Sustainably Single Parenting

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

A Few Good Things June 10, 2013

I’m trying more and more to look at the positive things that are happening instead of allowing myself to get overwhelmed and depressed by the bad. I cannot guarantee that this time next week I’ll be smiling (as I am now, on three hours of sleep, with an impossibly long to-do list for tomorrow morning), but I hope to at least still be building my “Good Things” list.

Babysitter

1) I found a couple of babysitters!!!

After months of not having anyone but my neighbor and one girlfriend to rely on to watch my kids, I finally interviewed and hired a babysitter! Don’t ask me where I’m going to find the money to keep paying her…but I figure it’s a good investment. I’m paying nearly $10K to take my last two graduate courses, and should I fail them it will be money down the drain, so it seems feasible to pay a babysitter so that I can have quality study time. I’ll make it work somehow…

Also, I followed the advice of a friend and found teenaged girls willing to babysit through a homeschooling group. Bright, energetic, responsible, level-headed teenaged girls. Yay! I knew some of those types of girls had to be out there somewhere 🙂 I feel such a weight lifted from my shoulders even though I’ve yet to leave the house and let anyone watch my girls yet. It just feels better knowing these people are willing to watch my girls should I have the need. And there may certainly be a need soon, because when Terra goes to castings, I am not supposed to bring the other two children along with me. What’s that? Castings? YES!

 

tara_play2

2) Terra was chosen by a modeling agency!!!!

My four-year old is a model! Isn’t that adorable?! The Casting Call day wasn’t a huge, rainy waste of time. The agents at one of the places we went absolutely loved her, and are now representing her! I’m so proud of her and happy for her! I knew she could do it. All of my daughters are beautiful, but Terra’s personality and temperament are well aligned for showbiz. This is just the beginning and she hasn’t been booked for anything yet, but she had a professional photo shoot to build her portfolio and she did so amazingly well. It was incredibly cute to watch her, and she had a lot of fun. My oldest, Amara, was a little jealous at first, but she really only wants to do it because Terra is doing it. I’m still willing to shop around for agencies that want to represent Amara and my baby, Nohra, but I may take it slow as just having one child in the business can be consuming and I’m not known for having the most time on my hands.

 

tara_shop1

 

3) I’ve managed to meet my deadlines for my classes these past two weeks. Way-Too-Much-Homework-954x1024

Okay. Okay. Maybe I managed to meet some of the deadlines by rearranging the syllabus, but hell. I still finished what my professor expected me to have finished. I’m doing alright with it all. It’s a lot of work, and I’m staying up late and I’m waking up in the middle of the night sometimes to get it done, but…I’m getting it done. I know this isn’t the best way to go about completing my Master’s…but under the circumstances, what’s another two months of not sleeping? I’ll have the rest of my life to catch up on sleep. Right now I need to finish this degree!!! I’m so happy that I chose the professors I chose for each of my classes as well. Both are perfectly suited for the projects I’m pursuing.

 

4) I get to start going back to therapy!

Now that I’ve found a few babysitters I’ll get to start going back to see my therapist regularly! What a sweet relief 🙂 “Nuf said.

 

5) I’m getting better at being nonchalant

Back when I was pregnant with my first child I thought it would be so easy to practice attachment parenting and that if I just loved my child and showed her that she was safe and encouraged her to express her emotions things would be alright. I never expected thrashing arms and legs, spitfire comments, and utter defiance. I am still a very gentle disciplinarian; actually, their therapist suggests that I be a little more stern…I’m trying to set more limits, to explain consequences, and to be consistent, but with all that’s going on it’s hard to have the energy for every tantrum. Still, lately I’ve done alright. I’m still a softy, but I’m not allowing things to get to me so much anymore. Yes, my daughters still act out, and I still rack my brain thinking of ways to deescalate the situation, but it’s not making me angry or flustered as much anymore. I’m keeping my cool, and not wearing my heart on my sleeve around them is actually working in my favor. It’s hard to not show emotion when things are going downhill, but I have to be the bigger person, and lately I have been.

Nonchalant

I’m proud of myself. Last week was a hard one, but I took it in stride and I came out alright.

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No Boys Allowed August 13, 2012

Ever since I told the girls about my pregnancy, Terra has made it clear that she is hoping for a baby sister. I wondered why she would be so adamant about having another sister when she battles constantly with the one she’s got. I figured that a 3 year old would see all same-sexed siblings in the same light; that maybe having a brother would mean no fighting, but Terra was thinking far beyond my reasoning. After weeks of hearing her say that she doesn’t want a brother, and weeks of responding with my narrow-minded explanations of how we cannot choose what I’m having, and how we will love the baby regardless, I finally decided to ask the question I should’ve asked in the beginning.

“Why do you not want a baby brother?” I honestly expected a self-centered answer which would have nothing to do with the baby’s sex; like that she didn’t want to share my breasts or stop sleeping in my bed or no longer be my baby. Instead, I was shocked by an entirely different candid response which seemed well beyond the capacity of my preschooler.

“When he grows up he will be like Daddy,” she said, giving me that recoiled look she always gives me when she talks about her father, usually in a negative light. “He will be mean. He will make me sad.” I was heartbroken. I sucked my tongue to fight back tears, and took a moment to collect myself before consoling her.

Listening to her reasoning was difficult, but I didn’t want to keep her from expressing her concerns. I reassured her that I understood her fears of a baby brother; that since he’d be a male, like Daddy, she figured that he’d be more likely to behave like her father. I told her that although the baby might be a boy, we would give him lots of love and show him how wonderful life, family, and women could be. I told her that we wouldn’t hurt him, and that we would teach him how to treat us respectfully. I let her know how much I would work toward helping the baby become a really nice man someday, who would have a really loving family, a man who would never have to be separated from his family for breaking the rules on anger.

The Rules of Anger are simple, when you’re angry:

  1. Do  not hurt anyone
  2. Do not hurt yourself
  3. Do not harm property
  4. Talk about how you feel.

I decided to take them to counseling a few weeks after The Big Incident, time I’d spent beating around the bush with, “We’ll talk about it soon,” and “He still loves you, but he made a bad choice and had to leave.” Their counselor framed my husband’s absence in this comfortable-to-repeat, age-appropriate manner; “Daddy broke the rules of anger and he cannot live with us any longer.” They adjusted to play-therapy surprisingly well; by the end of our first session I learned that they both knew much more than I hoped they’d known about the turmoil in our home prior to their father’s abrupt overnight departure.

I’d tried to keep the arguments out of their earshot, the pain from showing on my face, my disdain and resentment from interfering with the illusion of respect and contentment. Still, they knew. It was better though, even though it hurt, to be able to talk about how certain things that Daddy did had made us feel, without that looming guilt of betrayal or threat of punishment. Our initial visits were the hardest, but the issues needed to be addressed, and now we are able to talk comfortably about their father outside of the counselor’s office.

It will continue to be a process. There’s no child support yet, no set visitation, no conclusion to the court cases revolving around The Big Incident, no certainty of what will happen with their ability to see him in the future. I do not want to strip them of a vital relationship, but I do want to protect them from possible harm. It has been difficult. The girls are young but so aware of things I hadn’t told them. I’m happy with the fact that they will grow up knowing that we can be open about things from now on; even things painful to discuss.