Monday, July 25, 2016

Being a single mom is hard

We have lived apart for almost nine months. It has been hard. Really hard. Hard is ways that I never imagined. And easy. In ways I didn't expect. It's been emotional, scary, stretching and exciting.

How has it been hard? It's been hard in all the ways you would expect. I am lonely. I am tired from doing everything myself, from single parenting. Our marriage isn't really a marriage. It's just texting, a few short phone calls a week and occasional weekend visits in which we try to cram in family time, big important discussions, a parenting break for me and some special time for us.

How has it been easy? Well, I have the house to myself. I can put out girlie things and not get flack for it. I can put pretty things on the coffee table and not find them all pushed aside to make room for his feet. The throw pillows are always where I left them. The cheese grater and colander are always in the same spot instead of in random places because he never learned where they went but liked to help by emptying the dishwasher. It's nice not having so much dirty laundry, so much mess. I don't feel the pressure to cook dinner and when I do, I make whatever I want which means lots of chicken, mushrooms, pasta, and veggies. No one complains about how I do things, stinks up the bathroom or has to be consulted about mundane decisions.

In some ways it has been fun. I have the house to myself at night, and I like the alone time. I watch whatever I want on tv, and I like having the bed to myself. The girls and I have had some special times like sleepovers in my bed, late night movies and snuggly saturday mornings. It is just a different atmosphere when the entire house is girls and sometimes that is fun!

It has been hard in ways I never planned or expected though. I am used to him being gone regularly for short trips. I didn't expect the fear at night. I keep a big knife in my room, I won't sleep with the windows open even on hot nights. I double check the doors are locked, I close the baby gate and keep a light on and my phone by the bed. I didn't expect to wake with every noise, to be afraid sometimes and unable to sleep. The cat prowling the halls would scare me a lot. Neighbors being loud made me afraid. I put the dishwasher in front of the deck door, put laundry baskets in front of my patio doors and slept with lights on some nights.

I have had moments of needing to depend on others. It's humbling and makes me feel like I am not as strong or independant as I thought I was. That I am not able to do "life" on my own. I need help to figure out how to light the furnace. I need help to change my oil. I do a crappy job of washing the car no matter how I try. Every time I have something important to do I need a babysitter.

I have to bring the girls with me everywhere. I suddenly appreciated a quick run to the store a lot more, when I had to drag two kids along and it took three times as long. Every errand, every appointment had two kids along and they were great but man I miss having ten minutes alone to run out for milk. Even when they were in bed, I would get into a hot bath and then have to get out because a kid woke up crying. Or I would try to walk on the treadmill and then keep imagining I hear them crying so I just quit.

Sometimes I would just cry. Emotions hit at odd times. Some days I could not stop crying I would just cry all day on and off.

Some days I was mad at my husband for taking the new job. Mad at God. Mad because of this situation. Mad because our house wasn't selling, mad at David for taking the job. Mad at him for not figuring out a way for us to move together and leaving me here. Mad at myself for agreeing to this. Mad at my friends for not being helpful and supportive. Mad at my family for being too helpful and supportive sometimes, leaving me feeling smothered or guilty for taking up so much of their time. Mad at my neighbors who sold their house in a few weeks after sticking up a sign from the dollar store in their flower bed (Which I know is stupid and I am not really mad at them, but jealousy does strange things).

I feel so worn down. I feel like a frumpy, tired mess. I have let myself go. I am always tired and I am eating like crap because I am depressed. I don't have energy to cook nice meals for just me, so it's a lot of cereal and frozen food. I am drinking too much coffee and not enough water. I am staying up way to late at night because I can't sleep. My stress level is high and I am grinding my teeth a lot, which leads to jaw pain and headaches. The house is too big for  me to manage so either the lawn is mowed but the laundry isn't done, or the sheets are clean but the floors didn't get mopped. It drives me nuts but I can't seem to get it all done in a day when I am also trying to do all the bills, errands, shopping, wash the van, gas it up, keep the kids clean and fed, pack lunches, and work.

I have no idea how single moms do it. I mean if this was a permanent thing, I would be moving to a much smaller place which would definitely help a ton. But still not getting a break, trying to fit it all into a day and not having anyone to talk to or help make decisions or spell you off.... Its hard.

I hope one day I can bless a single mom or two who are in this situation. I know now how it feels, and I want to help someone else in this situation one day.

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