I guess I’ll see you next lifetime…

Moving back to a place you’ve lived before comes with a lot of peculiar experiences. One of which is running in to people you’ve known before. Today, I ran in to someone I knew in my early 20’s, when we were both different people.

She was someone I crushed on so hard. I went to the coffee shop she worked at every day, just so I could see and talk to her. I was so young, and in such a strange time of my life. I didn’t understand the world the way I do now. After several months of coffee shop talk, she invited me to a party and I went. I was introduced to a world I’d never known, and while I was trying to make small talk (hell for an introvert) I was trying so hard to fight the urge to run.

I didn’t make any new friends, or get folded in to the social scene, but after the party I decided to ask her out. She said yes and we hung out a few times but nothing ever came of it. I met my ex wife, and moved away. A few years later I ran in to her again at a club. I was dancing, and was really excited to see her. When I said her name, she immediately corrected me and gave me a new name, new pronoun, and a huge hug. I was also given an apology for the weird/abrupt way our dating had gone. In that moment, I understood. He looked so happy, and I was happy for him.

Today, I went out to breakfast with my family. Sitting in a small (amazing!!) bakery across from my husband with my daughter on my lap and my son outside with the puppy and his best friend I saw him again. He came in with what I can only presume is his wife (rings, matching tattoos, public displays of affection) and they were both smiling. I looked at him, and looked at my husband, and realized how my life has changed. It also brought me back to a conversation I recently had on social media.

I live a hetero normative life, yet I do not identify as heterosexual. Outside looking in, I am presumed straight. I have to fight for acknowledgment as a member of the LGBT+ community instead of being relegated to “ally”. My sexuality is fluid and I haven’t identified as straight since I graduated high school. I have had girlfriends, boyfriends, a wife, and now a husband. I am attracted to men, women, and trans-gendered individuals.

As I sat in that bakery this morning, so much was clear to me. One thing was that I am incredibly happy in the relationship I am in right now. I love my husband, and am incredibly loved by him. I love our children, and what we have worked so hard to build. I love how far we’ve come, and while we’ve not always had it easy, it has been worth it.

As I looked at the man who I’d once known I realized that we’d both lived entire lifetimes since we knew each other. I could have said hi, and said “I knew you when”, but really…while a moment of connection would have been nice, it was great just to see the light in his eyes when he looked at the woman he was with. The strength and confidence he carried himself with. Which lead me to wonder, do people see that in me? Do they see the love I receive when I move through the world, and if not, what do I need to do to make sure it shows?

I kissed my daughter and looked at my husband as the boys and puppy appeared near the door. I felt calm. There is so much chaos in our world, and I embraced that years ago. I thrive in chaos, and show up as my best self when I feel useful. I am learning to allow the peace to permeate my soul. I am growing.

 

I am not failing *insert surprise face here*

There is a strange space for introverted, creative people when we are so deep in our process that we over-think EVERYTHING. Those who know me well know that I exist in this space often. I’ve been told that I could talk myself out of the best decision of my life, and do it so well that I’d feel justified on both sides. Truth.

Deylan is in middle school, and it is really difficult for both of us navigating this new territory. The hormones, man…oh…em…gee. I have high standards for my children (and really, all children) but I say all that time that I am as strict as I love. The depth of my love for my children is something I cannot articulate, and I take my responsibility as a parent and caregiver extremely seriously. It is my job to put people in the world who are conscious, contributing, compassionate, and curious. I can change the world by putting good people in to it.

I write all of this because my passion is working with children and their families, and the last year of parenting a pre-teen through transition has shaken my confidence to the core. I have so many friends who come to me for help with their children, yet there were days I was ending my day in tears over parenting my own. I have felt like a failure and a fraud. I’ve been unable to progress with my book and my coaching. And then…I chaperoned a middle school field trip.

Today, my son ran up to his sister, scooped her up in his arms, and took her to his desk. He parted the crowds of kids so she could see the fish, and he did so without one single moment of embarrassment. My pre-teen hugged me, and he proudly answered “Yes, that’s my mom” when the other kids asked. We walked to the beach for a clean up, and he held his sister the entire walk there. He stopped to help her zip up her jacket, and he made sure she could be a part of the process. When the other kids weren’t behaving, he told them to stop, or gave me space as the authority figure to correct them. And when we were standing on the beach? He leaned on me, and tucked his head under my chin.

Several of the kids in that class were good kids. Respectful, engaging, intelligent. Then there were the ones that made me want to yank him out and home school him, like…the moment we got back to the school. I was appalled by their behaviour. And there was my son, walking with me, chatting about normal stuff. In those moments, suddenly I knew I wasn’t failing. All of the self doubt and feeling like a fraud melted away as I walked with my son. I started to believe, truly, that maybe I *can* write my book, and I *can* start working with families on a more in-depth basis.

My son is amazing. He is kind, open, articulate, curious, intelligent, and much more. Yes, we struggle some times, and it an be quite a doozy when we do. We are both strong individuals, and oooooh weeee are we both stubborn. But we both love, oh we love so deeply. Every day I say, “I love you more than my heart can beat!” and it’s true because the only way I would stop is if I were dead. He is such a profound teacher sometimes. Today was a great lesson.

Oh Hai there…

Soooooo…about the unannounced hiatus I took. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to fall off the face of the blogosphere. I didn’t realize anyone was really reading my blog yet, and I went in to full shut down mode to get through our move. I even took Instagram off of my phone a couple of times. (I know, right?!)

I took some time, focused on the constant chaos that is moving, and started working intensively with a new coach. Our move is complete, and we are working on getting immersed in our new community. The boys have started school, and I am home-schooling Elianah for preschool. I have to back track a little…

We were scheduled to move mid-June, which became end of June. Even with all the time we had, moving was *EPIC*. I hadn’t realized exactly how rooted we’d gotten in the Willow Glen house. I will always love that house, and still wish we’d had a chance to buy it. I also respect that San Jose is not ever where I wanted to stay, and owning a home there would have cemented me there indefinitely.

Moving with young children is always an undertaking. I moved with my ex several times when D was young, but this was my first move with TWO kids and TWO dogs. Right before our move, Einstein started peeing blood and Emma got a demodex diagnosis. When it rains, eh? After a TON (read:expensive) of medical tests and two vet opinions, Einstein’s official diagnosis is cancer. He has a mass in his bladder. It is in an “ok” area for surgery but due to his age we are opting not to remove it. Right now, he is happy and not in obvious pain, so we want to keep him in that space. His new vet (I absolutely LOVE her, Dr Tammy Abraham at Harbor Vet in Santa Cruz) changed his medication to an NSAID that has shown possible tumor reduction in many patients. So, we’re trying it. Emma’s hair is growing back in the spaces where she had the demodex, and she is growing exponentially.

Now for the two legged kids.

Deylan went back and forth between excitement and fear before we moved. He had spent a long time in that house, and wasn’t sure about moving. He was also really excited to live closer to the beach and make new friends since some of his close friends were going to different schools anyway. He was with my ex when we did the major move, and then he came home and set up his room. Now every day, and every day since we got here, I hear, “Can we go to the beach?” I’m telling you, this kid would live at the beach if he could. As a tween, he wants to be DOING all the time. Skate park, surfing, go, go, go.

Elianah had a bit more trouble adjusting. She only knew the Willow Glen house, and for the first two weeks kept asking to “Go Home”. Even now, two months later, she asks, “What is this place?” and “Why are we in this house now?” She is fully potty trained and asks me every day to go to school. I had to wean her before we left San Jose, I had some issues with nursing that lead to force-weaning (yes, I tried. I tried *everything*). I wasn’t ready, she wasn’t ready, and it will definitely go down in my regrets folder. She still likes to cuddle for comfort and to sleep, which is fine with me, as this time is so short.

My husband and I have weathered our first move together, which was hard. We have very different styles of organization. Let’s be honest, we have different styles of a lot of things. Our work ethics are both strong, so we had that in our corner. As couples do, we learned a lot about each other during the time between my resignation and now. My numbness and strong emotions for the first several months had a big impact on us, and the stress of the move was intense for us both. Through a lot of grace and laughter, we have emerged victorious, and I thank God for my husband daily.

During my time away, I did a lot of self-reflection and work. I’ve been working with life coaches since I resigned, and have come a long way. My first coach, David Gibson, is a great motivator who is awesome at inspiring people. He helped me do the work to get through the numbness.At the end of my time with David, I was offered a free call with another coach, who I instantly connected with. Her name is Paula Jenkins and she has helped me move through some major blocks. I cannot recommend working with a coach highly enough. I have my “why” and am moving forward in to the “how” thanks to both of them, especially Paula as she has helped me really unpack some deep emotional stuff.

Once we got mostly unpacked, I researched new churches/temples/places of worship, and have one we’ll be visiting this weekend that I hope will be a good fit. Something I don’t talk about much in public is my faith and spirituality, which are central to who and how I navigate the world. While I tend to be anti-organized religion because of the drama that comes when people get together in the name of God/Goddess/Allah/*insert preferred name here*, I also really need some community. My belief in God is deep and strong, and I need to find somewhere to nurture and grow it. I tend to stick out in religious communities as I blindly follow nothing. Here’s to hoping I can find a place that I fit enough to feel good, but that still challenges me to grow.

OH! Lest I forget, I also received an offer to be an affiliate while I was on hiatus, which…completely blew me away. I missed the chance, so I won’t mention the company, but I felt good about the offer and look forward to entertaining more in the future.

Well, there you go. The digest version of my summer. What did you do? How was your summer? Leave a comment and tell me about it!!!

Up soon: a cheap way to impress your friends when you have them over for coffee!

Jump up, kick back, whip around and spin…

…then we jump back, do it again (Ninja-go! Ninja-go!) -The Fold

“There is no such thing as balance, you have to make choices.”
I just said that to my neighbor and had a HUGE ah-ha moment. Y’all…its TRUE. 

I have been deep inside my head and my emotions lately. I have been letting things fall through the cracks, my joy has been elsewhere, and I have been a bit of a mess. I tend to be very change resistant, and there is a lot of change going on for me. I am moving. I am moving back to Santa Cruz, where I originally found “my people”. Its only 33 miles but I am telling y’all, it feels epic. 

My son is ending his elementary school years in 8 days. 8 mother trucking days. My baby, my Moo, will be a MIDDLE SCHOOLER!!! Now, he’s had the attitude for a while, so…let’s not imagine some kid who is angelic and innocent, okay? Hahaha. 

My Toddlerface is potty training. She wears underpants. By choice. I’m not complaining about the decreased diaper laundry, but it sure feels strange. She is also nursing less and less. She is growing up. In front of my eyes. 

I have been feeling this pull, to allow God (as I understand It) to work through me in my life, but I am terrified of letting go completely. Admitting that publicly is a strange one. I know my purpose, it is clear: help families, especially mothers and children. Help mothers be conscious, curious, compassionate, and contributing so that they might raise children who are the same. In that, we change the world. Not me. Us. 

In all of this I see how in reality, there is no balance. Balance implies a little here and a little there, but that cannot be. I cannot keep hedging on our move, I have to commit full force, for my sanity and the security of my family. I cannot “balance” my passion for my family, and I don’t want to. I get so caught up in trying to balance…a little here, a little there…that nothing is getting done with my full attention.

That written, today I am saying goodbye to balance. I am committing to this season of my life that is so wabi sabi that I am probably both waving AND drowning. 

What season of life are you in? Tell me about it, and what you’re doing to enjoy it fully!!! 

You’ve got to stand for something…

…or you’ll fall for anything.

I don’t know where the original quote is from, and I’m feeling Google-lazy in this moment. I’m actually hearing the country song by Aaron Tippin play in my head. Oh how I thought he was amazing when I was young. I think I actually fangirled pretty hard when I met him. Youth…I miss it.

I was asked recently where I am showing up small in my life. I found it easier to answer where I am fully showing up. One of the areas I certainly show up small is in my writing. I am so afraid of offending anyone (and I realize there are many people on the internet who LIVE to express that they have been offended) that I don’t express myself. I recognize that I am not for everyone…and I actually like that because it means I’m authentic. Having typed all of that, I still haven’t found my niche in the world when it comes to giving/helping, which is something I am sensitive about.

At any rate, last week I attended the preview of the video they will be showing my son for his “Family Life” unit at school. There is no actual sex ed involved, but I went to the preview to make sure there were no negative statements made about masturbation or LGBTIQA identity. The video itself was almost 11 minutes long, and even with out any specific sex education, they still found a way to make a hetero-normative statement. After the preview, the teachers opened up the room for questions, and I bit my tongue. All I could think was “How many kids in the 5th grade and this school will see this and take it as a knock against who they are? Will they offer ANY education about LGBTIQA at all? What am I risking by bringing this up? Is it even relevant if the parents would kvetch anyway? Do I want to fight this right now?”

I did not. I did not say anything, and in my silence, I feel ashamed. I *did* have a conversation with my son when we left where I discussed that the video was all stuff he already knew (proper anatomical names, changes he’ll go through, etc) as well as the line that was hetero-normative. My son has two moms, a known donor/Papa, a step dad, and his mommy’s girlfriend. He has heard the term hetero-normative before, and he has been told all his life that it is perfectly fine if he has a boyfriend, a girlfriend, both, or neither. A few months ago we read the book George (if you have a late elementary/early middle school child, I cannot recommend this book highly enough, or even as an adult) and discussed what it means to identify as transgender. We discuss this stuff in our home because it is important.

When I was given the opportunity to discuss it in public I froze. I wasn’t in front of my kids and I choked. I was in a room with people I knew would disagree, and I didn’t feel like fighting. I say that because I recognize it, not to excuse my silence. In our home and in our lives as a family, we bring up real issues. We talk about race, privilege, socio-economics, sexual and gender identity, intersectionality, kindness, love, and compassion. We have to talk about these things if we want to change the world. As a mom, I believe parenting is Guerrilla Warfare on society. I change the world by putting conscious, compassionate, and contributing individuals in to it. Last week, I failed my own mission.

I can accept it, because I can learn from it. I can examine it and adjust. Like a sailor who has found themselves off course, I can realign myself to ensure arrival at my destination. I cannot have that moment back, and that makes me feel a little sad. As David Gibson says, “Daily gradual growth”, and that is what I’m committed to. So, here is to standing up, taking up some more space, and expanding my “offense” field. I will not apologize for who I am anymore, or for my beliefs, though I will say that I am 100% open to learning and hearing other opinions/beliefs/ways. I will not even say “no offense, but…” and have taught my children not to do so either.

When I express something, if it makes you want to talk, know that my “door” is open to respectful discourse. I welcome conversation. Comment, email me, engage with me. I will not tolerate disrespect, to me, my children, or of any one else, so make sure to keep any comments/emails on the up and up.

 

Hard work? Heart work!

Anyone who knows me can tell you how passionate I am about children and families. I come alive the moment that anyone talks about ages and stages, child care choices, parenting philosophies, and much more. I absolutely live and breathe for children and families, it is my belief that raising productive, compassionate children is guerrilla war fare on society as we know it. To me, this is how we change the world.

As parents, we know the work we do…day in and day out. Whether you are a SAHM, a WAHM, you work part/full/double time outside the home…you know what it takes. Yet, when considering child care, the first thought is often (necessarily) financial.

Yesterday I was a part of a focus group for a fabulous woman on Periscope. She was asking about what people would want from a certain time of coaching and what they would be willing to pay. It was a small group of people, but I learned a lot from participating. We all want the greatest value for our money, right? So, it makes the most sense that we want to get the best we possibly can for each dollar. Except when it doesn’t.

When we talk about our children, many of us would say we want the best for them. Each generation tries to give their children a higher quality of life than the last. In doing so, we have created the “Entitled Generation”, but that is a post for another day. So often, parents look at child care from a purely financial perspective, which I understand, as most working parents are living pay check to pay check. I invite you all to consider how child care is not only hard work, but heart work. Considering how much we spend as a society in therapy, our emotional selves are very important.

As a child care provider, in any capacity, obviously we are caring for the base physical needs of the children. However, there is much, much more that goes on. People do not go in to child care because it makes a ton of money, we do it for the love of children. It is because of this love that we nurture, guide, teach, model, and discipline the children that we care for.

Those of us who have made child care our lives take that a step further. We educate ourselves in our field, and continue our education throughout our careers. We take the time to develop our socio-emotional selves to provide excellent care and support of not only the children, but their families also. Parents, think back to your nannies/day care center workers/preschool teachers…remember how they listened to you vent at the end of a hard day? Or how they supported you and your child/ren through that divorce? How they helped you problem solve regression issues after that move? These are all examples of the deep love one should have to be in a care giving position.

All of that support is invaluable, right? But hey…let’s keep it real…we don’t have billions of dollars to give to even the best of the best caregivers, and if we did…we certainly wouldn’t have that money anymore! Sometimes, parents don’t approach child care from the heart, they approach it from a purely business standpoint. As such, they end up with a business style relationship. The turn over in child care is exceptionally high, and takes a rather large toll on the care giver and the children.

I believe that with more support, parents can make more informed choices, and care givers can offer more across the board. While it *can* be as easy as touring your local child care center, enrolling your child, and moving along…what if you could have a better relationship with your child’s caregiver? What if you could have a better relationship with the parents of the children you care for?

I want to help families. I want to help families because I want to change the world. I want to help put great people in to the world who go out and treat each other well. Who stand up for what is right when no one is looking AND in the face of opposition. I believe that to do that, we have to change stuff on the other end. People are not developed like businesses, they are raised in the context of their culture. I have worked with children and families for 22 years. It is time to start sharing what I’ve learned with more people, and learning more along the way.

What can I learn from you? I’ll never know if you don’t tell me…so please, talk to me! Leave me a comment, shoot me an email. Tell me your story as a parent or caregiver. I want to hear from you!

-Erin

 

 

 

 

 

The “why”…

Recently I began to work with a coach. I have so much passion, but struggle with self-confidence and direction. So, for starters I thought I would explain the name of the blog, and what my primary passion is.

When I first had my son, I was 26 and had been on the internet for over 10 years. I was on all the budding social media (shout out to Friendster and MySpace y’all) and had friends all over the world. At the time, I still felt “protected” behind the anonymity of the internet, so I listed my location on all of my accounts as “In The Mom Cave”. My favorite super hero is Batman, and I figured if he had the Bat Cave, I had the Mom Cave.

Fast forward nearly 11 years…

I have that much more experience in my industry. I have grown that much more as a woman and as a mother. I have branched out, tried other industries on for size, and declined jobs that would have lead to other careers. In the last few years my true passion has become more clear than ever before. I live for helping families. I’ve been of service to families for years in many ways. When I taught preschool, I spent countless hours with our families. To include going to their homes, and any thing extra that I could do. As a nanny I have consistently gone over and above to help families be successful.

I believe that I lose nothing helping others be successful, and I want to see us ALL succeed. I believe that there are no bad children, and no bad dogs. I believe that I have the power to leave this world a better place by leaving better people in it.

My beliefs are such that it is time to DO something about it. My passion for children drives me. My desire to see mothers have options keeps me up at night. My drive to help inform and empower women pushes me out of my introverted comfort zone. So…join me. Create the Mom Cave with me, for all of us. The bio moms, adoptive moms, step moms, foster moms, non-cis gendered moms, grand moms, auntie moms…let’s join together, pack our tool belts full of tools, and take this generation by storm.

Are you in?

***All people who want a better future are welcome in The Mom Cave. To include: non cis gendered parents, fathers, lifelong non-breeders, and really any one who believes that the children we are nurturing in our world now are our future. While I am a mom, and am passionate about helping parents/children, I am the most passionate about changing the world, one connection at a time. Sometimes, those connections are with people who have chosen not to bear children for various reasons, and I respect that fully. Please know that I have had non-hetero-normative relationships and experiences (My son has two moms y’all! I co-parent with my ex-wife), and that this is a safe space. ***

I’m so excited…and I just can’t hide it!!

Today I received excellent news: I was chosen to preview a book that is being published and review it here on the blog!!!! For some people that may not seem like a huge deal but for someone who is in the midst of writing their first book, to me…this is HUGE. I don’t know the rules of what I can/can’t share yet, but the book is sitting right behind me and as soon as I am done with this post I plan to dig in to it.

As a writer, one of my favorite things is hearing people’s opinions of my work. Good, bad, and ugly. I enjoy the ugly the best, because it helps me know whether I’ve gone ’round the bend, or if that person just isn’t in my demographic. Both are valuable feedback, so I’m really excited to be a part of the team (which, let’s be honest, is my standard operating function).

I am additionally excited because soon we will begin adding to our brood. My Toddlerface is now 2 years old and I’m ready. I will admit that there have been several days lately where we have just been SO bonded and I fear changing that, but outside of the fear, I’m ready.

ALSO…I started working with a coach! I stepped out in faith when I quit my job in January, and it’s time to take the necessary steps to get my book published and figure out how to do good work in the world. For any one who doesn’t know me, I consider parenting and child care to be guerrilla warfare on society. I am not the sort of person who wants to be at the forefront of change, but I truly believe that by putting good people in to the world I facilitate changing it for the better, and that is always my goal. Look out world, I’m coming for you!!

My core desire is to empower mothers, and parents in general, to have options in parenting. To educate parents so that they feel empowered to make choices based upon what they feel is right for their family, regardless of whether it was how they were parented or what their limitations might feel like at the time. I believe that being an informed and empowered parent changes the lives of our children, which changes our world.

I would also like to have an impact on the way families choose child care. Many families default to certain forms of care, and I would love to help them get clarity about what they really want/need, as well as help them retain good relationships with their caregivers. More often than not, between teacher burnout in centers and nanny turnover in the private sector, there is a lot of inconsistency in the lives of children and their caregivers. I feel strongly that a large part of that is due to a lack of communication between parents and caregivers, be they preschool teachers, daycare providers, or private nannies.

I am also hoping to start using Periscope for my own Scopes in the next few weeks. I want to open a forum for people to ask questions in a real-time environment. I don’t know if people will show up, but I’ll be there either way. Obviously so much is contextual when dealing with children and parenting, but over time I’d love to have it evolve in to a Q&A where people can email questions before hand, but get real time feedback and discussion. If anyone has parenting or child care related questions, feel free to email me at inthemomcave@gmail.com and I’ll answer them here on the blog. I have 22+ years of child care experience that includes a variety of capacities, and my wealth of knowledge is open to all of you.

For now, I’m going to grab my tea (Good Earth tea for this evening) and dive in to this new book!!! I am so excited about life right now. Wishing everyone a very happy Friday night!!

XOXO-E

 

There is no try, there is just do…right?

Today has been a strange day. I had nightmares last night (an active shooter at my child’s school and a snake about to bite me) and woke early this morning. I started the day tired, which is more the norm for me than I would like to admit.

I decided that I would make myself something AWESOME for breakfast because I deserve good food too, right? Yes, yes I do!

I took one sweet potato, five mushrooms, 1/4 of an onion, two eggs, a couple spoons full of fresh bacon grease, and the leftover enchilada sauce I had. I cooked the veggies first, then added the enchilada sauce and a few shakes of chipotle powder for a kick. Once the sweet potatoes were soft enough, I cracked the eggs on top and put on a lid. I ended up with something that was SO good I ate all of it. Not half like I originally intended. The. Whole. Thing.

   
 (Update: I’m trying to post pictures again, hopefully it works) For some reason I can’t post pictures of it right now, which is a great time to invite you to head over and check out my Instagram (@inthemomcave) where you can find pictures of my food, my kids, and my dog.

After baseball, we spent some time hanging at home…it is Saturday after all. Today is a brisk but beautiful day in Northern California, sun is shining, all that jazz. Our kitchen has a great window, and I love staring out of it while I day dream. I mean…wash the dishes. As I was standing there, something caught my eye: a basketball.

My stomach sank, my heart got heavy, and I felt choked up. Never again will I hear the Moody Teen outside sinking threes like Curry. Never again will I see the Dancer pirouette through my kitchen. All because I couldn’t buy in to the lie.

I know the saying, “There is no try, there is just do”…I know it well. Yet here I sit, trying hard to figure out why. Feeling the weight of their absence in my life. I can should myself in to oblivion, it will do nothing for the situation. The truth is that I stand behind the statements I made, regardless of the fact that they were private conversations. I wish I had a chance to explain to the boys, to tell them the truth. Who knows if it would change their minds but it sure would help my heart.

There is no try here…*sigh*.

How to un-link your Apple products (and stop your privacy from being violated)

Have you ever had your privacy violated? Has someone ever read your private thoughts/conversations? If so…this post is for you, and to stand in solidarity with you.

Recently, some things came up in my professional life that bled over in to my personal life and I decided that some changes needed to be made. After much stress, running many budget numbers, and endless hours of conversation with my nearest and dearest friends…I resigned from my job. As a personal assistant as well as a nanny, I had been given a computer to help with my boss’s admin work (I am also a Certified Medical Administrative Assistant) and part of my resignation included giving back the computer.

Before returning the MacBook, I made sure to delete my info. I did NOT to a factory reset, which is a huge part of why I am writing this post. I disallowed the computer in iTunes, erased mail/messages, erased passwords in Chrome, etc. I felt good about it, and returned the computer. I am not a very “tech” person, though I can troubleshoot like a BOSS!

A few days after I returned the computer I received an email with some very personal information in it. As it turns out, somehow my former employer got in to my texts and emails on the computer, and read them. All of them. When I say “all of them” I don’t mean parts and pieces, I mean every. single. word. that he could get his eyes on. The kicker is that I did not use his computer as my method of communication, I sent these texts and emails from my phone, but due to Apple allowing message sharing between devices, he was able to see them. In my opinion, a person of sound ethics would never violate the privacy of another human being like that. On the off chance that the desire was so strong that one could not help it…I cannot imagine EVER turning to said person with private and confidential information and using it against them.

I know where my mistake was made, and I’m writing this to share with the world how to not be like me. When I set up the MacBook initially, I had to allow it access to my Apple ID, which was separate from my iTunes, but when I was breaking everything down, I forgot to change that ONE piece. One tiny misstep, and here I am.

If you own Apple products (iPhone, iPad, iPod, Macbook, Macbook Air, WHATEVER) and you intend to stop using them, you MUST follow these steps to separate the device from your Apple ID.

  1. Sign in to your apple ID from a device that is NOT the one you will be removing. https://appleid.apple.com
  2. Scroll down to the DEVICES category
  3. Click on the device you want to remove
  4. Remove the device from your Apple ID

Now, AFTER you have completed those four steps, reboot the device you want to erase, and reset it back to factory settings, there are myriad YouTube videos to talk you through the process.

I have since changed every password I have. I did so the day I got the scathing email. To any one who has had their privacy breached, I stand with you. I feel your pain. I feel the “Big Brother”, ominous feeling that you cannot shake. This has been a time of intense learning for me, as I am a very trusting person with an open heart. I don’t believe the world is out to get me, and if you had asked me a year ago if I thought that this person would have read my diary if I left it on the table, I would have said there was no way in hell. Yet, here I sit.

As time goes on, I will be okay. The violation of my privacy will blend in to the mushy memories of things that are unpleasant and I’ll find a way to trust and feel safe again. All of the other feelings surrounding this past couple of months…those will take a lot more to recover from. I don’t know when my heart will heal from the rest, but I do know that I am resilient.