Monday, April 30, 2012

Not Right Now

It is funny how even other mothers don't seem to understand, sometimes even the other single mothers I know seem ignorant to what my life is like. I get asked often about going out or joining friends for dinner and most of the time I turn the invitations down. Why? Because I am a single mother who is tired.

I love my life right now. I am happy. I feel content to work, and come home to my beautiful child. We spend a couple hours together before she heads to bed and I get an hour or two to myself before I also turn in. Our bedtimes are 7:30pm and 9pm (give or take) and we rise at 5:30am.

There is no every other weekend. There is no extra income and very little child support. I do all the laundry, every dish is washed by my hands (and my trusty whirlpool), I wipe every surface, vacuum every carpet, prepare/provide every meal, deal with every tantrum, sing every lullaby and kiss every boo boo.

So... No. I can't go to dinner at 7pm on a Thursday. I am sorry, but I can't stay for the "After party" to drink a few beers. I respectively turn down invites left and right, BUT I do accept a few because I know it is important to be with my friends and I do have fun with them. I appreciate that they think of me and make offers, but I still have to explain why sometimes... why I can't go or stay... Why I can't afford a trip or a concert or sometimes even the movies... It is what it is.

I am still happy. I am very much content to snuggle with my Nugget and watch Yo Gabba Gabba on a Friday night and kiss her forehead as she goes to bed.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Baby #2: An Open Letter

Dear baby #2,

For my whole life I never doubted that I would have at least two children. The bonds I had/have with my siblings are some that I cherish most in my life, especially after going through the last two years. Even after my split I imagined finding a wonderful man to marry and create you with. Then I became at peace with the fact that I may not find another man. Happily I went on with my life, enjoying my beautiful DD and ignoring the thought of you. I told myself I might be able to have another on my own in a few years. For some reason I just couldn't imagine not having you in my life.

Now it is approaching Nugget's 2nd birthday and I am suddenly being realistic about the fact that you are not a guarantee. I need to let you go. I promise I am not ready to give up on you completely, there is still plenty of time for things to sway in your favor, but I need to be at peace with the fact that we may never meet.

I am sorry baby #2. I am lucky to even have you as a future possibility. It doesn't matter if you ever become a reality, I have loved you anyway. In a perfect world I will hold you in my arms, kiss your tiny nose and feel your small finger wrapped around mine. I hope for those moments, but I am tucking the thoughts away for now... I am putting a 2 year hold on all thoughts of you. Again, I am sorry, but your sister deserves all of my love and attention and I can't feel weighed down by the image of you anymore. You are now my butterfly. I am letting you go and if we were meant to be you will find your way to me someday.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Darker Moments

At night things are always worse and I could not stand the silence. The first two nights were the worst. I was like small child with nightmares, only my nightmares were real. When I felt like the walls were closing in on me I would call for my mother. She would sit with me until I was all cried out. The littlest things would set me off. Waking up in a twin bed, alone or washing the baby clothes meant for my unborn child. I once had to run out of my office at work and spend an hour in the parking garage crying because I couldn’t even calm down enough to drive. This period lasted about a week before I started to force myself to get it together. I had more than just myself to think about.

I couldn’t watch the news or even the local stations because his mug shot was all over the news and the commercials leading up to the broadcasts. “Local High School Coach Arrested for Sex Crimes”. My TV was tuned into the Nick at Night channel almost 24/7. It was the only channel that did not have news broadcasts or any Law and Order type shows that were now a little too real for me to watch. I would wake up from a nightmare and see Steve Urkel, in his suspenders, looking back at me. In a weird way it would bring me back from darkness, fear and confusion that now lived in my dreams. The studio audience laughing and the wacky antics were enough to lull me back to sleep eventually. It was one of my crutches, Nick at Night.

The shower was where I let myself have my moments. Outside of therapy, the shower was my place to purge my emotions. I cried and choked on my misery. I talked to myself sometimes. I would rattle off the facts. “X was arrested. He tried to meet a 15 year old in order to have sex with her. He has been downloading child pornography. He admitted to everything. He is sick and not the man I thought he was.” Other times I would just barely cough out the word “Why?” And then I would talk to my child. Rub my very pregnant belly and tell her that I will protect her. That I will try my best to make sure she is happy and that her life is as normal as possible. I will always try. I would then wash all of the sorrow down the drain. After leaving the bathroom I would feel lighter. The equivalent of an athlete “leaving it on the field.” the rest of day I stay focused on tiny goals. Do my work, eat my food, clear my mind. Over time I would have happy moments and it continued to get better.

These were some of my darkest moments. A lot of the time nobody saw this. I didn’t want people to think I was losing it. The funny thing is… after a while… the robotic state I was in for a while, as I pretended to be strong, faded and became real… like I forced it upon myself, my own type of conditioning.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Stiff Upper Lip

I have gotten a lot of compliments on how strong I have been. I have also been told I can be a bit harsh when offering support to others. That maybe I should sugar coat things more or be gentler with some of the “broken women” I have been in contact with. You see I am a regular on a couple forums for those going through divorce or starting out as single parents. I hear a variety of stories from mutual separations to dramatic ones much like my own. From bitter battles to civil adult interactions, I have heard them all.

A lot of the other regular posters know me and understand me. They often agree with me or will offer similar if not the same advice. I love those women. At one point they helped to knock sense into me. It is not that we do not think a person doesn’t have the right to a bad day or a grieving period… but at some point you need to pull yourself back up. Push forward and not give into the darkness anymore. Especially when you are a parent, you can’t let it affect your livelihood. Providing for your family is of the upmost importance.

So, when a woman (most of the people on the boards are female) tells me that she is going back to her emotionally abusive X, that her work is suffering, that she has done nothing but cry for days, that she doesn’t have the energy to fight her X for custody/child support, up all night stressing or worse trying to “stick it” to their X by not agreeing to perfectly reasonable requests… well… it bothers me. Ok, some of it bothers me and some of it makes me sad. I want all of the people I speak with to understand that strength is not always automatic. It is a decision you make and work towards. WORK. There is a difference between venting and wallowing in misery. You can’t fool a person who has been through a trauma like mine. I can tell when a person loses control of their grief.

When I give advice, I give advice that has worked. For me or others who have been through a divorce/separation/family court battle and more. It is not that I do have sympathy for you, but sympathy gets you almost nowhere, inner strength and hope on the other hand can move mountains. I will not celebrate the nasty worded email that you sent your X even if it made you feel so much better to “show him how much you don’t need him..” because you just told that man that you still care what he thinks and you gave him evidence that he can show in court about how you are not cooperative or even threatening. When I hear that you have been in bed for a few days I will tell you to get in the shower and call your therapist.

I operate like a trainer or sports coach. We all have the ability to get through our sorrow if we decide to work on our strength. Our hearts are muscles after all. If you do not push yourself it becomes weak, whereas if you fight through the pain you gain power. It is because I care that I do not baby you. Of course I feel for you. I think it is good and necessary to mourn and cry. Emotions are very powerful and healthy as long as you do not get lost in them. Contrary to popular belief “following your heart” can be deadly advice in some cases. I prefer to listen to my heart, trust my gut and ALWAYS use my head.

In a nutshell I built my strength up over time. I worked hard for it. I listened to those who were further along in the grieving process than I was and I used my brain. That is how I got to where I am. I trust myself, love myself, love my life and feel more secure than I ever have. So, my advice may not always be filled with puppies and rainbows, but neither is life.

Friday, April 6, 2012


If you believe in true love then clap your hands... because sadly I think I may like being alone a little too much. I don't see how a man would ever fit into our lives. It is so hard to explain, but my loss of belief makes me sad...

...the fact that I just do not think my heart has the capability for romantic love anymore.

I love people and I am happy. That is enough for me.

I just do not see myself falling in love again.

Clap if you believe.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Organized Choas

This is my life. I have a very set routine with madness intertwined. In the morning it starts at 5:30am. We wake up, eat, get dressed, I primp while Nugget watches Yo Gabba Gabba then we strap on our shoes and head out the door. It sounds simple enough, but really in between each item on the list there is a bit of discord.

• 5:30 wakeup call

    o Nugget jumps up with an obnoxiously cute “Hi mommy!” then screams “Up! Up! Up!” until I get her out of bed. Anyone who knows what a toddler voice sounds like can relate… God love them, it is so high pitched and piercing that despite the cuteness it can make you cringe first thing in the morning.

• Eat

    o This means NUGGET eats and I make her food and clean up her mess. I try to give her oatmeal every weekday. It is healthy and filling while still coming in yummy flavors… BUT the tradeoff is that she WILL get at least a little in her hair, on her face and hands. So, after she is finished I wipe her down then the placemat and seat.

• Get dressed

    o Nugget is learning to dress herself. This is actually entertaining! I love watching her focus so hard on this task. Bless her heart she fails at least once, but never gives up. That’s my girl! The only issue here is that the process takes a long time. However, I want her to be independent and she LOVES doing it herself, so unless we are really behind I let her do her thing.

• Primping and Puppets

    o At this point I put on our crazy, acid trip of a favorite show “Yo Gabba Gabba”. Those crazy characters do the best job of occupying Nugget while I take 10-15mins to fix my bedhead and throw on minimal makeup. During this time it is par for the course that Nug will pull out all of her toys and books and spread them around the living room. I spend the remaining 10ish mins of the episode “helping” her clean things up.

• Shoes and leave

    o For some reason this takes at least 5 mins when it should take less than 1! One of my favorite blogs, Rants from Mommyland, refers to this phenomenon as “Herding Turtles”. It is just a slow process. Nugget gets her shoes out. I put one on and then she pulls her other sock off.. I replace the sock and put the other shoe on. By the time I grab my purse she is asking for juice or a banana or has run off into the living room to dance to imaginary music. I still have to get her in her jacket and out the door…

Remember the days when you could wake up and be out of the house in less than 15 mins if you HAD to? At the most you would need 30 mins to get ready? Well, those days are gone! At times it can be frustrating, even maddening, but it really is worth it. Every time she pulls her pants on by herself I feel warm and fuzzy inside and when I am on the brink of internally freaking because we are running late she hugs me, laughs or does something so cute I forget why I was worried.

The evenings are pretty similar, BUT at least we are not rushing. We can enjoy dancing together or playing a game without worrying about being late. All parents can relate on some level, but the single, working parents I know will feel me on this post! The precious time in the morning is mostly spent trying to stay on schedule so we can spend at least 8 hours apart from our little ones. I am trying not to focus on “the schedule” and focus one “The little person”. I want to enjoy my morning with her instead of feel stressed and behind. Why am I in such a hurry to leave? Oh yeah, I have a job that I NEED to provide for that amazing little person. So, we shuffle through. Nugget is a trooper and a happy child. She helps me stay focused on the big picture, almost as focused as she is on getting her tiny little pants on… one leg at a time.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


I wrote a response to a blog post I just read on Single Dad Laughing. It was about sinlge Dads and Moms and I did enjoy it... thoughI found myself a little jealous of those who have a a dedicated father  for their children, even if the are no longer your mate. Anyway, here is my response and a link to the post:

Single Dads (and Single Moms)

I am a single mother who spends her most of her waking hours trying to stay one step ahead. Trying to get everything done in the 3 waking hours I get with my child during the day while also attempting to make this short span "quality time" as well. Making dinner while nuturing my child's creativity. Doing dishes, bathtime and setting out tomorrow's outfits all while kissing boo boos reading stories and calming tantrums.At the end of the day I pat myself on the back. I thank myself for pushing a little bit further and I scold myself for losing my temper from time to time. When a mom/dad has a committed partner/co-parent their relationship with eachother becomes the model for which their children base their future relationships with their mates... As single parents we are molding our child's relationship with themself. They need to see us struggle a little and overcome challenges. Witness how we treat ourselves and the strength and security a person should have on their own. I am a happy single parent. I refer to myself as an "only parent" since my ex is not involved at all. As a happy single parent I am sure that I will find love again someday, but until that day arrives I am content to work my butt off in order to provide all I can for my child. Thanks for the article. I enjoyed reading your take on this.