The short version: I’m Relentless Mommy, a mother of two (….almost three!) and happy domestic partner to my gorgeous fiancé who I’ll call Metalman, for his taste in music. I really chose badly the first time around in the husband department—-but got the coolest sons on the planet out of the deal, so I can’t regret. I didn’t meet the perfect man for me to spend my life with until I was 30 year old divorced mom of two little boys (and two Bengal cats), but he has opened his heart to all of us. All of us are excited to add more little people to our home. MetalMan and I are expecting our first co-creation in September and a fabulous wedding next summer.
The long back story, or “Why do I consider myself to have the lofty quality of relentlessness?”
- First husband was really, really not a nice man, and enduring the psychological abuse for five years and then facing the bigger challenge of leaving him and fighting him for our kids, has certainly given me the most opportunity in my life (thusfar) to prove that I possess relentless strength. It ain’t been easy. I take some blame for having entered into a relationship which never truly seemed as if it was destined to be rich with warmth and kindness. I was blinded by denial, baby fever, and being fresh-outta-college-young. Plus, he was hot, charismatic, and had the highest IQ of anyone I’d ever known. I’m glad my kids have his genes, and I’m even more glad that I’m not married to him anymore and that I scraped together the strength required to get out.
- I live in a foreign country with a culture very different to my own (American) and a very, very difficult to learn language that is proving to be like a pesky, festering, piece of -bleep- thorn in my side…. but yet I still haven’t given up trying to fit in here. I’m even studying to take a language test in October which will then allow me to apply for citizenship. Of course I won’t give up my American citizenship either, as I’m a persistent patriot to my home country (in fact, far more patriotic than I ever was when I lived in my home country–absence makes the heart grow fonder indeed!).
- I have been applying to hundreds of jobs for nearly five full years, since I left my husband and became a single foreign mom who doesn’t speak the language fluently. I haven’t gotten one full time job with a living wage, but I keep working on my CV, applying to jobs, applying to masters degree programs (I haven’t gotten in to any of those either–did I mention they don’t adore foreigners around here?) and brainstorming other ways to improve my resume and to position myself better in the local job market. I even started my own limited liability company during the second year of job hunting, thinking I could find clients more easily than an employer, to hire me ad hoc to do the things I am good at. That didn’t go well, and finally gave up after 2 years of that. The last year I’ve had part time work, ranging from earning a hundred to three hundred per week. Nothing to brag about, especially given the cost of living here is sky high and that range doesn’t even cover our groceries.
- I never gave up believing I would find the love of my life. I dated voraciously to find the right man but it took two full years of going out on dozens (at least) of first dates to find the right person for me. In the words of Janet Jackson, I’m not the kind of girl who likes to be alone. I know that about myself and I was pretty doggedly persistent in seeking a loving partner who would prove to be the antithesis of my first husband. I finally found Metalman on an online dating site and reached out to him and pursued this shy, reserved man until he came around and realized that I was exactly what was missing in his life.
- I have a dream to go to law school. I live in a country that only offers a law program in English to thirty people per year, and the competition is always pretty stiff, and I didn’t get in the first time. I’m going to try again. If necessary, I’ll start at the beginning and get another bachelors degree in a major more suitable to law (that was their reason for rejecting me the first time, that my major wasn’t entirely related to law), or then I’ll learn the local language well enough to apply to one of the other programs until I get in. My ultimate goal would be to set up a non-profit to help other foreign women in oppressive relationships with locals in this country, (who are isolated at home with their kids and don’t speak the difficult language) get the best legal advice they can to protect her rights and the rights of her kids. Obviously I have some first hand experience in this matter, and I know how hard it can be to even find a lawyer who speaks English.
- Mostly, it’s the fact that when I left my emotionally abusive ex-husband, he used his family’s clout/position in the community –and the fact that the courts are genuinely prejudiced against foreigners–, to campaign and win sole custody of my two boys -when they were just three and five years old. This blow was, well, not to melodramatize, but….nearly fatal. But, I kept my chin up and began fighting through the courts, assuming that as a dedicated, loving full-time mother to two small children, the wrong simply must be possible to set right. I was all alone as a young, single mother in a foreign country. I was without a place to live, any family around, a job, knowing the language, no more than 2 friends who stood by through it all, and it was right when the financial crisis hit in 2008 so getting a job proved pretty much impossible. My time with them is generous by standards of being a non-custodial parent, but I’m still only with them about thirty percent of the time, which means I miss them very much (and vice versa) for ten days at a stretch, twice a month, and this has been the most painful thing my ex ever managed to do. Of course I appealed, and again, and again. I have a mountain of legal debts from these efforts. I don’t care, I’ve arranged a payment plan with the collection agencies. This autumn I’m going to appeal again. I will never give up trying to see to the best interests of my children (which they are very vocal about –i.e. how much they hate the current arrangement of being so much away from their mommy). My boys know how badly I want them to have more time with me, and the optimism I’ve expressed to them that things will get better, sooner or later, has rubbed off on them and they are handling things very well. They know how fiercely dedicated their mama is to them.
- I have such major fears of having another child in a foreign country, after the way things turned out last time. It’s been a major struggle for me to wrestle those demons and embrace having another child away from my home country, and away from courts I can trust. I spent most of the first trimester in a panic about whether I am doing something very, very stupid. I can’t imagine Metalman and I ever not being the best of friends, incapable of even fighting without bursting out laughing. But the ‘what ifs’ made me really wonder if having more kids in a country that has proven to be a place where my rights as a mother are not secure is not another recipe for major disaster, and wondering how I could ever survive it a second time. But, love for a man and an unstoppable desire to open my heart and life to more children trumped all these fears and I have come to the point of deciding that I am going to trust my man with something even this big. It is so scary to trust so much, but I’ve never met anyone in my life who would deserve it more.
- I want to have a meaningful role in the society I live in, even though I don’t even care for this country or community terribly much. I’m stuck here so I simply must make the best of it, and as a extroverted gal, that means fitting in, no matter how hard. I am determined to pursue another degree, a career path, whatever I can manage to have some sort of life that exists outside of my domestic roles.
- I think every mama needs to have hobbies and pursue things that makes her heart sing. I love music and singing, and I recently joined a rock band. I have never written songs before, but I’ve started collaborating with the song writer and I’ve done all the vocal melodies and lyrics to our first dozen songs and I’m really proud of finding talents I never knew I had. I’ll post mp3 clips of some songs on my site from time to time. Be kind. I love to play classical music on the flute as well, although I haven’t played much since I was in college, I am now recruiting string and wind instruments to put together an ensemble to practice once a week and occasionally play wedding or other private gigs. Despite a baby coming in a couple of months and a new legal battle brewing, I’m still determined to do the things that I loved doing since I was two years old and singing for hours in the bathtub, because that is my authentic self, and no matter how hard it is to juggle small children/babies with our own true passions, it’s really important. I want to be a role model to my daughter who is kicking around in my stomach this very moment, so that one day when she is thinking of starting a family she feels she can still do the things that truly excite her.
- After thinking of doing it for ten years, I started this blog. I love to put my thoughts into words, but …..who knows if I can actually produce great content as a real blog writer. I hope I can, and I’m willing to risk failing at it, just in case I don’t.