Thursday, March 17, 2016

Social Media, Smoke, Mirrors....Oh My! Look Deeper....

Let me give a little preemptive warning, this blog post is NOT about me. It is not a plea for pats on the back or even words of encouragement. It is not meant to be a soap box or a pity party. This post is to shed light on a very real situation. One that I am not alone in. I post this tonight, because somewhere there are other women in my exact situation, and even worse, that feel the very same way. This blog is for them, for us. From the bottom of my heart, I do not want comments directed at me but instead I want real comments. Come forward and let it all out. For every one of us that speak the truth, there are many others who need to read it.
It has been awhile since I posted something like this. I don’t mean my posts are fabricated because everything I write is truth.

How about some raw, honesty tonight?

Let’s talk about the struggles. The fights. The ugly. The mess. The true story of being a single home schooling Christian mother of 2 young girls and 7 animals. Let’s discuss how sometimes I truly feel lost. I feel like I’m losing this life battle. Don’t get me wrong, there are always great moments, days, weeks and seasons in my life but, if we are being truthful and upfront, there are also the days where I want to give up, where I feel Jesus has forgotten about me, where I question whether or not I’m actually messing my kids up or lifting them up.
I can’t tell you the pit in my stomach I get each and every time I post a picture or a blurb about my day and I get those messages saying what a superwoman I am, how people can’t believe I “got this”. It’s not true nor is it my intentions to ever portray myself as a woman who has anything. Allow me to get biblical for a quick second, I don’t have anything. Without Jesus on that cross, I would have nothing. In fact, I still have nothing. He has it all.

But what happens when I feel like He has given up on me? What happens when my morning devotionals and prayer ends up with me on my knees, crying out asking for help and not receiving the help I want/need. I’ll tell you what happens. Nothing. Nothing changes. Nothing gets better or worse. Nothing, nothing, nothing.
Why? That’s simple.
He isn’t going to give me anything because I am not in charge. I can ask for all that I think I need/want but, in reality, if it is not in His plan, I’m not getting any of it.

Ok, I’ll quit the Bible talk and move on to the core of Christine. At my core, I am a girl looking for love in all the wrong places, wounded by past mistakes and regrets, searching for answers to this thing called life. All the while, posing happily for pictures, making social media posts about my kids accomplishments and how being a single mom is wonderful.
It’s not.
Before and after the pictures, there are usually tears, yells and multiple power struggles between the kids and I. What you don’t see is the bags under my eyes, the exhaustion in my entire soul, the sadness in my eyes. You don’t feel the emptiness I feel and the desperate, overwhelming fear I wake up with every morning knowing that it’s another 24 hours of being alone. Yes, I have my kids. Yes, I have my pets. Yes, I have my family and friends. Yes, I have Jesus. But let’s be honest, I want my man as well.

I have had some very inconsiderate people in my life tell me to suck it up and realize that I am not a true single mother because the kids have a very active father who pays child support. If having the man that contributed to the life of his children show up on the weekends and pay me money, as he should, negates the fact that I parent alone 5 days a week, that the burden of every day is solely on my shoulders, that their education is mine alone to face, that I get no break is not being a single mother, I’m confused.

Don’t misunderstand, I prefer to be a single mother if being married to their father is the alternative. It is not to say he isn’t a good father, it is to say that he and I were not a good match. Infidelity, lies, disloyalty does not make a marriage. In the same respect, being completely abandoned, financially and physically, does not solely make a single mother. I am a single mother, no doubt.

I am tired.

No, I’m exhausted.

No, I’m completely drained.

Guess what?

It’s ok!


Because there are countless other women who live this same exact struggle.

How do I know this?

Because I have built genuine relationships with people who share their feelings with me. Who don’t hide behind camera lenses and computer screens. Who don’t shove their feelings deep down in a corner of their soul that even they themselves have forgotten exist. My tribe is filled with real and honest people.

In the past 2 days, my daughter Sonia finished her gymnastics class and really had a great showcase of all of her abilities. She earned her first stripe on her white belt at martial arts. She rode, steered and was in complete control of her horse all on her own. Daniella has also shown some great abilities but, our season is not of accomplishments. Our season is of boundary pushing, tantrums and challenging me. Through everything, I have no co-pilot.

I sat next to the moms and dads at the gymnastics showcase with a smile on my face, trying to keep it together. I cried happy tears when her sensei placed her first stripe on. I wrung my hands while praying please don’t fall please don’t fall while she rode her horse by herself. I wrangled Daniella, trying not to look so embarrassed as other parents watched as she yelled, screamed, wriggled, ran and cried all because…well, she’s three. No more explanation needed. I came home to cook, clean, get them ready for bed, take care of the animals, clean some more with no assistance.
Yes, both parents can’t be at every event together and one spouse often works very late hours and can't help around the house, I understand this. But to know, that after the kids are in bed, I don’t have my other half to wind down with, to vent to, to show my corny videos from the day, to give me 3 minutes of peace to go to the bathroom, to gather my thoughts or just to cook dinner while the kids are awake - that is being a single parent. I pray for anyone who thinks otherwise.

It’s sad really.

I know God has the man for me and He will bring him to me when the time is right. I know, like Sarah, I took matters into my own hands and made a very bad choice when marrying my ex-husband and these are my consequences.

But I also know God’s grace. He graced me with a man that is a caring father and two amazing kids. He graced me with a home that I can finally afford and make my own. He graced me with a lot.

Things are always getting better in my life and they are for you too. But how many of us, can say that every day we live in those promises with a joyful and hopeful heart? If we aren’t putting up a fa├žade, the answer is none of us.

We all feel sadness, despair and disappointment.

We all so desperately want to belong in a family. Family doesn’t look the same for everyone and it doesn’t make anyone more than or less than, it just makes us, well…us.

For me, my family looks like myself, my daughters and my animals and will hopefully add a caring, selfless, attentive, caring, imperfect man one day.

For you, your family could look very different.

At the end of it all, at the crux of the matter, at the core of our souls, no matter what the outcome is or what we portray ourselves to be, we are all the same.

We have the same feelings, the same dreams, the same heart. It’s our job to dig deep, find our own and then grab the hand of another and help them find theirs.

I am called to write this blog because I want to empower, inspire and motivate people. I am called to open up and pour out my realities, in hopes that, even if you don’t choose to share yours with me, that you might identify and realize you are not alone.

It takes a village. Let’s all lift each other up and be real.

My happy photos, my accomplishments, my goals and my every day happy moments will continue to be posted – nothing changes for me because I wrote this. I am still a blogging, Christian home schooling woman who loves her kids and her life (most of the time).
What I hope changes for you, is that when you see a page filled with the "perfect family", you take a moment and look deeper. Don’t whisper about how “fake” that person is, don't get angry or idolize them. 
Just know that life goes way beyond social media. There is a beautiful person facing their own challenges on the other end of that camera and keyboard. And maybe, just maybe, the posts are meant to inspire and lift you up, not invoke negative feelings. I also challenge you to look deeper into your own self if these feelings do come up for you.

If we stick together, we can change the hearts of a few more. Life is so much better when we really live as a community. We owe it to ourselves, our family and to the human race.
If you feel called to do so, please leave a comment about your feelings, your struggles, your empowering true emotions. Who knows, you may have something to say that someone else so desperately needs.

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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

One Year of Mother Goose Time in Review

Last February, I ordered 3 months of Mother Goose Time curriculum as I had to pull my children out of their pre-school when we could no longer afford it. I was terrified. I was sad. I felt like such a disappointment. However, what light came out of that dark time. It was because of this time, I began my home schooling adventure.

I had looked up many curriculums and remembered that, in a previous day care, the girls had been using this Mother Goose Time company. So, I looked it up, loved it and made my purchase. Then, I thought, how cool it would be to use my degree in Journalism and start blogging about our home school adventure. I had sent an email over to the company just to give them permission to use any of my photos from my blog on their site as well. What came next, had me fall on my knees in tears. I received an email from Tracy asking if I would commit to one year of blogging for the company twice a week in return for the curriculum. WHAT?! Of course!

It is 12 months later and here I am. I am still shocked I was able to continue to blog through the divorce, home schooling Kindergarten and preschool and working 3-5 jobs at a time. But, I did it! I was not always on time but I made it with the support of Tracy and Leslie. Two wonderful women that will never truly understand how important it was for me to have loving, kind women on my side supporting one of my goals during the most tumultuous times of my life.

I have to say with all honesty that MGT was the one constant this past year and I truly believe it kept me going through this and brought my girls and I much closer.

So thank you MGT. I chose to make this post 1 picture and blurb from each month as a year in review!

March 2015

Toddler Tray Times are so much fun in the Little Goose planner!

Here we have, Daniella manipulating paint, paper and other art supplies however she likes. Through this play, she is learning her colors, we are talking about how things feel (cold/warm/smooth/rough) and she is working on fine motor skills (when she chooses the paint brush and/or to sprinkle glitter) as well as gross motor skills (hand painting). Age appropriate learning through play! 


April 2015

While the cookies baked, we set up our cave with our ocean floor, shells and flashlights. Its been about 20 minutes and they are still having a blast!
When they are done, we will finish the days curriculum. Never interupt a childs process!

May 2015

Every time I sit down to write a blog about what we are learning about with our Mother Goose Time, I am always filled with gratitude. Just knowing that, not only, am I helping my children learn about numbers, shapes, counting and more but that I am instilling great qualities and helping build amazing character.

June 2015

One of my favorite parts of this curriculum is the opportunity it gives me to watch my children play together. Next up was Build a Bird. They happily rolled the dice, matched the pieces and built their very own bird.

July 2015

What a fun way to start our day! A fun science experiment! A feather float test.

Mother Goose Time provided us with various feathers of sizes and shapes. We began our experiment. The entire experiment took about 25 minutes and she had a lot of fun. Two feathers at a time, she dropped them while standing on a chair to see which one took longer to hit the ground. She learned that if she threw them up then it would take them longer to float to the ground. The medium sized red feather won!

August 2015

The Finish Line game was so much fun! First, we started by building our own finish line with blocks and then began our game.

September 2015

What better way to explore our faces than to use a mirror? Here we are crafting up a hand held mirror to see how our lips move when we're sad, how we look when we're surprised 
and how many ways you can smile when we're happy! 

October 2015

The Experience God curriculum is just great. Through this curriculum, we are able to really learn about the Bible and God in a way that Sonia and Daniella both enjoy. Today we discussed Genesis 1 and how God created everything. We used the story cards and the activity to go over it. Sonia cut out all of her pieces and glued each one on as we went through each day. 

November 2015

Though I do live on Long Island, I am not your typical Long Island mom. We can often be found in the city on adventures so Sonia and Daniella have seen bridges before. Sonia remembered and then this sparked a conversation about the museum and play I had taken her to in the city. It was amazing to be able to connect with her and for her to remember such a special day!
I put out the corn starch noodles and both girls began sorting and then I modeled how they stick together.

December 2015

Now, for Christmas - let's see - we all think of cotton ball snowmen, sugar cube igloos and maybe a paper plate Santa but how about some Santa's on a stick! After we were done making our Santa sticks we used them in our dramatic play area and created a play. Fun times!

January 2016

After all of that sitting, it was time to start moving so we jumped into Mother Goose Time's Peaceful Poses activity. First, we tried out all of the poses and then we spun the wheel to let the wheel choose what pose we go into next. It was fun - I even got into it and Sonia took some pics!

February 2016

I may not have gotten super veggie eaters out of this, but I'll tell you what I did get. Memories with my kids, a science experiment, painting with a new medium and some math skills. I even got some fine motor skills, social skills and a lot of laughs. So, all in all, it's all good. Anyway, I am the Chicken Nugget Mom not the Brussel Sprout Mom!

Hope you enjoyed this past year!

"Like" us on the Chicken Nugget Mom Facebook page to see what we are up to each day.
And for the Moms and Dads, I have begun a Christian based blog, Perfectly Imperfect Life Warriors, and I will be kicking off some great Bible studies to inspire and empower us as we walk with Christ together. Next on the agenda is Proverbs 31:2016 - 31 verses in 31 days! Check it out!

** Mother Goose Time allows me to follow two of my biggest passions. Educating my children and writing! I am honored to work with Mother Goose Time. I do receive the curriculum in exchange for my blog posts but every word in here is honest and a true example of this curriculum in a multi age home practice.