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Preparations for Holiday Cheer as a Happily Divorcee! Salute!

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December is my favorite month of the year. My inner child jumps out and starts to count down the 25 days to Christmas, embrace the festivities of Kwanzaa and listen to the stories of Hanukkah celebrations from my Jewish friends. I am just as eager for Santa Claus coming to town, holiday cookies, Christmas tree trimming, watching Home Alone, It’s A Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story, and Santa Claus series movies on television as my sprouts. I am equally excited over the adult holiday party social gatherings.  Holiday parties are the best as everyone looks forward to the annual gatherings and is the time you can blame your excessive alcohol intake to the joys of giving.  I prepare myself to the many holiday work lunch feasts, after-hour holiday parties, gift exchanges, and most importantly paying gratitude to those who provide service and love to you year-round.

This is the first holiday season where my status will be single. I plan to embrace my singleness while festive in holiday spirit. No sense on dwelling in the past where I always had a date to share my holiday experiences. My electronic RSVP’s will be for just one. Any plus one’s will be reserved for one of my fellow single girlfriends.  It is time to maximize my exposure and what better time than the month of December.

Hello New York City! Introducing me, the fiery firecracker, independent, charismatic, hilarious super woman and mother of two.  Oh and by the way, I am single! And…I can’t tell you how long that status will be…..so get to know me now….as my window for meeting new people is narrowing as we speak. I will strut and exude holiday fumes of gingerbread, peppermint, and pine from my outer presence. As I plan to be fully decked in holiday essence.

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I will sip my spiked eggnog, hog out on the ham, wear my most sexy festive holiday outfit, dance to my favorite holiday classics like Run DMC’s “Christmas in Hollis” and reserve special moments under the mistletoe for the fellas that are deemed worthy. Afterall I am a Happily Divorcee!

I will not let my spirits damper reflecting on past holiday traditions. It is time for new experiences and opportunities. Tis is the time to celebrate the ending of a challenging year, reflect on your blessings, cherish the wonderful people who remain in your life and look forward to new beginnings. Fill your pathway with Joy, Peace and Happiness as we enter into 2014.

I say Cheers! Salute! A La Votre! Saude! Salud! Tos! Prosit! to good times for all. Enjoy your holidays! Merry Christmas! Happy Kwanzaa! Happy Hanukkah! Feliz Navidad! Joyeux Noel! Froliche Weihnachten! Feliz Natal! I look forward to sharing all of my holiday experiences with everyone this month….Stay Tuned!

AM Clarity: No New Friends?

Monique

Thanksgiving weekend to myself. Sans sprouts, cherish “Me” time. Unlike my last free weekend, I decided to lay low, catch up on personal matters, cater to myself. I am a bit worn from the New York social scene. Embracing my singleness at late night affairs is not as appealing when my status was freshly minted. Tired of meeting “new friends”, share a text or two then on to meet more “new friends”. The stickiness of these friendships are typically short-lived.

Woke up to a beautiful morning. During my 3-mile run alongside the New York City skyline, I reflect on my connections with “new friends” that have stuck around a bit and “old friends”.  I realize that some “old friends” that I began to doubt, are true at heart with their love for me and have my best interests in mind. The “new friends” which have the benefit of virtue until proven shamed, I have let shine in their “newness”.  The ‘new friends” now provide reason for me to pause on their sincerity. The song from hip hop rapper Drake resonates in my head “No New Friends, No New Friends.”  Shouldn’t you be open to new friendships or just stay comfortable with what you know “old friendships”? I say Yes you should be open, but proceed with caution. It doesn’t matter if you just met them randomly or reconnected with someone from your former years, that you didn’t really know that well then. Still use caution….but accept their eagerness in wanting to get to know you. Afterall, opening yourself to new experiences including meeting new people allows you to further explore this beautiful world and all of the wonderful personalities within.

I also realize to not close my doors on  “old friends” despite past differences. If you were able to persevere through past struggles and you revealed  your “inner crazy chick” …and they are still genuine and down for you…these friends are keepers. Nourish that friendship. As now you both can reflect and laugh at past quarrels. My favorite song from Girl Scouts rings in my head “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver but the other is gold.” This morning that phrase has never been more truer in my personal life. If you are a genuine friend to others, the true friends whether “new” or “old”, will be down and support you when it matters. Of course there are moments that friends will test you, compromise their judgment and not always be as forthcoming as you hope. But if they have genuine care ...the sincerity of their friendship will eventually surface. Patience is a gift. Like children, sometimes it takes awhile before others realize that you have their best interest at heart.  Be tolerant and let new friendships develop and continue to nurture and expand old friendships. True friends will stand the test of time.

New Thanksgiving Traditions…Gobble! Gobble!

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As Thanksgiving approaches tomorrow, I reflect on who and what I am deeply thankful to and for.  So far 2013 has been a year of rapid changes, new beginnings and bittersweet endings. I am blessed, that through all the transition, I had friends, family and my own strength to persevere. I have remain grounded with sanity in check for the most part. I was able to channel my few inner crazy chick moments to positive ventures…such as the creation of this blog.

This year will be the first where the kids, my ex-husband and myself will not celebrate together.  I plan to make sure this Thanksgiving holiday will be just as memorable as others. Tomorrow the kids and I will have Thanksgiving in South Jersey with my family. I am saved from doing all the cooking this year, but plan on bringing a few of my specialty dishes. Following our return from the family feast, the kids will be traveling with their father to visit his family in Connecticut. In prior years, Black Friday we would begin the festive Christmas activities, visit Santa Claus at the Herald Square Macy’s, window shop and view the animated Christmas themed windows at the high-end department stores on 5th Avenue and take pictures with the Rockefeller Center’s Christmas tree as our backdrop.  This was typically followed with a drive to visit my ex’s family in Connecticut.

This weekend I will have to myself. I have not yet figured how I would spend those days to myself. However, I decided to establish a new tradition. Today on Thanksgiving Eve, the children and I will attend a Broadway musical. Both of my kids share my appreciation of Broadway plays. This idea came about as I was pondering on how I would spend the day, while working from home with the sprouts tearing the house apart.  I decided to splurge and get 3 Orchestra seat tickets to Annie. A treat to myself and to the kids.  I am elated.  I love Broadway plays and musicals, which was never shared by my ex-spouse. Between tonight’s play and tomorrow’s feast, I could not be more content of my new Thanksgiving tradition. I am blessed to have a supportive family and two wonderful kids whom I can share this holiday with. I plan to attend a Broadway play every year. If we decide to travel a given year, I may have to alter the tradition a bit. I cannot be more blessed this year. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! Gobble! Gobble!

Upper West Side Ex-Wife Could Lose Custody of Kids Due to a Post-Marital Abortion Decision- My Insights! Your Thoughts?

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Photo source: http://www.nypost.com

http://nypost.com/2013/11/25/she-could-lose-custody-over-an-abortion/

During my Monday morning read of the NY Post, I caught notice of this article.  Apparently, the divorced former housewife, Lisa Mehos is in a dirty custody battle with her ex-husband Manuel John Mehos, founder and CEO of Houston’s Green Bank. The ex-husband subpoenaed her medical records that include her recent abortion following a recent sexual encounter.  The tryst occurred outside of her home and not in the presence of her children. According to the article, the lady is a mother of two children from her previous marriage to a super rich banker. The couple have been divorced since 2011. She has nursed her children until almost the age of two and has been an ideal nurturing mother. However, the judge is ruling the pregnancy and termination as relevant due to her religious views in contrast to her husband’s atheist views. Citing that she imposes that her husband is not allowed to see her children on Easter, so this abortion now becomes play. Yet, the banker guy according to Lisa’s testimony tearfully confessed to cheating on her with dozens of prostitutes.

My Insights

What does it matter who she has affairs with after her marriage and whether or not it resulted in a pregnancy and termination? She just happened to be intimate with a person she knew for some time and a pregnancy happened. Her decision to terminate the pregnancy, should not matter. Abortion is legal in the United States, and she has a right of choice. Her decision did not endanger her children. Her mother was babysitting at the time of the sexual engagement, thus, the kids wellbeing was considered. Is Manuel the ex-husband a fit parent, given that he parades around with prostitutes? Do we throw stones at her because Yes, she just happened to marry someone who is affluent and following her divorce she had a few increasingly popular cosmetic procedures that any woman in their 30’s with some means would do. Especially after leaving  a stressful marriage. This is not a third-world country. Her decision to terminate should not matter, regardless of her previous choices.

This article had me reflect on my current situation as a Divorcee. No, I did not marry rich and I am a working mother. But, hey I am at the gym at least 4 times a week, I  get certain spa services done regularly. All of which have been a more common ritual post-divorce. So yes, I am constantly working on my 30-something year-old appearance too, now that my “status” is single.  I am social and dating. I keep my dating life personal and away from my ex-husband’s knowledge. It is none of his business. When I feel it should be considered his business, because maybe my “status” may change, then I will share because it will affect my children’s lives. Additionally, my kids are always in secure hands when I choose to be social. I wish my ex-husband would try to gain access to my medical records or anything that is personal to me. He didn’t have access to them when we were married, so why would he think he could access them now that we are unmarried? My decisions post my marriage should not matter as long as it does not compromise me from being the wonderful mother I am to my children.

What are your thoughts? Should a woman’s decision to terminate a pregnancy be considered in judging whether she is a fit mother? Does a woman’s dating lifestyle also be considered?

 

Reality vs. Fantasy: Dating Life As A Divorcee Contrast to Celebrity Life

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I must admit I was hoodwinked. I followed the celebrity fairy tales of successful second-chance relationships following a tumultuous divorce. I was fixated to the tabloids when Reese Witherspoon re-married Jim Toth. She had a second-change and had two children from her previous marriage with Ryan Philippe. Wow! It is possible. She was able to quickly find love again, re-marry and expand her brood, as she now has a third child. Demi Moore was able to snag a much younger Ashton Kutcher with much older kids. The true kicker was that Demi, Ashton, kids and ex-hubby Bruce Willis had the whole co-parenting thing down pack and were pictured vacationing together. Hmmm….. that is my ideal life. No egos, just maximizing family time for the kids sake. While the two are no longer together, each of them have moved on to other love interests. Impressive. Another success story was Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith. Jada accepted his son from his previous marriage and was able to manage an amicable relationship with Will’s ex-wife and accept his eldest son as one of her own. Jennifer Lopez, with twins also found a younger gent in which she seems happy with following her divorce from Mark Anthony.

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There are all of these examples in the media of divorced couples quickly rebounding and finding their happily ever after..whether it lasted or was short-lived, these stories provided me with inspiration. I can move on from my marriage, enter the dating arena and there will be a man who will just be so intrigued with all of my goodness….relationship status, kids aside, it would not make a difference. The gent would just love me, sweep me off my feet and be accepting of my family. The term “baggage” would not cross his mind.

After all, when  married and catching up with my “single” girlfriends….when we went out, it seemed my wedding ring was just a magnet for men. Prior to marriage, I always was in some kind of a relationship. So I also thought it would be easy. I never really had a problem meeting someone special. Still well below 40, I am bound to be remarried before I hit that milestone, right? Yeah, okay!

In contrast, now single….it has not been as easy as I initially thought. I do not have any problem meeting great guys. I am not huddled in my bedroom loathing why I am not meeting anyone. I am out at social events, work-related functions, exploring New York City, doing what I love. I have encounters with men. I meet smart, attractive, ambitious, independent, easygoing gentlemen. The gents I meet mutually feel the same about me. I don’t know who I am fooling! Well it is all about the appearance, right? However, one caveat, most of the men I meet are single with no attachments or their children primarily live with their kids mother.

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My experiences dating now divorced is that after establishing a connection with a great guy, there is dialogue through phone conversations, texts, social media, and a handful of meaningful dates. A genuine like between the two of us begins to develop. We are compatible in every way….yet we live in two different worlds. My motherly attributes intensifies the attraction they have for me….I become a stencil for what they would want for the mother of their future children. Despite how great of time we have when together, there is this barrier between us. My lifestyle away from these gents I meet are my children. Another factor, is that my children’s father is active in their lives…so yes there is occasional Baby Daddy drama that occurs. These are my situations that the men I meet are not yet ready or willing to make part of their situation.

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While my relationships with these gents I meet may not even develop to that stage where it should be a huge factor….this is a consideration that arises once the right questions are asked. Some gent’s initial excitement of meeting me wanes before we get to the first date, others are open to dating a divorcee…as the men’s short-term lenses of physical attractiveness do not factor the long-term considerations of seriously dating a divorcee at all.  But when the gent with the short-term peripheral view begins to develop genuine feelings, he gets a breath of reality that our lifestyles are too different. We live in two different worlds. He begins to think the adjustment from his current fly by the seat of his pants lifestyle to seriously dating a woman with kids is too grand for him at this moment. Despite his genuine feelings….and while the relationship has not gotten too serious….he falls back gradually. He begins to search for that great woman, that motherly portrait he created from my stencil in someone else. Hopefully, he will meet someone he is just as compatible with, but may not have that “baggage”. Maybe he will meet someone just as great as me. Why not? Isn’t there an abundance of attractive, independent, loving, easy-going, single women out there who have my uniqueness? Sure he will be alright. Or maybe not.

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When speaking to the divorced lady at the spa, she has been divorced for several years. She speaks to me about the struggles of dating, the energy it takes, her focus on getting her son through college and the dynamics of dating in Manhattan. My hopes slowly begin to dissipate. However, speaking to fellow divorced mothers while we stand aside at our kids extra curriculars, they speak of meeting someone. They have a spark in their eye as they discuss how they are now steady dating a great family guy for about six months. Another divorcee they tell me…a potential modern-day Brady Bunch. Hmmm…Where do you find this person, I ask. They mention the various online dating sites. How intricate the screening and selection process is on these sites. Hmmm….So in contrast of being out socially, I just need to huddle in my bed and surf the net for my potential mate? I have mix feelings of these dating sites. Maybe if my dating pattern doesn’t turn for the better, I might consider in 2014.

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While my dating reality has not yet ended with a successful conclusion, or as quickly as those publicized in the celebrity tabloids. I do not regret any date. I learn more about myself each time, what I do want and do not want from a potential mate. While dating is not my number one priority in life, I am still hopeful. The time I do allocate in meeting someone special allows me to explore new life experiences, understand people better and is not wasted. Who knows, maybe eventually my reality will become a fantasy to someone else.

Co-Parenting Frustration #2

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Why is it that the mother and father may have similar occupations, similar status in their careers, similar pay…or the mother may favor slightly in all of those variables….that when it comes time for having to adjust your work schedules for the kids….the woman mostly always has to accomodate? Continue reading Co-Parenting Frustration #2

Co-Parenting Dating Conflict #2

Ok this really precedes the dating conflict #1 I posted about a week in a half ago….but will call it #2 anyway. I was sharing the story with my girlfriend recently, and thought I share. Continue reading Co-Parenting Dating Conflict #2

As Published on Joint Interest Digital Magazine: Kanye Kim vs Jay-Z Beyonce…The Next Power Couple Goes To….

Please read my contributing article as published on Joint Interest: Upload 2 The New Connected World Digital Magazine. Also sign up for weekly updates and look out for future contributing articles as well.

http://www.jointinterest.com/2013/11/kanye-kim-vs-jay-z-beyonce-next-power-couple-goes/

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Photo: CHRISTOPHER POLK/GETTY IMAGES FOR BET

According to RadarOnline… Kanye believes that Kim and himself will be the biggest power couple on the planet and will take the reign away from Jay-Z and Beyonce.

Hmmm….According to media sources, Kanye has began to direct Kim on how to present herself in the spotlight and social platforms.  It has been cited that Kanye urged Kim to dye her hair blonde to make her into an international success. Beyonce has always been careful with her perception in the media and is selective on how she is publicized to the world. So now Kanye is directing Kim to follow suit.

Personally, I do not understand why this would be headline news…but everything lately that comes from Kanye has become a national discussion. So this too is newsworthy. When thinking about this, I had to consider what is a power couple? Is there anyone else in the public spotlight that I would consider a power couple? Actually, there are a few in the African America community…from the hollywood power couple Will and Jada to Barack and Michelle. I wonder if Kanye aims to outshine them as well?

A power couple to me is someone that is doing a bang-up job in solidifying their brand as a couple. It represents two people who are genuine in their love, cherish each other, their children and support each other’s endeavors. The wife and husband aim to improve the other person’s aura and as one, they reflect a positive example to everyone. To strive to be the most powerful couple on the planet I don’t think that is in the definition. I really don’t think true power couples strive for that title and are unaware they exemplify that to others. They become aware as they lead their lives in a positive manner as that is who they are at the core…and it is recognized by others. I wonder if Kanye is aware of that definition?

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Photo: www.policymic.com

Jay-Z and Beyonce embody what I believe to be a power couple. Both individuals were successful on their own right, came together and over time nurtured their relationship and each other. By them being right with their love of each other at the core, they manifested this successful example and empire that has shined positively on the hip hop culture. However, this was not created overnight and was a gradual process. It was not forced.

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Photo: www.usmagazine.com

I don’t doubt Kanye’s love for Kim is not real or her love for him. I do think over time they can establish themselves as a “power couple.” But to aspire to be that couple over someone else makes the intent of the word “power” in “power couple” convoluted. The mix of greed, jealousy and outside approval can poison the purity of developing a sustaining relationship. Thus, diverge the couple into a spiral of mess.

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Photo: www.rapbasement.com

Well let the battle begin! Why maybe Kanye and Kim are successful in creating headlines for now…when the media’s interest ceases…will the love that they have for each other terminate too?

What do you think? Does Kanye and Kim have what it takes to be the next power couple? Will they replace Jay-Z and Bey as the new power couple in hip hop?

The Gym: My Constant Friend

GetAttachment

The gym has and continues to be my constant as I go through the ebbs and flows of my new life path.  Now I have always been sporadically physically active  throughout my adulthood but of course there are life obstacles that stray you away. Childbirth, work deadlines, kids activities, social commitments and the emotions of dealing with marriage, family and friends. But I will say the summer of 2012 was when I decided to make exercise a constant influence in my life. Last summer was a very emotional period….as I was contemplating my decision regarding my marriage. I needed an escape and outlet to channel my depression, grief, anxiety, confusion and lets just say control the inner “crazy chick” that started to amuse the visuals in my head of my children’s father becoming a full-size punching bag. So I needed to run from reality and clear my head. It began by taking AM three-mile runs along the Jersey City waterfront. Then I incorporated bootcamp, kickboxing, sculpting, dancing and spinning classes. The gym provided me with a sense of community.  When you see others dedicated to attending class you aim to follow suit.  I found a great instructor that was tough-spirited and played all of my favorite beats. A gym class that simulates a club experience? What??? This is a hidden secret. These classes aided me in channeling my negative energy into building my self esteem. I started to notice the change in my physical appearance, others began to take notice. And let me tell you a woman on the brinks of divorce….compliments on how together you look is the best positive reinforcement a woman could want. However, don’t get too caught up in the hype….you have to maintain your effort and also decipher between the compliments and just the dating “game”.

When I start my work day in downtown Manhattan and am bogged down with the occasional blues….maybe because I am frustrated on how tough it is to be a single mom and how their father could be of better help, bothered that my son went to school angry because I made him tardy again, or my post-divorce dating life sucks…and it looks like my new founded single-hood will be a constant state in my life, or forgot that I had a 9am meeting at work and was completely unprepared to provide a de-brief on my existing projects….My lunch date with New York Health and Raquet Club helps me clear out all of those frustrations. Regardless if I am prepared or not for my gym date….by the end…. I feel refreshed and positive-spirited that I conquered the task at hand. The perspiration from my gym class sheds the toxins of my blues away.

When I reflect on how I was able to manage through my decision in getting a divorce, going through the paperwork and court, the back and forth of negotiating and my current journey as a single mom and divorcee….the gym has been my relentless friend. The gym has been there to pull me up and build my confidence to where it is at present. The gym is my constant. The gym is my unconditional friend.

My Separation From The “Ring”

 

During the intense period in determining to get a divorce from my ex -husband…..there was another separation that I had to consider. The removal of my wedding band from my left index finger. This decision triggered me to take a deep pause….matter-of-fact I had to sleep a few Continue reading My Separation From The “Ring”