Evolution: Heiddi 2.0

Evolution?

I should say so. After a year-long hiatus preceded by a two year hiatus, you figure why do I keep doing this to myself? Haven’t I figured out what I’ve wanted to do yet?

Frankly, no. Here I am a college graduate and bilingual licensed mental health counselor working with low-income families in New York City. As of 2011, when I received my licensure, I also accomplished my goals. Which is an amazing feeling and a proud moment for me.

Turning Point

But, with all my accomplishments and achieved goals as of 2011, comes what next? For the past few years, I’ve been trying to find out. I’ve reduced a lot of my extra-curricular activities such as playing guitar at my local church (12 years), paid blogging (6 years) and writing in general (too many years to count).

Self-Evaluation

I’ve been spending more time in self-evaluation mode while also prepping for the arrival of my second son, Benjamin who arrived on June 21, 2014. Yes, Andy’s a big brother now and I’m still the single mom of now two amazing boys. I’m a very happy mom.

While being a proud mom is great, I still have goals simmering within me waiting to be unleashed in the world. I’ve found that I need to set new goals and discover new passions.

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What I hope to share on this website is positivity and wellness – whether I’m writing about mental health or the simple things that bring me joy. I’d like to keep writing and sharing these with you.

The Heiddi 2.0 Evolution is here – will you join me?

Single’s Awareness Day (February 14)

Love

Love

Single’s Awareness Day is upon us. And if you don’t know what that means – Valentine’s Day. Courtesy of a fellow people-rescuer therapist (thanks Jae!!!), I’ve learned a new way to look at an old holiday. As a single working mom, I’ve found it very difficult to go out and date. Not only do I have kiddo, I also work full-time as a child & family therapist and write on the side. So, my time is somewhat limited.
Since last September, I’ve been aware and appreciative of my singleness. Don’t get me wrong, I do feel lonely once in a while, but I’ve been extremely happy being single for the last five months. Though it’s going on three years since I’ve officially been flying solo.

In seeing how many people around me (family, friends, etc) have dating and relationship issues and the drama that goes along with that, I’ve also noticed my relief that I don’t have to worry about someone else’s feelings, thoughts, wants or needs. I am happy that I don’t need to go all out for Valentine’s Day for a partner. Kiddo, of course, but that’s the usual.

All I can say is that I am very aware of my singleness and am so glad to have it. Happy Valentine’s Day all. May you receive all the love your hearts can stand. Cheers!

photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via photopin cc

A Big Boy’s Room

 I’m the mom of an 11-year-old, about-to-start-6th-grader who was ready to break out of the little kid’s room. So, this past weekend, kiddo got his “big kid” room.

Kiddo’s original room had a captain’s bed and a small drawer chest lovingly provided by my father (he’s too good to me). It also had his toddler table and four chairs (a gift from my sister) and a rocking chair & ottoman (also from my father).

It was bittersweet for me cleaning out his room and moving the rocking chair, ottoman and toddler table into my spare room. I didn’t think he’d outgrow that. Now I totally get it when my father tells me that he doesn’t see Heiddi the grown woman with a kid and career. He says that he sees a six-year-old gap-toothed, pig-tailed little girl.
I don’t know if I’ll ever be ready for kiddo to grow up. But, it’s happening anyway.

Kiddo couldn’t wait until Wednesday (he’s at his father’s til them) to see his new bedroom set. My heart was racing when he walked in because I didn’t know if he’d like it (the set we picked was discontinued and I picked a new one). Squealing, kiddo raced up the ladder to lay on it and get a feel for the new mattress. And he had to test out his freethrow after all.

All I wanted to do was cry happy and sad tears. Happy tears for being able to provide him with his ‘big boy’ room and sad because my Cocohead is growing up. Onto the next mommy adventure.

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It’s Official: I’m in the Sandwich Generation

It’s official, I am now part of the sandwich generation. This week, I was bombarded with a sick child and a sick parent.

My father had kidney stones and went in for a procedure today (he’s totally fine). I’m glad his lady companion is so attentive of him. I called Pop before heading out for the day. Though he was a bit down, he perked up when I said I’d call to check on him this afternoon, which I did. I got the report that he was doing well and would be good enough to go back to work next week.

And kiddo, well, he picked up a virus from somewhere. It’s not harmful, but according to his pediatrician, it’s an epidemic among kids. Kiddo had a raging fever Saturday morning that stayed until Sunday morning. The fever medication brought it down so he was fine. But, kiddo woke up Monday morning with small warts on his hands and elbows!  A couple of them popped, gross! Kiddo said that they hurt, but the doc gave me a week’s worth of antibiotics so he’ll be just fine.

And all of this with less than two months on the new job. Fun right? Onto the next sandwich generation adventure!

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Tribute to Mi Papi

This is weird for me, but it’s the first time I’ve thought to do a tribute to my father. Now before calling me a horrible daughter, let me share about this father-daughter relationship.
My father and I weren’t very close during my childhood. He worked many hours as a truck driver and only came home to have dinner and then sleep. We (my younger brother and I) tip-toed around the apartment to avoid getting into trouble (from both parents) for disturbing him. Summers were great because we took family trips to Lake Welch (NYS) and had a great time. Or we’d plop on the living room floor to have a crab picnic.
I spent even less time with him as a teen. With my parents arguing often, avoidance was my defense mechanism. My father left during my freshman year at college. Really, there was no relationship.
And there wasn’t one until after I had my son AND my mom died. Something happened inside of him when she passed away. A nurturing instinct kicked in. He began calling me, looking for me, coming to visit. WTF? I’d forgiven Papi years before and made peace with the fact that this was the father I’d been given. I didn’t expect him to change. He told me, “I need to watch over you because you’re the only girl and your mother’s not here.” At first, it was weird. I didn’t know how to react. It took me awhile to start calling him and visiting him more. I didn’t know how to feel. For years I didn’t even know HOW I felt about Papi. He had surgery for blood clots in his left leg six years ago. When I saw him unconscious in the hospital bed, I realized that I loved him.
And I do. Now that I’ve been single for over 2 years, he’s even more of a presence in my life and my son’s life. Over the nearly 10 years since Mami’s been gone, he’s slowly wiggled his way in my heart and redeemed himself for my youth. The fact that I had already forgiven him was what helped me see that I do love him SO very much and am blessed to have him in my life. So happy Father’s Day, Papi. This ones for you. From your negrita. 🙂

3 Single Mom Lessons from the Avengers

A few days ago, kiddo and I took in a matinee of The Avengers (check out my review). And we loved every minute of it! Watching it though left me feeling like a superhero and I noticed three things that could help single moms.

Avenger Lesson #1 – Know your worth. Each character had a specific and useful skill set. The Black Widow kicked butt. Hawk shot his bow and arrow with amazing accuracy. Hulk smashed. Dr. Banner calculated. Captain America was strong and tough with his shield. Thor knocked the wind out of his enemies. And Iron Man was techno savvy and inventive. Each superhero had their gifts and weren’t coy about being confident in themselves. Single moms, know that you ARE worthy and you are a blessing. Period.

Avenger Lesson #2 – Life is tough. The Avengers dealt with a tough situation. Being a single parent is tough. No doubt about it. Everyday will have its challenges and every day there will be something to deal with. This isn’t just a single parent issue, but life as it is. And know that while life is tough, you are tough also.

Avenger Lesson #3 – Get with your crew. The Avengers were brought together to fight a common enemy. Enemies that single parents can face are depression, isolation or loneliness.  You can fight back by having a support system in place. Build up your crew of people who back you up no matter what. I’ve got my team of fellow single moms (some not) and friends who love and cherish me. They remind me of how strong I really am and call me on my crap when I need it. They are my blindspot; that place in my life that I just can’t see because of my own hangups. The Avengers worked together to make things work and your crew can do the same for you.

I was reminded of these things throughout the course of the movie. It gave me such great energy and I was so inspired. Guess that’s why I’m going to get The Avengers on dvd as soon as it comes out. Hope these lessons help you single moms out there to remember your greatness!

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Yes, I AM Mom Enough!

Yesterday’s release of the Time magazine article incited outrage and comments from moms all over. Some moms were upset because of picture itself of a mom breastfeeding a toddler (who is standing on a chair to reach his mother’s breast). Others were upset because it showed a woman breastfeeding in public. It was all over my Twitter feed. Neither of those things upset me.

What DID upset me? The title. “Are you Mom Enough?” I could care less about what other moms do – breastfeeding in public (or not), breastfeeding a toddler (or not) or attachment parenting. I know what works for me doesn’t have to work for anyone else. Or vice versa.

But, the idea that I’m NOT mom enough because I’m not breastfeeding a toddler did spark my outrage. The title of this article is yet ANOTHER way that words have hurt the community of moms. Stay-at-home, Work-at-home or Work-outside-home, breastfeeding, bottle-feeding – these are all words that have caused divisiveness in the Mom community.

Rather than helping moms unite as a force to be reckoned with, this choice of words for the cover article title only serves as a way for us to pick at one another for our parenting styles. This mom wants to breastfeed her toddler? So what? She wants the world to know about it? Fine by me. Her choices do not mean that she is “more mom” than I am. Not at all.

I’m a single mom living in New York City. Not many women would freely choose to be a single mom. I got out of a relationship and am co-parenting my son with his father. Yes, a single mom I am, but it doesn’t make me any “more mom” than the moms featured in the article. This is just my experience. It does not make me braver than anyone else. It doesn’t make me stronger than anyone else. It just makes me – me.

So yes, I AM mom enough! Next!

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The Highs & Lows of Solo Parenting

Now that Mother’s Day is upon us, I’ve been thinking about my life as a single mom. For the most part, I’m happy. I’ve got a great kid who has been a blessing in my life, my education and a great home.

A couple of weeks ago, kiddo scored second honors (90 average)  at school for the first time ever. I cried, I was so happy and proud of him. Hugging him tightly I told him how much I love him and how proud I was. I also thought of all of the work it took to get him to earning second honors.

I thought of the hours of work to earn money for  tuition, uniforms, after-school. I also thought of the time and money spent on therapy, evaluations and finally medication to address his ADHD, which was severely hampering his ability to focus on his schoolwork. Even with very little support from family (who disagree with my parenting style/decisions), but great support from my friends, I kept going.

There have been many times I’ve wanted to quit, run away or stop the world from happening because things were so bad for me. And before my son, I did. I went from college to work to college to work and had no idea what I wanted to do in life. I had no direction and indeed not much love for myself.

And the voices of people who doubted me became my truth. Until kiddo showed up. I was a young mom, very naive and unprepared. And even though I was legally an adult, I was VERY immature. I’ll be the first to admit that. But, I learned. And learned and learned. I’m STILL learning. Every single day. I learned my own strength is very powerful. My love endless and boundless. And my son, precious.

One family member (an old-school person with old-school parenting ideas) told me that he wished I had kiddo later on in life. I was 22 when I found out I was pregnant. My reply: I’m glad I had kiddo when I did. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be the woman that I am today.

Here I am without a full time job, bills to pay and a child to raise – and yet, I KNOW I will be just fine. Kiddo’s being taken care of, I’ve got the resources to pay my bills (haven’t fallen behind) and I’m happy. No, life isn’t perfect, but being a mom, and now a single mom for two years, I’m happy.

Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there. And Happy Mother’s Day to me, because dammit! I deserve to give myself a huge pat on the back.

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