Single Parenting: Day 29

biking

It’s been nearly a month since I’ve had the house to myself. After many months of being separated but sharing the same living space, my kids’ dad moved out to his own place and I officially became a single parent. I felt both relieved and lost when I was finally on my own. I felt relieved in that the constant tension was over, but lost because my children would no longer be with me 100% of the time. Out of love for them, I avoided a custody battle. We didn’t go to court. And so I agreed to share custody 50/50. They are with me for a week and then with their dad for a week. The weeks they are gone, I miss them so much. I will miss 50% of the rest of their childhoods. And they will miss having their mom there every day.

So I’ve been sad. It’s as if my life has been falling apart before my eyes in slow-motion for the past 6 months. It’s now a million little bits swirling in a wind of confusion around me. Every day I keep trying to grab hold of the pieces and force them back together into something that resembles wholeness. The family I tried for 13 years to build and nurture is now gone. I did it. I broke the illusion. I smashed it. Now my task is to build something new and better. However, I am worn right down. I feel damaged and scarred. Each little step toward the better feels daunting.

You could say I am a bit of a hot mess. In fact, some might say I am at hot mess level: tire fire. For example, this past Sunday evening at 8:30 pm I realized I needed to buy groceries for the coming week. I took the three rather over-tired children to the supermarket and loaded up on necessities. After I got home and unloaded the car, I remembered I had to take the garbage and recycling out. There was a lot because I had forgotten to put it out the previous week. By the time I was done, it was dark and time to tuck the smallest children into bed. When I was finally done that, I collapsed on the couch and dozed off. About an hour later I awoke and remembered that I had not put the groceries away! However, my eldest child reassured me that she had taken it upon herself to put the cold foods away for me. With that I drifted back off to sleep.

In the morning I went into the kitchen to find all of the perishable food sitting out…except for the eggs and milk…which the eldest child had thoughtfully put in the fridge. It appeared we had had a small miscommunication. Of course, I didn’t blame her, I blamed myself for not just putting the darn groceries away when I should have.

At that point I may have shouted “fuck my fucking life!” no less than three times as I tossed the spoiled food into the trash. Not only did I have to throw about $50.00 worth of groceries away, but I didn’t have anything to make sandwiches for the kids school lunches. I went to the fridge and found some bologna. I thought to myself “bologna is good forever, right? This should be fine” and made the kids and myself some sandwiches. Once I had finally gotten the kids to school (late as usual) I hurried off to work, questionably-fresh bologna sandwich in hand.

It’s been nearly a month of feeling as if I’m teetering on the brink of failure on a daily basis. I now have a big house to pay for and take care of on my own and a heartache 50% of the time. Pieces of my old life are scattered around my feet. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.

At moments such as these I must decide if I’m going to just plop down on the floor and cry, or take a bite of my sandwich and soldier the fuck on. The sad voice inside of me says “take a day off. Crawl back into bed and just give up for today. It’s too hard!” But the voices of my kids ring in my ears “you’re the best mom ever! I love you mom!” and that gives me all the motivation I need to dust myself off and keep going.

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Single Parenting: Day 29

  1. Just read this and nodded through most. It’s going on 2.5 years for me… It’s a struggle mama. Almost every day. But I’m much happier and my kids benefit from that immensely.

    You’ve got this. I promise.

    Email if you like 🙂

    Like

  2. Sigh, this is so hard for me to read because I empathize with you…I empathize with your ex-husband…I empathize with your beautiful children…and my heart breaks for all of you – as my own heart has never fully healed and bears a scar that will only lessen with the passage of time (not a scar from the loss of the marriage anymore…but from only having my daughters 50% of the time).

    Having lived through this…and still living in this “new normal” (it is anything but normal feeling) with my daughters, I would humbly like to give some loving advice: Always, always, always put the children first.

    I didn’t want the marriage to end – I fought hard to have it not end and to keep the family intact. When one person has made up their mind to end a marriage, it is devastating to the entire family. I thought my ex-wife was selfish and completely wrong for doing this to all of us. And yet, I remembered, even through the unimaginable pain, that our family was like a house – and that she took a match and lit the house on fire…and we all inhaled the toxic smoke and were burned deeply by the fire…including her, the one that struck the match and tossed it into the heart of our family.

    So my advice is to do whatever you can to put the children first. Regardless of how your ex treats you through all of this, always be kind and never speak ill of him in front of your children…not ever. Make sure your newest love, or whoever is in your life in that respect, treats you with love, tenderness and respect – and make sure he treats your children the same. Always remember that they have a dad…even if you two couldn’t make it work as a couple, they love him and all of his failings and shortcomings…just as they love you the same. They can love your new significant other as well…and when your ex husband has a new love, they can love her as well – they have a mom and dad…and there is always room for two more adults who are loving, positive influences in their lives.

    And last but not least, give yourself room to hurt and mourn…and understand your children are doing the same. You may have to say “no” to your own plans on the days you have them…because they only have one childhood and life is fragile and time is fleeting in this world. Be kind to yourself…do what you can to be kind to their dad, even when it is hard to do so…especially when it is hard to treat yourself kindly and to treat him kindly. Do your very best to co-parent with their dad…and above all, pray for healing and for compassion for everyone…your children, you, your ex, and your families.

    And if I can recommend a book that did help me when I felt so lost and so disjointed and at the edge of the deepest sorrow…

    http://www.amazon.com/Around-House-Garden-Heartbreak-Improvement/dp/0743226933

    With love and care in Christ for you and your children,

    Matthew

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s