Things got a little heavy around these parts last week, so let's take things down a notch with another topic that's near and dear to my heart. Hangers. I grew up with a father who was a neat freak. His clothing was color-coded and each hanger hung exactly two fingers widths apart from its neighbor. That was a little crazy, and also a hard standard to replicate without a ruler and a compass.

I didn't start off my parenting experience as a single mother.  I started things off by following a common path.  I got married, had two baby girls, and played the role of wife and mother.  I was married for close to 12 years before my husband left.  All of a sudden  I found myself carrying the new title of SINGLE MOTHER.   Quite honestly  it was never a title that I imagined having.  But there I was, a single divorced mother  with two children under the age of ten.    

It’s that time of year again – what I consider to be the New Year of yoga. As the summer draws to a close, the majority of people return home from vacation, begin to spend more time indoors, and fall back into some sort of routine. With this annual immigration of yogis, most yoga studios experience a stark increase in attendance.

Every evening around 5:30 pm, I get ready to enter into battle.  I arm myself with a smorgasbord of food:  Main meal…..check.  Back-up meal….check.  Last-resort-meal…..check.  My kitchen resembles a cross between a buffet restaurant and a war zone and I look like a frazzled waitress trying to unsuccessfully please her VERY demanding customer. I am stressed.  I am desperate.  I feel defeated.

[caption id="attachment_1722" align="alignleft" width="300"]Sisters Talking to your kids about drugs also means listening to what they have to say, whether at the dinner table, out for a walk or in the car.[/caption] If your house is anything like ours, all the members of the family blow in from their own hectic lives for a brief 30-45 minute daily window of togetherness. Between work, school, basketball, volleyball, debating, gymnastics and more, dinner is often the only time all five of us are sat down together during the workweek.

By the end of the day, when I get into bed I am truly TIRED!!  My body is exhausted, my nerves are spent and emotionally I am pooped! I try to live each day to its fullest  and I definitely try to accomplish as must as I physically and emotionally can - but I am guilty, like many other busy women, of putting my needs at the bottom of the to-do-list.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I LOVE to cook & bake.  In fact, one of my secret dreams is to be a chef and to have my very own FOOD NETWORK show. Over the past few years I have developed an affinity for The Art of Barbecue.  Let’s face it, I am no match for Bobby Flay when it comes to grilling, but whenever I get the chance to barbecue a meal I feel content.  I think it has something to do with the fact that BBQ-ing for me is connected to summertime and being outside. Once the snow comes, my trusty old barbecue goes into hibernation until spring returns.

My husband and I were very lucky this summer. We had the privilege of traveling to California for 9 days while our three children were at sleep away camp in the Laurentian's. So.... it was just the two of us now! The kids were off, the house was strangely quiet and my mind was racing. While I was pretty psyched about the cleanliness of my child-free house, being alone with my husband felt almost awkward. What was I going to do without the pre-occupation of my children’s every move? I missed them. A lot.

My name is Stephanie Mitelman, and I am a certified sexuality educator. In this blog I will be addressing readers’ questions on sexuality, health, and relationships. Please don’t be shy to send me a question you have! I will be happy to answer one every month! I just had the Mirena IUD inserted. My doctor explained the basics, but what else do I need to know?

Deeply inspired (as always) by Leo Babauta of Zen Habits, and in particular by his personal experiment of A Year of Living Without, I have decided to embark on the same experiment.

I am doing this for the same reasons Leo writes, below:

“It’s my way of finding out what’s truly necessary, of simplifying my life, of making room for other things.

I’m testing the boundaries of my needs. It’s good to test your personal boundaries now and then (or, if you’re me, all the time).

So what’s the Year of Living Without?

The terrible two’s.  We’ve all heard about this challenging phase.  We attempt to prepare ourselves by reading parenting books that highlight the “effective” or “right” ways to intervene with our kids.  But until your toddler is sprawled out on the floor, crying hysterically and screaming bloody murder as onlookers size you up with a judgmental glare, you have no idea how intense, frustrating, confusing and embarrassing this behavior can be.

Life as a Mom is busy and hectic.  Life as a Single Mom is exponentially busy and hectic.  The lunches, carpools, schedules, laundry, social directing, and daily adventures keep Moms constantly on the go, and as a result we often forget to take time just for ourselves.  It’s hard to balance family time with time for yourself.  I know that for me, it’s always a struggle.  After all, I see myself as Mommy first and then everything else follows.