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A Memo To A Divorced Mom


You don’t need me to tell you going through a nasty breakup with the father of your children can be downright cataclysmic. There’s something about the complex combination of bloodsucking lawyers, wars of words and mental anguish that causes most women to channel the dark side with a vengeance that would make Darth Vader proud.

At some point, every negative emotion under the sun rears its ugly head during the tumultuous and oftentimes heartbreaking process of dissolving your once-loving relationship. For the average woman, this means stratospheric levels of rage, spite and anger coupled with ample amounts of loneliness, depression and despair.

You become your own worst version of yourself, capable of sinking to levels and behaving in ways you never thought possible as emotions run raw and tempers flare hotter than Lucifer’s lair on a searing summer day. One day you’re Doc Jekyll, the next Mrs. Hyde. Even if you’re so damn delighted to be out of the relationship you could do cartwheels and backflips of joy, the process of getting to the other side can be akin to undergoing an anesthesia-free root canal and simultaneous amputation of your favorite appendage.

It’s no picnic and it’s no easy ride.

The end result is almost always a woman who is in some way battered, bruised, beat down or broken.

Speaking of broken, a close friend of mine is a well-respected neurosurgeon and he tells me if you look at cranial CAT scans of people going through a nasty breakup, you’ll often find serious synaptic deficiencies in areas of the brain responsible for judgment, common sense and relational intelligence.

It’s almost as if the decision to split induces a unique psychological condition that tanks the intelligence quotient of certain individuals a hundred points or more. For women, this means almost overnight, the man you once thought you wanted by your side for all eternity literally becomes the most mentally deficient person on the planet.

Enter Mr. Moron.

Virtually everything he says or does is nothing short of an unmitigated disaster in your mind. He can’t do much, if anything, right and it seems his very existence is custom made to get under your skin. And wouldn’t you know it? He feels exactly the same way about you. This is when you begin to look at each other and think…

Was I drunk and high for the entire relationship?

Sometimes it feels that way.

So when two people already grating on each other’s final nerve have to work together through a complex series of financial and custody-related challenges, it creates the perfect storm for a protracted season of Category 5 blowouts. No wonder we brawl like a bunch of coked-up Vikings more than half the time.

To add insult to injury, many men (and women) exacerbate this already tenuous and volatile environment by rushing headlong into a new romance with someone else faster than you can say ‘fresh beaver.’ We all know somebody like this. Some poor, emotionally traumatized tool who rushes from the still smoldering, disastrous implosion of his relationship and starts seeing someone new before the dust even begins to settle. I guess the old notion of time healing all wounds is out the window here. It’s a brave new world where it’s believed the best way to get over someone….is to get under someone else.

Instant gratification at its finest.

As if this weren’t enough, this affection-starved Casanova often makes matters worse by ‘blending’ his kid’s world with that of his new lover’s world at damn near warp speed. Sometimes it all happens so quickly it can make your head spin.

As a newly single mom, few things in life can be more difficult than the first time another woman swoops in and starts spending time with YOUR precious offspring. Just knowing another woman is ‘playing house’ with your kids can be the emotional equivalent of a gut punch to the uterus. Even if you’re relatively secure, the hideous specter of self-doubt can rear its ugly head and shake your confidence to its core. Before you know it, you find yourself tortured with every kind of self-inflicted mind game under the sun…

  • Do my kids enjoy being with her more?
  • Is she more fun than I am?
  • Will everyone else think she’s an ‘upgrade’ compared to me?

If you’re a single or divorced woman who struggles with this, I have a very important message for you…

When it comes to your relationship with your childrenthe last thing in the world you have to worry about is being upstaged or replaced by another woman.

Assuming you are a loving and involved parent, no one is going to swoop in at the eleventh hour and unravel the bond you and your children have spent their lifetime building. It doesn’t work that way. There’s a reason the phrase, A Mother’s Love Has No Equal, stands the test of time. Because it’s true. Your role as your children’s mother is indispensable, invaluable and irreplaceable. And whether you realize it or not, they need you now more than ever to be their shining beacon of stability and light. You are the epicenter of their world, and they in turn, will be yours.

One of the most beautiful things about kids is the way in which they love. Children don’t have a limited or finite supply of love or affection. So the time they spend or attention they give to someone else doesn’t detract from their ability to love and cherish you wholeheartedly. Kids are fully capable of giving of themselves and just living in the present moment. So believe me when I tell you the presence of another woman in your child’s life will never take away or diminish the special place and unmatched love your children hold in their heart for you as their mother.

Speaking for myself, I’m very fortunate to have an ex-wife who places a priority on her relationship with our daughters. And though she and I still brawl like the aforementioned Vikings from time to time, I know the unique bond that links them together will never be disrupted by the presence of another woman in my life. Not now. Not ever. Not only because I wouldn’t allow it, but also because the woman I’m with will be wise and secure enough in herself to understand that NOBODY comes between a mother and her children.

Not even her.

I’ve always thought one of the best things about freeing ourselves from the bonds of a dysfunctional relationship is the chance for a fresh start. And contrary to what some people may think, just because you may be single or alone right now doesn’t mean you’re crazy or damaged goods. Oftentimes, it means just the opposite. It means you had the strength and courage to see your way clear to a new and better life for yourself and your children. Even if it doesn’t always feel that way. Not everyone gets this opportunity. Instead, countless women remain trapped inside lifeless, abusive or passionless relationships for the sake of money, children or just pure convenience.

That’s no way to live.

The famous German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, once said, “Out of chaos, comes order.” Talk about a philosophical notion that’s dead on the mark! While there’s no doubt many societal ills have their roots in the fragmenting of the family, just as often, the decision to end a marriage or other relationship is the catalyst to a brand new lease on life for millions of people. A brighter lease of joy, health, and happiness for men, women, and children alike.

And that, my friend, is the absolute truth.

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DO NOT Do This When Dating (After Divorce)



Dating After Divorce.

The mere thought induces waves of nausea in newly single women all across the land. Now that I think about it, the distaste clearly isn’t limited to just women. Most single guys I know would prefer an infected scrotum to navigating the dysfunctional and sometimes treacherous waters of dating after the age of thirty. The bottom line is, it doesn’t matter if you’re packing a penis or a symmetrical set of feminine breasts – the general consensus is that post-divorce dating blows.

Or so some would say.

Call me cracked, but I’ve always enjoyed the dating scene. Though my bad boy days of pimpin’ and playin’ are behind me, there’s still nothing quite like sitting across the table from an intelligent and vibrant specimen of human femininity.

As a hot-blooded alpha male who adores women to my core, I believe every woman is a masterpiece in her own way. So to me, the process of getting to know someone new is like watching an artist paint a picture before my very eyes. At the beginning, each woman is an unknown – a blank canvas full of potential beauty and grace. As we get to know one another, brushstrokes appear on the canvas and a picture begins to form. Her character might be represented by brushstrokes of blue. Her personality, the addition of reds. Our compatibility might be a light shade of green, while her qualities are a soft blending of greys. If it all comes together in a ‘picture’ that pleases the eye, I’ll throw myself heart-and-soul into said masterpiece and give it my all.

That said, I haven’t dated much in the past year or two. Between finalizing my divorce, writing my first book and terrorizing the back roads of America from the chrome-studded seat of my custom Harley Davidson, I’ve had other priorities jumbling around in my helmetless head. But all that is about to change. I’ve recently decided it’s time to come in from the cold and begin a new chapter in Blood’s chronicles of female companionship. Said another way, I’m going to start dating again.

Now for those of you who just now decided to lock up your wives or hide your daughters, allow me to put your mind at ease. It’s a whole new Austin Blood on the scene this time around. Now that I’m older and thankfully just a little wiser, I’m a completely different man in many respects. Like most responsible adults, I no longer have the luxury of putting myself first or indulging the impulsive and sadistic whims that used to bring me so much joy. The blissful and carefree days of juvenile delinquency are long gone. Responsibility is my new mantra now and with this maturity comes a whole new set of priorities and considerations. Dating at age thirty, forty or fifty isn’t the same as when you’re younger. Or at least it shouldn’t be. So in commemoration of my upcoming foray back into the fray, I’m commencing this hard-hitting series on what I believe are the most important factors to consider when venturing forth into the sometimes inhospitable badlands of post-divorce dating. Henceforth, these factors shall be known as The DAD Factors.

So without further ado…

.


Preamble

For most of my twenties, accountability and obligation were dirty words and as foreign to me as the concept of a stable relationship is to Taylor Swift. Hell, until I was twenty-five, I considered the day a success if I rolled out of bed before noon and managed to wash my nutsack. Things are a little different now. For starters, the Good Lord has blessed me with two precious little genetic replicas who count on me every day to provide for and protect them. I’ve long contended the single most important job of any parent is to raise happy and well-adjusted human beings. In this day and age, that can be a tall order. Kids today are mercilessly assaulted by a reckless and ever-present pop-culture serving up a rancid stew of sex, materialism and a narcissistic sense of entitlement. So to combat the societal wolves who lie waiting to snare our impressionable young ones at every turn, it is more important than ever that we as responsible parents do our best to create an environment of loving stability in our homes. This is especially important if their world has been rocked or destabilized by the specter of divorce. Which brings us to DAD Factor # 1…….

It Ain’t All About You (Or Me)

Many divorcees emerge teary-eyed from the SplitsVille Tunnel with more emotional baggage than a cross-country Amtrak. Consequently, they aren’t always in the best frame of mind to make optimal decisions for themselves or their kids. But can you really blame them? Given that their entire existence has just been tossed in a high-speed mixer and blended on frappe, their fragile and vulnerable state is to be expected. Unfortunately, with the wounds of their marriage’s schism still bleeding profusely, many divorcees do the one thing they have absolutely no business doing….they haul ass straight into the arms and bed of damn near the first person who comes along. Virtually overnight, this new Romeo or Juliet becomes the most important person in the divorcees shattered world. Their savior. Their newfound messiah. Their own Personal Jesus. Someone to hear their prayers. Someone who cares.

Like the old saying goes, ‘Nothing helps get over the old, quite like the new.’

Be that as it may, this is a bad idea for so many reasons. Most notably, you’re not much good for someone else if you’re already an emotional liability yourself. And let’s face it, many divorcees are exactly that. I know I was for a time. So when you’re down and out, you need some time to heal. Time to sort things through and begin the process of making yourself whole again. But the average divorcee doesn’t think so. To them, healing can only be found in the arms of another. And as quickly as possible. So they commit one of the most egregious of all post-divorce sins….they place their new partner on the highest pedestal and then prioritize that relationship over every other. Oftentimes, including their relationship with their kids. We all know somebody like this. Someone who fools themselves into thinking it’s the right person, even if it’s the wrong person, just to have a warm body by their side.

Big mistake.

This is where DAD Factor # 1 comes into play. When it comes to dating after divorce, it ain’t all about you or me but it IS all about the kids. Specifically, what is best for them so that they come through the divorce with the least amount of scarring and disruption to their lives as possible. If you’re either going through or are recently divorced and want to give Junior a serious case of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, start introducing your lovers or dates into his or her world. Then after you’ve facilitated the introductions, be sure and send me an email with your home address so I can come over and brain you with a cast iron skillet, Three-Stooges-style.

DONG!

Do your kids a favor and keep them in the dark about your love life. Both during and in the aftermath of the divorce. I’m talking total blackout. No exceptions, no deviations. If there’s one thing that raises Blood’s blood pressure to aneurysm-inducing levels, it’s watching supposedly mature adults act like emotionally-stunted, love-sick teenagers while their poor kids bear witness to mom or dad’s sideshow train-wreck of a dating life. Divorce is traumatic enough for kids without them seeing mom or dad getting their groove on with someone other than mom or dad too soon. Know what I mean?

So this begs the question….how long should someone wait before introducing a new romantic partner into their children’s world? I regularly counsel women on matters of divorce, so I’m asked this question on an almost daily basis. My response usually shocks the shit out of most people. I tell them a minimum of one year. That’s twelve months on the low end, folks. Frankly, the longer the better as far as I’m concerned.

Why a year?

Let’s be honest…the first six months to a year of virtually any romantic relationship is the euphoric and blissful honeymoon stage. Everyone is in love, on their best behavior and the stars and constellations are aligned. Guys aren’t yet butt barking and scratching their nuts at every turn and women are still shaving their legs and whisker biscuits for the benefit of all mankind. Everyone watches what they say and are generally as agreeable as they’ll ever be.

It’s a magical time.

Here’s the bottom line: You don’t really get to know someone until at least a year or more into the relationship. I don’t care what anyone says. It doesn’t matter if you’re welded to one another at the hip for the first six months…certain things only reveal themselves with the passing of time. You don’t truly begin the process of getting to know someone until some level of comfort sets in on both sides and masks begins to slip. That’s why with rare exception, the new Romeo or Juliet is largely an unknown. They haven’t stood the test of time. Or walked with you through trials and fire. They’re an unproven entity. With a future unknown where you are concerned. So why subject what is most precious to you in the entire world to even more uncertainty during an already uncertain time by introducing this new person into your child’s life too soon? The answer is simple. If you have half a brain, you don’t.

So you can bet your sweet ass the Blood girls won’t be meeting the ladies anytime soon. No matter how amazing I think the woman may be. My daughters’ sense of stability and assuring them that they hold first place in my heart and mind is far more important than anything else to me at this point. In fact, just the other day, my nine-year-old affirmed for me the wisdom of this approach without even trying.

Her: “Daddy, are you ever going to get married again?”
Me: “Married again? Ummm…the thought really hadn’t even crossed my mind yet. Anyways, that wouldn’t make much sense for me right now. I already have TWO amazing girls in my life, right?”

Upon hearing that, her beautiful little face broke into the biggest grin I’ve ever seen and lit up with a glow I’ll never forget. A glow borne of safety and security that she was still number one.

When it comes to dating after divorce, it’s all about what’s right for the kids, folks. Trust me on this one. They’ll thank you for it someday.

Austin


Struggling with something in your life? Let me help you through it. Schedule a free call and let’s figure out a plan to get you where you want to be. Looking forward to chatting with you.

Click here to schedule a call: http://www.meetme.so/AustinBlood


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Fight Like A Girl


Never before in the history of civilization has there been a country quite like the United States of America. We have far more opportunity, wealth and personal liberties than any other group of human beings since the dawn of time. And despite all our shortcomings, it remains an indisputable fact that we are the greatest country on earth by a significant margin.

Yet compared to the rest of the world, the vast majority of Americans are a spoiled lot. Though we all have our share of hard times, very few Americans have any idea what it means to really struggle in the traditional sense. And most importantly, there’s a HUGE difference between struggle and survival. Most of the world struggles to simply survive.

Did you know if you have ANY food at all in your refrigerator that you’re automatically richer than 70% of the world? As an American you’re also one of the world’s wealthiest individuals by default. The top ten-percent, in fact. Who gives a crap about the Forbes annual list of richest people anyways? As Americans, you and I my friend, are already on the only list that really matters.

How lucky are we?

Our status as a social and economic superpower is no accident. When our founding fathers penned the sacred constitutional documents that govern our way of life, they did so with one overriding principle in mind…the fundamental concept of personal freedom. At its core, it is these freedoms that make our entire way of life possible. The freedom to speak our minds without being shot in the back of the head. The freedom to choose our religion. The freedom to start a business and make a better life for our families. And most importantly, the freedom to rest our heads at night without the worry of some Nazi asshole kicking down the door to haul us off to prison. These are just a few of the many things we take for granted every day because we’ve been born into liberty. Yet billions of people all over the world can’t even begin to dream of a life this good.

It can therefore be said that nothing is more important than protecting and defending these liberties at all cost.

Absolutely nothing.

And that is why the men and women of the United States military are deserving of our highest levels of respect, gratitude and admiration for their critical roles in safeguarding our way of life.

It goes without saying that men in the military are heroes in every sense, but as the saying goes, behind every great man is an equally great woman. Nowhere does this sentiment resonate with more truth than when it comes to the women of the United States military. And I’m not just talking about enlisted personnel and officers either. I’m talking about ALL women associated with the armed services. Either directly or indirectly. Wives. Mothers. Sisters. Daughters. Female loved ones of every sort.

Over the course of the past several weeks, I’ve had the great privilege and honor to speak with a number of these incredible ladies. I found each has endured her own unique set of sacrifices in support of the American way of life. Although the front-line troops and active combat personnel get most of the press and recognition, I’m now convinced more than ever that women are the true unsung heroes of the United States military.

What follows is simply my take on those conversations. This isn’t meant to be an all-inclusive look at women in the military by any means. I could write an entire book on that topic alone. This is purely my unfiltered reaction to the remarkable stories of these extraordinary women.

……

Military Mothers and Significant Others

In a recent article of mine entitled, Ode to Women, I wrote this:

As far as I’m concerned, every man alive should have a heroine symbolize the special woman in his life. I don’t care if it’s SuperGirl, Wonder Woman or Bat Bitch…superhero status is only fitting since women are endowed with special powers. How else do you explain x-ray vision that can see straight through a man’s bullshit? Or how women can multitask with greater efficiency than precision robotics at the Ferrari factory? Men like to joke about women being the weaker sex, but the joke’s on us, fellas. There aren’t many men alive who can manage a household, earn an income and juggle family responsibilities with a fraction of the combined competence a woman can.

Indeed.

Nowhere are these words more applicable than when it comes to the role military mothers, wives and significant others play in the support of our troops. You won’t hear about them on CNN, but behind virtually every service member is an indispensible female making it possible for that soldier to do what they do.

I’d like you to meet Kimberly.

Kimberly is the mother of two young Marines currently stationed in Afghanistan and the wife of a career Army officer. When she was in her early twenties, their young family moved every two years as her husband advanced in rank through the service. When he wasn’t deployed abroad for months at a time, he was often gone fourteen hours a day, leaving Kimberly to raise their two sons virtually singlehandedly. She estimates he was gone close to 80% of the time during the first ten years of their marriage. To this day, they have yet to spend their wedding anniversary or a Valentine’s day together.

Kimberly’s husband’s deployments saw him dodging enemy fire on the front lines of Operation Desert Storm and again ten years later in Afghanistan. To add insult to injury, his military pay placed them only slightly above the national poverty level during the first few years of his enlistment. During this difficult time, Kimberly had to rely on government assistance programs and the generosity of other military families to meet her basic needs. It was a very difficult time. They lived hand-to-mouth, paycheck to paycheck. Hardly a show of appreciation for a young family fighting to keep us safe.

And if that weren’t bad enough, Kimberly’s long days and lonely nights of solitude were haunted by a sense of foreboding all too familiar to the loved ones of our soldiers everywhere: Living in fear of that dreaded knock on the door and the shattering news that their loved one has given their life in the noble defense of liberty.

Every time the doorbell rang, Kimberly would literally jump and then prepare herself for the worst. Many a woman with a loved one in the military knows this soul-wrenching feeling all too well. If losing a child or spouse is the most painful thing a person can experience, then living in constant fear of that loss surely must run a close second. Ask any woman who’s ever been there and she’ll tell you. You live with it because you must, but the clouds never truly part until your loved one returns to you unharmed from the field of battle.

Through those early years of hardship and fear, Kimberly was the glue that held it all together. When interviewed for this article, she told me her greatest motivation was the sense of pride she derived from giving her combat-weary husband a life at home worth fighting for and worth coming home to. I was blown away by her genuine humility and sense of duty. It is a testament to the nobility of her character that her husband and she are happily married to this day.

And the most amazing part of all?

There are millions of women just like Kimberly in every corner of the globe. They may not have a military commission or enlistment, but they’re an integral part of the armed services backbone just the same. In many ways, they are the glue that binds our war machine together because they represent everything worth defending to the troops themselves. Their lifestyles exemplify a level of sacrifice I can’t even begin to fathom. Many of them work full-time while going to school AND raising a family. What makes it all the more commendable is the fact many of them do it in an environment of scarcity and uncertainty few civilians will ever experience. How they do this and still maintain a sense humor is beyond me. I wrote recently in another article that since I’ve become a single dad myself, I have a whole new level of respect and admiration for mothers and caretakers of every sort. And that was before I learned about these extraordinary women.

The upside is that the good people of the United States military take care of their own. You won’t find a closer knit or more supportive community anywhere on God’s green earth. They cook each other meals. Clean their neighbor’s homes. Watch each other’s kids and dry each other’s tears. They support one another at every turn and give of themselves with a generosity that rivals the good Samaritan on steroids. Military mothers, wives and significant others may not carry a weapon or drive a tank, but as far as I’m concerned these ladies make our entire way of life possible by uplifting, supporting and caring for the troops who put their lives on the line for us every day.

Let’s thank the good Lord for them.

…….

Enlisted Women and Officers

Imagine a job when you work excessively long and often grueling hours for pay that is well below average. Then imagine that job can take you away from your loved ones for weeks, months or even years at a time. Add to the mix an environment that’s overwhelmingly masculine in every regard and you can only begin to imagine what it’s like to be woman serving in the United States Armed Services. It takes a special breed of female to walk this path because this is no ordinary job. For many women, it is both a calling and a way of life. Sure, some join the military because they don’t have better options, but the vast majority of servicewomen who join do so for the most noble cause of all…love of country. How else could a new mother make peace with having to leave her newborn son the week after his birth to deploy to the front lines of Afghanistan?

Michelle did.

In November 2001, two short months after 9/11, Michelle was deployed to the Taliban stronghold of Mazir Sharif in Northern Afghanistan. Her efforts with the US Special Operations Forces were a critical part of the first major victory in the War on Terror. American troops initially annihilated Taliban forces in Mazar and then proceeded to trounce the remainder of these misogynistic, cave-dwelling pricks throughout the rest of Afghanistan. Michelle and her company were there all along ensuring that our troops had what they needed to blast the scum-sucking terrorist swine back to the Stone Age.

Of course, among many things, it was devastating for Michelle that she missed her only child’s first smile. And his first steps. His first tooth. And sadly, his first birthday. When I told her I believed she was a hero in every sense of the word, she deferred my compliment with a characteristic humility so often found with the good people of the armed services. She said she wasn’t really a hero at all. The true heroes, she said, were her fellow brothers and sisters who came back in a flag-draped coffin. Her comment literally stunned me into silence and I had to pull my car to the side of the road as I felt the bridge of my nose tighten and tears fill my eyes. She spoke with such passion and conviction, I could literally feel it burning through the phone.

And there are tens of thousands of women like Michelle stationed all over the world in every branch of the service. The part they play is a critical component of the engine that drives the US military machine. Women like Michelle dispel the common myth that the role of women in the military is exclusively one of administration and support. Nothing could be further from the truth. While there are certain jobs they’re precluded from taking, there’s no shortage of women kicking ass and taking names in an operational capacity; to use a military term. These ladies mix it up with the best of the men and dirty their hands on the front lines and behind the scenes. They are the female fighter pilots. The combat medics. Ariel gunners. Field officers. Engineers and thousands of other critical functions women play in taking the fight to those who would seek to end our way of life.

But what matters most are the untold sacrifices these ladies have made and continue to make. They’ve lost loved ones and dearest friends. Many have given up the dream of having children or families of their own due to years-long deployments or impossibly demanding tours of duty. Sure, military enlistment is completely voluntary, but that doesn’t make their sacrifice any less noble.

And therein lies the rub…

Freedom is never free. Throughout history it has been purchased with the blood, sweat and sacrifice of countless patriots of every race, color and creed. Ronald Reagan once said that freedom is never more than a single generation away from extinction. And he was right. To paraphrase further, freedom isn’t something we give to our children in their bloodstreams. It must be fought for, protected and passed on for them to do the same; or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children’s children what it was once like to live in a land of the free that was the home of the brave.

Thankfully for the good people of the United States of America, we have the noble men and women of the United States military and their loved ones who support them. Michelle, Kimberly and the millions of women just like them are true patriots in every respect. Not only do they make our way of life possible through service and sacrifice, but in every sense of the word, they’ve given up some of their freedoms so you and I can enjoy ours.

Thank you, Ladies.

Austin