If there’s one thing I don’t want this blog to become, it’s some sort of marker for that one person who “has it all, does it all, can be it all” without batting an eye or dropping a bead of sweat. Authenticity and transparency mean a lot to me, and if there is any one universal truth about what it means to be a working mom, it’s that no one’s journey is bullet proof and everyone has experienced some level of earth-shattering difficulty at some point in time. In truth, being a pro in the earth-shattering difficulty department, my usual MO is to curl up inside my own head, turn on the self-sufficient, multi-tasking, workaholic machine-mode and just phone it in for awhile, all with a dazzling smile of “all togetherness.” But this blog is about doing things differently and if I really mean to make my life as a working mom more manageable, it’s time to get real. With myself and with you. This working mom is going through a divorce. A life-demolishing, heart into a million pieces, room is spinning, oceans of tears, no oxygen, gut punch, gaping hole divorce. Surviving infidelity. That’s where I’m at.
As someone who champions the true beauty of every woman, both on this blog and in my career as a pro photog, my own self-worth is presently in tiny pieces on the floor, littering my happy world of strength, ambition, clarity and drive. Realizing that surviving infidelity would be more of a war with myself than with my soon-to-be ex-husband (seriously, my stomach just dropped even typing those words – one of those “How is this happening?” moments), I find myself battling inner demons without ceasing and clinging to any semblance of normalcy.
Instead of detailing the horrors of my recent married life, reliving those ugly minutes of discovery and the soul-shredding pain that comes with the awareness of intentionally brutal deceit, I’m working to table the “what ifs” and “whys” and instead focus on my recovery and the rebuilding of my family. Sparing you the juicy details of what happened, and totally owning my role in my life up to this point, it’s time to start fresh. #katystartsfresh
Here are the top 5 challenges I am facing this week as I define what surviving infidelity means for my new normal:
- Realizing I haven’t mowed a yard in over 10 years and grass grows very quickly.
- Getting a grip on my finances and making sure bills don’t bounce and get properly transferred over.
- Explaining to my toddler boys why Daddy isn’t home and explaining that he loves them with a smile on my face when they ask why he doesn’t want to live with them anymore.
- Fearing that this divorce will somehow rip my stepdaughter from my home and her safe place.
- Feeling resentful that alone time is at an absolute minimum, and I’m left to cope with my emotions quietly and internally for the sake of the children, instead of getting to be a bit selfish and wallow in bed for a few days.
Here are 5 things I am grateful for this week:
- I no longer feel stress when I enter my home. It feels peaceful, happy and mine.
- I don’t spend all day questioning when I might hear from him and whether or not he’ll be nice to me today. I don’t have to walk on egg shells anymore.
- My house is CLEAN. Me clean. New couches, new table, carpets cleaned, new pictures hung, new security system. It’s turning more me and my kids every day.
- I already knew this, but have been humbled by the intensity of the love and support my friends and family have shown. Their selfless commitment to my survival has left me feeling very loved in a very unloving period of my life.
- There’s a certain sense of accomplishment when I conquer small tasks. It feels good.
Here’s what I have learned so far in my very brief, very dark week and a few days change of newly-estranged, defined singleness. These 5 steps have started me down the path to surviving infidelity:
- Cling to faith. I don’t imagine how anyone navigates this type of loss without the love of God to carry you.
- Ask for help. I am forcing myself to ask for help EVERY. DAY. I cannot do this alone.
- Accept love and support. Likewise I am forcing myself to ACCEPT love and really breathe in all of the positive words of encouragement I am receiving.
- Fight the urge to hide. Dark Katy wants to hole up. Not an option.
- Say thank you to your friends and family. They deserve my wholehearted thanks and it also continues to remind me that I am surrounded by a great support system.
The obvious theme here is to avoid isolation. My quiet thoughts are my most dangerous ones. They question my worth, my sanity, my past…they dream up nightmares, horrors and scenarios I don’t want to think about. I am forcing myself to go through this with everyone in my life for my own survival, which is in part why I am writing this blog post. So that you can see that this working mom is coping with a major loss and perceived failure among all of the professional success and ordered chaos. Sometimes things just don’t go right. Or in my case, they go blisteringly wrong in the most epic and painful of ways. Usually I’m blogging from a “If I can do this, so can you!” position.
Today, I’m blogging from a “If you can do this, so can I.” Thank you for motivating me to fight back and reclaim the life that I deserve.
When Was the Last Time You Said Thank You?
I got a book sent to me in the mail about a week ago. It’s called Cards for Brianna. It’s about a mother who was diagnosed with terminal cancer who bravely spent her remaining time writing card after card after card for her daughter. She wrote down every thought, belief, desire, encouragement…every word she wanted to share with her daughter, compiling a wealth of wisdom, love and information that every mother wishes to impart on their children. Knowing she wouldn’t be around to deliver that love in person, she took steps to capture it and craft a powerful way to continue raising her daughter even after she had left our realm.
I’m sure I’m not the only mother who holds the fear of leaving their children behind as their highest and most terrifying nightmare. I’m not even sure what I would do or how I would cope. I’m humbled by this woman’s grace and drive to make the most of every last second she had by selflessly pouring her heart into her daughter instead of curling up and giving up. I can’t imagine the feelings of powerless, anger, confusion, heartbreak…I just can’t imagine. There are no words. She leaves behind an important legacy for her daughter, and also an invaluable lesson for us all. She is the true measure of dignity. She is a hero.
“Whether you are about to die at the age of thirty-six or sixty-six or ninety-six, life will always feel like it’s been too short if you don’t experience it. Find your hope. And don’t ever forget that every day matters.”
As part of the “Cards for Brianna” project, I was given a blank card and asked to write to someone who I hadn’t spoken to in a long while. Someone I loved, valued and cared about…someone who I probably let slip away because life was busy and things just didn’t happen the way they should have. Someone who deserved to hear from me more frequently. Someone who I needed to say “Thank You” to.
I chose to write to one of the kids I mentored in photography several years back.
His name is Nick. He was (is) a challenging boy with a whole host of challenges scraping away at his potential and hope. We were able to connect on a very special level, exploring and discovering a deep artistic talent, creative vision and thoughtful insight that had otherwise gone unnoticed by the world.
Nick moved away several years ago, and I heard “Thank You” from him and his family many, many times. I realized I had never said “Thank You” to him. He taught me to stay open, to be patient and to meet people where they are instead of forcing them to fit into my ill-perceived mold. He inspired and motivated me artistically, giving me hope and purpose during a time where the rest of my life was teetering on the brink of ruin. He was a bright star and reminder that God can move any mountain and our only goal on this Earth is to be open to the possibilities of how He might use us in service for His glory, for our instruction and for other’s well being. He is a living example of why love casts out fear and hate.
I wrote to Nick. Who will you write to?
When was the last time you said thank you?
The Do’s & Don’ts of Moving
As a busy working mom, a little chaos just comes with the territory sometimes. Throw the idea of packing and moving your family to a new home into the mix, and it might just be the stuff of nightmares. But it doesn’t have to be! Here are some useful tips and tricks to make moving less stressful and more efficient.
- DO all of the packing and labeling before moving day.
- You’d be surprised how many people get stuck in the last minute rush to pack everything and move it all in one day. Make sure everything but a change of clothes is packed and ready to go.
- DON’T forget to color code your boxes for each room.
- Most people know to label their moving boxes but unpacking is much easier for you and your movers is your boxes are color coded according to room.
- DO find free boxes at the grocery stores and online.
- You can save tons of money on packing materials if you take advantage of the free packing materials at grocery stores or check online for free boxes. Craigslist’s free section is a great place to start.
- DON’T forget to hire a babysitter or a pet sitter.
- If your children are old enough they can be helpful throughout the process but if not, it’s better to have them secure and out of the way while you’re packing up and moving. The same goes for your pets, they tend to get underfoot of movers.
- DO use packing materials you already have.
- Suitcases are perfect for transporting items, especially things that are heavy or awkwardly shaped.
- DON’T forget to pack an overnight bag to use on the first night.
- After a long day of moving, you’re not likely to want to go through all of your boxes just yet. Pack and overnight bag with the essentials such as toiletries, a few outfits and pyjamas for use on the first night.
- DO keep important documents with you.
- It’s best to travel with your most important items in hand. Keep a file of important documents with you while you move so that they are less likely to get lost in the shuffle.
- DON’T place small objects directly in boxes.
- Keep sandwich bags handy for little pieces of electronics and label the bags specifically. These tiny pieces tend to get lost in the shuffle and can make life difficult when putting everything back together.
- DO give specific tasks to any friends helping.
- Make sure you plan out their specific jobs before they come over, this way they will be able to help out in the most efficient way possible.
- DON’T forget to plan out a floor plan before you move.
- Try to plan out where each item, especially the big ones, will go and how everything will look. This will make it easier to put things in the right place immediately upon arrival.
Many thanks to Ross Sapir, of Roadway Moving, for offering up these helpful tips and tricks!
About Ross Sapir:
Ross Sapir is the Founder and CEO of New York City’s premiere moving and storage company; Roadway Moving. Since the inception of Roadway Moving in 2008, the company has grown from six trucks into a fully functional and full-service moving company with over 130 employees available to assist the 5,000 to 6,000 customers they serve a year. Born in Israel and raised in New York, Ross cites his company’s success to his employees, and customer service. From quote to cleanup, Ross takes personal care to ensure that each Roadway customer is treated the “Roadway Way” — enjoying a hassle and stress-free move without fail. His everlasting commitment to quality, efficiency and transparency, is the true testament behind how Roadway has become one of the leading and highest rated moving companies in Tri-State area, and the #1 moving company on Yelp.
Give Thanks: It’s Good for Your Health!
As a busy mompreneur, it is important to make time every single day to reflect on the things you are grateful for. This time for reflection is not only good for the mind, but for the body as well. Studies have shown that individuals who possess a grateful attitude have better overall health than people who tend to be negative or pessimistic. When you take the time to give thanks, especially amidst chaos, not only do you resist the urge to just give up, but you also set your intentions for forward momentum with a “go-getter” attitude.
Better health just from being thankful? Yes. You read that correctly. Let’s look at the facts.
In a 2003 study known as Counting Blessings Versus Burdens, participants recorded less physical pain and symptoms, more restful sleep, and more time spent taking care of their bodies. A separate study in 2007, individuals who counted their blessings once a week experienced a significant decrease in blood pressure. And in another study, people who focused on being thankful were more likely to have healthy immune systems.
Mental & Emotional Health
Taking the time to give thanks can actually reduce depressive thoughts and attitudes. While major depressive disorders are often treated with prescription medications, incorporating a gratitude journal in your wellness routine can help to ease the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Feeling grateful can also block toxic emotions such as envy, jealousy, and anger. Since gratitude and envy, jealousy, and anger are opposite emotions, we are not able to experience them at the same time. By focusing on the things in your life that you are grateful for, you can proactively block these negative emotions and feelings.
Gratitude can also help you to feel more self-aware, allowing you to increase your self-esteem, boosting humility and pride at the very same time.
Gratitude can also have positive implications for your social life. Gratitude allows you to be more optimistic, focus less on material things, become less selfish, and friendlier. And guess what? All of these qualities will make you a better friend and family member. Having an attitude of gratitude turns you into a helpful, beautiful, attractive human being.
This is proven with a simple question – Who would you rather be around? A friend who is constantly complaining or a friend who is consistently happy and positive? The Golden Rule, tried and true!
Grateful attitudes can open the door for meaningful development to your career. Gratitude increases your decision making ability, your ability to effectively manage a team, as well as provide and receive constructive criticism and praise to and from your colleagues. Our simple question applies here as well – Who would you rather hire? An employee who is constantly complaining or an employee who is consistently happy and positive?
Gratitude also helps you to network and expand your ability to be productive. Being grateful in your career sparks creative energy, keeps your perspective fresh and maintains alertness for powerful opportunities and new relationships. You will feel thankful for the opportunities presented to you in your career, you will be open to how they can positively impact your environment and you will utilize those chances to increase your professional prowess as your grateful attitude magnifies the power in your present situation.
Demonstrate your Gratitude
One way to demonstrate gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal. Write one thing you are thankful for in your journal daily. This could be done in the morning shortly after you wake up, or it can be completed before you go to sleep at night. Just pick an opportunity to give thanks.
Another way to demonstrate gratitude is to write it in a place where everyone in the family can see it. I have a chalkboard calendar in which I write one thing that I am grateful for every single day. Not only does this help me to slow down in a busy day, it cultivates an attitude of gratitude by demonstrating the importance of giving thanks to my entire family.
This is the season of gratitude. Thanksgiving is upon us! But let’s commit to give thanks every day, embrace humble hearts and watch as we collectively grow into good health, mentally, physically and emotionally. Will you give thanks with me?