You Can Just Call Me Badass

Life has been busy lately between work, kids and home life, and freelance writing. It’s been so busy, in fact, that I haven’t sat down to write out of pleasure in a while. I’ve had some things on my mind lately, and I figured it was time to sit down and bang this post out.

Most people know how difficult it is dating as a single parent. In fact, if you don’t know this, I’m going to assume you live under a rock—a very large, dense rock at that. It’s HARD. To find someone, fall in love, blend families, and then live life in blissful peace is the equivalent of our modern-day fairytale because it’s pretty rare that that’s how it works out.

One reason dating is so difficult is because we live in a society that encourages fast paced living, self-indulgence, and frequent changes. You don’t like your car? Trade it in and get a new one! Tired of your job? Quit and find a different one! Aren’t happy in your relationship/marriage? Leave and find a new one! It’s no wonder that there are so many single parents and broken families out there. Dating is hard enough without adding in children’s laundry, daily football practice, piano lessons, dirty faces, and whines of “Moooommmmyy” or “Daaaaddddyy” in the middle of first and second dates and those first few sweet and yet awkward phone calls.

I personally have had a couple serious relationships after my marriage with my children’s father ended, and I’ve also had some time casually dating. Let me tell you what, that shit sucks! In fact, I was seeing someone last year and we were a few dates in. . .and then he witnessed my son have a rather large meltdown. Apparently that was enough for him because the next day, he texted me and said he needed to “take a step back.” So, back into the dating pool I went.

At this point, I was just over the whole thing. I wasn’t looking for casual sex, but that seemed to be all that was desired on all of the popular dating apps. I was a single mom of 3 teenagers, working 2 jobs to make ends meet, and was tired in every way possible. I wanted to find a partner, but it was not going to be through a dating website, and I’d lost pretty much all faith that it would happen at all. Then, a miracle happened. I met B.

We had a lot in common and much that was different too. While I had been in the dating game for a while (around 7 years since I had split with my ex-husband), he was brand new to dating. There were speed bumps and signs that pointed to maybe we shouldn’t get involved, but we were both enamored from the beginning, and so we pushed forward anyway and decided to become an official couple. In that decision, we have obviously become involved with each other’s children. Have I mentioned yet that dating as a single parent is hard…?

When you are in a brand new relationship, it’s easy to get lost in the stars in your eyes and the mush in your heart, but let’s face it, real life doesn’t stop just because you’re falling in love, and one giant reality is children.

When B and I met, my children were 15, 14, and almost 13. Teenagers are hard enough, but as I mentioned before, I have one kiddo that tends to make men turn tail and run. My son is an amazing person and full of charm and charisma normally, but in his hard moments, he is a handful to say the least. I love him and all of my children with all that I am, but I’m more than a mom. I am a woman and I have needs that go beyond my children. I need to be loved, to be desired, to be held, to be listened to, to be emotionally supported, and to be paid attention to from another adult. I never would want to put my children on the back burner, but I wanted a partner in my life too. But if I said that I wasn’t scared as hell about finding someone who fit everything I needed AND was able to handle my son (and children in general), I’d be lying my cute little skirt off. To make it even harder, I was downright terrified that I would fall in love, become vulnerable, let my children fall in love and become vulnerable, and then go through yet another heartache together again.

For B, he was pretty much brand new out of his failed marriage. He was still understandably hurting, tender, and guarded. His 2 children are much younger than mine and he feared not only being hurt in the same ways his ex had hurt him, but he naturally feared his children would get hurt too. They are so young that dating and then enduring another breakup would be so difficult for them to understand. He didn’t want to go through pain again, and he didn’t want his children to experience anymore pain. All of this is totally normal.

So there we were, 2 messes, 2 families, 2 grown up hearts, and 5 young hearts being meshed together. We were scared and yet we moved fairly fast in many ways because…well, LOVE! Before we knew it, we were neck-deep in this appointment, that school event, diapers and potty training, sibling rivalry, dishes, laundry, and grocery shopping together.

B has handled my son’s meltdowns with amazing patience. I have changed his son’s diapers and helped potty train. He has regularly picked up my children from their bus stop and listened with love and support to me complain about my children’s father not paying child support. I have cleaned up his children’s vomit from the stomach flu and listened to him with love and support complain about everything unfair at his job. He relates to my children in a way no one ever has and provides support to them. We plan birthdays and holidays together, we discuss parenting, discipline, and consequences together, and we work out our finances to maintain our home and provide for our children—all together. He lifts me up with his silliness and humor, and I keep him grounded with my seriousness, and we navigate life this way TOGETHER.

So, while I’ve rambled a long time about my own personal experience at dating as a single parent, I’m now getting to my real point. To my children, B is just B. He is Mama’s boyfriend. To B’s children, I am just Niki. I am Daddy’s girlfriend. Language evolves over time, and it wasn’t that long ago that people didn’t raise families and cohabit in one household without being married. Because of this, there is no in between word for what B and I are to each other’s children. We are not step parents; we haven’t quite earned that title yet, but we are so much more than just our children’s parent’s significant other. I know there are so many people all over that also fall into this category. So I think there needs to be a word invented that covers those of us in the middle area. When you wipe butts, drive to appointments, cook, get in the middle of kids fighting, deal with bed wetting, buy clothing, and handle pretty much every aspect of parenting for your partner’s children, you are more than just a girl/boyfriend.

We were recently at B’s child’s birthday party and as I was telling people about all of the last minute errand running, putting together presents, and all of the other chaos that happens to all parents right before big events like this, I mentioned my desire for that word and to write this blog post about it.

B suddenly looked over and said, “There is a word already.” I was shocked and thought he knew something I didn’t.

“What is it then?” I questioned.

He then looked me in the eye and said, “Badass. You’re a badass, and so am I.”

And you know what? He’s totally right. It’s not quite the word I was looking for, but it couldn’t be more accurate. We. Are. Badasses.

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*Update*
Looking back, I can see where I was naive in this relationship, and it inevitably ended. While things didn’t work out for us, I am still so proud of and in love with this blog. Those partners of parents that are parenting in every way from disciplining, to cooking, to enduring 317 episodes in a row Spongebob, to kissing boo-boos, and running endless errands–those parents deserve a better title. Many people choose to forego marriage these days, and to say those partners are no more than “Mom’s boyfriend” or “Dad’s girlfriend” is something I think needs updated to catch up with society. While we still haven’t created one yet since the original posting of this blog two years ago, I stand by my original statement… You can just call each of us Badass.

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Him <3

I’m feeling pretty good today. I’ve had a lot of up and down lately which has been pretty chaotic inside for me. Raising teenagers, man, let me tell ya…it is not the easiest thing I’ve ever done. And of course, money stress is always…well…stressful. But all of that aside, I’ve had some really big blessings lately and I feel pretty damn lucky to be where I’m at.

When I was a scared 17 year old kid walking down the aisle to say “I do,” I knew it was a mistake. When I was immediately upset afterwards and didn’t want to leave with my new husband, I knew I’d made a bad choice. With all that I endured in the years after, I totally understood the joke about why divorce is so expensive (because it’s worth it, duh!).

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I had many ups and downs in the years following and endured a few bad relationships that left me with little hope about finding “the one.” I thought that I would never get the amazing relationship I’d always hoped for.

When thinking of relationships, I always dreamed of feeling like a princess. I had dreamed of being with a man that said sweet things to me, a man that didn’t raise his voice to me (or worse), a man that connected with my children in ways that made them feel the broken inside of them was being healed, a man that would hold me tight and scare away my demons, a man that made me feel that no matter how I look, I’m the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen, a man that would show me I was worthy of being loved, a man that would make me feel safe in every way. This seemed like the impossible, but I still kept trying… And then something truly amazing happened—I met Him.

*Please know that everything I say after this point may sound like a bunch of clichés strewn together, but I truly mean every word.*

Never before had I clicked so instantly and so well and on so many levels as I did with Him. He made me feel amazing from the start. His sense of humor stood out immediately upon meeting him. He clearly marches to the beat of his own drum and I’ve always loved that. He’s not afraid to be goofy and silly and for me, being the kind of person that is mostly serious and takes everything at face value, it was the total opposite of who I am. You know how they say opposites attract? That is us. There are so many things about us where we are extremely alike and there are others where we are total opposites. We complement each other well.

He also was the first to be so tender with me physically and with my heart. Of course being a man, he brought up typical flirty “man-like” topics, but he did so in a way that never made me feel belittled or like he was just hoping to hop straight into bed. On our first date, he very sweetly took my hand as we talked. He didn’t rush me, he listened to me, and at just the right moment, he leaned over and sweetly kissed me. I felt like a school girl with a crush; I was all full of butterflies inside. It was a great date, and from that night on, we were inseparable.

Let’s face it though, all relationships are good in the beginning or they wouldn’t start at all. Even for the beginning though, things with him were better than any other beginning I’d ever had. But you know what is even more awesome? Now that the honeymoon phase is fading and real life is setting in, things are still amazing.

In a relationship, you have to learn about the other person, and I don’t mean their favorite food or movie. I mean the things that you learn a little later on, like what makes him or her tick. When he or she is angry or upset, what does he or she need most? Close comfort? Space? Time? These are the things one starts to really learn once the honeymoon phase is over. This is where he and I are at right now. He is busy learning that if we have had a disagreement, I don’t care how upset either of us are, I still want kissed and hugged and told “I love you” and “goodnight” before we go to sleep. I’m busy learning what upsets him about the way I talk during a disagreement and that he needs space when frustrated and that it’s nothing personal against me. These things are important. And while no one likes to argue or have uncomfortable moments, I find much comfort in knowing that we have been together long enough that there are no facades. We are well aware that we each are not perfect. He knows that I get overwhelmed by noise and can’t even fake being okay when I’m overstimulated. I know that he gets overwhelmed sometimes by my constant desire to be “mushy” and intimate and needs a break from my emotional intensity. He knows that I need quiet time in my room to destress often and I know that he needs time to visit his family frequently. We are learning each other in ways that only time together can teach.

While living busy lives, both working, both having children, and both being exhausted regularly, we truly enjoy and appreciate each other. This is also a new concept for me. Never before have I felt in the middle of real life, after the honeymoon has ended, that I have been so connected to another. His smile, his eyes, his humor, his tender touch, his goofy dancing, and so much more—I can’t get enough. For the first time in my entire dating life, there are no red flags, no little nagging feelings of “is this really right?” going on in my heart and head that I’m choosing to ignore. For the first time ever, I don’t want anyone else in any way, shape, or fashion. He is everything. Everything I need, everything I want, everything I intend to keep. Forever. It’s all about Him.

She Kicks A Little Ass, Even If Crying While Doing So

*Repost from old blog site*

Being such a tender soul is my biggest strength, my biggest weakness, and my biggest flaw—all in one. It makes me extremely empathetic. It makes me the kind of person that would give the shirt off my back to someone more in need of it. It makes me cry for other’s pain, share in other’s joy, and understand others’ frustration. Unfortunately, it also makes me easy to use, to be taken advantage of, and to be hurt. I hand the entire world the keys to my heart as my giant heart is always on my sleeve. I care deeply, hurt richly, and love intensely. I’m one of the few. I’m set apart. Being unique is supposed to be a good thing, but it’s painful. I long for others to truly understand me. I long to be loved like I love others. I long to be cherished for being this kind of person.

I wish all too often that I could shut off my heart. I wish that I did not get so easily wrapped up in others. I wish that I didn’t automatically feel so much for others that I click with because I end up with a broken heart way more often than I should allow myself to. Whether it is friendship, a romantic interest, and even family, I get let down by the teeter-totter effect of emotion. I don’t want to be affected this much. I don’t want to be pained over others that don’t even let me cross their minds. I am so sick and freaking tired of crying over the impact of others’ actions and the hold they have on me.

Where do I go from here? I’m on the precipice of change. Once again, it is a big, life changing moment upon me. And what do I do about it? In private, I cry and grieve over all that I cannot control. Hot tears well up and spill. But as weak as I feel with tenderness, I also know that I get up each day and take on the world because I am strong. I may hurt inside, but I put a smile back on my face, I feel renewed hope and strength, and each and every single day of my life, I kick a little ass. I may not be able to fix how much my heart cares or how others treat me or accept me, but one thing I know is that I absolutely can control that I will not be broken by the world. I will not be bitter. I Will. Not. Be. Defeated.

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Just A Poem

*Repost from old blog site*

I have written poems for men who don’t even deserve to cross my mind.
I’ve loved friends in ways that they never deserved to be cared for.
I’ve cried hot tears for people that hurt me without giving a second thought.
And I’ve given pieces of myself away to those that had no idea I craved more.

I’ve skinned my knees and picked myself back up.
I’ve stumbled and even fallen, but recovered on my own strength.
I’ve felt stupid and foolish but I have still smiled,
And to hide my hurts, I’ve sometimes gone to great lengths.

Not many deserve my love and loyalty.
In fact, I’d say it’s just a small few.
But for even those that don’t deserve it,
Love, support, encouragement, and even just friendly smiles,
I always continue to do.

It’s truly the way I’m built by the hand of God.
A tender soul is putting it mildly.
I may seem weak, or foolish, or even daft to some,
But I just believe I’ve simply been created to give and love purely and wildly.

Ever the Believer. The Lover. Me.

I disappoint myself sometimes. I frustrate myself pretty much more than anyone else can. The funny thing about that, is after 30+ years of being this way, I still haven’t figured out how to turn my heart off.

Even when I know something is likely bad, I feel for it anyway. Even when that piece of me thinks that things are only going to end in heartache—I still want to take that chance. But how can I not?

Everything I’ve ever had has ended in heartache, so I have two choices. 1. I quit and believe that true love, loyalty, and teamwork doesn’t exist and will never happen, or 2. I keep believing and hoping and giving chances. And the reality is, I was built with a lover and nurturer’s soul, so turning off my heart isn’t likely to happen. Ever.

So what do I do? I endure. I fight. I continue on despite the world that reflects negativity on the daily. I somehow allow my heart to keep believing. This road of getting my heart stung might not be over yet, but I can pretty much guarantee that even if it isn’t, it won’t make me quit. It’s just who I am. I am weak. And yet, I am Oh. So. Strong.

I’m a Feeler. <–Sounds Creepy, Doesn’t It?

I am a feeler. Just like the title says. I’m not just intensely emotional, but I’m emotional to the point of wearing my heart on my sleeve and incapable of hiding it. Sounds like it sucks, doesn’t it? Well, often it does.

You know those times you blow someone off, and just hope they get the point? Well, I’m that person that has convinced herself that there could be a million legitimate reasons for why you’re not texting back, and I just continue to believe. I will believe that your dog is lost and your kid is sick and your car broke down. I will believe that your phone has died, that you have no reception, and that you didn’t hear your phone for six hours in a row. In desperate circumstances, I’ll believe that your long lost great uncle is suddenly calling, that your phone got destroyed in a crazy toilet accident, and that you’re suddenly sick with food poisoning (like that makes your phone sick too).

Do you get the point? With people like me, you just have to be honest. People like me will have forever faith in others because we feel so intensely that we couldn’t string someone else along knowing his or her heart is involved, so we assume others can’t either.

With others, I put myself in their shoes far too often. I think of how they are thinking. I think of how they might be feeling. And largely, I think of how they are perceiving me. People like me think that all of you are also people like us too. We are mistaken far too often. We are taken advantage of. We are used for the big hearts we have to offer. We are pained by the little things that you give little thought to. We hurt big. Cry big. Smile big. And feel happy big.

Welcome to a tiny peek into my world, folks. There’s so more much here than your first glance would know I have to offer. But it definitely starts with how much I feel.