I’m Not A Regular Mom

I’m Not A Regular Mom

“Just taking my mind on a visit, back in time ‘cuz I’ve missed it.” – Blake Shelton

About a month ago I had the opportunity to be free of any sort of responsibilities for about 24 hours. It honestly was the rejuvenation I didn’t know that I needed.

If you know me, then you know that my teenage years were spent glued to TRL, googly-eyed over NSYNC, and dancing to my hearts content. If you could see me right now reflecting on this time in my life, you’d see me with a smile on my face. Anytime that I get to reminisce it takes me back to the days of being carefree and just simply having fun. I can still remember my first celebrity crush: Jonathan Taylor Thomas. I thought I was LIVING with his poster taped to my wall. But then Titanic made its debut. I moved on to Leonardo DiCaprio and dial up internet was all the rage.

My dad wouldn’t let me go on the internet alone (because of the pop up ads!). So he would sit with me as I printed pictures of Leo to put on my notebook for school. This is one of my favorite memories; it’s hysterical and honestly, what a guy!

Leo soon faded to the background the second I went to my first NSYNC concert. My parents took my sister and I; along with another family. Have I ever mentioned how awesome my family is? If not, now would be the time… they are amazing! I mean, what parents would willingly do this?!

Anyway, NSYNC (and the pop/boyband era) was the forefront and center of my life for a very long time. The best way I can describe it: fun. It was so much fun. I just had the best time loving them.

Of course as you get older life moves forward and the best of times become your past times. I still love music more than I can even describe. And I still will go to every concert that I can. Which is why going to see Justin Timberlake was a definite must.

I went with one of my best friends, who may just love JT just as much as me – if not more! 😉 We were on the floor right in the front of the stage living our best lives. Everything about it was perfect. The dancing, the stage, the singing, the band, the lights, the people. It was amazing. It’s really funny to think I have seen JT in concert too many times to count and he has no idea who I am. But he doesn’t need to. It’s just fun.

Coincidentally in the same 24 hours NSYNC was having their Dirty Pop Up shop in Hollywood. I had to go.

My friend dropped me off the next morning and I thought he’d be back in a couple hours to pick me up…. ha! Did you know that NSYNC still has thousands of fans?! I really thought I was going to be the minority. Boy, was I wrong!

I waited 7 hours (YES 7) before I finally made it inside. Luckily, I made 9 new friends who were so generous and kind. It really helped pass the time when one offered a bottle of wine!

I even met one woman who flew in all the way from Boston! We were almost to the front when I just about had a breakdown and wanted to leave but then cheers erupted. I quickly stood up to see what all the commotion was about – Lance and Joey had come! Honestly, if they hadn’t come I’m not sure I was going to make it much longer. They went inside the store for a bit and then made their way down the line. I wish someone could have recorded my face as they walked down – I know I for sure had a creep smile on my face!

After another hour or so we finally made it inside! Probably to an outsider it wouldn’t have looked like much, but to me it held so much nostalgia. They had many photo opportunities, new merchandise, huge blown up posters from past tours, and of course NSYNC music playing. I wasn’t expecting to feel so emotional but I was. It wasn’t even about the band anymore. It was about me and what my life was like and where I am now.

My son has no idea about that life and he will never know exactly what it was like. But I hope to give him snippets of who I was before I was a mom. I think it’s important to remember and to not let that person go completely. I truly hope he loves something bigger than himself one day, and I can be there to share that experience with him…as much as he will allow.

Before I sign off, I want to give a shoutout to the 9 other amazing ladies that I met in line. I will never forget those 7 hours (mostly because my legs hurt so much) but also because each and every one of you made it so much fun. I had the best time reminiscing about the experiences we shared. Oh and to the girl with an NSYNC tattoo – you are my hero!

Self Care Is Not Selfish

Self Care Is Not Selfish

I often say that it’s bittersweet sharing time with my son. At the bottom of my heart, I wish that I could spend every single day with him. But, I know that it’s not an option, so I choose to make the most of my time with him and without him. The first year of his life, I did not spend more than a couple of hours away from him. His dad lived more than an hour away and I was nursing him. Oh, and did I mention I had a really hard time pumping? I gave up on my pumping dreams when he was about 4 months old. Nursing was a really big priority for me, so we were attached (literally) for 13 solid months.

During the first few months of B’s life I was apart of the most wonderful mommy and me group called: The New Mom School. I met some of the most amazing women there; all journeying with me in our new role as “MOM”. I remember at the time a lot was said about taking care of ourselves, making sure we carved out time in the day to clear our heads so that we could continue to be the best mom that we could be. They called it “Self Care”. Self care? What was that? I was a single mom and didn’t have the luxury of self care. I remember wanting so badly to go to a friends birthday dinner without my son. I tried all day to pump and I just couldn’t. I had two choices: to stay home or bring him with me. I brought him with me. It was hectic and scary but we both survived. And it was from that moment on I made the choice to always bring him with me where ever I went (within reason of course). I didn’t want to be a slave to my home because I am the furthest thing from a homebody. And I also didn’t want to be a typical single mom who couldn’t enjoy her life.

When the time came for Braden to spend time at his dads house, I slowly started to feel like I got my groove back. I started to make plans with friends, day trips to LA and DIY projects at home. But, it wasn’t until Braden was about 3 years old where I finally started to feel like myself again. For a long time I really struggled with watching my friends with kids who were married going on these great family vacations, buying homes and new cars. I felt so behind. I wanted to stay home with my son, but I also wanted to start building a life for the two of us.

After I started working full time it felt like I was coming into my own. It was and still is a very tough inner struggle and a huge balancing act being a working single mom. I never want B to feel that he is missing out on anything because I work. I wish I could put into words how much of a juggle it is – but it is really important to me to be there every single second I have available. I have some friends that say I can’t do it all, or I can’t be there for it all, but so far I haven’t missed anything. And I will be damn sure to be there for everything. I know that in the end I am doing what’s best for me and my son. Even though I may not be where I wish I was but I know that every day I am working towards that goal.

With that said, when B is with his dad, that is my time for self care. I didn’t get much of it in the first few years of his life, but I think I’m making up for lost time! It’s not often I get to have a full weekend “off duty”, or really ever? But you better believe I will soak up the 36 hours every week, that I get to myself. It isn’t much, but I’ll take it!

And honestly, I am pretty damn lucky in the coparenting department.  Our coparenting relationship has not always been this way, but I am so grateful that we have made it to the place that we are. I know a lot of people tell me “I’m so lucky”, but this is not luck. We have both worked equally as hard to get to this place for the sake of our son (and our sanity). Without him and his wonderful girlfriend I wouldn’t be able to do some of the things I enjoy doing. Especially my fabulous weekend with NYSNC (more on that later!).It truly does take a village to raise kids – especially if you are doing it solo. And if you are, please take those moments you have to yourself to remember who you are because we were somebody before we became a mom. Self care is not selfish!

Before I end this I just want to say,  if you are struggling in your coparenting relationship, please know that if you truly want it to work, it can! I wasn’t sure we would ever be in such a good place, but we are, and I am so grateful. So please, stay hopeful and continue to do the work – you’ll get there!

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