Sustainably Single Parenting

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

Blogging Hiatus June 21, 2013

I love this blog.

A little less than one year ago Sustainably Single Parenting (SSP) began. My goal was to be candid about my life as things progressed; from the end of my relationship with my abusive husband to whatever lied ahead for me and my kids. I was pregnant, in school full time, broke, and terrified. I wasn’t sure if I’d be homeless by the end of my pregnancy, I wasn’t sure how I’d manage to pay for things. I lived on two-four hours of sleep almost every night. But three nights a week I’d write.

I’d write about what I was feeling, how I missed him, how I grieved. I’d write about the children, their transition, and counseling. I’d write about my terror, and my methods for finding peace. I’d write about the disappointment of losing a dream. And through everything, people listened. People read, and reached out, and responded, and gave advice. People showed genuine empathy, told their stories, gave encouragement, and helped me to revitalize my self-confidence.

This blog has been a lifeline, a therapeutic outlet for me. It has been a chance for me to come forward about my situation, and hopefully, to inspire other victims to find the strength to leave their abusers. This blog has been a way for me to connect with amazing people, read heartwarming and heart-wrenching stories, and stand strong as a survivor who is certain of her ability to thrive.

I do not plan to give up blogging. I will return to SSP. But for awhile, I’ll have to take a break to work on other things. I’m in my last semester of graduate school, and though I only blog two days each week, finding the time and energy to keep on that schedule while single parenting three babies and taking two classes and maintaining a household is proving much too stressful. I want to keep telling my story, keep connecting with readers and meeting new people, keep on helping the DV community in some small way.

My plan is to come back once I graduate (August 2013) or sooner if I can manage to find more balance before I finish my Master’s degree. Until then, you can stay updated on our journey via Twitter. I hate to have to leave, but I have to sacrifice some things if I want to graduate without repeating my last semester. I’ve come this far…I have to do what is necessary for me to finish.

I know you all will understand. I will miss you until I blog again 🙂

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Allowing Myself June 7, 2013

I’ve had some really hard days lately. I don’t know if it’s the fact that his birthday is right around the corner, or if it’s the pressure from the load I carry, or if it’s the stress of another divorce hearing fast approaching, but I’ve felt a hopelessness come and go with great intensity over these past two weeks. NTummyTimeI’m trying to allow myself these moments of sadness without being overcome by them. It’s a tough balance.

When my baby smiles I am overcome with such joy and such turmoil all at once that I physically ache from within. She is the happiest baby I’ve ever known and I feel like I don’t deserve her sometimes, because I cannot give her more at the moment. I cannot give her a stress-free mommy. I wish I could.

Sometimes I wonder if it would’ve been better to keep him around, to deal with his rage, wrath, and degradation. Maybe it would’ve been better than this? Than this mama who cannot smile without threatening the levees that hold back the tears. This mama who cannot balance cleaning the kitchen and getting her homework completed. This mama who, after a year alone and lots of therapy, still wishes there was a way to have her husband be the man he was in her illusions.

I’m allowing myself to miss him. I’m allowing myself to remember. FarmRICI’m trying to allow the bad memories as well though, because I also need to remember why it was better to let him go.

This has been a hard year, but I’ve gotten through it. I’ve cried more than I thought I would, but that’s another thing I’ve allowed myself. I have every right to cry sometimes. I’m allowed to feel sad. I’m allowed to feel let down by my situation. I’m allowed to take a time out from my kids. I’m allowed to hire a babysitter. I’m allowed to keep loving the bands he introduced me to. I’m allowed to change my hair, wear makeup, and find myself attractive. I’m allowed to watch what I want, eat what I want, and go where I want to all without being punished.

I’m taken aback by my newly acquired freedoms. I went from living with my mother to one year of college dormitory life and then moved in with him. This is the first time in my entire life that I’ve been in complete control of my decision making.

It’s difficult, but I’m allowing myself to let go, and in that sense I am allowing myself to grow.

 

Break Time May 3, 2013

This has been an awfully busy week for me. I had to go to court on Monday for my divorce (a frivolous pretrial hearing, let’s just say I’m still married), and my final project for my eMarketing class was due today. I’m low on sleep, my house is a disaster, and my to-do list steadily grows…

Tomorrow we’re going to get our pictures taken by a professional photographer friend, and on Sunday our town has a Kids Festival, but starting Monday I have two more weeks before the start of my next two (last two) classes, and I am elated for the break. Sure, it’s only two weeks before I dive back into my last 8 credit hours of study, but two weeks is all I need.

IceCreamI’m going to clean like crazy, and I’ll try to not complain because I don’t have homework to complete on top of housework for awhile. I’m going to get back on my schedule, stop eating Häagen-Dazs, start exercising, spend a few hours watching TV since I cannot afford to keep the cable on (our promo ends next week), and soak up as much sunshine as my body will allow.

I’m going to spend time cuddled up with each of my babies. I’m going to work on making my natural hair behave. I might take a bubble bath and play with makeup, just for kicks. Two weeks without classes?! I’m going to love this!

I have so many things that I need to accomplish, but for these next two weeks I’m going to try to focus on rejuvenating. I’m still going to get the necessary things done, but being frantic is going to take a backseat to me spending time with nature, laughing as much as I can,  and calling a few old friends.

Boy, am I going to enjoy this! Two whole weeks. TWO WHOLE WEEKS!!!

 

 

Stuck April 19, 2013

I don’t know what’s wrong with me lately. I have not been feeling very energetic and I haven’t been getting much done.

The laundry is clean, but not folded. The kitchen is clean, but there are boxes that still need to be taken to storage blocking 1/4 of the room. The rest of my house is in a decent disarray, nothing alarming, but it’s not what I’d want visitors to see. I don’t feel like making the house pretty. I just feel…meh.

I just want to play on my smartphone, eat Häagen-Dazs ice cream bars, watch H2 or the World Channel or A&E all day. I want to lie in bed awake, but be able to drift in and out of a daydream. I want to sleep. Goodness gracious how glorious it would be to get a truly good night’s sleep.

I feel so stagnant lately. Like I’m stuck. I’m late on my homework, finals are in two weeks, my last two courses start in one month. Today he has a hearing for the felony charges and soon there’s a pretrail hearing for my divorce. I’m just…all over the place, but I need to be focused. I need to stay on course. I’ve got to get through this. I’ve got to keep going. I cannot stop to think about it or I might realize how insane it seems that I’m trying to handle what I’m juggling.

This isn’t easy. Everyone who sees me says, “You’ve got your hands full,” and I just smile politely and nod my agreement while thinking to myself, “If you only knew.” Then I wonder what they know, or what they’re thinking. I look self-consciously at my empty ring finger and then at my 8 week old baby. Do they think I’m a whore? A loser? A welfare queen? It’s so embarrassing. I cannot stop thinking that everyone is judging me negatively, even when they smile.

Some days go so well. Some days I can push past this fear and this longing and this uncertainty and this constant knot inside my throat which chokes back sobbing. Some days I can relax and play with my daughters and soak in their innocence and zest. Sometimes I almost forget.

This is not a time like that.

 

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.

 

Me and my TV March 11, 2013

CurbTeeI was never one for watching television when I was younger. By the time I was allowed to dictate my own viewing experience I was so involved with sports and extra-curricular activities that I never found the point in starting a series; I couldn’t commit to the demand of watching the next episode every week so I typically just rented movies.

In my adult life I haven’t had the money to keep cable consistently, but I’ve watched Curb Your Enthusiasm and The Office on DVD. I also got hooked on Criminal Minds, Law and Order, and The First 48 while working overnights in hospitals; those shows were always on, always entertaining, and watching them in order isn’t required. SDDynastyame goes for Storage Wars and Antiques Roadshow, plus I could always go for anything on the Discovery Channel or National Geographic.

Since Nohra’s birth I’m excited to say that I am watching a series. I didn’t see season one and I just chanced upon episodes from season two a few weeks ago. I had no clue what I was watching, or what purpose it served, but it made me laugh so I kept watching. The show is Duck Dynasty. It makes me happy happy happy.

I’ve also fallen head over heels for the History 2 Channel. I’ve been learning so much and I’m retaining more information from the shows than I used to be able. I figure it’s because I’m single now. h2-logo-190x71I’ve heard that when you end a marriage you also end a reliance on the other person’s memory. He was my walking talking history book, my encyclopedia, and I couldn’t ever seem to keep the facts straight when he’d teach me. Now that we’re no longer together I find it much easier to recall historical data and lately I’ve been craving more knowledge. I want to soak up everything I can learn about everything.

But if I’m just itching for entertainment while I nurse my baby I turn back to A&E.

 

I Should Feel Fine March 1, 2013

So far I am keeping it together…mostly.

I wouldn’t quite call it baby blues or postpartum depression.

I am just…slightly…less happy today. I also felt this way yesterday…and the night before.

The day before last I made my first true attempt to start back on my coursework for the Directed Study I’m taking this semester. I couldn’t find the time to read more than twenty words of my textbook. I felt like such a failure. I was so overwhelmed.

I’m doing wonderfully with the housework, and with keeping the girls on their daily homeschooling schedule, I’ve stayed caught up with the bills (which I’m paying primarily with my school loans, though we did eventually qualify for some government aid and, though my politics disagree with welfare on the whole, we would be a lot worse off without at the moment).

Things are okay. Quite honestly. I should be happy. There aren’t any dishes in my sink. I only have one load of cloth diapers waiting for me to fold. Nohra was NINE POUNDS at her one week checkup! My milk is so abundant that next week I’m going to start donating it to women who have lower supplies. I should feel fine!

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But I don’t. I’m feeling kind of low.

I’ve tried not to think about my husband…my…I don’t know what else to call him. I mean, he is still my husband, for the time being. Although I haven’t seen or spoken to him since May, and although I filed for divorce in August, and although he’s being charged with a felony for what he did to me, I still call him my husband. He will probably keep that title indefinitely.

I’ve tried to stay in good cheer and not spend too much time considering the things I haven’t been able to accomplish. My midwife tells me to go easy on myself. She says to keep in mind that it has only been a bit over one week since I gave birth and the fact that I’m even keeping up with the girls’ schedule is amazing. She says that most women find caring for three children difficult even when they have a partner’s assistance, so I shouldn’t get upset with myself for not being able to do everything so soon after the birth.

I am upset with myself though. I’m upset for not being able to find the time to accomplish more coursework before the birth. I’m upset that I’m not finding the time and energy to accomplish everything now. I am not upset at my babies; not one of the three. They are everything wonderful to me. I am upset that I cannot spend more time and energy on them exclusively.

Being upset doesn’t help anything really. It motivates me somewhat to do better the next day, but ultimately it just highlights everything I haven’t done. My midwife says to try focusing on the things I have been able to do, and to try to feel good about that. I’m trying, but it isn’t easy to disregard the growing mound of additional obligations.

I know that I will get through this. I know that I will be strong. I just wish the days were ten more hours long.