Category Archives: Parenting

Single mom, sexuality, dating, two-year-olds, infidelity, divorce

Last Post Here … Lets Catchup (& come see me at LauraKRoe.com !)

I’ve been distant lately. Took a social media break and then wasn’t blogging much. It’s good to detach sometimes. I’ve been focussing on my writing, finances, yoga & meditation (not all in that order!) Since the boys and I got our vaccines, I’ve been exploring a bit more here in California: girlfriend trips to Joshua Tree and Sonoma, birthday trip with the boys to Catalina Island — and also an amazing trip to Florida, where I took my youngest to a weekend astronaut training camp at the Kennedy Space Center. (Beyond cool!)

And, I’ve got some good news, bad news. I’ll start with the good. I signed with my dream literary agent. I told myself that somehow, someway, I’d sign with someone who is spiritual, ethical, smart, savvy, and a really good editor/reader, on top of being an agent who gets me. She’s all that; definitely worth the wait. I think of the 25 years of writing and how other agents have come and gone—and how if my first deal when I was 25 years old (my MFA thesis of a murder mystery in Maine) had worked out, I’d likely never have written my three other novels. Everything in life—all the “good” and the “bad” moments—have shaped me, inspired growth, and led me to this exact moment with you. I say this all the time to my yoga students as I lead them into savasana meditation. And I mean it every time I say some version of that. But I guess I see it and mean it for all the yogis that I wish healing and the very best for. I’m a care-taker. So when the good comes in for me, well, I’m just shocked and over-whelmed. I’m always happy for others, and then grateful for what I have…so when things get even better, it’s just so damn unbelievable. It’s a kick. 🙂 Here’s me giving a cheers to Delia, with a class of kombucha, lol!

Cheers to signing with Delia Berrigan of Martin Literary & Media Management!

The other news? I’m deleting NavigatingVita.com. It’s an end to an era. I started this blog in order to find strength, process PTSD, connect with other single moms, find healthy and positive strategies, etc. That era in my life is over as I focus on my writing career.

Please subscribe to my author site: http://www.LauraKRoe.com where I will focus on writing about what my characters have to say. AND, I promise to engage with you. 🙂

I so look forward to hearing back from you.

Have a beautiful summer and remember to breathe, pause, and take time to be outside, read, or dance to your favorite tunes.

Laura x

My Meditation Book is Available :)

My passion project: The Art of Flow: Mindful Mini Meditations TM is now available! To purchase, please go to my new author site: http://www.LauraKRoe.com. I think it is absolutely fitting that my meditation book—filled with short meditations that I created to help my hospital yogis—is published before my novels. It must be because I could never have found my way back (or the ability to thwart my fear and return to writing my fiction) if it weren’t for yoga and meditation. This book will help lower your stress. It will ask you to visualize being in a beautiful location (assisted by my photographs from Hawaii, Sequoia, and California beaches) and to take deep breaths, read the prompts, turn your phone timer to five minutes, and to close your eyes and repeat a mantra mentally until your phone dings. It’s that easy. And it can be done anywhere, anytime, as this book is small enough to fit into your bag. As a bonus, I added my favorite affirmations and mantras for love, letting go, acceptance, and healing. There is also a workbook for readers to write down intentions after they meditate, as I find, when I center my mind, and connect to Source, my intentions are more in alignment with serving and cosmic good. This section can be returned to time and again as your meditation practice solidifies for you to see how your goals and intentions change over time.

As I mentioned, these five-minute meditations are in honor of my hospital yogis I’ve instructed for seven years. They have taught me, however, valuable lessons on courage, stamina, faith, trust, and the healing power of a supportive community. There’s not much as frightening in life as getting a diagnosis of cancer. I created visualized meditations, married with mantras, to assist with feeling safe, healthy, at ease, loved, enough, vibrant.

This book was going to be published last year by a small publisher. But with the pandemic affecting business, as well as a looming Random House purchase of Simon & Schuster that industry pundits feared would cut budgets and staffs for small publishers—my little book kept getting delayed. One week ago, in the midst of so much chaos and death in our country, I decided Fu*k it—I’ll publish it myself. There is so much fear within the world right now, especially in my hometown of Los Angeles. Since all of the photos and meditations are mine, and I had done the design, I got a copyright, reached out to a friend in yoga circles with a printing company, and the rest is history.

Once I pay back the printing costs, I will donate 15% of sales (which I also plan to do for my novels I publish in the next 3 years) to @unwomen, a global organization with the purpose to combat violence against women throughout the world. And all who purchase a copy of my meditation book from my new author website: http://www.LauraKRoe.com, will automatically be entered to win a spot in my Maui yoga retreat next September! The winner will be drawn from a hat (literally) by my son, on May 1st. So good luck! 🙂 It’s my way to give back and inspire excitement for the future. There’s still so much to look forward to. Here is one meditation from my book for you to experience.

Whatever this coming week holds for us in this country, please remember to take deep breaths, center yourself, and focus on what you can control: how you feel, how well you take care of yourself, and how you respond.

Laura x

My Words in Print :)!

I woke up to find this wonderful email sent to me by Literary Magazine Faith Hope & Fiction. I knew Patricia Crisafulli, editor and founder of FHF, had accepted and agreed to publish an excerpt of my novel Uriel’s Mask (click on word excerpt to read)—but I had no idea that she’d be promoting it within an email to all her subscribers! I’m so grateful. No that’s not quite the right word. Yes I’m grateful, but any of you writers out there will understand, I’m overwhelmed and inspired. When you’ve been on the writer path and have written (and edited) as many manuscript drafts, gone to as many conferences, sent as many submissions to agents, editors, publishers, contests, etc. it’s amazing to have a fellow author believe in you.

And I believe in her. Please go to her online magazine, Faith Hope & Fiction, that she publishes (and pays for) on her own to support fellow writers. Patricia has also published wonderful books, you might want to dig into, such as: Rwanda Inc. and Remembering Mother, Finding Myself, and House of Dimon: How JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon Rose to the Top of the Financial Industry.

Check out her magazine and her books and keep supporting each other. Remember, all tides rise with the stream. Writers (and any creators) prosper when supporting each other—and it just feels good. 🙂

Have a beautiful week. Stay safe. Stay sane. Stay cool. And as Dory says: “Just keep swimming.”

 

If you enjoyed this post, check out these:

Want to be a Great Writer? How You Live Matters

How Yoga Helps You Create

Breaking Through Resistance

 

 

Clarity Comes When Slowing Down

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I have been “sheltering in place” with my two sons since February 25th—nearly a month before official quarantine orders were given in Los Angeles. (I got sick and recovered early.) During this time, I have gained clarity and focus. It hasn’t always been easy sailing, however, as I’ve had intense lonely days, like many of you. However, what I have learned during the, nearly four months of staying home, has been cataclysmic. In my attempt ‘to give more’ to my boys, I had been doing everything wrong for years. Everything.

But let me start with the beginning. COVID-19 pulled the rug out from under me, as it likely did for many of you. It immediately closed down the yoga studios and hospital classes where I taught eight-to-ten yoga classes a week. It also closed down two companies that I freelanced regularly for. (I’m a writer AND a yogi.) AND, on top of that, I never received my stimulus check and was turned down for unemployment—even though California politicians promised freelance workers consideration in the program. So, as a full time single mother of two, this was stressful.

Then the dust settled. My eyes adjusted. Anxiety lowered. I saw things more clearly. I was filled with gratitude. I was healthy. I had my boys. We could stay in our little cottage by the sea. I could budget. I could learn to manage my financial investments. We were spending less, too. There were no more volleyball lessons, soccer lessons, violin lessons, jiu jitsu. I wasn’t teaching, but no more evening classes or early 6 a.m. classes, meant no more ordered pizzas for dinner, and no last-minute purchases of school lunches for the boys, or coffee runs in the morning after my 6 a.m. class. I had been spending what I earned as a yoga teacher, in order to feed the boys and my caffeine habit.

 

Plus, slower mornings, meant, no rushing. As my younger son did his school work (my older son, a senior, sleeps in), I sipped half-caff coffee (brewed from home) and re-edited a manuscript. Then I re-edited and heavily tweaked another. That’s 180,000+ words, ya’ll.

Editing and writing my fiction daily had felt like a luxury before. I’d write for my clients: magazines, companies, hospitals. I’d squeeze in my fiction when I could—yet profess it was my purpose in life. Hmmm…I had been afraid of not earning enough money, and for my boys not to be able to do all that their friends did.

The truth is, working on my novels every day, provides me with the consistency to better see, with razor focus, when words sing, and when they are superfluous. I cut nearly 20,000 words from my two novels that are now with an editor. How amazing is that? By next year they will both be published! I mean, WOWZA. Uriel’s Mask and Between Thoughts of You will be published in 2021, either with a traditional publisher, or via a hybrid, (a pub that marries self publishing and traditional.) It’s very exciting and has been a looong journey for this single mother of eleven years. When I think about it too much, I cry. So lets move on.

 

What else is brewing in my Corona-vile cottage? My eleven-year-old son and I started a garden. We now have tomatoes, blueberries and strawberries. It provides a bit of hope for us and fun for him. He also likes to cook, a little too much, but I’m indulging him and trying to watch out for extra lbs for both of us!

 

My older son, who is obsessed with investing, has helped me learn about my investments and see which were not working. I’ve saved a lot of money by no longer paying fees, and by switching up investments during a market down-turn—so I have re-cooped losses, and gained a little. Of course, the markets will likely crash again, but I’m in a good position and we pulled rainy day cash out too after a wonderful rise in TESLA. (I’m not a fan of Elon, but hey, I’m grateful.) One stock earns hefty dividends, too, which means, I don’t need to teach yoga now, not that I could. I do, however, teach one virtual class a week for my seniors who have been like family for six years. It’s via my Facebook private page (Yoga w Laura) and is free for anyone to try. It’s my give-back during Corona lock-down, as we all need to get out of fear and move our bodies. Yoga is what allowed me to move past mental blocks, clear channels and programming, and reduce fear and anxiety. It is what allowed me to write nearly three novels in six years. But, all the teaching, ironically, was keeping me from sticking to a regular writing routine—which is key for consistent growth. I had thought the teaching would provide more flexibility and stable income to support the boys’ activities. But I was always given late night, early morning, or weekend classes to teach, which meant, I was away from home too much, and ordering food for the boys. It wasn’t serving me or the boys. Do I miss teaching? Yes. I love the way people melt in savasana and feel better after class. I was in better shape too. BUT, I’m in better financial shape and much better writing shape now. And I’m closer with my boys and closer to garnering a book deal and being able to write for a living. That’s a miracle.

 

You know what else has become stronger during these trying times? My mastery of the word NO. I must say, I had become pretty sufficient over my years here in La la land as a single yoga teacher. Plenty of married men have given me the ability to exercise that word. Plus, I have high standards when it comes to dating. I know, some of you are shocked that we’re even talking dating during Corona, but surprise, some guys are horny enough to risk their lives for a booty call. First of all, that’s nuts. Like I’d be to tempted enough to jeopardize my, or my kids’ health. But even if we weren’t living in Corona-times, I’d say NO to these yahoos. Sure, I’m lonely as hell. Some mornings I wake up in a fetal position and think I’ve turned into one of those children raised in a 1960’s Romanian orphanage who were never touched. However, NOTHING could make me date (or agree to a booty-call with) the three men who approached me during these past four months. NOTHING. One was a married father of three. (Hmm…NOT a good choice.) One had a serious live-in girlfriend and they are both local leaders in twelve-step communities. He actually got in touch via Insta to congratulate me on my nearly three years of sobriety. One minute later he asked for a private yoga session. Thirty seconds after that DM, he asked me to send a naked pic. (Can you say Gross?? It reminds me of the Netflix show Flaked staring Will Arnett.) And the third was from a guy who had asked me out three years earlier, and when I wouldn’t sleep with him on the first date, ghosted me. His text last week read: “Wanna hang out?” (Um NO. Not really.)

SO … guess what? There’s hope people! That’s really what I’m trying to say. Not all guys are idiots. However, my happiness is NOT predicated on finding the one and only conscious single man (over thirty-five please) in Los Angeles.

 

And, I’m getting published! Why? Because my writing time is no longer squeezed into a few hours on weekends, or in between a gajillion activities for the boys.

 

AND, my boys’ health and happiness is not contingent upon me killing myself or spending money I don’t have.

 

So, in conclusion:

 

Less really is More.

Calm is the new Creative.

Real is the new Sexy.

Stillness paves the path to Consciousness.

Consistency is an Author’s Best Friend.

And Kindness has always been—and always will be—King.

 

Peace out y’all. Stay calm, find your center, stretch your legs, and I dare you to smile this week. Remember, each smile is an achievement to be proud of.

Love,

Laura x

 

 

 

The Gift of Pneumonia: A Shift to Self-Care

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This picture is of me, March 21st, after a round of antibiotics had kicked in, relieving my pneumonia. Today, March 25th, I’m nearly 100% better. I can walk down the hill and back, but then need a nap. I am overly aware of how fortunate I am. My journey of self-isolating began weeks before California was mandated too: around Feb. 25th, a month ago. Bronchitis set in and I stopped teaching yoga at the hospital and also at a studio where I teach 5 classes weekly. Everything began to shift for me internally, spiritually, however, on the morning I woke my 18-year-old son urgently. I was coughing up blood. I needed his help. We decided to go to an urgent care, as my boss at the hospital had said the ER was slammed. In the urgent care, however, there were many people waiting to get in, some arriving from Europe, another from Egypt. I couldn’t stop coughing and I made my son wait in the car. I don’t think I realized the magnitude of the situation then. I do now. How fortunate am I to have been given antibiotics, and not been sent to the ER to be tested?? My Dr. told me it would be a risk to go to the ER now. I needed to behave as if I had COVID, take the antibiotics, isolate. If the antibiotics worked, I’d be okay. In reality, I could have tested positive. My boys had returned from Switzerland and England with their dad Feb. 23. Their dad and his girlfriend live in New York and travel the world nonstop. This family easily could have been infected with COVID 19. If I had tested positive, I might have been hospitalized and been isolated from my sons.

It occurred to me, a few days later, as I was editing a manuscript in bed and listening to them trying to cook, fending for themselves, that this could have been a complete disaster. Had I been hospitalized and separated from them, there were no plans, nothing set in place to protect/help them. My oldest son didn’t have enough money to handle this situation or buy food for himself and his little brother. He didn’t know how to access the accounts that I have. He didn’t know where my life insurance policy was. His dad should not fly here from Manhattan. It was ground zero for COVID19. It would not be a good idea for him to get on a plane, risk others, and come here, risking the boys.

It’s funny how all my life I have lived with a deep sense of the importance of serving others—perhaps to justify my existence, my worth. I learned this from my mother, a child-protective services social worker and avid volunteer. Yet, serving others to the point that I’m not taking optimal care of myself or my boys, makes zero sense. I have been a FT single mother for 11 years. You’d think I would have this down by now. But, in retrospect, I had been teaching far too much yoga, missing dinners, missing homework times with my sons, now 11 and 18. I had been tackling far too many writing / editing assignments with corporate clients, forgetting my novels, my raison d’etre. Why? Because I thought I needed the money and needed to serve. But in reality, I’ve learned from this time of extreme isolation, that I could have just trimmed my finances to adjust to my priorities. Since I have been isolating and the boys have been home-schooling, we have given up all the extras: hair appointments, Starbucks, dinners out, babysitters, gym membership, all of the expensive kids activities such as martial arts, violin lessons, volleyball. We have been forced to give this all up due to social distancing. And do you know what? We don’t really miss it. My oldest misses soccer, but at least that was free :).

 

Since I have been in isolation, I have taken on all that intimidated me in the past. I did an audit of my accounts. My financial adviser was far too conservative and earned way too much in fees. An account with him had earned zero in three years. Bull years at that! I transferred all of it out and am now making my own decisions, my own trades. I have up-dated all of my accounts too, putting my sons as equal beneficiaries. All of this information, and some cash, is in the locked safe. My oldest knows how to access all of this. I have said no to my boss at the yoga studio, who wanted me to record classes. I tried to record one yoga class, but was too winded and it took me and my son over 3 hours between shooting it and then editing it and it still wasn’t that good due to audio issues. My time is valuable. If I have little time here, I need to focus on what matters: my boys and my writing. One manuscript is edited again, another I am working on this week. All three manuscripts will be in my lock box as well.

If I get sick again, we now have a plan. My oldest will be in charge and he will not fly to see his dad (who left NYC and is now isolating in a Tennessee mountain cabin) for at least two weeks – wait and see how they are feeling and how his dad is feeling. Our garage has enough food for a week. He has money to go shopping.

For now, I am focussed 100 percent on this family and on my well-being and on my writing, the reason why I am here. I have audited out all the distractions. I have always meditated daily, but now am meditating twice daily. We will get though this. I firmly believe that we are all spiritual beings living a physical existence. Those who die from COVID19 will still exist. And they will be surrounded by unconditional love. I have never been afraid to die. But I am fearful for my boys to be alone, not supported, and to feel scared. There is only so much that is within my control.

Today, I am grateful for the reminder that self care, is equal to self love. During meditation, this is the affirming message I received: The love you seek to attract, the compassion you hope to attract, starts within. Love yourself. Care for yourself. Care for your family. It begins here, then will ripple outward miraculously.

Take good care all,

L. xo

Goodbye NV Hello Laura K Roe

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I started NavigtingVita after spending part of a summer in Tuscany—my first break in nearly two years from single parenting. My mother, who lived far away, was dying from early-onset Alzheimer’s, and my soon-to-be ex-husband was off in London. I was taking care of our three-year-old and nine-year-old solo, and trying not to fall apart. This was my venture back into blogging, after helping launch and edit for RealGirlsMedia, a San Francisco-based women’s blogging venture. And, being a journalist for so many years, I missed the writing. I interviewed parenting and divorce experts, authors of all kinds, psychologists, single mom business executives. I landed spots on Dr. Drew’s Lifechanger’s Show, as well HuffPost regarding parenting. This site began as a way to navigate through divorce and full time single parenting with a sense of humor, and ideally, with some grace. Ten years later, I am still a full-time single parent of a 10-year-old & a 17-year-old. But it is not how I define myself. I am also a freelance journalist and author of three novels, my 4th on its way. My 600 hours of yoga teacher training has helped me breathe, find peace and acceptance with my life, give up drinking, and keep writing my novels. This is how I see my future: writing, yoga, and travel. I’m excited about my yoga & writers retreat in Tuscany May 2020! (DM me, or go to yogainitaly.com to sign up!) AND, that my novel Between Thoughts of You is being considered for publication by the publishing house of my dreams. 🙂 What I’ve learned, however, is that the journey is really the reward. I love diving into characters, finding strength and wisdom in their adventures and choices, and love the connective awareness I feel when someone else whispers their thoughts into my mind, that finds its way to the pages.  I’m never alone when I write. It’s a miraculous feeling. What I know for sure, is that I will keep writing novels, and they will be self-published if the right publishing house doesn’t emerge. It’s what I do. And I want to help other writers find their way past fear to keep on writing too—what breath, meditation, and yoga has helped me to do. It’s a humbling process to keep going, while accepting my own limitations. In order to get better as a writer, I have to keep writing and find the space to do so. With that in mind, next year I am moving to Maui! I have found a boarding school there with a science and math focus to help my brilliant son. I will live close by and see him every day when I’m in town, but will also be able to travel to promote my books when I need to do so. Single parents have to find solutions that work to allow them to focus on, and expand their careers. It’s a delicate balancing act that I’m finally giving myself permission to pursue. I’m excited about this next venture. AND the yoga & writers retreats I’ll be sure to host in Maui! 🙂

 

SO…with my focus solely on writing and on yoga & writers retreats, I have decided to take back my original byline and maiden name: Laura K Roe. Navigating Vita will disappear in a few weeks time. Please visit LauraKRoe.com to find excerpts of my novels, travel schedule, and yoga & writers retreat and workshop information.

 

Thank you so much for reading my words and being a part of this miraculous journey.

 

Love  & Light,

 

Laura x

Kitty CRAZY!

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This picture is what started it all. Last summer, my James fell in love with a calico cat who visited us in our barn in Greece during my yoga & writers retreat. She chased grasshoppers and shooed away spiders and bees and purred and snuggled and was just adorable. But what I failed to realize, is that she was a cat, not a calico kitten. So…seeing that my son was in need of more unconditional love around the house after our move, I adopted a calico kitten that looks much like our beloved Greek cat. A yoga student, who had seen this picture, called me and proclaimed it was destiny, we had to have this look-a-like kitten. While my boys were with their dad this August, I adopted this little one. But the stars weren’t exactly aligned with this one. Just my luck. Who knew something so cute could end up more like the bunny from hell in Monty Python?!

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Don’t let her cuteness fool you. Sweet, adorable Tabitha, my crazed arch-nemesis! Notice her collar? She’s had this for three weeks due to an infected paw that won’t heal. This hyper diaper high energy gal climbs window screens, tearing them and re-infecting her paw, even after two shots of antibiotics, one round of pills and three different lotion medications. She’s managed to find ways to rip mattresses open from underneath, climbing up inside them and clawing at the coils. A master of untangling woven baskets, and a natural at flying directly up to the top of our refrigerator, only to fly out across our kitchen, as if by hang-glider, landing anywhere: on a lit stove burner, countertops with bowls of prepared food, you name it, she lands on it. Yup, she’s certifiable. And it’s not like she doesn’t have toys. So many, my den resembles a pet shop. But she prefers ‘other’ ways to get her energy out. Like tackling and scratching my ankles the moment I walk into my house—biting my calves deeply as I try to shake her off. In rare sleepy moments where she resembles past kittens of mine who like to snuggle, if I make the mistake of picking her up, she often bites my cheek or chin, so deeply, a few of my students wondered if I had had surgery for skin cancer. I’m not kidding.

For the love of my son, I mentally tell myself: “it’s only a flesh wound.” My youngest adores her. Tabitha sleeps in his bunk bed and even when she scratches or bites him, James still loves her and reminds everyone that she doesn’t mean it, it’s just instinctual. Well, I grew up with cats and I know for a fact that not all kittens are like this. But I just nod to him and wonder what I did to adopt a crazed animal like this who injects stress and frustration and high frequency energy into my house. During the day when I write, I lock myself into my room, not allowing her in, and lock all the bedroom doors and bathroom door so she can’t reek havoc.

Just when I’ve had it and am considering giving this expensive kitten away (four visits to the vet already for her damn paw!) James crept up behind me last week, put him arms around my waist and said: “Thank you SO much for Tabitha! She’s the best gift I’ve ever received. I just love her.”

Geez, well I can’t give the devil cat away now, can I? So, what can I do? Every time I scoop her poop or swat her away from our dinner table, after she’s thrust a dirty paw into my meal, I bite my lip and swallow down the strong urge to pick this little urchin up and throw her into the next door neighbor’s yard with a doberman pincher. Lets just pray that I make it sanely to next year, when the Vet insists that she’ll finally “chill out.”

Sigh. What I do for my children.

Achieving Equality: A PipeDream?

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Pic from ExhaustedWoman.com

 

Did you go into your marriage, pre-children, expecting to have equitable parenting duties with your husband? Did it ever occur to you that your career would be deemed less important, therefore you’d be expected to have more time to shop, clean, care-take? Did you ever imagine that you would have less time off to replenish, while working more than your spouse? If you knew all this going into your marriage, would you feel differently about your husband?

Equitable parenting duties. Equal time off. Mutual respect. In 2018, according to multiple studies, these are still drastically missing within heterosexual couples who have children.

In reality, for most American women, these ideas are mere pipe dreams. It’s just not how our society, and how most fathers, behave. Period. End of story. There is a lot of research to back this up. See the links below for in-depth articles in The Washington Post, Forbes and Time magazines. 

Maybe in the top echelons of society among very young couples who live in democratic, liberal University settings, do you see fathers who are doing more and are behaving with more respect. But for the most part, throughout America, at every age and social and economic demographic, this isn’t the case. A woman’s career can be treated like a hobby and not as important as a man’s, by his behavior—forcing a woman to feel battered into doing the lion’s share of parenting, cleaning, care-taking of in-laws, parents and organizing of family activities.

For example, one mom interviewed said her husband “Just doesn’t get up.” She explained that her young husband will remain drinking his coffee at the kitchen table and checking his phone, while his wife, also a full-time working executive, is racing to put together backpacks, get the children dressed, prepare lunches. It puts her at a disadvantage with work as well as loading her down with stress, anxiety and bitterness—resulting in poor health and marital resentments, lack of sex drive and dissipating connection between mom and dad. And the children notice. They see what we do, much more than what we say—and model our behavior. Which is why many experts say the misogyny behind the #metoo movement, has its roots at home where mom is undervalued, taken for granted and disrespected.

In the Washington Post article Where do Kids Learn to Undervalue Women? From Their Parents, multiple studies showed that: “even progressive spouses don’t divide burdens equitably. The children notice.”

According to university research, conclusions ranged from misogyny budding from modeled parent behavior to malignant gender dynamics being passed down generation to generation.

Sadly, recent studies showed the following, reported by Darcy Lockman:

“Among heterosexual parents, fathers — even the youngest and most theoretically progressive among them — do not partake generously of the workload at home. Employed women partnered with employed men carry 65 percent of the family’s child-care responsibilities, a figure that has held steady since the turn of the century. Women with babies enjoy half as much leisure time on weekends as their husbands. Working mothers with preschool-age children are 2 1/2 times as likely to perform middle-of-the-night care as their husbands. And in hours not so easily tallied, mothers remain almost solely in charge of the endless managerial care that comes with raising children: securing babysitters, filling out school forms, sorting through hand-me-downs.”

Ey ey ey people.

I feel strongly that this lack of respect and “unawareness” among fathers who overburden their wives by not stepping up, is the root of divorce. I’ve seen so many moms become severely bitter, insecure and disconnected without hope they can ever achieve their dreams within this family dynamic. This is likely the reason why so many mothers look forward to their alcohol binging nights out with other moms, highlighted in The Bad Moms movies. And it is also why I, as a full time single mother for the past nine years, feel extremely lucky. At least as a sole parent, I don’t have ANY expectations that a partner will be, or should be, doing ANYTHING for me and my boys within the household on a daily basis. No one will be prepping for schools, buying foods, cooking dinners, planning sports and summer camps, going to parents nights or performances, yard work, etc. It’s just me. Surprisingly, I find peace and liberation with this as I have lost all my bitterness from needing that from someone. I am also never, ever going to live with someone who may be critical of my appearance, or my house’s appearance, my cooking (or lack thereof), or parenting abilities—while also pouting about my lack of sexual desire at the end of the night. I’m tired. Yet, I’m following my dreams again and writing novels and teaching yoga and my boys know that mommy needs help at home and that her dreams are just as important as their own.

When I was married, my older son was learning something different. He was learning that mommy’s dreams don’t count, because they don’t pay as well as daddy’s, and that she needs to do the lion share of parenting and cleaning and deserves less time off than daddy. And I’m to blame for allowing this dynamic. I used to think my ex taking our son to the park on a Saturday afternoon, after he had been gone all week and I had spent late-nights catching up on work, meant that I had an hour to clean the house and race to the grocery store. It didn’t occur to me to get a massage and let him help me do the other stuff later. Yet I was working full time as a magazine editor and taking care of our son solo and staying up late managing deadlines. Where did I get this misconception that I had to work, work, work and never rest? From my parent dynamic of a working full – time mother who did all the parenting. It really does get passed down generation to generation and women (especially those raised in the South) are taught to believe that they are just more compassionate, better organized, better at cooking, more patient and therefore, better at parenting, so it’s easier for us. I can’t tell you how many times I heard friends prepare weeks of food for their husbands before leaving for a work trip because their husbands “just can’t open a can of soup.”

This has to stop. Having a penis doesn’t mean a man can’t cook, tuck a child into bed, read bedtime stories, grocery shop, plan birthday parties, volunteer at schools, design holiday cards, and help with in-law care-taking. None of these activities are exclusively made for humans with vaginas. But I understand why women just do the extra work when they fear that it just won’t get done otherwise.

It took divorce and becoming a full-time single mother for me to realize that I allowed this toxic, old-fashioned inequitable dynamic to exist by not demanding my ex do more. If I had boycotted the home situation, protested, left for an extended amount of time while leaving our child at home, perhaps my ex would have seen what was going on. Or likely, he would have hired a full-time nanny and not fretted about the cost.

I predict there will be a shift in the American family (heterosexual) dynamic within the next 50 years where women just opt out. We’re tired. And we’re worthy of time off and help. It’s time for us to raise our hands, lift our white flags and say ENOUGH. Doing it all and being everything to everyone, enables a toxic old-fashioned view of parenting, and is just not worth ruining our health and forgetting our dreams for.

If this has riled you up, sadly, here are more articles and studies regarding the lack of gender equality in American households and society:

“A stunning chart shows the true cause of the gender wage gap.” 

“From concubine to CEO, how far have women really come?” Forbes, Dec. 20, 2015

“The Parenting Fantasy that holds Women Back” Time, Oct. 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

Becoming a FIERCE Female

machureversenamaste

Finding FREEDOM : ALIGNMENT : DHARMA

Two and a half years ago I stepped away from what was potentially a six figure + deal with a national network reality TV show. I told only a few friends, as I knew most would think me crazy. I’m a single mom. I’m raising two boys in LA. But the TV show, from the producers of The Biggest Loser, focussed on divorce drama. It was why I had stopped monitoring and contributing to single mom chat boards for Dr. Drews Lifechanger’s show. And it’s why I switched the focus of my blog from single motherhood. That topic limited my life, defined me, attracted negative ranting, encouraged victimhood and drama that makes all participants get stuck in the past. I walked from being in a major reality TV series because it was focussed on divorce and single motherhood and I was convinced that all the pain I have lived through would be drug back up on national television and relived and rehashed in a negative light—instead of in a sustaining, inspiring way. Sure, I was cheated on and left just after having a baby. And yes, my husband was in multiple other countries with his ‘girlfriend’ while I raised two boys alone. The producers loved my story of embracing yoga and forgiveness—so they said—but were fascinated by me being alone with two young boys, while my mother was also dying, and of me giving up my editing jobs in order to better care for the boys. In the end, I knew scenes would be manipulated to create drama, foster retaliation, increase outrage and bitterness, etc … dashing all my efforts to forgive and to move forward mindfully and lovingly. Maybe I lost a lot of money, but hey, my ex and I are good friends now. He isn’t a ‘bad’ person. We are better apart. It takes effort to see that and to move forward and to strive to not always live in a black and white strict viewpoint and to always put children first. What I have learned over multiple yoga trainings, traveling solo across the world, and through my meditation and writing practice, is that we have to free ourselves—by lovingly setting those who hurt us free—in order to thrive. To thrive means being happy, hopeful, joyful, vibrant, healthy, present, abundant. Isn’t that what we all want? Why do we then sabotage our happiness by holding on to grudges and negative, distrusting thought patterns and habits? Saying no to the producers (who kept offering more money!) was my first major step into truly letting go of the past, stepping into alignment, integrity, forgiveness and Dharma, or purpose.  If you’re a single mom in pain, or just a human who has been hurt repeatedly or is depressed by life that feels heavy, this article, which outlines my new book Becoming a Fierce Female, is for you. Much love.

Ten Steps to Become FIERCELY HAPPY:

  1. FORGIVENESS. Forgiveness is like five steps in one. If you only achieve one step on this list, this is the most important one to foster more happiness in your life. Just know this:
    Forgiveness is NOT being a doormat.
    Forgiveness is NOT saying what someone did is OK.
    Forgiveness is NOT taking a person or job or circumstance back.
    Forgiveness IS breaking the chains that bind you, that tie you up mentally and spiritually in the past of hurt and suffering.
    Forgiveness IS FREEDOM. It is saying to the person who has hurt you: “You must have been out of alignment with God and your higher self when you did that. So I forgive you. But it was so NOT OK to treat me or any other human being that way, with so little compassion, that I am dropping the event and you from my consciousness. With love, I set you free. I set myself free.”
  2. Stop Talking About Past Wrongs. Every time you do this, you are telling the Universe: “More Please.” And then the big U is happy to dish up more assholes, more car accidents, more liars, just to help you prove that you are right. Stop it. Focus on the positive in your life. Sure, you may want to try to understand how you attracted a certain person or circumstance into your life, but talking smack about the person only puts you in the same lower vibration. Nothing good comes from making yourself a victim. The seeds of success are in every setback. Find your power and MOVE ON.
  3. Be Present. This is easier said than done. Take baby steps: Focus on the person talking to you and put down your phone. Notice your surroundings. Stop multi-tasking. Strive to listen. Life opens up and miracles only happen in the present moment. Don’t miss out.
  4. Be Positive. This is easier said than done as well. Maybe you are depressed by sad news in the media or by a sick friend or by a recent tragedy. Life is always in session. I know. (I expand more on this in my book as I have witnessed murder, been attacked and have friends and family members who have been as well.) But what positive can you focus on today with gratitude? Make a daily gratitude list. Even if it just says water, food, bed. It’s a start. Every day, seek gratitude and seek how you can become a better person who uplifts others and is empowered to make a difference.
  5. Meditate daily in stillness. If you want to radiate light, you must become still .We are 85% water, but water can only reflect the sunlight when still. When our nerves and thoughts are negative, reactive, choppy, boiling, restless, NO light can be reflected from above. Still your mind, still your heart, and listen to your inner guidance and watch as you bloom and lighten up your heart chakra. (More in my book, with guided meditations.)
  6. Ask how you can serve, not how others can serve you. Every day when you wake up, just mentally ask the Universe how you can be of service in order to get into alignment. Marianne Williamson said it best when she said to envision yourself as the faucet, not the water, for the Universe to flow through. Even if you don’t know exactly what you want to do as your profession for the rest of your life, start slowly and simply. Ask: ‘How can I best serve today?’ Maybe the answer will just be to smile at strangers. To give someone a parking space. To offer assistance to a senior. To listen. Start small, always with gratitude.
  7. Find Your Dharma. Explore (unapologetically) all that you love to do in life. Music, art, sports, etc. Find ways to incorporate it into your life. Single full time moms, you can listen to your favorite tunes while you cook, watch videos on art, travel, take a class or join a Meetup group. Take the time to embrace your passion. It’s why we are here.
  8. Get enough rest. It’s hard to stay positive, grateful, present, calm compassionate, forgiving if you are running on fumes. Get 8 hours of sleep a night.
  9. Take daily inventory. Before you go to bed, ask the Universe (just mentally) where you could have done better that day, or where you fell out of alignment with your highest self. Without judgement, ask to have whatever was out of alignment removed. Maybe you weren’t patient. Maybe you snapped at someone. Maybe you were being a perfectionist and controlling and not listening to your child or friend. Whatever it was, when you see it in your minds eye, forgive yourself for being human and say, “thank you. please help me remove this.”
  10. Exercise daily. I’m a passionate yogi, everyone knows that. But I don’t care what you do, just find something you enjoy and get moving. Take the stairs at work. Walk on your lunch break. Jog. Swim. Just get the blood flowing and the endorphins going every day, so you can feel serotonin flow and sweep negative cobwebs from the corners of your mind as you lower your stress and slip into your bliss!

Digging into New Books this Mother’s Day

books

I’m digging into these gems this mother’s day! Last night, after teaching my hot yoga class, I went to a book store and walked around. I had cancelled on a friend who offered to take me to the Trocadero in Hollywood since my nanny had cancelled. I really wasn’t that upset about it. Yes, it’s the quintessential ‘Hollywood spot’, but I’m not that into Hollywood. I’m more into creating and dreaming. So, I decided to treat myself to a dream walk, exploration, of the book store isles sans kiddos for an hour. A top expert in publishing, an agent for 20+ years, told me in an interview last week that trying to get published in the genre of literary fiction, is nearly impossible for new writers today (via traditional publishing houses.) Hmmmm. There’s a lot of fear in that statement. And I’m not one who needs to mire in fear or let it inchworm inside my head as I write my 4th novel. I respect his opinion, but it is not the definitive voice deciding whether or not I will ever get published. So I took a stroll down the isles and among the ‘new voices’ and low and behold, there are many in both literary and women’s fiction. My new intention is to read a ‘new voice’ every month until next mother’s day. Why? Because I want to support my fellow writers and new voices who are trying to give birth to their babies in this daunting publishing arena. So, I picked out The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney published by Harper Collins in 2016. It is Sweeney’s first book to be published by a major publisher, and soon to be made a movie. Family drama, addiction, inheritance, sibling squabbles, are all contained within its pages. I can’t wait to start!

My other books I purchased last night are bite-sized spiritual instruments of wisdom to inspire my meditation practice, which helps me focus on what I can do and create, and stay out of fear. I can turn to a page, within The Art of Peace by Morihei Ueshiba or the Dalai Lama’s Little Book of Mysticism, and read one teaching by these masters daily. Here are two examples. I adore Ueshiba’s art representing movement as I’ve never been able to separate movement of dance and yoga with the spiritual. That’s why meditation was hard for me to embrace five year ago, yet dancing and yoga have always been my conduits to calm my mind, improve my mood, let go of fear, etc.

artofpeace2

Dala Lama’s ‘little book’ is perfect to inspire meditation themes as it’s just enough to start the conversation that can be released to the Divine within meditation. For example:

lamamystic

Busy moms don’t often get to spend hours at a time reading on a Sunday. But I got a few hours in this morning and I’m grateful. I’m now off to the California Science Center to explore King TUT’s tomb with my nine-year-old. It’s the perfect Mother’s Day for me as it started with books and poetry (poem by my little guy); will marinate with wonder at the museum, will move with music, as we go to a concert this evening, and end with picking up my oldest at the airport. It’s my first mother’s day in 16 years without my wonder William. I can’t wait to give him a big hug!

I’m sending so much love to all my fellow mums. May you feel at peace with yourself and with your Dharma. May you feel inspired to reach for your dreams. May you feel healthy and supported. May you always feel your divine light and self worth. And may you always, always embrace your sense of humor—God knows we all need it!

Love & Light XOXO