We’re Done

As of yesterday, March 8, I am no longer nursing my daughter.  We have been nursing for nearly 26 months, and it has been great for the most part.  I mean, besides the fact that the first two months are just shy of torture, your boobs are no longer yours, having to wear those hideous nursing bras, and limiting your wardrobe to what can make your boobs easily accessible.  It was a great bonding experience just between her and I.  I was able to comfort her when she got hurt, was sad, or sick.  It was the easiest way to put her to sleep.  It is a natural antibiotic to help fight off illness, both internally and externally (at one point she had what I think was pink eye, put a few drops of breast milk in her eye and it cleared it up.).  Not to mention the benefits of long term health for both her and myself.

However, as of lately, she has only been nursing two-four times a day depending on what we did during the day.  The majority of the time it’s when she wakes up in the morning and just before she takes her nap.  I have gotten to the point now where I don’t enjoy the bonding time that much anymore.  Now it’s more of something I have to do instead of something I want to do.  That was kind of my sign that it was time to stop.

I have been having a lot of hormonal acne the last two months and I can’t treat it while I’m nursing.  So I decided that since she wasn’t showing as much interest as before, I was starting to not enjoy it, and I was having this issue that couldn’t be treated until breastfeeding was done, I decided it was time.  I accomplished mostly what I wanted to.  I wanted to nurse for a minimum of one year that then changed to two years.  I also wanted her to self-wean, however that just isn’t going to happen anytime soon.

I finally get to wear normal bras and normal clothes.  She is going to learn how to self-soothe herself before a nap without having her nursing session.  All in all I think this is going to be a good decision for us.

I was nervous because if this is my only child, this will be the last time I get to nurse my baby and I wanted to take full advantage of it.  However, I also want to remember it fondly, not like a chore that I was tied down to until she decided she was done.

March 8, 2016, the day we stopped breastfeeding, and the day I start to let go of the fact that my baby isn’t a baby anymore.

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Nobody Will Date Me Because I’m a Single Mom

The last two months have been a bit of a roller coaster ride for me.  In two months I went from meeting this guy who was a complete gentleman, going on a few dates, deciding to be completely vulnerable and opening my heart, to having it broken in a matter of weeks.

Now most people would say, “It’s only been a month, why do you care so much?”  To be honest, I didn’t know in the beginning.  I thought I was crazy too.  Why would I care so much about this guy that I had only gone out with a handful of times?  That question haunted me for the past two weeks.  I would get to the point of tears, not knowing why I was caring so much.

Fast forward to the end of last week, and I finally started to get a grip on what I was feeling.  For starters, I was suffering from some pretty relentless PMS, but along with that I realized that it all stemmed from an insecurity I have developed.  One that one of my friends was able to point out within minutes.

In the past two years I have gone out with a grand total of two guys.  One of which was completely open to the fact that I had a daughter but didn’t really seem to understand the weight of it.  The other is known to not like kids.  Both of which, not exactly good candidates to go out with as a single mom.  However, my decision to go out with them and the fact that I had a less than active dating life, began to mold this insecurity inside of me.

When I really started to think about why this rejection had such an effect on me, I began to realize it’s because of my daughter.  Not her exactly, but the feeling I have about her.  A totally and completely irrational feeling, but one I have nonetheless.  That there isn’t going to be a guy, much less a God loving guy, who will want to date a single mom.  As I said, I know that is completely irrational, and I truly believe it is one of Satan’s tactics to try to break me.  To be honest, it worked.  The last guy I went out with wouldn’t have been the type of guy God would choose for me.  However, I was believing that there wouldn’t be a christian guy who want me, so this guy is interested, I’ll just put everything I have into this.  It’s the best chance I have.  So, when the rejection came, it hit me.  It hit me hard.  Not only did I believe that a christian guy wouldn’t want me, but now this guy didn’t want me either.  I believed it was my last chance, I put everything on this guy, which was not fair to him.  He didn’t deserve that type of pressure (he didn’t know it at the time, but I’m sure he figured it out later).

It took me until this past weekend to figure that out, unfortunately it wasn’t until after I spent the week prior not only making my life miserable, but also exposing my insecurities to the poor guy.  My daughter suffered, my job suffered, and my relationship with Jesus suffered.

I was willing to forgo some of my beliefs and convictions for a guy.  It was not in anyway his doing, but my own.  Which only made the rejection worse, not only was I willing to bend on my beliefs, but I also started to resent the fact that I had a daughter.  Hence the reason I was an emotional wreck.

Even though it was only a couple months of my life, it has helped me considerably when it comes to my future dating life.  For that I am extremely grateful, but also extremely disappointed in myself.  I wish I could go back and be fair to the last guy, not only during the time we spent together, but for the time that followed when I was a little less than sane.  So to the man that had to experience this firsthand, I am truly sorry that I put that pressure on you, and I am sorry you were the one who was experiencing my “finding myself”.  You are truly a great guy, and the definition of a gentleman.  I will remember our short time together and know that you were the one who showed me the way a man should treat a lady.  You treated me better than any guy I have ever known, for that I will always be grateful.

From this moment forward, my daughter isn’t something that I should look at as a turn off, but as a bonus to whatever man chooses to accept us both.

One of my friends put it best.  If he’s the guy for you, he will accept your daughter, not look at her as baggage and have to put up with the fact that she exists, but completely and fully accept you both into his life, without question.

I will act like your mom when it comes to suncreen

Nine.  That’s the number of biopsies I have had done to test for skin cancer.  Two have come back with atypical cells, meaning there wasn’t cancer, but the possibility was there if it hadn’t been caught.

I was 18 when I had my first positive test come back from a spot that was hidden in my hair.  I had just happened to part my hair a different way one day and found a spot that was shaped kind of like a clover with 3 different colors.  When I went in to see the dermatologist she removed it that day and sent it in for a biopsy.  They had found atypical cells, but she had dug deep enough that she had removed them all.  However, that meant that I would then have to make yearly visits to her office for full body checks.

I continued to do that for a few years, then during one visit I asked her to remove a mole that was bothering me on my back.  She said it didn’t look suspicious, but she would.  So she scraped it off and sent it for a biopsy just in case.  It also came back with atypical cells.

Now let me just say, I am not a huge fan of sun bathing.  I have never once been in a tanning bed, and I can probably count on one hand the number of bad sunburns I’ve had in my entire life.  I am not the typical candidate for skin cancer.  However, it is something that I have to watch for on a regular basis.  I perform self checks usually once a month or so and meet with my dermatologist once a year.  I wear sunscreen almost any time I will be outside for a long period of time, and on my face nearly everyday.  Skin cancer does not discriminate and it can be deadly.

Approximately 1 person per hour will die from melanoma.

I don’t want to be that one, and I don’t want my loved ones to be either.

My problem with mega churches

I have lost count of how many times I have gone to a service at church and at some point the pastor had asked for money.

Now let me preface this by saying, I totally, 100%, completely agree that we need to give God back what is His.  After all, everything we have is from Him.

“Every tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the trees, is the Lord‘s; it is holy to the Lord.”  Leviticus 27:30

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  Matthew 6:21

Now, with that said, my problem isn’t the asking for money.  It’s what is being done with it.

Here are a few examples that are immediately coming to mind:

A church I was going to a few years ago received a large donation of money from one their members.  The donation was large enough to pay for half of a new SUV.  The church then footed the rest of the bill and decided to hold a challenge of sorts that throughout the year everyone would be encouraged to read their bible.  Every book that you read or verse you memorized earned you an entry in a drawing to win the car at the end of the year.  When you look at the surface of the idea, it sounds pretty good.  Get the members of the church more involved in reading their bibles and studying God’s word.  However, it got me thinking, what else could have been done with that money.  Let’s give a ball park figure,  an average SUV of that same make and model is approximately $30,000.  Can you imagine what that kind of money could do when used for the kingdom of God?  I can not even begin to fathom how many people that amount of money could have helped.  How many meals that could have provided, how many house repairs that could have fixed, how many lives could have been changed?  I do recall that the person who won the car had recently been experiencing car trouble herself, so I do believe that she won for a reason, but I just can’t seem to forget how many people could have benefited from that large sum of money.

Another example I just heard about recently is a church that spent a great deal of money building props that were used one time and then the materials were never used again.  Again, what could have been done with that money that could have been used to benefit the community or the world?

Right now there are many churches who are doing the same thing.  I am not saying they are all bad.  In fact, those very same churches are doing great things for God’s kingdom.  Helping members of the community financially and emotionally, sending missionaries to other parts of the world, sending people into the jails to connect with the inmates, the list is endless.  There isn’t a shortage of the good they are doing.

However, can you imagine what this world would look like today if the church took a step back and re-evaluated what it means to be the church.  I once read a story of a man who sold his house, car, and most of his possessions, went and moved back in with his parents so the majority of his income would go straight back into the kingdom.  You might consider that a bit radical, but can you imagine what the world would be like if even half of the people who consider themselves Christian lived a radical life for God?  I’m not saying sell everything and move back in with your parents or live out of your car, or anything that you don’t feel God calling you to do.  But, if God is calling you to do something, imagine what would happen if you listened and did it.

I was attending a church where nobody on staff was paid a salary, not a one.  All the tithes and offerings went to the community and to keeping the church running.  How awesome is that?  That they are not only able to support their church but also have a major impact on their community, without having the biggest building, the fancy lights, or the huge props that took up the stage.  What if more churches followed that example?  What if the most important thing was spreading God’s word and sharing His love with others?  What if we brought the church back to what it had intended to be?  I think there would be a huge shift in what others think of the church and of those who consider themselves Christian.  I think the stigma would change, and with that, the world would truly see the love of Christ in the church.

“Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.” Proverbs 3:9-10

“Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.”  Malachi 3:10

I guess, the purpose of this post is to challenge the church, instead of spending money to put back into the church building, why not take it and put it back into God’s creation?  Be radical and just wait to be amazed at what God can do with it.

 

 

 

Why I’m quitting running

I quit. Kind of.  If you have been reading my blog, you’ll know that I signed up for two half marathons.  I completed the first about 6 weeks ago and my second is this coming Saturday…but I’m not going to do it.

I enjoy running, I think it can be a great stress reliever, great cardio, and a nice escape.  However, running long distances can be trying, especially without support.

Running, while it takes cardiovascular strength, muscular strength and endurance, it is more mental than anything else.  At least in my case.  After I get through the first 10 minutes I feel like I can just keep running most of the time.  The only problem, is I have a tendency to get in my head and convince myself that I’m tired or want to stop.  When in actuality, I’m just not feeling confident in myself.  That’s when moral support comes in handy.  When you have the people on the side of the road cheering for you.  When there are friends sending you encouraging text messages.  Mainly, when you know there is someone waiting for you at the finish line.  It all helps keep you focused and motivated to stay the pace and do your best to finish strong.

So for the race that is coming up on Saturday I found out that I wouldn’t have anybody there.  I would have to be at the shuttle pick up by 5am to make it to the start line.  That would mean leaving by no later than 4am.  Needless to say, my support system said they didn’t want to wake up that early.  That means I would be driving myself, and let’s just say anybody who drives after running 13 miles has to be crazy.  Not only that, but I wouldn’t have anybody at the finish line to look forward to seeing, no one cheering as I sluggishly crossed the finish line, and no one to share in the excitement that I had just completed my third 13.1.

The one person I had counted on to be there is choosing not to be, some friends have previous commitments, and another person I was hoping would be there isn’t involved in my life as they had been previously.  So, no running for me this weekend.

Which then got me thinking, do I really want to keep up with running?  After a lot of consideration, I think I have finally come to a conclusion.  While I love running, I have also come to love doing various strength exercises as well.  Mainly HIIT workouts, where you combine strength with toning.  So as of now I will be focusing on building more muscle strength and then revisit the possibility of long distance running in the fall.  I mean, let’s face it, I have to finish the next 2 years of the rock n roll half marathon series to complete my 4 medal puzzle.  While I’m not completely quitting, I am taking a bit of a break.

 

It’s a Choice

Before I fall asleep, I will usually check social media and sometimes scroll through pinterest.  Tonight, even being dead tired and wanting to fall asleep at 8pm, I went onto pinterest anyway.  I’m glad I did.

As of lately I’ve been feeling a little depressed with being a single mom.  Not that I have a daughter, I love her to pieces, but because I have this constant fear that nobody will want to date me because of it.  It doesn’t matter how irrational it seems, it is something that I deal with on a somewhat regular basis.

So tonight when I was on pinterest I stumbled upon a quote that said, “Don’t feel sorry for me. I’m not a single mother by chance, I’m a single mother by choice.”

When I read that it was like a light bulb went on in my head.  How true is that?  I am not single by chance.  I broke it off with my daughter’s dad.  He was a very abusive and controlling person who had me feeling as though I wasn’t even worthy of sleeping on anything but an air mattress while recovering from a c-section.

Then in the past 2 years, dating hasn’t been a priority for me.  Sure, it is always a nice thought to finally settle down with someone, but that’s the thing, I don’t want to settle.

Recently I went on a few dates with this really great guy, it ended up not working out, but it made me realize a few things.  First, what a real gentleman is like, and that they actually do exist.  Second, that my daughter will come first in my life until any relationship becomes a serious one.  And third, if it isn’t right, let it go.  Don’t hold onto something because you’re afraid of what may happen in the future.

I am a single mother by choice.  I will not let my emotions lead me to act on something that I should be chasing in the first place.  My daughter deserves the best, not only from me, but from the man I will introduce into her life.

Raising a child isn’t an inconvenience, it’s the most important job there is.  Make sure that anyone you get involved with feels the same.  Guard your heart but don’t be afraid to fall.

What I’ve Learned About Single Mom Dating

I posted about 6 months about single parent dating, I have some rather unconventional thoughts about it.  You can read that post here.

However, in the past few weeks I found myself going on a handful of dates with this really great guy.  The only problem was that I had never been in this world before.  The last time I had been on a date was before my daughter was born, it was much easier to navigate.  Now, I don’t know what to say, when to say it, or even how to word most things.

For example, do I even mention my daughter in the beginning?  Or do I wait?  Do I have the conversation about her dad?  Then you have basic questions like the future?  Do I assume it’s just a fling and not bring up anything too far in the future?  Or do I go ahead and discuss things that may occur in the future?

I slightly touched on a few heavy topics, my past intimate relationships, being raped at 17, and being in an abusive relationship with my daughter’s father.  I also mentioned a few things about where I was at with our child support and parenting time hearing.  However, when it came to other stuff, I had so much more I wanted to say about future plans, and politics, about my beliefs, and then silly stuff like future vacations I wanted to take, my 10 year plan.  But what did I do, I talked about favorite colors, favorite food, favorite movies, brothers and sisters.  Which don’t get me wrong, basic information like that is important too.  How do you know if you like someone if you can’t answer simple questions about them.

In the very short time I spent with this person, I have learned quite a bit.  If you have something to say, say it.  If you want to talk about it, do it.  The worst that can happen is that you are being too honest, and isn’t that a good thing?  Not only do you want to get to know each other on a surface level, but also on a deep personal level.  Don’t wait to make that connection with someone.

I regret a lot of things I did in the past few weeks, I had a great guy and blew it because I was scared to open up too much, that he wouldn’t like me because of all the baggage I carry.  But you know what, I do have a history and I will have a future, and I shouldn’t be scared to talk about it with someone that I would like to possibly see a future with.

I did find that I like country dancing, even if I may not be too good at it right now, it is something I have come to really enjoy learning.  Now to find a partner, on the dance floor and in life.