Sustainably Single Parenting

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

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.

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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.

 

M.A. Candidate – Publishing and Writing November 16, 2012

I’ve always been fascinated by the Book Publishing industry.

Book

When I was a child I was enamored by books; their creation was such a mystery and I was interested in everything. Who was the author? How did the author get the idea to tell this story? Who was in charge of making it a book? How was the book manufactured? How is it that the book is available for us to purchase? How did they get that shiny gold edge on the pages of our bibles? How do people get into this business?

Upon acquiring a new book I would look first to the copyright page. I wanted to know as much as possible about its origins, I wanted to somehow unravel the mystery, but for some reason it never occurred to me that book publishing was a tangible career possibility.

Not until my senior year of undergraduate college, while interning for a journal published through my university, was I introduced to the behind-the-scenes of publishing. I found it fascinating. From acquiring works, to selecting which pieces to include in the journal, to editing the pieces, to electronically formatting the works for print publication, everything was enthralling.  I enjoyed it so much that the journal’s Editor suggested I intern for the university’s press. My university had a press? I hadn’t known a thing about it, and I was ecstatic.

During my time at the university press I began to see the mysteries of book publishing revealed right before my eyes. I wanted to know more; I wanted to learn everything. There are only a handful of universities in the country which offer Master’s degrees in Publishing; I knew that Emerson College would be perfect for me. Five years passed before I was able to attend; one mortgage, two children, the roller coaster of my abusive marriage, and the continual lack of finances all attributed. Nevertheless, I was determined to make it to Boston, to learn even more about the ins and outs of the industry, to meet and network with people who actually work in publishing, to further unravel the mystery, the magic, of bookmaking.

Being here has been wonderful. I love the city, I love the school and the people that I am surrounded by, who are as enamored by good writing and beautiful manufacturing as I am. I have met people on all sides of the industry, from authors, to editors, to marketing folk, from agents, to booksellers, to those who are brave enough to do rights and permissions, from traditional booksellers to eBook professionals, from printing facility personnel to distribution managers. All sides of the spectrum are being shown to me through this program, and I feel so fortunate to have made it here. I love that I am getting my Master’s degree in a field that intrigues me, fulfills me in a way that no other profession has the ability. I belong in this industry, I breathe publishing.

After this semester I will be three courses away from obtaining my M.A. in Publishing and Writing. Just three courses away; I am going to make it. I will have no choice but to stay in school through the birth of Baby #3. I will not be able to take a break as we are currently living off of my loan money. It scares me a little, but I have the support of my program’s faculty, and I hope to be allotted flexibility. I will not give up, I will not drop out. If I quit now I will probably never finish; I am too close to quit. And I want this.

career-opportunities

I don’t know what the future holds for me as far as it goes with me actually working in the publishing industry. I have learned so much throughout my schooling that I have a wide range of interests in various aspects of the trade. I absolutely love marketing, but I unexpectedly fell in love with production as well. I think that trade books would be exciting to sell, but I am compelled to work for a scholarly press. Then there’s always novelty books, textbooks, electronic publishing, or something else.

Only time will tell which direction I may go. Right now my focus is on graduating, taking care of my three babies, and stabilizing our lives. One thing I can count on is the industry still being around when I am back on my feet. Only three more classes and I will have a Master’s degree in the field of my dreams. I must find the strength to keep going. I’ve come so far. I am so close now.

I will succeed.

 

Carry On November 5, 2012

I’ve been trying to keep my mind off of…my mind.

Yes, it is as difficult as it sounds.

Not only is my mind riddled with worries, but my body is burgeoning with my growing baby, and every time she moves I feel a mixture of awe and grief.

I’m trying my hardest to eat more vegetables, get more sleep, and balance myself emotionally. I recently started a book on meditation. It has only been a few days, but already I am able to breathe more deeply, think more clearly, and feel more energy coursing through me as I bring myself into a state of awareness.

I’m in the process of selecting a therapist. I want to talk with someone, to disallow myself from falling into the depths of sorrow. I want to work on it now, because I do not wish to succumb to postpartum depression.

Somehow I must keep going.

Lately I feel so alone. It’s a complexity, feeling lonely while someone is growing inside of me; while most of my time is spent parenting two beautiful darlings who hardly ever give me a moment to myself; while commuting to campus and taking classes in the heart of Boston.

But I am heartsick, for I am without him. He was not good for me, but I was used to the small comforts, the familiarity, even the cycle of never knowing which side of him I’d be encountering.

How difficult I’m finding it to recondition my thinking, to force myself to stop thinking about him. I considered him in every decision I made for the past eight years and it is nearly impossible to stop myself from wondering how he will feel about or respond to the choices I make. I am still making decisions based upon my fears, trying hard not to do things that would make him retaliate.

But aren’t I free from those shackles? Have I not broken those chains? Cannot I think for myself nowadays?

I ridicule myself for my weakness. I want so badly to let go, to not allow him to continue to control me. How is it even possible? Nearly six months since The Big Incident and over 1000 miles between us have not yet proved enough to liberate me. I am still factoring him into my daily routine.

Am I cursed to forever be his worshipper? Will I bow eternally at his feet? Mentally, I’m still clinging to his approval. Parts of me will forever feel incomplete.

It’s difficult to balance sorting things out with trying to keep from thinking about them, but I am trying.

I will sustain.

 

Sustainable Living August 31, 2012

I used to measure my sustainability efforts in loads of cloth diapers, laundered with homemade detergent and hung to dry outside on a line. I used to pride myself on knowing all the vendors at the farmer’s market, for being an owner at our local co-op grocery, and for making homemade baby food out of seasonal vegetables. I wowed my friends with stories of natural birthing and annoyed my family with unsolicited information about ingredients lists. I spent the last eight years perfecting my ecological sustainability, but I was not living sustainably all around.

I am now focusing on “the ability to be sustained.” Sustain has numerous meanings.

I will not give way. I will not yield. I will keep going.

Becoming a single mother has been the hardest challenge of my life and I cannot pretend that things are going to get significantly better any time soon. Finishing graduate school, being due with my third child in February, dealing with the immensity of guilt and fear and frustration that comes with having a restraining order against someone I used to share a bed with, keeping the hope of someday being able to have a conversation with him despite the numerous times he has hurt me…

I have experienced great suffering, and life-altering loss, but I will endure. I will bear the weight of these burdens.

These days living sustainably is measured in how many times I can see the silver lining. It is the smile I wear in public even though I am crying inside. It is my unwillingness to drop out of graduate school no matter how impossible my situation seems; my decision to remain positive about an unplanned pregnancy; my dedication to continuously work toward being a more patient, respectful, and attached parent; my refusal to let my marriage, The Big Incident, or the aftermath of them destroy me.

I will build up my support system and my inner strength. I will live sustainably. The environment’s long-term ecological balance
will certainly benefit from more strong-willed, intelligent, sustaining women.

 

‘Tis the Season to go Rummaging August 3, 2012

Filed under: Simply Sustainable — Jet @ 9:57 pm
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Summer just isn’t summer without yard sales. My motivation for going out today, since we really didn’t need any more toys to add to our cycling schedule, was to find dining room chairs.

We have been without dining room chairs for an entire year now. The girls seem not to mind dining at their Disney Princess table and I make do on the couch with a TV tray, but eating in separate places really takes the family bonding time out of dinner.

I’d been looking for the right deal, but between starting graduate school, caring for my two children, and riding the roller coaster of my marriage I hadn’t actually done much looking. At last, I found six old wooden chairs — for a total of $30 I could not find enough reasons why I shouldn’t take the dive.

I don’t know anything about refinishing wood, but there should be enough internet tutorials available to make me capable. Maybe I’ll finally put to use the “Do it Herself” handy-woman book that I received as a gift several years ago. I am determined to make this bargain beautiful.

The sale did not totally revolve around our new chairs. I got a few things for the girls that I wasn’t looking for, like life jackets for one dollar apiece; the girls brought money from their piggy banks and found new assets as well. Terra chose dress up attire, a ballerina Barbie, a flashlight with multiple attachments to create images on the ceiling, and a water gun which wound up being broken. Amara chose a castle set with battling knights, rolling dragons, and flag-clad horses. She also chose Littlest Pet Shop and Harry Potter sets; she knows nothing of either series, but each came with lots of little pieces and that’s what she’s most fond of lately.

    

Overall, we enjoyed a wonderful summer day. We got sweaty, drank lemonade, spent a bit of money, and all came home to clean our new things and start playing. My chairs may take a while to finish, but I’ll be sure to write about their transformation. I’m so excited to finally have them, especially to have bought them so inexpensively. Soon, we will eat dinner as a family. I absolutely love yard sale season.