I haven’t written a personal post in a while. In fact, I haven’t written a personal post since I wrote THIS ONE, sharing the news about my separation. It’s been an interesting few months…
There are a million thoughts and emotions I think about sharing, on the daily, but I’m trying to give myself the opportunity to process all these feelings about my ‘new normal’, before I start writing them out. I like to think before I write so as not to be publishing bumbling, rambling mess after mess. It doesn’t mean I’m not posting my true feelings, it just means they have been accounted for before being thrown out there for anyone to else to read.
It feels right to write again.
Some time has passed since my husband moved out, some summer has been enjoyed, some sunshine has been soaked up. I am all Vitamin-D’d up. For a while there, my brain had been a bit hazy, my eyes a little misty and my heart immensely heavy. No one expects to go through a separation. That’s not why we get married. Raise that expectation bar exponentially though, because even fewer people feel ok about splitting up their families and putting their children through that same division. It’s just a less-than -ideal situation. (My new way of looking at it.)
To that last point, our girls are doing wonderfully well. They have made a really great adjustment to living in two homes. I remember a friend telling me a story sometime before my ‘physical’ separation took place, and it really stuck with me. A therapist had mentioned that if a parent going through (a recent) divorce responds enthusiastically with: ‘the kids are doing GREAT!’, a little red flag goes up. It’s a very hard transition for most children. Their worlds as they know them have been greatly altered. I am hyper-sensitive to what my girls are going through and I make sure that I am constantly checking in with them so as not to get too ‘comfortable’ in our new space. I don’t want to go through the motions and look past the emotions.
And my goodness, are there EVER emotions! Lots of them. All sorts of them. Last weekend, I think I experienced every single one of them in the span of 48 hours which left me feeling completely deflated and defeated. I was suddenly extra aware of all the ways being a single parent is sometimes too hard and other times really crappy.
I lay in bed on the Sunday night, hanging out on social media- as I do- and a Facebook thread grabbed my attention. A mom was expressing her frustration with her husband and the ‘lack’ of help around the house. It’s unfair to generalize, but I think it’s safe to say that MANY women feel this way about their partners at some point in time. (And if the parenting roles are reversed, I bet many men feel the same, if they are a stay-at-home parent!) The comment explained that ‘yes, he is the sole income-earner’, but ‘being home all day with young kids is exhausting too and it would be nice to get some help around the house’. That is not the comment verbatim, but you get the idea.
I started reading through the empathy from one mama after another. The “tell me about it” comments. The additions of “you think you have it bad- get this!…”. The unfiltered venting and the reassurance from so many women feeling the same way as the original commenter.
Something hit me hard as I read that thread. 5 months ago, I would have very likely added my own “ugh- I KNOW” with a follow-up of all the things I felt I did around the house on top of working full-time and on top of being the one to do kiddie drop-offs and pick-ups and activities and playdates and … oh look! There I go… it’s so easy to do!
I decided to add my own comment. It was the complete opposite of at least 95% of the rest of the comments. It wasn’t to ignite conflict, diminish others’ warranted feelings, or fuel controversy. I wrote it simply to share a hard truth I have been dealing with and how I wished I had been more grateful for a few things that I absolutely took for granted before I became a single mother.
This is such an interesting thread to be reading right now. I totally used to think the same things until being a single parent became my reality. The things I took for granted… Being able to pop out at 10pm to grab something from the grocery store. Being able to get out of the house first thing in the morning for a workout before hubby went to work. How does the babysitter get home at the end of the night? Someone has to stay with the sleeping kids! One parent to take one of the melting down kids while you deal with the OTHER melting down kid. My list is growing as the months go on. Don’t forget the little things like having an extra set of hands, even if they don’t seem to be doing all that much. <3
Oh! And someone to ‘get’ the spiders that sneak into the house. Never ever take that for granted! 😛
Photo credit: US Embassy New Delhi