Sustainably Single Parenting

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

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.

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Nesting…or not January 7, 2013

Nesting.GlovesThere’s still so much to get done and nothing is clean enough and nothing stays clean very long around here.

I’m always doing the dishes. I’m always folding the clothes. I’m always cleaning the girls’ room for them because I’m too tired to incorporate it into their schedule.

I’m always cleaning their gerbil cage. I’m always giving the girls baths, washing, conditioning, combing, and braiding their hair. I feel like I never stop cooking.

I am so low on energy as I am still rarely sleeping, but every ounce of me is saying…MUST PREPARE FOR BABY!

I have to get the bookcase disassembled so that I can put up her swing in that corner. This entails removing the knickknacks, boxing the books and moving the boxes down to the cellar. There’s no space in the cellar for the boxes until I bring the baby gear up. There’s no place in the condo to store the baby gear except the kitchen, but I still have the Christmas stuff in the kitchen and the buckets for the laundry detergent. I need to take the Christmas boxes to my storage unit, make three batches of laundry detergent and clear the kitchen space to get the process started.

But I never have the time to make it to my storage unit or the strength and will to load the boxes in the van. I have little opportunity to be in the kitchen making laundry detergent because I cannot seem to get a break from cooking and cleaning. I just…AAUGH!!! There is so much to get done and so little time before she comes and I want everything to be perfect and I’m just not doing enough.

I am not capable of doing so much.Overwhelmed Mother

Despite my desire to get everything perfect I have to listen to my body as well. When I am low on sleep and doing everything to provide for my two little earth-side ladies it’s hard to find the time and energy to focus on Baby #3. I really want everything to be clean and organized and ready, but it’s so hard to do my nesting when I have so many other responsibilities.

School starts back up in ten days. It does not feel like I’ve had nearly one month of a break. I cannot believe that somehow I am supposed to keep up with the every day, my education, a new baby, a three-year old, a five-year old, and the aftermath of a failed marriage. What am I thinking?! How am I going to handle this?!

Keep breathing…that’s the first step. Keep doing what I can handle every day. Keep being the mother that I want my children to remember me being. Keep believing in myself. Keep refusing to quit. I can get through this. Maybe I will not make it to every nook and cranny of the condo, and maybe the baby gear assembling will take the back seat to sorting cloth diapers and infant clothing. The most important part is getting Baby here safely; I must remain confident that I will be able to sustain.

We’re going to make it through this okay. I would feel so much more relaxed though, if I could just dismantle that bookcase.

 

28 down, 12 to go December 14, 2012

I cannot really believe it, at this point I am still in shock.

degreeMy last final for the semester was due at 8pm and I got it in at 7:59. Complete! 28 credits of my graduate school coursework down, and only 12 more credits to go before I have my Master’s!

Despite all of the negativity in my life at the moment and all that it took just to get here, to stay here…I am so close. I know I’m going to make it.

Yes, next semester I’ll have a newborn and two other children. I’ll have even less money, no job, and no one helping me, but I will still take a class. Such is life when you’re living off of loan money. During the summer I’ll take two more courses, and then I will finally have the degree of my dreams!

I am so excited that my three daughters will get to see me walk the stage at my graduation. I know they won’t quite understand the significance of graduating, nor will they be able to contemplate the complexity of my journey, but one day they will be extremely proud of me, and on my graduation day I’m certain that they’ll cheer, “Go Mama!” like always. I love their encouragement. I couldn’t push through this without them.

Amara Sleeping - Less than one week old

Amara sleeping – Less than one week old

I made it through the semester, and not by the skin of my teeth. I’m quite sure that I will receive an A in both classes, I successfully handed over my student organization presidency without letting the organization fall apart, and I bonded with several classmates.

I functioned on three hours of sleep for more than 75% of it all, somehow. That was very unhealthy of me, but I survived it, and now I will take the next few days to do absolutely nothing (except light household chores, and things that really interest me). I will try to take a short break from the overwhelming state of my life and just recuperate.

In eight short weeks I will be having my third baby, and plenty needs to take place before she arrives, but for these next few nights I want to revel in my glory. I did something amazing. I didn’t let myself quit. I deserve a bit of sleep for it.

 

The Haunting Continues December 12, 2012

It had been so long since he had haunted my dreams. A week or so of semi-peaceful lack of sleep. But last night he returned with a ferocity, a vow to ruin me, and my well-crafted safety plan does nothing for me while I’m in an REM Cycle.

Sometimes I don’t realize it until waking. Sometimes, like the first of my four nightmares last night, he is back to being my typical husband. In my dream, I go through the motions of “staying in my place” (something he repeatedly instructed me to do throughout our eight year relationship). I ride the roller-coaster of our marriage through my dream and everything feels strangely familiar. I even feel the knot in the pit of my stomach and the frog in my throat; that constant conflicting feeling of wanting to avoid confrontation while simultaneously aching to defend myself.

In other nightmares, The Big Incident occurs in the same way that it did, or varied ways. The result is my pain, my fear, and my lack of control. He always wins.

If I were to believe Freud, then every one of my dreams is some form of wish-fulfillment. So in some sick subconscious way do I wish that my husband was still here, controlling my life, haunting me day and night? I suppose there was comfort in the familiarity of our relationship. There is something addictive about abuse.

But despite my loneliness, my constant state of uneasiness, my inability to control his presence in my dreams, I do not want to return to the daily terror of being his lady. How is it that after nearly seven months apart, a restraining order and other legal proceedings taking place, and with over 1000 miles between us, he still possesses me?

I want to feel free; if only in my dreams.

 

Maybe I’ll Cry Myself to Sleep November 12, 2012

It seems as though my get up and go has gotten tangled up in the struggle; my overwhelming list of things I need to accomplish.

When I say need I really mean NEED and not want.

I WANT to find a hairdresser and get my dead ends cut off; it has been over a year since a professional touched my hair and this pregnancy is not favoring the weeks that I go without washing. Washing natural African-American hair is time-consuming. I do not have time.

I WANT to sit down with my daughters and color. Play board games. Have tea parties and play dress up and do each others hair. I want to pull out the couch bed and pop popcorn and watch a silly animated movie.

But first I’d NEED to get the six loads of clean laundry off the couch and folded and into drawers. I need to run another load of dishes before we run out of spoons. I need to take a shower…not sure how long it has been. I need to do my schoolwork…

I NEED to sleep. But even on the weekends, when I should have more time for peace and should worry less because I don’t have to wake up at 5am to get everyone up and out the door on time for class, I cannot sleep. I have not been able to sleep properly since The Big Incident, but lately it is worse than ever. I sit around like a zombie, always tired, but never able to settle down. When I do sleep, I have these terribly vivid and horrific dreams. He is always in them. He is always in control.  Upon waking I feel like I have just finished the fight of my life. Sleeping is more exhausting than staying awake.

I feed and bathe my daughters. I read to them – we’ve recently read almost every book in the Skippyjon Jones series and the How Do Dinosaurs (do various things) series several times each. I take them to their appointments and therapy sessions and sports lessons and educational programs. They are the focus of all of my energy.

I have no energy for me. I NEED to focus on me, because she’s inside of me, my growing baby. I am now 28 weeks pregnant, and she is growing steadily, healthily, and I’m hoping she comes out nice and chubby. But still, I cannot find the energy: to sleep, to complete my grad school assignments, to rid myself of my preoccupation with my husband. Why should I care about him? Why should I give him the satisfaction? I’m almost certain he’s not thinking about me. He is probably already wooing some other woman. And why should I care if he is with somebody? He DOES NOT LOVE me! But I do care…and I do worry, and I am afraid that he has already replaced me, and it still hurts, even though he has hurt me.

I am not certain that I need to weep, but maybe that would help me. I hear that crying is healthy, but I’ve always considered it a sign of being weak. I hate that once I start crying I find it hard to stop; I hate the lingering headache, the animal noises that come along with crying fits; the wetness. I haven’t cried since The Big Incident; I’ve been too busy with making ends meet, taking care of my babies, and not utterly failing at life, but maybe I can find some time to weep this week. Yes…I’ll have to schedule in crying. Maybe I’ll cry myself to sleep.

 

Depression Looms October 26, 2012

I feel like I’m just days away from falling into a deep depression.

I’ve refused to succumb to it, but it’s closing in on me. I know the warnings well; the hopelessness, the loneliness, the emptiness, the terror.

I find myself preoccupied with thoughts of how it came to this and I reexamine the part I played in it all. Is this all my fault? In so many ways I have to take the blame for what has become of my adult life.

It has been five months since The Big Incident and I have yet to shed a tear. Recently though, I feel my eyes brimming with them every time I am reminded of him, and everything imaginable reminds me of him. Only my strong will, my unwillingness to allow my daughters to see me crying, my stubbornness to not submit to the helplessness of having been victimized, my fear of losing what little control I maintain over my life, keeps the tears from spilling over.

There’s the obsession. I may hide it better nowadays as I am great at suppressing my deepest and most painful issues. But my resolve to stay away from him does not ward off the daily surfacing of debilitating worries over him.

There’s the uncertainty. The not knowing how things will go with the legal proceedings surrounding The Big Incident. Not knowing what to tell my children when they ask how long it will be before they see Daddy. Not being able to plan my future beyond surviving the next few days, next few weeks, next few months without breaking down.

There’s the paranoia. Everybody is out to get me. Every tall, thin, blonde-haired, pale-skinned man is a threat to me. Every glance from a stranger toward my growing belly makes me instantly subconscious that they’ll see my empty ring finger. I am no man’s woman. I must be someone’s whore. Surely they’re thinking I am nothing more than another unwed mother-to-be, ignorant of the world’s inner workings, incapable of succeeding. Poor poor pitiful me.

There are the unhealthy behaviors. I am not eating properly. I am consuming fewer vegetables than I should be. I am, however, favoring milk chocolate. I am not sleeping. Even when I don’t have class the next day I find myself awake for hours past useful brain activity. I have so much work to complete, homework to catch up on, applications to finish, approvals to attain, but so little energy for being much more than a really decent deadline artist. I am low on patience. I am nearly devoid of joy.

There’s so much sadness behind this smile. So much doubt clouding my determination. There’s an overwhelming fear of failure. There’s impossibility that I am constantly trying to defeat. On the outside, I keep smiling, but to be honest, this is all but killing me.

 

Powerless October 8, 2012

Every month, every hearing I lose one week’s worth of sleep. From the days preceding the hearing to the days following I am incapable of focusing on anything but the fate of my husband. I worry for him, I wonder what will happen, I wind through a range of emotions. Fear is ever-present; an abundance of anxiety and tension. I try to relax by accepting that there is nothing I can do. There is no way to hurry through these stagnant periods to find out what the future holds.

The system will run its course, the lawyers will do their dances, the D.A. will push our case back to the depths of ItCanWait because of its insignificance to the community. And so I wait. Frantic, helpless, but hoping that this hearing will mean something different, that this one will possibly end my monthly torment, that something will come of it, or that they will dismiss it once and for all.

I will be steadfast and strong, but my determination to persevere does not quell the discomfort of being temporarily powerless.

I have no choices left but to wait patiently or to wait impatiently. I long to know something…anything. I cannot plan for my future. I do not understand the system’s structure and processes. I cannot find peace. The most I can do to get through this is to keep my mind off of it, but that feels like an injustice to my husband. I am still compelled to protect him, to put his importance ahead of my own. But I cannot protect him any longer. I do not know where he is or what he is doing or who he has replaced me with. I cannot determine whether he misses me or wants me dead. I do not know if he will ever speak to me again, and it kills me.

I am incapable of controlling this aspect of my life. I wear the weight from day-to-day and fight insomnia at night. I wait…constantly battling inside. I suffer…but I survive.