Celebrating Father’s Day with my Ex-Husband

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Yep! You read that right! I celebrated Father’s Day with my ex-husband. Well, the kids were there too. Not all divorced parents can get along. I am lucky that my ex and I do get along. More than that though, we have managed to become friends once again after our split. It took hard work and communication on both sides but we did it.

Father’s Day is also a day to appreciate the dad in your kids’ lives who is more than just a sperm donor. He takes his role seriously and he makes sure to be there for them, even when it’s hard. For example, lately Conner has been showing his tween side all too often. He is argumentative more than usual, moody, and back talking a bit too much.

His dad doesn’t run away when he gets like that. He also doesn’t go to the other extreme. He sticks it out, buckles down for the ride right along with me and I will say that as co-parents, we have each other’s backs during these small crisis’.

So I celebrate Father’s Day with my ex-husband to show him appreciation. I appreciate that he is there for our children. I appreciate that we get along. Most of all though, I appreciate that he loves our children just as much as I do and will do anything for them.

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fatherandson_Father'sDay_rockinrandommom

Let’s Switch Gears for a minute…

I did not have a father growing up. When I did meet my father, I wished I hadn’t. He was abusive and manipulative and an all around bad person. When he wasn’t being those things, he spent most of my childhood and teenage years denying my brother and me. I spent a good chunk of my life hating my father because he never loved me and never wanted me.

Father’s Day was never celebrated in my house because of this. There was only one man I ever called dad and he was actually my sister’s father. He was the first father I knew but unfortunately he didn’t stay in the picture for very long.

However….

My boys do! At some point in my teenage years I made a promise to my future children that I would make damn sure they would have a good father. They would have a dad who loved them beyond measure and would always be there for them.

Of course, by the time I met the father of my future kids, partying was more on both of our minds than kids. Being in our early twenties kind of does that. Yet somehow, I was able to keep that promise to them. Was it a promise kept or was it just fate? I don’t know, to tell you the truth but what I do know is my boys have an awesome dad!

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Yet…

Not every kid is lucky enough to have a loving and devoted father though and I want to take a minute to recognize that. Perhaps because of this, my ex and I made it a point to get along even when we didn’t for the sake of our kids. All too often I see parents who can’t even be in the same room together let alone get along but they too, at least make an effort for their kids.

Then there are dads out there who have to fight to see their kids because the moms are so hateful towards them that they use the kids against those dads. This is something I have seen a lot of and it really angers me. It angers me because at the end of the day, the only people really getting hurt are the kids.

Then there are kids whose fathers have passed away. Those dads are sorely missed. There are also children whose fathers choose not to be in their lives for whatever reason. My heart breaks for these kids because I know how that feels. But my heart also swells at the thought of my own children having a great dad.

Celebrating Father’s Day…

This year the boys wanted to do something really special for their dad but they didn’t know what. He has been wanting a model car Delorean from Back to the Future. He had it on his list for his birthday. Except that his birthday isn’t until September so I thought, why not get it for him for Father’s Day?

We also got him a Samurai Sword. Not a real one mind you. Those are way out of my price range. On Saturday Adam and I went to the Renaissance Festival and they were selling Samurai Swords. It was a decent price and very well made (with a dull blade) so I picked it up for him. Just in time for Father’s Day.

The kids couldn’t wait to give him the presents and he was really happy to get them. He loves both gifts. This was my way though of showing appreciation to the man who my kids call Dad! So thank you Tom, for being such a great father to our beautiful boys!

Happy Father’s Day!

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And Happy Father’s Day to all the wonderful dads out there!

Thanks so much for reading!

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My Mother’s Day Weekend: Strong Like Mom

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My Mother’s Day weekend this year I did nothing. Honestly, I actually forgot about it until it was staring me in the face. I made no plans except to do what I was already planning to do – Grind my Destiny 2 characters in the new Warmind expansion that just came out – and it didn’t help that one of the kids is not feeling well.

My Mother’s Day wasn’t a total bust though. We moms get to spend this day however we want and given that one kid was sick (and still kinda is) I did my own thing. Like old blue eyes said, I did it my way. Mother’s Day doesn’t need to be this elaborate thing. In fact, most of the time I choose to be low key about it. I prefer to spend a quiet day at home or going for a hike. I’m not big on the whole, “Let’s go celebrate” thing.

While some moms choose to spend their Mother’s Day Weekend planning outdoor activities to share with their kids and others choose to spend a day at the spa, I chose to play video games. To add to my game filled Mother’s Day weekend I had finally received my package from Bioware. Their online store was closing so I splurged a bit and ordered a bunch of hoodies and other little things. They came in just in time for Mother’s Day.

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Plus, a Dragon Age Sweat Jacket and Andromeda socks not pictured and my Mother’s Day gift to myself was complete. Despite the weekend being about gaming though I did still spend time with my boys. We had our normal weekend routine where I get one day with Adam and the next with Conner. Adam and I went for a walk and Conner talked me into watching Captain America: Civil War again. Thank God I love those Super Hero movies eh?

But first I have to interrupt this gaming talk…

I do want to take the time to talk about the other part of my blog title, Strong Like Mom. My son Conner says things like that to me every now and then. He sees me as the strongest woman he knows. He admires me for my strength and that is going to go a long with for him in his life. He will become a man who not only sees women as strong individuals but he will value that strength.

Adam is less vocal about this but even he, the teenager, will sometimes point out to me that I am strong. I think this is very important for my sons to learn and to understand as they get older. This has been my goal since they were born. Being raised around men who only see women as property or “less than” I was determined to raise my boys to have a different point of view.

Except that I didn’t really know how to do that. It wasn’t any one thing I did intentionally that set them on this course. This is more about what they have observed in me. Their observational skills of the people in their lives, to determine who others are through observing behavior, is a unique and amazing skill to have. I’m so proud of them.

Now back to our gaming talk…

Gaming with other moms is also a great treat. The best thing about Destiny 2 is that I have met some amazing women. The ages span from early 20’s to 40’s and we have a blast gaming together. I will be posting a YouTube video about my Destiny 2 experience later in the Month but my Mother’s Day weekend wouldn’t have been complete without these ladies to make me laugh my ass off at our crazy antics. Check it out below.

So that was my weekend. How was yours? Happy Mother’s Day to all you amazing moms out there!

Thanks for reading!

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Celebrating Women’s History Month with These Amazing Heroes

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I don’t know when this happened but Women’s History Month is finally a thing. All I can say to that is it’s about damn time! When you think of Women’s History, who do you think of? Do women like Amelia Earhart and Susan B Anthony come to mind? Or did you learn about Harriet Tubman and Cleopatra? They were very famous women in History that’s true.

I played Rosa Parks in my 4th grade school play for Martin Luther King Day (from 3rd to 5th grade I attended an all white school. It just happened that way. Don’t hate me for it).

I didn’t learn about too many women throughout school. One woman here or there was mentioned in history classes but those women left a major impression on me.  So here are  5 of 10 Women in History who made a big impact on my life.

Maya Angelou – American Poet & Writer

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Women’s History Month can’t start without this first lady on my list. I was first introduced to this lovely lady in the 9th grade. We were given an assignment to pick a writer from the list and research that writer’s life. I really wanted Charles Dickens but my teacher tasked me with Maya Angelou. I was very disappointed because I knew nothing about her. Then I read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and I was hooked.

Women's History Month_a quote by Maya Angelou_Amazing_RockinRandomMom

I identified with the abuse she suffered as a child by her mother’s boyfriend. That’s how I related to her through her book and it left a huge impression on a 14 year old girl. The only difference is she forgave while I still couldn’t. I wasn’t ready but I respected and admired her for finding her strength. She was a writer and poet but she was also an activist, working alongside Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X during the Civil Rights movement.

Marie “Madame” Curie – Polish Physicist

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Are any of you familiar with Pollock jokes? I am! Growing up in a polish family I heard them all the time. They were meant to be funny but being polish was also used as an excuse for any mistake we made. Yes, they were funny but for a young girl who was always told that she would never amount to anything, the constant reminder that one of those reasons was because I was Polish put an extra weight of shame on my shoulders.

That is until this wonderful, amazing woman came into my life. She was, again, another assignment. This time through History class in my first year of Community College. Also, again, it was a man I wanted to do a report on. At that time I was a bit obsessed with Billy The Kid and wanted an excuse to do more research on him. My professor knew better though and thank God he did.

Madame Marie Curie came into my life at just the right time. There was a lot of pressure on me during these years. I was the first of my immediate family to ever graduate high school and the only one of my siblings. So you can imagine the pressure that going to college put on me.

Anyway, Madame Marie Curie helped to spark a new fire inside me. She gave me a new hope and she made me realize that my Polish heritage need not hold me back from what I want to do.

In case you haven’t heard of this remarkable woman, she discovered radium. Here are some outstanding facts about her:

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Not bad for a pollack woman eh?

Frida Kahlo – Painter

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I actually learned of Frida in one of my Women’s Studies Courses during my second go at Community College. We watched the movie with Salma Hayek. Frida was a darker woman and I’m talking about her skin color. Her soul was a bit darker. She was a mess at times and wasn’t afraid to admit it. That’s what impressed me most about her.

I’m just going to leave this with some Frida Kahlo quotes that I found to be incredibly honest and inspiring. Look up the movie with Salma Hayek. It’s definitely worth watching.

Women's History Month_ Frida Kahlo Quotes_RockinRandomMom

Mary Wollstonecraft – Feminist Activist and Writer

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You all have heard of Mary Shelley right? You know, the woman who wrote Frankenstein? Yeah, that’s her. Well Mary Wollstonecraft was her mother. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree does it? Anyway, Mary was a famous activist for Women’s Rights as well as a writer.

I learned about her through another Women’s Studies course.

While her career was brief (she died giving birth to her famous daughter), She is most famous for her writing The Vindication of the Rights of Woman, which was published in 1792. She lived an unorthodox life during that time but by the second feminist movement she was regarded as one of the founding feminist philosophers and activists.

Harriet Ann Jacobs – Former Slave, Writer, and Abolishionist

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I am going to end with this awesome and determined woman, Harriet Ann Jacobs. I learned about her through a literature class actually. She wrote a book about her brutal and heartbreaking life as a slave in the American South in the 19th Century.

Harriet’s story broke my heart but also inspired me in a way I never thought was possible. She was a young woman brought into a very violent world and treated as nothing more than cattle. She was beaten and raped. Her children were torn from her arms – something I can’t even imagine yet I felt like I was right there with her as she describes every detail and every emotion.

Despite all of this and despite having a “master” who sought to break her at every opportunity, this incredible woman didn’t break. She remained steadfast and was very determined to get to freedom. That’s exactly what she did and not just for herself but for her children as well.

I highly recommend you read her book, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. It will rock your world. I still have the book on my book shelf!

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Thanks so much for reading!

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Ode to the Books of My Childhood

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2018 is the year I make books more of a priority in my life. Right before Christmas, actually, I started reading a book as part of my night time routine to get myself ready for sleep. I’ve been reading The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. I will write my own review on it next week. Anyway, it got me thinking about my history with reading. While Music has always been my first love, I can say that reading was always my second.

Music and books did something wonderful for me. They allowed a lonely and unwanted little girl to escape the realities of her life and enter into new worlds. So I’m going to go through and talk about each book that held significance in my young life and why two of them are still so prevalent for me today.

Where the Wild Things Are:

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I was 7 years old when I saw this book at the library at my school. Smokey the Bear was visiting our school that day with several firemen and it was held in the library. It was 1983 and I was living – to put it nicely- in my father’s house. A lot of bad happened there. This book helped me deal.

I remember how much I wanted to be like Max and escape to another world where the monsters felt more human to me than the humans I was under the “care” of. Those monsters seemed like a lot of fun and they loved Max. I thought, “Could they love me too?”

Of course, I wouldn’t go without bringing my little brother along. We would ride in our own little boat across the ocean to where the wild things are. This book encouraged my imagination to soar but it also allowed me to see a different world where children were valued and loved.

Years later when I had my own kids, this was one of the first books I bought. Of course they never had the appreciation for it that I do but it still sits on my bookshelf with pride. Now I look fondly back on a book that helped to keep me from drowning in darkness.

Nothing’s Fair in the Fifth Grade:

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I don’t know if any of you remember this book. My aunt found it at a flea market when I was 10 and it was perfect for me at the time because 5th grade was when I started puberty. I got teased quite a bit and felt very much like an outsider. I no longer have this book. I lost it a long time ago but it helped me feel better about my situation by reading about Elsie’s.

Dream Boy:

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This was my first romance novel. By the time I was 14 romance was my thing. I was a dreamer and wanted nothing more than to find a boy like Michael. I actually read this book twice, haha! Those days are long gone though but this book represents for me the girl I used to be. The romantic who wanted so much to be loved.

And finally, the book that gave a young woman hope that lasted for years. This book didn’t just touch the romantic in me. This book touched my tougher side. My stubborn and ambitious side that needed a push. 

Anne Of Green Gables:

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No other book has captured my imagination and my love as much as Anne of Green Gables. At 16 years old, I became obsessed with L.M. Montgomery books because of this stubborn and willful redhead who I identified with on every level. Anne was my hero! She represented everything I felt and everything I wanted to be in life.

While there were some differences between Anne and I she had become my fictional best friend. Anne suffered through a lot. She was lonely and felt unloved. Anne was teased at school and made an outcast by several narrow minded parents in town. A child who was immediately looked down upon because of her background. She was a girl who used her vivid imagination to escape. Exactly like I used to be.

However, Anne triumphed and gained the love and respect from everyone in her life. This fictional character filled me with hope for my future. It was almost like she was Alice and she gave me the looking glass. That looking glass allowed me to see beyond my hopeless present and look to a future full of possibilities. I even wanted to have five children because of her and I was going to name my first daughter Anne.

I owned every single L.M. Montgomery book for many years. Then during a flood in an old apartment, I had to throw them away but I will get them back. One by one I will add these precious books to my library again.

What about you? What were your favorite childhood books? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks so much for reading!

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Rockin’ Quote #35: Love Yourself Enough to Set Boundaries

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It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a new quote. I belong to a positivity community on Facebook. My friend and fellow blogger, Becky posted a wonderful quote that really resonated with me. Love yourself enough to set boundaries. So I’m going to share it here because it fits so well with my life and my blog.

It also works well with my recent experience with a friend. He said something that offended me but also made me question some decisions. Then I saw this quote and I was immediately reminded of why I made my choice. It is a reminder to love yourself. It is also a reminder not to be afraid to set boundaries with others.

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Over the weekend I was gaming with one of my best gal pals when we started playing with another friend of mine. He is also friends with my ex-boyfriend. Since the breakup and my decision to exclude him from my life, I don’t chat with our mutual friends as often.

For whatever reason, my friend decided to comment on this fact and he said we both were being immature about the whole thing. I’ll admit that I was definitely offended by his remark. While I can have my immature moments as we all can, making the decision to eject someone from my life who was affecting my mental health and happiness was about boundaries and that is the opposite of immature.

I don’t believe my friend had any vicious intent when he said that. His perspective on life is different from mine. He’s also young and like myself at his age, he is surrounded by negative people and isn’t given many choices to see life from a different perspective. However, his words did affect me. They made me think twice about my decision not to continue any sort of friendship with my ex-boyfriend.

I was going back and forth about this for a couple of days when I saw the quote. It was like a light bulb went off in my head. Bam! I have set a boundary for myself and I intend to keep it. My decision is based on what I deserve. It’s about the kind of people I want to have in my life – and the kind of people I don’t want in my life.

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If you love yourself, naturally you will set boundaries for yourself. But is it as cut and dry as that? It took me a long time to learn to love myself. It also took me a long time to recognize my own worth and set boundaries. However, I didn’t always know what boundaries even meant. Growing up, kids were “just kids”. Boundaries wasn’t even a word in the vocabulary in my house.

My aunt often reminded me that my room was her room because it was her house. My clothes and toys she paid for so if she decided to take something away from me, I had no right to argue. If she was mad at me – which was often – she would either take something of mine that I loved or break it just to prove a point.

As a parent, I see my children very differently than she saw me. I value them as human beings with the right to their privacy but also the right to set their own boundaries. I tell them all the time to “love yourself”. That includes setting boundaries. I have two examples of this:

From the time my youngest was a baby, during tickle time I would often pat him on the butt. When he was about 6 years old, he came to me one day after I patted him and said, “Mommy please don’t do that anymore. I don’t like it.” While I will admit that it was tough to break the habit, I respected his wishes. After all, if I’m teaching him to set boundaries with others, then I must allow him to set his own boundaries with me as well. It’s his body and he has a right to say no, even to me.

My second example is my teenager. He closes his door and shuts himself in his room every day. As his mother who is used to just walking in at any given moment, I had to re-adjust my habit to knocking before entering. It was hard at first going from having a little boy whose door was always open to having to knock but this is his boundary.

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This isn’t something that is necessarily taught or modeled in all households. So not all children become adults that understand their own boundaries, let alone understanding and respecting anyone else’s.

I can now say with full confidence that I have set a boundary and those boundaries will be respected. If not, then those people who fail to be respectful of my wishes can step away. As the quote says, my time and energy is precious. I get to choose how to use it. Love yourself. Only then will you truly know what your boundaries are.

What are your thoughts on boundaries? Leave me a comment below.

Thanks so much for reading!

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