still feelings of disappointment, anger and betrayal. As one pastor previously illustrated, when two people are married it’s like gluing two pieces of paper completely together, one on top of the other. They stick together in all areas, and when you try and rip them apart after the glue’s dried pieces of one another are torn and left on the other. There’s never a clean separation.

Please, if nothing else, remember that Marriage Isn’t [Meant To Be] Hard.

I’m Just Not Feeling It Today

Today’s just one of those days; one of those kind where you don’t really feel sad or mad, but you’re just kind of meloncholy for not really any particular reason. It’s the kind of day where I fall into my own world of deep thoughts, and eventually start thinking about things that do make me mad or sad, maybe in some sort of subconscious effort to match my unexplainable mood.

For whatever reason, though, I’m just not feeling it today. Yesterday was a really rough day at work – a man I’ve known for 12 years, a good man, great leader and even better professor, husband and father, was done a great injustice. It started making me think about all of the utter bullshit I’ve seen in the oh-so-tightly-wound bureaucratic corporate world that plagues both private and state/government run institutions. It happens when the black and white hard lines of policy and procedure cloud the vision where you can no longer see the real, live person standing in front of you or on the other end of the phone. It happens when a society becomes so overrun with sue-happy people that we’re all of a sudden scared to sneeze without being held liable for some grossly exaggerated claim. It happens when an employer is too afraid to do the right thing when it comes to disciplinary action or even termination that we’re now forced to pay for a lazy asshole of a person to continue working. It’s all because of stuff we’ve done to ourselves, and yet we, as a society, just sit back and boo hoo about how unfair and unjust things are. When are we going to start doing something about it? When are we going to start making our voices heard at the polls, or maybe even run for office ourselves? It’s something I’m seriously considering.

So I went to school today, still upset about yesterday, and I was tired. I had a long evening with my kids, tried to go to bed early, but still slept like crap and woke up at 5:30am. I made my bed and even made coffee today in an effort to tell myself, “At least you have time to do ___ since you’re up so early,” but it didn’t really help. I went to class anyway, and in class, being one of three “non-traditional” students (that’s the school’s fancy way of saying we’re old), I found myself aggravated by the young students standing around talking for over 30 minutes instead of helping us finish today’s project so we could clean the lab space. You see, I was off of work today, which meant after class I could make the 35 mile drive back home and play with my kids today. I wanted to finish and leave.

On my way home I stopped to get groceries for dinner and bought myself flowers because I thought, “I deserve them.” Then it hit me. Loneliness.

Let me pause for a minute and say a couple of things. I’m totally fine being single. I’m the happiest I’ve been in 10 years. I no longer dread going home to meet someone who’s manipulative, emotionally abusive and unfaithful. I no longer feel like I’m under appreciated. I no longer feel ugly. I no longer feel worthless. I didn’t always feel this way, but after a year of healing post-separation/divorce I found the person who I’ve always been, but lost sight of. I learned to be happy on my own for the first time in my life. 

Now, after all that, it sucks being alone! I know, I know, I sound like I just completely contradicted myself, but I didn’t. I don’t mean it sucks to be alone in a way like you “need” someone to make you happy, I mean it just sucks to be physically alone sometimes. On those days when you’re exhausted coming home and all you can think about are the million-and-one things that need to be done, and all of which are relying on you alone. The kids who refuse to nap because they just want to see you. The grass that grows faster than my energy and time allows me to mow it, and then when you get time you run out of gas and can’t go get more because the kids are asleep. The dinner that never seems to cook itself. The homework and pressure of being a full-time graduate student. The impatience and restlessness from wanting my degree to go faster so I can fully get back on my feet financially. The desire to move somewhere far away to start over, but knowing I can’t. The dreams I have unfulfilled. The time I’d rather be spending with my mom so she can see more of her grandkids. The hand of a loved one in mine and hug I’d like to feel at the end of a long day. All of that is what I think about on a daily basis and it gets overwhelming at times, even depressing. I just get so tired of doing all of this alone sometimes that I want to scream, “It’s just not fair!”

So ya, I guess all of that to say, I’m just really not feeling it today.

~Amanda

It Happened

That moment I had been dreading finally happened a few weeks ago, well over a year since becoming single. I walked into church, settled into my usual seat, sang a couple of songs, and when we were prompted to greet one another a lady said, “Oh, you’re [my ex-husband’s] wife, aren’t you?”

No, no ma’am I’m not. You see, the church I still go to was the church he grew up in. We attended church there together for 6 years before he left. There are many families in the church that have known him since he was a teenager, and still associate me with him. I wanted to crawl under my chair and die. I changed my name back to my maiden name for a reason.

I wasn’t expecting to hurt as bad as it did either. Don’t get me wrong, today I’m 100% happy with my decision to go through with divorcing him. Like I said, there’s a reason why I changed my name back, and through wonderful counseling and lots of prayerful thought I’ve come to understand exactly the type of hell I was truly living in, but didn’t want to recognize at the time of our separation. I didn’t believe in divorce, and even more so believed in the vows I took on our wedding day. I think the reason it hurt was because what I still feel is just disappointment. I feel disappointed in his actions and decisions, even still to date as I battle for what’s best for my children emotionally. I’m disappointed that it has to be this way even though I’m happy and have moved on with my life. I’m disappointed for my girls, to have to grow up with divorced parents, because I know what that’s like still at 30 years old when it comes to planning trips, holidays and special events. It’s a total pain in the ass!

So ya, just like any mature adult….I’ve been avoiding church for weeks now. I know, I know, “But Amanda you’re so strong and you’ve come through a lot and you can go back to church confidently! So what if they thought you were still married!” I know. I’ve been listening to sermons online and trying to muster my courage to go back. I’ve gone a few times and sat there, praying the whole time that no one would talk to me, but I’m working on returning with my head held high. I will soon, I promise.

~Amanda

Mother’s Day Is Approaching

Mother’s Day…..

This day I longed for in my early twenties. I was married just shy of my 21st birthday, and from our first anniversary for the better part of four years my ex-husband and I struggled with infertility. I had my first miscarriage right before our anniversary. Our second was right around our second anniversary. The third happened a short time before our fourth anniversary. Each time I felt more and more isolated, more and more ashamed, more and more broken. I suffered through each one alone and silent.

Why was it happening to me?

I was left with a myriad of unanswered questions throughout those years. I did find out I was pregnant with my oldest, beautifully healthy daughter, just a month after my third miscarriage. I’m so thankful for her, but my heart does feel unsettled still. Why did I go through those years? What purpose did it serve? I may never have those answered until I’m in heaven one day, but one thing I’ve seen already is that through my suffering I’ve learned to be more understanding and compassionate, and have come in contact with other couples on multiple occasions experiencing the same tragedy and I’ve been able to share with them and listen to their needs. I think those years, as well as my year through divorce, have shown me that our sufferings allow us to shed light to others.

Now I’m single, so what?

Last year was my first Mother’s Day as a single mom. It felt weird to me. At the time my kids were 2 and 3 years old. Their preschool always has them complete a project of some sort to give to you on this day, but in my mind I looked forward to mother’s day the most because I thought my partner would celebrate me for bringing our children into this world. I was in labor for 45 1/2 hours with my oldest daughter and a very hard 9 hours with my youngest. I guess I thought, maybe even desired, for someone to say that I made them grateful, that they were proud of me, that they appreciated the sacrifices I made to have them, as well as the daily sacrifices I made to raise them as a work-from-home mom. Those unmet desires and attuning that my heart didn’t receive for years prior to even becoming single left me in a very weird state last year. Next weekend I’ll celebrate my second mother’s day single, and to be honest, I totally forgot it was mother’s day coming up until just a couple of days ago! Is that sad? Maybe it’s just a season I’m in, but my wish for all of you moms out there, married, single, young, old, is that you feel an overwhelming sense of appreciation on your day! Even if there’s not a physical person to provide you with flowers, breakfast in bed, or even just kind words, I hope and pray that you speak those words over yourself, because you’re worthy and they’re true.

Men, are you still searching for a gift? Help me help you. The mother in your life will LOVE this!! <Rescue & Renew Set> Choose the entire set, or 1-2 pieces. They’re all amazing!

Where Have You Been?

It’s been almost six months since I last posted! You may be wondering what all the hype was about when I announced that Mockingbird Baby is now a landing page for my Arbonne business, and then went MIA for months on end. Allow me to digress, if you will.

A LOT has been going on. Last fall I was accepted to grad school at Sam Houston State University – Eat ‘Em Up Kats! I started my first semester towards my Masters of Science in January, and grad school as a single mom has been NO JOKE! So far I’m doing really well, and my goal is to just keep that same momentum going to get me through the next 1 year and 4 days until graduation. Not that anyone is counting or anything. Now that the semester is ending there may be an influx of posts coming from me.

I started dating again last fall and after several frogs and disappointments I think I’ve found my Prince Charming! His name is Doug, he’s amazing with my kids, he listens deeply and cares compassionately, and I think I finally know what true love means! I’ll share a separate blog post on my thoughts around that one another time.

My mom has been really sick since October; in and out of the hospital more frequently than she can stand, treatments working, then not working, then changing treatments, surgeries, changes, etc. She’s exhausted. I think we’re still in the midst of trying to navigate through what the doctors are going to say next, but the only thing I know how to do right now is just support whatever direction she wants to go. Quite honestly I’ve been really bad at these emotions because it’s a first for me. A scary first that I don’t like. I feel like I don’t know what to say, I’m not sure what I feel half the time, and also I just want to finish school so I can spend more time than I’ve been able to with her. We’d love your prayers in this area if you wouldn’t mind!

My girls are finishing another pre-school year and my oldest, Joni, is officially registered for Kindergarten! Class of 2030 here she comes!

So yes, to say I’ve been busy could possibly be an understatement, but you know what? I’ve never been happier in so many areas of my life! I learned so much about myself last year and I’m ready to see what the future holds! Here’s to being back online!

~Amanda

What’s going on here?

What has Mockingbird Baby become?

You may be visiting the Mockingbird Baby site confused, because, after all, didn’t this used to be a natural family boutique with cloth diapers, soaps, lotions, carriers and other baby items? You’d be correct! In September we had to make the very difficult decision to close both our retail and online stores as I finalized my divorce and made other decisions that were in the best interest of my family. So what now? Well, Mockingbird Baby has transitioned to be a landing page for my Arbonne business as well as an outlet for my Journey of a Single Mom. I’ve learned so much over my 30 years here, especially this last year as my life took the biggest transition I’ve ever experienced. Blogging has become my way of sharing lessons, stories, funny happenings and just allowing you to step into my life on occasion. I can honestly say as I stand here today that I’m the happiest I’ve been in 10 years. It hasn’t been easy, nor fun, getting to this point, but I’m loving it. I hope you’ll follow along with me and enjoy, possibly even learn from, what I share.

~Amanda