Tag Archives: single parenting during COVID

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