You Need to Know – We Are Not the Same

I am a twin. We are not identical but people who don’t know us, or don’t know us well have trouble telling us apart. To be fair, in pictures from when we were babies and toddlers even I can’t tell us apart (my mother has trouble with it too). Those who know us well however have no trouble distinguishing us.

Even though we are twins we are unique. We are each an individual with different likes and dislikes. We have chosen very different paths, although we have both ended up as single mothers. She married her high school sweetheart and had children in her early twenties. I met my ex in college and we waited until I was in my early thirties to have kids. She works with children and because of this has felt the struggle of a profession that is often not fairly compensated. I ended up in IT, even though most days I would prefer to work with children.

Being a twin gives me a unique perspective as a mother. My girls are 15 months apart and I have always made the effort to treat them as individuals. From the time they were little I paid attention to their uniqueness more than their similarities. I’ve encouraged them to be their own person, never dressing them alike or buying the same gift at Christmas. Over the years, I’ve attempted to spend time one on one with each of them. I’ve encouraged them to participate in different activities even when it stretched my already short free time, my oldest choosing Girl Scouts and my youngest opting for piano lessons.

But because they’re so close in age they have experienced some similarities to being twins. Strangers on the street have always stopped and asked if they were twins. They’re in different grades in school but they share some of the same friends. We often have several kids over and I encourage them not to exclude anyone, although I know at times they will want time alone with a friend. They have both been in non-competitive gymnastics for years, both at the same level so in the same class. They are getting ready to go up a level, but even then they will probably move up at the same time as they have the same skills left to master.

A lot of the tension between the two of them involves this struggle to maintain their own identity. They compare themselves against each other constantly, even though I feel I am continuously reminding them they are unique and can’t be compared. I know this is normal and I try to be patient with it. But as a mother I want nothing more than for the two of them to appreciate each other.

No two people are ever identical. It is our very individuality that makes this world such an interesting place.

Identical

Add a Little Spice – Chicken Tortilla Soup

My tastes have changed significantly over the past few years. When I was married I was a very picky eater. I didn’t like my food to touch on the plate and preferred my food bland.

Today I eat almost everything and prefer everything mixed together. I have done a complete 180. I eat a lot of beans (black and red but others as well) and really enjoy a little spice. For this recipe I add a little tang to the spice with a healthy squeeze of fresh lime juice. I’ve also added fresh avocado right before eating which balances the spice of the soup very well.

I made this yesterday and it’s one of my new favorite things to eat! If you try it let me know how it turns out!

1 tsp minced garlic
1 medium diced onion
1 tbs olive oil
1 can Rotel Chili Fixins
8 cups chicken broth
3 oz dry white wine (optional)
1 large boneless skinless chicken breast
1 cup cooked black beans
1 cup frozen corn

In small saucepan heat oil. Saute garlic and onion until brown.

In large pot combine all ingredients (including garlic and onion). Bring to a boil. Boil 15 minutes. Remove chicken breast and shred with 2 forks. Return chicken to soup and simmer covered for 45 minutes.

Serves 4
Calories 259
Fat 3.3
Protein 13.8

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Do Something About It

Just the kick in the pants some of us need. Change is hard but so worth it!

Discovering Your Happiness

Hello loves ❤

If you hate your job so much you’d rather do just about anything other than get up and go to work, quit. If you hate coming home at the end of a long day because you can’t stand to look your partner in the face, leave. If you are sick and tired of the way your life is going, do something about it.

If you hate your life that much–change it. Stop moaning and groaning about it, and actually do something.

Do you think anyone wants to work with someone who is miserable? No. Do you think you’re doing yourself or your partner a favor by staying with them when you can’t stand to be in the same room as them? No. Do you think you’re really going after what you want when you half-ass things and give up after a few bumps? Nope.

Things aren’t going…

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You are what YOU see!!

We are all tigers!

Caterpillars2Butterflies

fb_img_1515353968015569717070.jpg

We’ve all seen various versions of this photo, but the point is always the same.  It does not matter of others only see the small kitten that you may physically be.  What’s important is the very reflection that you see yourself.  Once you see the vision of the beautiful white, Siberian tiger…..believe that you are that tiger.  Your every move, mannerism and action should be that of the majestic tiger. The more you act like that tiger….the more others will begin to see you as that tiger as well!!

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This is What Makes Young Girls Blush

My daughters have a hard time accepting praise. They blush when given compliments and tell me to stop. I won’t stop. These girls are amazing. I love them beyond all reason, but even those less biased know how special they are.

I hope in time they learn to accept this about themselves. There are so many negative messages for young girls on TV, on social media, even from adults who are supposed to love them and probably mean well. These messages outnumber the compliments and so they are the ones they feel comfortable with.

Who are they going to believe, their dad when he tells them they’re fat or stubborn? Or me when I tell them they’re beautiful and strong?

Who are they going to believe, their “friends” on Snap Chat when they tell them they look stupid dancing around? Or me when I tell them they look happy and carefree?

Who are they going to believe, television shows that tell them it’s funny to treat people with disrespect? Or me when I tell them that being respectful is kind and a gift?

Why is it easier to accept the negative messages than the positive ones? Why do compliments make my girls blush with embarrassment but ridicule makes them laugh? When did we do this to our children and how can we fix it? I want so much more for them.

 Blush
Photo by Alexander Shustov on Unsplash

Controversial Single Mother – Who is She?

Yesterday I read a blog post that has me thinking, not just about what she said but about how divisive our society has become. The post was called “Single Parent vs Single Parent” and can be found at the link below:

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/76765594/posts/1799625796

By posting the link to the article and not talking about it in general terms I do not mean any disrespect. Rather, I respect her opinion and I am not here to say she’s wrong. My intention is to post my point of view to see what everyone else here thinks. I also want everyone who is interested to be able to see her point of view without any bias, so I did not attempt to summarize her views. After a Google search I’ve discovered this is a popular view so I don’t mean to call her out specifically, but it was her post that led to mine and I want to give credit where credit is due.

While I’m not going to say she’s wrong, I do want to say that I respectfully disagree with her opinion.

According to her I should not call myself a single mother. According to this post only parents who are raising their child/children completely without the involvement of the other parent should call themselves a single parent.

Does it offend you if I call myself a single mother? Is there value in labeling those of us who have to share custody of our children something different? I honestly want to know.

Is this because single moms who have sole custody of their children have it harder? If this is basis, lets compare two situations. First, a single mother who has sole custody, whose parents babysit for her one night a week, who makes more than enough to pay her bills and sets money aside to help pay for college when her children are older. Second, is a single mother whose ex is verbally abusive, who sometimes “forgets” to pay his $100 a month in child support because the price of cigarettes went up again and who takes them every other weekend, or at least on the weekends he feels like complying with the custody agreement.

The label of “single mother,” in my opinion, should not attempt to universally describe a plight. For me it is a way to unite women together, not divide or label them. They may be single by choice, they may be lesbian, they may have adopted children, they may have a super supportive ex, or they may not even know the name of the father.

I have learned that there is no universally accepted definition of the term “single mother.” In my opinion, single mothers are women, or people who identify as a woman. Single mothers have children, either young or grown. Single mothers are not in a relationship with the father of their children, but they may be in a different relationship, or possibly even remarried. Single mothers may even still be in a relationship with the father but consider themselves “single” for a variety of reasons. Whoever considers themselves a single mother should be allowed to do so, without judgment. This isn’t an exclusive club and it’s not high school.

As I posted last week regarding what I felt children were learning from the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, there is power in joining together. You can accomplish more by uniting people than by dividing. I’m not sure why our society keeps going down the path of “you’re not like me” or “we’re too different to be labeled the same.”

I actually read an article in a major publication from the UK a couple years ago that said it was offensive to people who are born as a female but don’t identify as a woman to use the term “mother.” It was offensive to me to think that any group of people might try to take that word away from me.

When I started writing this I had actually considered maybe changing the name of my blog to be less offensive. After all, I do see her point. However I’m going to keep things the way they are. I am going to continue to call myself a single mother. I do this not to offend, but I do not apologize for it.

Photo by Levi Guzman on Unsplash

A Single Mother’s Patience

Is there a group of people who need more patience than single mothers? We work; we cook; we clean; we fix; we teach; we play; we watch; we console; we hug; we love. We put everyone else before ourselves.

We don’t do this for thanks or appreciation. We do this for our children. Those fantastic, loveable, hugable little monsters that bring us such joy, but also frustration.

Our children are the great testers of patience.

As babies, my girls cried…a lot. By anyone’s standard they cried more than most babies. My oldest didn’t sleep through the night until she was 10 months old. My youngest didn’t sleep through the night until she was 16 months old…not one night. Because their dad is a pilot I was alone with them half the time, and working full time. I don’t think I slept through the night in almost 3 years. I needed patience.

As toddlers, my girls learned to throw things and hit each other. Where this came from I had no idea. I used reward charts to change what they were doing and gradually they learned. But I needed patience.

As preschoolers, my girls loved to go sledding. I would bundle up each one in endless layers to protect them from the cold. I would carry both girls up the hill, dragging the sleds behind us because the snow was too deep for them to walk in. We would do this over, and over, and over. And I needed patience.

As elementary students, my girls needed to do hours of homework at night. We would sit at the table or on my bed, one daughter on each side, both vying for my attention. I would be helping one with math while the other tried to read to me, because both needed to do this RIGHT NOW. So I needed patience.

As preteens, my girls fought with each other over every little thing. This one takes too long to brush her teeth. That one was making too much noise while I was trying to sleep. On and on they would bicker. Hence I needed patience.

My oldest becomes a teenager in a week. I already feel the drama building with her friends. Friday mornings have become filled with texts about plans for Friday night, plans that change 5 times before they even get out of school. She will push for independence and sometimes fight what I am trying to teach her. She will choose to spend more time with her friends, and she may make some bad decisions.

I will need patience.

Patience
Photo by Benjamin Manley on Unsplash

Bravely Living an Amazing Life!