Be careful, your mood is contagious

You know the phrase, “If Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” It might be a southern saying, but it’s just as true in my northeastern home.

I’m in the midst of reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, in which she at first struggles to justify why a happily married mother needs to take the time to seek out happiness for herself. Her conclusion is that her own happiness is not a selfish luxury, but a necessity to bring joy to her whole household.

I agree. I notice that on the days where I am short-tempered and impatient, my kids react by looking glum, shuffling their feet to get out the door, and sometimes even snapping back at me. I hate to think of them traipsing off to school this way. On the mornings where I wake them with kisses and songs, we all manage to leave the house on time with smiles on our faces.

When I bring positive energy into my classroom, it comes back to me with students who answer questions and don’t moan and groan over assignments. I connect with my coworkers when I smile and look them in the eye rather than mumbling hi and walking on by. In my personal relationships, my loved ones seek me out to talk and spend time with me when I show enthusiasm and joy.

Every interaction with another person is an exchange of energy. Pain and sorrow is meant to be shared, and we need others to boost us up when we can’t pull ourselves out of a bad situation. Sometimes it’s hard to smile when I’m angry, feeling let down, tired, or otherwise hurting, but those are the days it’s most important of all to smile.

Try putting aside your everyday grumbles and notice how differently people respond to you when you tell them you’re great (even if you’re just okay). You may bring a smile to their face and they may bring one back to yours.

 

Photo credit: stock photo by tigger11th at http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

 

Please check out my first novel, Giving Myself Away. Divorced mom Adrienne gets pregnant after fooling around with a lonely mortician. He wants to marry her and raise the baby together, but she has other ideas. 

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What’s great about being married?

Adriennes blog 16 cake topper picHi, I’m Adrienne. I realize I’ve talked about being divorced a lot, but I was married longer than I’ve been single, and it’s time for me to move on.  I’m ready to stop being bitter and acknowledge how great marriage can be.  I can be happy for my married friends and family instead of envious or cynical about what they have.

So in honor of marriage, please help me make a list of the benefits of being married!

You can read more about my marriage and my divorce in Giving Myself Away, available now.

GivingMyselfAwayCover

Available at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle format

Available at Barnes and Noble in paperback and Nook format

What were you happiest your ex took with him in the divorce?

Adriennes blog 15 brown recliner picHi, I’m Adrienne.  I’m one of those people who likes to make lists.  You’ll find them stashed in drawers, hanging in the kitchen cabinets, and in the reminders app on my phone.  Not all of my lists are things to do.  Some of them are things to be grateful for.  There’s a list I pull out from my jewelry box every now and then when I’m feeling sorry for myself about being divorced.  The paper is getting fuzzy along the edges from being folded and unfolded so many times, but I’m happy to say I don’t need to look at this list as often as I used to.

Things I’m happy Drew took with him in the divorce:

  1. His hideous brown recliner.  You know the chair, the one that comes with you into your marriage.  You know it’s a bad idea to let him bring it with him, but you’re so happy to be pulling your separate lives together that you overlook that chair.  It might be a hand-me-down from his parents or he might have picked it up at the Salvation Army, but either way, it was part of his bachelor life and now it’s got memories.  Never mind the fact that it’s ugly as all get out, stained, and not even that comfortable anymore.  There’s no slipcover that’s going to make that lumpy excuse for furniture look respectable.  It doesn’t match anything else, and you just have to hope you have one of those man-cave rooms to hide it in, because it’s not going anywhere…until you get divorced, that is.
  2. His “collections.”  Beer steins, baseball cards, comic books, you name it.  The monetary value or the space it takes up is completely irrelevant.  The older his collection is, the more determined he is to keep it.  You can bet his mother can’t wait to get it out of her house.  I never saw Drew’s mom lifting such heavy stuff as the day she finally unloaded Drew’s boxes from their attic to ours.  Or maybe your man had a mother who threw out his stuff and he still resents her for it.  These are the ones to watch out for because if you so much as throw out an old receipt of theirs for a hot dog from a baseball game ten years ago, you’ve just discarded a piece of his life.
  3. His snoring.  I put up with it and I learned to sleep despite it, but wow, I’ve never slept so well in my life now that I’m single.  I can sleep on the left side of the bed, the right, or the middle, and there’s always room for me.  No one to snuggle up to, but at least it’s quiet and roomy.
  4. His clothes.  Clothes = laundry and some men never learned to unball their socks or take the stuff out of their pockets.  I’m already mom to two kids; did I really need to be his mom too.
  5. The love letters I wrote him.  I promised I’d love him forever, and of course I believed it.  Who doesn’t think their romance is the best, truest love the world has ever known?  I might be tempted to look back and get sentimental about old times I can’t recapture, but thankfully he’s removed the temptation.
  6. The petty resentment.  I spent a lot of time being mad at Drew for not doing the household things that I felt like he should be doing, such as taking the trash out, mowing the lawn, or fixing the broken vacuum cleaner.  Now there’s no one to nag but myself.  My “honey-do” lists are only for me, and I can check off the items or ignore them at will.
  7. His debt.  Some of it I was responsible for, but now that we’re divorced, what he does or doesn’t do financially can’t hurt me anymore.  There’s no one to negotiate with over what we can afford.  If I put something on the credit card, I know I’ll be the one paying for it.
  8. His pet snake, Lulubel.  Drew and his roommates bought a ball python during a drunken night of college partying, and somehow he inherited her by being last to move out of the guys’ apartment.  I will not miss weekly trips to the pet store to buy mice to sacrifice to Lulu, or the semi-regular dreams I had that she would escape and kill one of us in the night.

You might say this list sounds like sour grapes, but it gets me by on the days I miss being married, miss having the comfort of a spouse and someone to share all the joys and sorrows of life with.

What were you happiest to let go of when you and your spouse separated?

You can read more about my lists and my adventures with and without Drew in Giving Myself Away, available now.

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Available at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle format

Available at Barnes and Noble in paperback and Nook format

Sexy texty and the single mom

Adriennes blog 8 oreosHi, I’m Adrienne.  The last time I was single, there was no such thing as sexting.  I doubt anyone would care if shown evidence that I have dirty thoughts, but I can’t help but mistrust men who want to get right down to business.  I sense potential blackmail in my future.

I have a problem with Oreos and pretty much everything else made primarily of carbs, so when I’m feeling virtuous, I keep an online food diary.  Since we dieters need support, you can meet other people crazy enough to keep journals of everything they eat.

I never thought of this as a place to meet guys, but boy, you better be careful of what picture you post in your profile.  Workout clothes are apparently quite the turn-on these days because a lot of guys on this site want to be “friends.”  The first time I got a friend request from a man, I figured the guy was on this site for the same reason I was, which is trying to lose those last ten pounds (okay, fifteen).

However, it got weird when my new diet buddy started asking me more personal questions, like, “If you could sleep with any actor, who would it be?”  Wow, to be honest, I had never even considered that because the possibility of sleeping with any actor was not on my radar.  I tried to be nice about it until he asked me whether I fantasized about him… uh, I don’t even know you, so… NO.

Then he proceeded to say a few explicit things to me involving parts of his body and mine.  I was kind of flattered, because let’s be honest, no one had talked to me like that in a looong time, but on the other hand, I was a bit alarmed.  At this point, I was really glad he didn’t know where I live.

Am I that out of it after being married for so long?

I stopped talking to that guy because he seemed too aggressive and even though he was older, it made me feel old to be so put off by sexy talk.  He didn’t even bother to ask my name before he got to the nitty gritty.

But because of him, I realized that texting men who live far away has its advantages and I began to be more open-minded.  I realized this was a safer re-entry into the world of dating than actual dates, both physically and emotionally.

Plus I have two kids at home and I don’t have to arrange babysitters or explain why I’m going out for dinner with a man who is not their father.  The only explaining I have to do is why I occasionally have a goofy smirk on my face for seemingly no reason.

Maybe I’m not ready for a relationship, but writing suggestive texts to a guy makes me feel like I’m still a woman with some charms.  You can read all about how I got dropped back into the dating pool in Giving Myself Away, being released next month.  Thanks for reading, and please share your thoughts on sexting.

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If I get married again, I don’t want new dishes

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If I get married again, I don’t want new dishes.  The first time I got married, everything had to be matching and new.  I remember taking that handheld scanner at the department store and zapping the things we wanted to add to our shiny married life – vases and plates and platters, beer glasses and grilling tools and gadgets.  All the right stuff would make us the perfect couple, charting a course together through housewares and beyond.  The first time I married, I was young and idealistic and unrealistic.  When things got broken, I believed they couldn’t be fixed.

If I get married again, I want a mishmash of mixed-up sets of plates from both of us, chipped and old, tokens of the perfect marriage we were supposed to have the first time.  Every day when I open my cabinet to pull out a cereal bowl or a coffee mug, I want to remember the hardships of life and where I’ve been.  I want us to sit at a table with jumbled place settings, plates and kids not matching but fitting together nonetheless.  I want to remember that I’m not perfect, he’s not perfect, we’re not perfect.

If I get married again, I’m going to appreciate what I have a whole lot more.  This time, I’ll know that cracked doesn’t mean unfixable.  I will know that the things that get cracked just need to be treated with greater care.

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