Sustainably Single Parenting

Making the most of life's journey alongside my three!!!

Tough Week May 10, 2013

This has been a really tough week for me. I tried to relax and enjoy the fact that I’d have two full weeks between semesters. I tried to take it easy and just work slowly, calmly through my to-do list. I tried to keep up on self-care and CBT and even toyed with the idea of doing some guided meditations. But none of those things happened.

TheKillerSpeaksAfter a few days of cleaning I wound up freaking out that I was running out of time to get things done. I had that horrible nightmare (I mentioned it in my last post) and sleep has been impossible ever since (I’m not staying awake all night, but committing to sleep isn’t easy. Once I am asleep I have intense, violent, and exhausting dreams). I got an A in my class (yay!), but the joy faded quickly. I saw myself in a friend’s mirror, and within hours I was picking apart the image I’d seen. I’ve been watching The Killer Speaks way too frequently. It frightens me. The killers’ personalities are eerily similar to my husband’s.

I am feeling all out of sorts. Things are just swimming through my head. There’s so much to accomplish, but I have so little energy, and so little desire. Everything I do with my three young daughters takes an entire day. Every trip to the grocery store, every support group, every karate class, every therapy session; I only plan to do one big thing each day, if at all, because the simplest things take us five hours.

Even when we stay at home we’re busy from breakfast to bedtime business. It’s insane, and I’m completely drained. I would never really, but I wish I could just run away and do absolutely nothing for a couple of days. I need to rejuvenate. I want to rest. But that’s waaaay too much to ask. It’s tough to think that this will be my life, more or less, for another two decades.

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Okay, maybe I’m being dramatic. Maybe it will get easier over time. No. Not maybe. It will. I  am just very overwhelmed with right now. And to be completely honest, right now is not all that bad. I get to be at home with my daughters. Yes, the housework is endless, and everyday presents new challenges, but everyday I’m presented with their smiles and bright eyes, everyday I get to kiss chubby baby thighs, and when I do finally manage to get some sleep at night it is in a safe place.

There are people who care about me and my daughters. I am two courses shy of finishing my Master’s degree. No matter how hideous I feel there are people who reassure me of my beauty. I know that I still have the potential to go after my dreams. This week has been tough for me. I’ve been feeling low, but this week is just one more hurdle. I refuse to drop out of the race.

 

Still I Wonder…About Him March 29, 2013

I tried to convince myself not to worry about him months ago. I tried reminding myself of the bad times. I tried focusing on the felony charges, the reason for my restraining order, the pain and embarrassment of the entire situation. I tried telling myself that I was only feeding into his narcissistic desires if I spent my time and energy on him. I tried to reason with myself that with my heavy load I didn’t have strength left to carry the burden of continuing to worry about him. To wonder about him. To wish it were different.

But still I do. I was conditioned to put his needs ahead of my own, and even though I have not seen or spoken to him in ten months it’s terribly difficult for me to let my worries go. I still wonder what he’s thinking about me, about everything, and lately especially about our newborn baby. Does he blame me? Of course he blames me. What is he telling everybody? How has he framed things? I’m sure they all think I’m a monstrous psychotic manipulative bitch. It pains me. I miss his family, but they will never love me again.

I wonder if he still loves me. He never loved me. I know that he never really loved me and I still wonder if he still does simultaneously. QuestionMarksMaybe I am crazy. I wonder if he’s with somebody. What is he telling her? Are they the same things he told me about the mother of his first baby who he never sees? Is he convincing her that really I’m the abuser? That I caused all the hardship? That’s I’m insane? Of course he’s telling her that; he’ll never take responsibility for anything.

So why do I worry about whether or not he’s eating alright? Why do I care if he’s losing weight? Why do I brood over his ability to sleep at night? I spent the majority of my pregnancy an insomniac. I have no money to pay our bills in New England, but still I’ve made EVERY mortgage payment on our Illinois home since he left though he’s probably living in it. I have our three children, our three daughters ages five weeks to five years and I’m getting nothing from him.

So why the hell am I worried about him? Quite obviously he’s being well taken care of. He has more than likely convinced his family members of his innocence. He has probably started training a new woman. He is making calculated decisions regarding his legal proceedings. He doesn’t give a shit about me. Maybe that’s what bothers me? That I’ll always care for him even though he wronged me and it’s so easy for him to let go of me, of all of us.

It’s our second daughter’s fourth birthday tomorrow. Is he thinking of her? He never cared much for our second daughter. Maybe he’s happy to not be here. I have no idea. The not knowing anything is so hard. I think he knows that the not knowing is hard for me. He is probably loving every minute of my misery. I want to stop myself from wondering, from worrying, but some part of me might always be focusing on him. In spite of everything a huge part of me wants him to be alright, wants him to love me, wants him to care about our family. That part of me may be unwilling to allow myself to let go of the fantasy. The fantasy is better than constantly thinking he’s plotting to kill me…though him wishing me dead is probably closer to reality.

Still…I wonder.

 

Nobody Said This Was Going To Be Easy March 15, 2013

I am incredibly overwhelmed.

I put off my coursework to care for my kids.

I do my housework since I’m not doing coursework.

I put off my housework to do my coursework.

While doing my coursework my kids wreck the house.

The baby will not let me put her down.

I am constantly nursing, changing diapers, leaking milk, burping, soothing, being spit up on, peed on, pooped on.

I am constantly serving meals, washing dishes, pre-washing cloth diapers, grooming my children, educating my children, feeling guilty that I cannot find the time for educating myself, running errands, running myself into the ground.

I want to cry like my baby. Her cry is so committed, wholeheartedly unabashed.

I want someone to hold me, to rock me, to love me, to shhhhhhhh in my ear while I cry.

I want so badly for things to be alright.

 

 

Just Got Real February 25, 2013

Wow.

Nohra has been here for five days and sometimes it still seems like a dream to me. I really have three children.

I really have three beautiful little girls.

Nohra is absolutely amazing, my calmest child by far. Her temperament is incredibly mellow. I know that she may not keep this personality, but it’s much appreciated at the moment.

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My sister was able to come the day after Nohra’s birth to help me out and she’s leaving tomorrow. It has been so wonderful having her here. Everyone assured me that things would work out, and everyone was right.

I couldn’t have asked for a better midwife or a better birth. This is the first birthing experience that I’ve had where I can say without hesitation that it went perfectly. My neighbor/friend was amazing the day of the birth; I received such an immensity of love and help from her. Another friend let me borrow her dehydrator to prepare my placenta for encapsulation, and I’m quite honestly shocked by how much my sister committed to being useful. I feel very cared for and I am so appreciative.

Everyone who has helped me through this has helped to make it the best transition imaginable.

Thus far I am doing well to keep myself from thinking any sad thoughts. I may come close to considering something negative, but I quickly brush it away. There is so much to do right now. So much to accomplish in the next six months. I cannot bother with the unknown, the pain of the past. I need to stay strong for my curly girls. I need to stay strong for myself.

At this moment I feel so incredibly capable. I do not know what will become of our situation. I do not know what I will do or where we will live after I graduate, but…today I feel like I can make it work out somehow. Today I am not worried about our future. Today I know it’s going to be fine.

Everything is going to be just fine.

Maybe I am dreaming?

 

Welcome earth-side Nohra Florence February 22, 2013

She’s here!

Nohra wearing her first outfit ever.

Nohra wearing her first outfit ever.

I am so happy to announce the birth of my third daughter.

Nohra Florence was born at home on Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 9:52am.

She was 7lbs 4oz, the smallest of my brood. 21 1/2 inches long, lanky like her father,and oh so cute!

Her features are the perfect combination of both of her sisters’.  She is another unique mix of my husband and I.

Shortly after her birth. She is so attentive, strong, and curious!

Shortly after her birth. She is so attentive, strong, and curious!

And guess what? She came out head first! I’m not sure when she turned, it must have been while I was in labor because she was still breech at my prenatal on Monday. I’m so glad that I trusted her, that I trusted birth. I knew she’d come out alright 🙂

I will write up and post her birth story sometime soon, but for now I will just tell you that labor was more intense than I remember it being. It’s a journey every time, but I stayed strong. I labored for ten hours, and pushed for about eight minutes before she was born. So incredibly worth it, even these crazy postpartum contractions are bearable when I look into her eyes!

Terra holding Nohra

Terra holding Nohra

Amara holding Nohra

Amara holding Nohra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My big girls watched their baby sister being born and handled everything so well. The months of prep that we did really paid off; they were well prepared for the experience and able to enjoy it without any fear.

I am in love, once again. I cannot think of anything negative. I do not know how things will go these next few months or any of that. All I know right now is that I have a lovely, healthy newborn. I am going to indulge in her newness, her perfection, our bond. I am going to cherish this time getting to know her and enjoying her with my daughters and everything beautiful.

Nohra smiling in her sleep :)

Nohra smiling in her sleep 🙂

All of the circumstances I deal with will somehow unfold. At this moment I cannot imagine anything having less than a beautiful outcome.

 

Snow Day January 2, 2013

My mother tells me that I used to roll in the snow all the way to preschool when we lived in Michigan. I do not have that affinity anymore. A few days ago I woke up to this:

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It has snowed in New England several times in recent months, but I always had some legitimate excuse (school, homework, fatigue) to avoid going out in it with my girls. I’d promised them though, that the next substantial snowfall would not be ignored.

Going out was unavoidable, so I tried to make the best of it. I got the girls all suited up and put on my normal stuff. I can no longer zip my 3-in-1 coat because of my growing bump so I wore a sweatshirt beneath it. I don’t have snow boots or waterproof mittens so really I was not protecting myself nearly enough, but I layered as best I could.

The girls looked so cute in their snow pants and jackets 🙂 They really had a wonderful time outside in the snow. Maybe one day they’ll think it’s just a nuisance to be around, but for now they absolutely love it. I enjoyed being able to watch them enjoy something so simple. Thank you Nature!

And then she ate some off of the table

And then she ate some off of the table

Terra wondering if the snow will taste good

Terra tasting the snow

After deciding that snow is delicious she ate some off of the bench

After deciding that snow is delicious she ate some off of the bench

Then she made snow Angels

Then she made snow Angels

Amara made a slide out of the snow plowed from the parking lot

Amara made a slide out of the snow plowed from the parking lot

She slid and slid and slid

She slid and slid and slid

 

 

I almost hope it doesn't melt so quickly this time around...almost.

I almost hope it doesn’t melt so quickly this time around…almost.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resolutions December 31, 2012

2013 is going to be a very eventful year. My third daughter is due in February, my oldest will turn six, my second will turn four.

I will graduate from Emerson College with my master’s in Publishing and Writing, and possibly begin my career in the publishing industry.

I will continue coming to terms with myself; my failed marriage and the abuse I suffered throughout my eight year relationship transformed me. I do not consider every aspect of my marriage to have been negative. I do, however, realize that a lot of my identity was determined by my husband. If not directly, then by my attempts to conform to what I felt he requested of me.

Oftentimes I do not know if the thoughts I have are my own. Am I doing things because I like to do them or because I have been conditioned? Am I making decisions based on my attempts to keep him happy, or am I doing what’s best for my daughters and me? It would seem that with him out of the house, charged with a felony, over 1000 miles away, and unable to contact me due to the restraining order, I would have a better hold over my identity, but I don’t. Not yet.

I don’t know what type of music I like listening to anymore. I don’t if my political views are the same. I question my opinion of almost everything. I am not free if he still lives within me. I need to know what I believe. I need to relearn me. I used to be a pretty cool human being.

 

So even though the New Year’s Resolution thing is a little lame, the timing is perfect and there are several things I’d like to focus on in 2013:

Learning more about me – (outside of my relationship, even outside of being a mother)

Wearing my hair naturally – I haven’t used a relaxer (chemical straightener) for over eight years, and that transition was difficult, but I still feel discontent with the way I’ve styled my hair. I am still conforming. I am still blow drying and straightening, still damaging my curls. I would like to learn how to wear my hair in its most natural state. I know that it will take some time and I may feel intimidated by the newness of my appearance, but I believe it will pay off in the end.

Being confident -For so long I have internalized all of the negative things my husband said about me. It’s not worth listing those things, they are not true. I need to relearn my good qualities, redetermine my value, and let the beauty I have within me shine through. I was once the most fearless person in the room; I was bold without being brazen, confident but not cocky. I want to feel that certainty again. I want to exude self-confidence.

Meditating daily – Lately I try to meditate before getting out of bed in the morning and before going to sleep at night. Meditation is helping me to be at peace with things, to be positive about my future, to not be hindered by my past. I am enjoying the uplift that I get from each session and look forward to making meditation a habit.

Attaining physical fitness – I used to be incredibly fit. I could do 100 standard and 20 one-handed push-ups. I could run for hours. I had the body fat percentage of a body builder. It made me feel good to be strong and able-bodied. It gave me confidence to know that I was an animal who could protect herself from harm. I never showed off my six-pack, I didn’t even like to wear shorts. It wasn’t about the suitors I could attract with my body, it was about feeling powerful. I want to rebuild my strength. I know that I am due with my third child soon, and that I won’t be able to do everything I want to do right away, but I am setting my goals high for physical fitness and I will be working toward them in 2013.

Living more sustainably – We already make our own laundry detergent, bathroom cleaner, and dishwasher solution. We eat organic and local foods and shop our farmer’s market. I cloth diaper, breastfeed, and do lots of other crunchy things, but I’d like to start living even closer to nature. My main focus will be on the foods that we eat. I want to maximize our veggies, get better at gluten-free cooking and dive deeper into the paleo diet. I also want to be more frugal. I want to start making my own soap. I want to sew my own diapers or master EC. So many things really, but I am excited to be starting them all.

 

I don’t expect to fulfill every resolution as though they were items on my bucket list. I don’t see these objectives as things I can do and then be done with. These are aspects of my life that I want to focus on, get better at, and continue on with throughout the rest of my days.

I look forward to the new year and the things that I will accomplish in it. I know that every day will involve becoming a more complete me. Welcome 2013.

 

It’s Almost Time November 28, 2012

Filed under: Mama Moments — B_Momof3 @ 10:00 am
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Ten full weeks left of this pregnancy. ONLY TEN MORE WEEKS!

It seems impossible. Where did the time go? How has the majority of this pregnancy possibly passed by so quickly?

Just moments ago I was sitting in my bathroom, laughing at the hand I’d been dealt; I was already going through hell, facing insurmountable obstacles, but now the purple-tipped stick told me that I was pregnant as well. I laughed, unable to do anything else. Yet that was almost 30 weeks ago, and in another ten I will be holding my third daughter.

My third daughter: another strong-willed baby girl. More than likely to be a curly-haired sister; another honey-oak skinned beauty I’ll contribute to the world.

I remember being nauseous. Those first 14 weeks or so of feeling fairly low. I am still in pain; my ribcage and my pelvis ache, the Braxton Hicks contractions keep coming, and I cannot ever find a decent position for peaceful sleep.

Still, one month until Christmas and then only two more weeks before I’m full term, then only four more weeks before my estimated due date. It all seems so soon.

I need time to nest. I need time to set up her bed (though she’ll spend most of her time nursing beside me). I need to pull out all the cloth diapers and clothing; sorting, washing, folding. I need to buy a play yard, a quality baby carrier/sling. I need to test the monitors. I need to make more laundry detergent because I started dipping into my stash.

I need to finish my classes; I need to not only pass, but to get an A in both, because I’ve yet to get less since starting grad school. I need to hand in proposals for my Master’s Project and a Directed Study. I need to find the time to apply for my PhD, and an MFA…so many things.

I suppose I could use some sleep, but more realistically I need to spend my days doing as many things as I can manage. When Baby comes I need to be certain that I used my time wisely; that I’ve done all I can to make sure she has a nice earth-side entry.

Ten full weeks left of this pregnancy. ONLY TEN MORE WEEKS!

 

Ultrasound Results October 19, 2012

I caved.

Yesterday I went in for another ultrasound because the first time the tech couldn’t see the baby’s spine. They wanted to check to make sure that Baby’s spine is fused, to ensure against spina bifida. For days I’ve been undecided as to whether or not I should try once more to find out Baby’s sex.

Today (24 weeks)

My curiosity was getting the better of my resolve to let it remain a mystery. I never checked Baby’s sex during my last two pregnancies, but what really swayed me to find out was knowing how much I want a boy, and wanting needing to deal with my disappointment (if necessary) before baby is born.

Hands in fists (top) Straight on view of face (bottom)

I know it may sound unreasonable, a healthy baby is a healthy baby, but I refuse to lie to myself (anymore) and my heart has been set on having a boy.

Baby was positioned perfectly for the ultrasound. Head near my stomach, feet near my bladder. We could see a perfectly fused spine, cute little feet with the second toe being longer than the others, tiny hands clenched into fists, an adorable profile, and when we peaked at the genital area…a small area between the legs with a line down the middle.

I’M HAVING A GIRL!!!!

Legs (left) Profile (right)

Another girl.

But…I’m okay with it (…today. It took me some time to work through my initial disappointment…admittedly. I’m so glad I didn’t wait another 16 weeks!).

What was the big deal about having a boy? Well, I don’t have one, that’s the most obvious answer, but having a son meant a lot to me for other reasons as well. It might sound silly, but I wanted to be the woman to bear the male child who would carry on my husband’s family name. I know that my husband and I are no longer together, and some might say it’s a good thing he had no sons, but it still feels like a duty that I am not fulfilling. I feel somewhat, apologetic, even though I know the baby’s sex determination has pretty much nothing to do with me.

I was also disappointed because this will be my last baby, and this means that I’ll never have a son. I know, I know, I’m only 27. My best friend says not to worry, that I’ll have a son with the man of my dreams, but I cannot even fathom another dream man. I vowed to never love again if things did not work out with my husband.

Silly sisters (today)

I also promised myself to never put my children through the ups and downs of having mommy dating; it was hell for me growing up while my mother searched for her soul mate. I’m quite certain that I should just get used to being lonely. Every time I think of a companion I still wish it could be my husband (minus the bad stuff), but I know that’s not going to happen. So…I’ll never have a son.

There are good things about not having a male child as well. I would feel even more compelled to have a positive male influence around while my son were growing up than I feel obligate to having all girls. I still think it’s important for my daughters to see positive examples of males, and have interactions with them, whether or not it can or will be their father. It just seems…more detrimental for a boy not to have this. Maybe I’m just sexist?

I already have a ton of girl clothes. Terra was born at the end of March and Amara at the beginning of July, so I have mostly summer items for the first 0-6 month range, and Baby is due in February, but what I have may suffice. I’ll start checking my supplies. Also, I know what to do with a girl child. I know what she will have to go through in life as a woman. I will be able to empower her and contribute one more strong, independent, beautiful, loveable, and unique woman to the world.

Sisters hugging 🙂

I will have to fund three expensive weddings. That’s not necessarily a perk, but something for which I should probably start planning. There’s always the chance that one or more of them will be a lesbian…then I guess the parents on both sides split the expenses? I suppose I’ll worry about that if/when there’s the need (I have plenty on my worry plate already)…

Baby is a girl 🙂 She is healthy. She is in the 60th percentile at the moment. Her name will be something to do with nature, five letters, and end in “r-a” (because I’ve begun a trend already with Amara and Terra’s names). I’m thinking Keira, but I’m not sure yet. If you have any ideas please share them with me!

I’m glad that I found out Baby’s sex. I needed to come to terms with this. I am so happy that she’s going to be in my arms in 16 weeks!

 

First Day of School September 5, 2012

I swore that I wouldn’t cry after I’d dropped them off. I wouldn’t think about the them losing their backpacks or the lunch lady getting their lunchboxes mixed up or the teachers putting them in the wrong classrooms. I wouldn’t think about their tears…they will not cry, they will not cry. I would not think about them having potty accidents, but just in case I made sure to oversupply their teachers with extra outfits, and training undies for rest time. I would not think about the teachers forgetting to use our fluoride-free toothpaste, or our chemical-free sunscreen, or the organic cotton bedding…I would not worry about a thing. They will be just fine. They will be just fine. I will not cry.

The girls were ecstatic for their first day of school. My sister supplied their ensembles, which they loved, and I took about a zillion pictures of them (and all of their gear) before we left so that I’d never forget a thing!

My little school girls!

First Day of School Meals

Snacks to keep at school

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rolling Disney Princess backpacks

 

All in all the day went well. One short teary-eyed transition into I-cannot-do-what-I-want-all-the-time land, one potty accident, one stolen/misplaced/lost Disney Princess lunchbox, one teacher each that they adore, and one anxious (but tear-free) mama who was happy to complete the test run before she starts school as well (tomorrow).

So far good enough.