Thursday, April 4, 2019

For The Single Parent: Children and Transitions

childhood, parenting, motherhood, fatherhood, coparenting, divorce, single mom, single parent, transitions, childhood transitions, grief, loss, change

When parents and child(ren) live together in one home they're a family unit.

Regardless of how the day plays out, the child(ren) knows that they will return home to that family unit - together - whether they go to work, school, travel, whatever they are out and about doing, that child will - at some point - be under the same roof with his / her parents. Two parents. Whatever the combination of parents that may be.

When couples divorce, it's a brand new world for them. And for their children.

Brand. New.

These kids, they're learning that what they trusted. What they expected. What they thought would last their entire lifetime and beyond? Is no longer there.

And boy, it hurts. It stings. It's freaking confusing. Painful. Head-shaking.

And so, when this child, this beautiful child of yours who you love with your entire heart, goes off to spend time with one parent instead of both, as they used to? It is perfectly normal for that child to feel torn. Like, almost literally, because the confusion and pain they feel, to them, a kid, small or big, is severe.

Maybe mom talks about dad to the child.

Maybe dad is rude to mom in front of the child.

Maybe it's the most amicable divorce known to (wo)mankind.

But these kids are experiencing the transition to beat all transitions.

And when we parent our children from two separate households? The transitions multiply.

I won't infer that they double, because that would lead one to believe that all co-parenting arrangements fall equally at 50-50. Which would be bullshit, as we know they do not.

But they multiply.

Think of when your kid had the most meltdowns as a toddler.

Transitions.

Think of how they struggled with the unknowns.

Transitions.

Think of how you soothed their fears whenever something startled them.

Transitions.

Now think of what their life is like. Packing a bag to go back and forth from one home to the other. Reminding themselves that this - THIS - wherever this is - is also their home now.

Backpacks. Schoolbags. Duffles. Suitcases. Stuffed animals. Electronics. Journals. Books.

And clothes. Oh, goodness, the clothes.

All new transitions. These things lived in one home, under one roof, for so very long. And now they, just like your child, travel between two.

If you are the primary parent, you may find that you receive the brunt of the frustration of transitioning. You probably find that you're never quite sure which version of your child will be returning home to you that particular day.

I'd like to say this will go away.

But I can't.

It does, to some extent, as our kids get used to the changes. As they find themselves more comfortable in two houses. As they make the other place "home," too.

But it doesn't disappear.

There will always be those days when they return home and give you so much attitude you don't know what to do with it.

You'll want to tell them to go to their room and stay there until they get through this shit.

You won't. Or you might. But try not to. Not right away.

Although, honestly? They're probably going to WANT to go to their room. And not process this shit, but just to hide for a bit, ease into returning home to you, their pets, their space. And maybe - depending on their age - they'll yell at you. Or maybe they'll cry. Or maybe they'll say "At Daddy's!!!!" or "At Mommy's!!!!" and fill in the sentence with what the other parent lets them do.

And you'll bite your tongue because Daddy or Mommy doesn't see what you do. They see a different version of the child. Or they do see it and want to make everything okay. Because their time is limited. It's changed. It's different.

Transitions.

When your child(ren) returns home to you from their other parent's home, it's so so different. And regardless of what point you're at in your separation, divorce, or co-parenting journey, you'll find that your child is emotional, probably exhausted, and really just needs you. Just - plain and simple - you. To listen, to not. To hug them, to not. To cook their favorite foods, to watch TV with them, to make them finish their homework and clean their room. And before you blink you'll be back on track on your own routine again.

Until the next time.

Because transitions. They're a part of life.

And as our kids (and we) experience them, we want to do all we can to make things easier. And smoother. And so, we try. And we may fail. But let us remember. We're doing the best that we can.


Saturday, March 23, 2019

Divorce as a Nonparent

So many women find themselves in a new stage of life, a change that they can't seem to wrap their minds around. An unexpected one. Prompted by themselves. Their partner. Both of them.

One doesn't need to know how things started, or - more likely - ended - to consider exploring the emotions experienced when it comes to divorce.

Divorce is difficult.

It does not matter if you're a mom or a dad, or quite possibly someone who is defined and described as a wife or husband, without that parent moniker attached.

So, if that is you? I am writing this for you.

divorce, separation, break-up, nonparent, life alone, transitions, changes, new life, what next

And no. If you've known me for any period of time, you know I'm a mom. So you know that this label - this "wife" label without the mom attached is not who I am. I haven't been a wife for some time. (This is not a play on words, I am not referring here to my own separation and divorce - but to that day in 2007 when I became mom, as well.)

But for those of you out there who are watching your life as a wife shift and change. Watching it disappear. You've got so much ahead of you and I'm here to let you know that.

It won't be easy.

Shoot, it'll flat out be HARD.

It won't feel right. Normal.

It will feel confusing. Different.

You will find yourself questioning, was that even my life?

Because when you're divorcing someone and you don't share a child together, the process is different, and the post-divorce communication is different.

In fact, for some, and this may or may not be you, there isn't any.

No communication at all.

And goodness, how hard is that.

The person who was your home. The person who you discussed every decision over the last however-many-years with. The person who you fell in love with and shared big dreams with.

Gone. Vanished from your every day. In a way you never ever expected.

How do you move forward?

Is it better or worse? Would you prefer to see that person regularly and have to discuss your child's well-being with them via phone and text and face-to-face?

Do you want pictures laying around so your child feels like their other parent is still there somehow?

Or is it easier to feel this clean break?

To close the door and throw away the things they left behind and never truly have to see them again.

There is no answer.

There is no easier way.

Both transitions, changes, losses - both ways? Kinda suck.

Even if they are what you wanted. Even if you initiated the change in your relationship.

They're both really really hard in so many ways.

So, if you are someone who is no longer able to place your former spouse's face in a crowd, or if you're someone who is trying to figure out what this new life will mean for you - you're not the only one. You're not alone in experiencing loss. You may even feel it more deeply because there are no remnants of before. Or there is no covering up your own pain while loving and supporting your child(ren).

Allow yourself that. Do what you need to take care of you.

And remember. You're not alone. And you're going to be okay.

It will take time, but you will find yourself again. You will figure out who you are. What you need. Where you want to go next.

And I'll be cheering you on from the sidelines, virtual or otherwise, however you need me to. Now get out there and get it! Whatever you determine it may be.

divorce, separation, break-up, nonparent, life alone, transitions, changes, new life, what next

Saturday, March 16, 2019

The Dunhill Hotel and The Asbury

I had the recent pleasure of heading to Charlotte for a weekend, and was given the opportunity to stay at The Dunhill Hotel and eat dinner at The Asbury, the incredible modern southern restaurant on site.

hotel, restaurant, Charlotte, North Carolina, historical hotel, downtown Charlotte, good eats, Southern cooking

The hotel accommodations were available to us at a discounted rate, and our dinner was comped, with us adding just a few essentials. Like dessert. The Asbury's pastry chef is very well-known, and you'd be a fool to pass up any of her creations.

My friend Kate of Life of a Ginger and I can't say thank you enough to the staff for ensuring that our stay and our meal were both phenomenal.

The hotel is pretty. I loved the decor. Offering the perfect mix of boutique and historical design throughout, The Dunhill Hotel is a destination in and of itself, not just the 'place you stay' when you're in town.

The staff is so friendly and accommodating. The room was perfect. Beautifully designed, super comfortable, and they even left us chocolates! (If you look closely you can see them on the bed on the left.)

hotel, restaurant, Charlotte, North Carolina, historical hotel, downtown Charlotte, good eats, Southern cooking

We had planned to stop at the bar after the concert, but honestly? I was still full from dinner. But even the bar is cozy. There's no intensity. No fast pace or super crowded battle for a drink. It's just the perfect place to sit and relax while sipping your beverage of choice. I'll definitely be stopping by the next time I'm in town.

hotel, restaurant, Charlotte, North Carolina, historical hotel, downtown Charlotte, good eats, Southern cooking

Now. Let me tell you about dinner.

You guys. The food.

Let me tell you about the food.

The Asbury has the perfect set-up with an upscale but casual atmosphere. The artwork is stunning. It's a small restaurant on-site, right off the lobby of the hotel. And the staff is super friendly and really helpful.

And even if all of that were not the case? I'd still go back.

Because.

Look.

At.

The.

Food.

hotel, restaurant, Charlotte, North Carolina, historical hotel, downtown Charlotte, good eats, Southern cooking

Now, I know what you're thinking.

First, did I actually eat ALL of that?

No. No, I did not.

And second, some of that stuff looks like regular food.

Yes. Yes, I know what it looks like.

The unfortunate thing about blogging is that there's no way to express exactly how food TASTES. And goodness, y'all. This. Food. Was. AMAZING.

From the upper left-hand corner of this collage, let me introduce you to much of my meal.

I ordered the Daily Cast Iron Biscuits, which were, as The Asbury describes them, "Chef's whim" style. Which means the chef changes how they serve these daily. Or whenever they want. And thankfully this particular day included delicious preserves and just gloriously fluffy drop biscuits. Guys, I ate two of them. At the table.

And then I brought the other two home for Monday's breakfast. I kid you not.

Next you'll find the appetizer that Kate tried. I was unable to steal any from her as they were pork belly beignets - and I don't eat pork. But they were pork belly and pimiento cheese beignets, and she said they were fantastic.

Continuing clockwise you'll find my main entrée. I ordered the Fried Chicken Sammy and found myself enjoying the most tender and delicious chicken sandwich I've ever had. I'll get back to what I ordered with them. This side needs its own special spotlight.

And lastly, dessert. I wasn't going to do it. I was already quite full. But I had to. And so. I did.

I ordered the Miso Blondie. It came with caramelized white chocolate, miso butterscotch and vanilla ice cream. I'm not usually a blondie fan. I'm all about the brownies, honestly, but the waitress suggested this was her favorite, and so I followed her advice. And I'm glad I did.

Now. One step back for a second, because the Brussels sprouts? Deserve a full post of their own. But I'm not going to go that intense on y'all. Instead I'll show you a close-up and leave it at that.

hotel, restaurant, Charlotte, North Carolina, historical hotel, downtown Charlotte, good eats, Southern cooking

These Brussels sprouts were made with black garlic aioli, toasted peanuts and dried cherries. And they were the most amazing thing I've ever eaten. No question. I wanted to see if I could get a tub of them to take home with me, but thought it might not make it home if I did. 

hotel, restaurant, Charlotte, North Carolina, historical hotel, downtown Charlotte, good eats, Southern cooking

If you can't already tell, I really recommend staying at The Dunhill the next time you're planning a trip to Charlotte. And whether you're doing an overnight in town, or just passing through, be sure to head over to The Asbury for a meal you'll never forget. You'll thank me - I'm quite sure of it.

* My stay at The Dunhill Hotel in Charlotte, NC was available at a discounted price. My meal was primarily hosted by the hotel and The Asbury, with some extras purchased on my own tab. None of this has influenced how much I loved the location, the food, or the people, and I remind you of that to ensure that you know that this disclosure is 100% accurate. *

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Morgan Street Food Hall - Raleigh, NC

I have been to Morgan Street Food Hall in Raleigh more than a handful of times.

It has quickly become one of my favorite places to eat.

Whether you're in the mood for empanadas, tacos, pizza, hummus, salad or lobster (yes, you're reading this correctly, I did say lobster), the food hall has you covered!

Raleigh, NC, downtown Raleigh, Morgan Street Food Hall, variety, food court, bar, local food, favorite eats, food blogger

After attending a press event there and then going back repeatedly with my friend Kate of Life of a Ginger, she and I recently went back to the Food Hall to attended a hosted brunch event with our fellow Triangle bloggers and influencers.

But we were far from the star of the show at this event, y'all.

The vendors and businesses there were incredible. We had so many options to choose from, I likely won't get to spotlight them all, but I would love to introduce you to a few.

I'm going to work backwards, friends. Because honestly? Life is short and we really should eat dessert first! Now, on that particular day we didn't, but man, dessert at Morgan Street is worth several looks. A new favorite place to pick up something sweet is at Raleigh Rolls. If you've never tried rolled ice cream before, you're in for a real treat.

Their menu is amazing, AND they offer dairy-free ice cream options. After speaking with the owner we learned that Raleigh Rolls takes allergies seriously, and that their staff is required to ask a number of questions before serving you your non-dairy dessert. They even carry dairy-free add-ins to ensure you get the complete Raleigh Rolls experience.

Have a look at what their s'mores rolled ice cream looks like. They even TOAST the marshmallow!

Raleigh, NC, downtown Raleigh, Morgan Street Food Hall, variety, food court, bar, local food, favorite eats, food blogger, rolled ice cream, thai ice cream, Raleigh Rolls, dessert, ice cream, dairy-free ice cream, coconut based ice cream

Now, you're probably thinking - but, brunch? At a food hall? Yes, friends, yes. Brunch. And we all know that for many, brunch isn't brunch without mimosas.

Be sure to stop by the food hall on a Saturday or Sunday and purchase a bucket of mimosas from the bar. Make your own mimosas with whatever you decide to eat for breakfast, brunch or lunch. Look how cute the bucket is ... all ready for you to prep your drinks to your preference. And I'm sure you could ask for an extra glass or two if you want to share.

Raleigh, NC, downtown Raleigh, Morgan Street Food Hall, variety, food court, bar, local food, favorite eats, food blogger, bar, mimosas, make your own mimosas, brunch, drinks, alcohol,

There is so much more to tell you about the offerings at Morgan Street Food Hall, but I would be writing forever, so I'm going to break it down into a series of posts for y'all.

That said, I'll leave you with a glimpse of some of the seafood options. Personally, I don't eat seafood, so I can't speak to the taste of these savory choices. However, I've heard extremely happy ravings about everything shown here - so you can decide for yourself.

In the collage you see below, starting from the upper left-hand corner and working clockwise, you'll find:

Lobster Bisque from Cousins Maine Lobster

Lobster Roll from Cousins Maine Lobster 

* I have it on good authority from some Maine natives that this alone is worth the trip. I also know for a fact that people follow their food truck EVERYWHERE to ensure that they catch up with them for the daily catch - so to speak. *

Fried Lobster Tail, French fries and Brown Sugar Hush Puppies (THESE I can speak for ... YUM!) from Oak City Fish and Chips

Shrimp and Grits from Iyla's Southern Kitchen

Raleigh, NC, downtown Raleigh, Morgan Street Food Hall, variety, food court, bar, local food, favorite eats, food blogger, seafood, shrimp and grits, lobster roll, lobster bisque, fried lobster, hush puppies, lobster tail, Maine lobster, southern cooking

Stay tuned for more details on the incredible vendors at Morgan Street Food Hall.

I look forward to introducing you to Makus Empanadas, Sassool, Curry in a Hurry, and Carroll's Kitchen, to name a few of my favorites.

Thanks again to Morgan Food Hall for being so welcoming. Being invited to numerous events there leaves us always coming back for more - in fact, since I started writing this post, I've been back again. Stay tuned!

* Although I have been to Morgan Street Food Hall for two events since it's opening, I have been back repeatedly on my own, because the food and variety are just that good. So, this event I'm referring to was hosted/partnered, but I sing the praises of the food because I am actually THAT big of a fan. *

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Depleting.

divorce, coparenting, emotional, therapy, loss, exhaustion, finding my way, you can do it

Divorce is depleting.

Someone in a group I am in said that this morning, not in those exact words, but more along the lines of when someone reacted to something divorce related - how depleting that was.

Is.

Feels.

Depleting.

Damn.

That is the G-d's honest truth.

Divorce is exhausting.

Draining.

Emotionally taxing.

Depleting.

No matter how amicable it may be.

No matter how easily you coparent.

No matter.

No matter.

No matter.

It.

Is.

Depleting.

Depleting = to deplete.

Deplete.


divorce, coparenting, emotional, therapy, loss, exhaustion, finding my way, you can do it, depletion

Look at these synonyms.

Exhaust. Use up.

Consume. Expend.

Spend. Drain.

Empty. Sap.

Milk. Suck dry.

Evacuate.

Deplete.

Damn.

If you are an individual who has lived through a divorce of your own, you know.

You know that it's a whole other way of life.

You know that it's draining.

You know that even if it was your own choice - your own request - your own initiative.

You know that it hurts like hell.

You know.

There are many couples who remain in contact.

Many couples who are amicable.

Friends, even.

Friends.

Imagine that?

I can. And yet. I can't.

And yet.

It's so so very different than the world that you expected to live in your entire life upon saying those two simple words.

I do.

I do.

But then.

I don't.

You don't.

We don't.

The love has been depleted.

And in this mode. In this mindset.

So. Much. More. Depletes.

So much slips.

Right.

Through.

Our.

Fingers.

Depleted.

divorce, coparenting, emotional, therapy, loss, exhaustion, finding my way, you can do it, depletion


Divorce is depleting.

Exhausting.

But we each find our way.

We each make it through.

You will, too.

Depleted.

And then.

Strong.

Filled up.

Energized.

Ready to take on the world.

Again.