Tuesday, December 20, 2011
And Then There Were Three
You know, thinking this business out beforehand, wondering what it would feel like to be a single parent, I almost didn't believe that any of "that" would apply to me. All the heartbreaking struggles you hear about. I'd think, "Yeah, I'll be single, but I'll never be one of THOSE parents, those moms going it alone. It won't be like that for ME." I have no idea why I thought that way, it was utterly ridiculous and moronic. Who was I kidding? Sure, the kid's dad is there to help sometimes, he mostly takes the kids when it's his turn to have them, and on the couple evenings I'm working, but the day-to-day stuff: the midnight-cough-checking, the toast-making, the sock-finding, the constant cleaning, the time-outing, the fight-stopping, the present-wrapping, the gas-pumping, the grocery shopping, the toilet-plunging, the dog-feeding, the puke-washing, the band-aid-applying, the bath-giving, the 2AM furnace-loading...it's all me. The kid stuff always was, but when you add in everything else, I'm so tired I can hardly think straight.
So, I'm NOT the lucky exception of the single mother rule, I guess. Whatever I might have thought, I was dead wrong, it's wicked hard and I'm just the same as all the rest in my place...I can't even imagine being one of the women who did this from the start, although I do wonder if it would almost be easier to never have been spoiled by the luxury of being a two parent team. Because the cold turkey, single mom gig is TOUGH.
I keep thinking that I'm somehow cursed, jinxed...WHY is every single thing breaking? But I realized, after pondering it over, stuff was ALWAYS breaking, all along, only someone else fixed it then. My camera, my computer, the oven, the electricity, the septic, my car, toys, furniture, the dryer... Now I have no means to fix any of these things, and I feel very alone without that built-in help. Sometimes I literally turn in a circle, as if looking for someone to pop out of the woodwork and lend a hand when my hands are full. And sometimes I just drop my armload to the floor and cry. I cry because I want somebody nice to come and hug me for a minute and say: "Calm down, I'm here for you. You're doing fine."
I can't help feeling guilty for wanting a partner to make life easier and nicer, that shouldn't be the purpose of a relationship, I know. Apparently you're SUPPOSED to be able to stand alone, be strong, be a complete person, and all that jazz BEFORE you get into a relationship. It feels callous to NEED a partner...isn't that the wrong reason to be with someone? Even if I do sigh with relief when somebody else helps buckle the car seats, when somebody else cooks dinner, when somebody else makes a decision on our driving route. (Feminists everywhere would be cringing with horror at my words...actually I am too...) I hate to ask for help from people I date, I hate that I asked that from my ex because it made me depend on him for the wrong reasons. I hate that, with the way I am these days, I can bring nothing to relationships but work and worry. I hate being the damsel in distress. And I can't quite trust that someone won't feel bitter towards me after they get sucked into the madness of Life With Children That Aren't Even Their Children.
I've been talking to a counselor on occasion, because I have a day or two, probably about biweekly, when I just crash down into depression so deep, I need help getting out. (This is one of those days...obviously, just look at this depressing post.) Other than that, I think I'm doing a pretty decent job of being by myself and raising the boys. We DO have bad days, oh for sure, but I was dumbfounded when Justin suggested yesterday that he take full custody of the kids and give me the house instead, claiming that he doesn't think I can cope with everything. Those babies were born from my screaming body after hours of agony, I've cuddled them close every day of their lives, I love them more than I love ANYTHING, they ALWAYS come first, no matter what, and they'll never, never, never be taken from me as long as I'm breathing. Times are hard right now, I'm trying to find my path, but I don't think that's a proper basis for saying I can't cope. I've never had to work and parent and do EVERYTHING at the same time, I ought to be allowed a grace period to figure out everything I don't have a clue about, oughtn't I? It's like dumping someone who can't swim overboard and expecting them to do the butterfly stroke. No, I can't fix cars. No, I don't know how to rewire the stove. Nope, I have no idea where the water pipes go to, life is indeed a frustrating struggle for a single women who is unfortunately not very handy...nobody's showing me how to do these things, it's just trial and error, A LOT of error, true, but does that mean I'm a the terrible parent, and he's the capable one? Do I really seem that incompetent?Golly, I didn't think I was a COMPLETE mess, just lousy at all the technical aspects of things I never understood. (I actually got my key stuck in the ignition the other day and freaked out for about ten minutes, doing everything I could think of to get it out until Justin pulled in behind me and immediately said "You're probably not shifted into park all the way." Sure enough, a granola bar was jammed behind the lever. Embarrassing.)
All I can do is wake up in the morning, kiss my kids, and say "Hello World. Go easy on me today, will you?" Spend the day being as good of a person as I know how. Cry a little on occasion, but count my blessings too... try to remember to laugh at myself more, and hope for the best, sputtering my way through the butterfly stroke.
Posted by Emily at 9:22 AM