Today was a hectic long day. And at the end of the day before my daughter visited her grandparents, we rushed to put up the tree as I promised. Lately, I feel like I’m burning the candle at both ends. I was exhausted, but I wanted to fulfill my promise to get the tree up. In this crazy COVID-19 world, I’ve been doing my best to try and give my daughter some sense of normalcy while also trying to find some happiness in my own daily life. Some days I succeed, and other days I just feel like I don’t. I was crabby today and I didn’t want to be, but I had a horrible week and the exhaustion just hit me.
Try as I might to stay upbeat all day between monitoring my daughter’s learning and day and getting up the tree, I just ended the day feeling defeated and empty. I tried positive thinking but I ended up sitting here picking apart everything possibly about myself. What I did today. Where I am in my life. How I look. Picking apart my looks. Minding my age. Picking apart that, too. What I ate. What I didn’t eat. What I said. What I didn’t say. Where I’m going. Where I need to be. Money. What I have and don’t have.
After all of that thinking, here I am just feeling not good enough. Some days are just like that. And when you’re operating as a strong individual person trying to raise another person to be capable and happy on your own, sometimes it never feels enough. Sometimes it just feels lonely and insignificant to everything everyone else seems to be achieving.
The other weekend, I found myself in the woods with someone I’ll call a friend as there is no real word to describe him. It was a beautiful day and a nice hike together. Of course, I had a great and special time. It was a beautiful evening and late afternoon. But a few times as I walked an occasional muddy path, I thought back to a really horrible memory for me. At 14, I was basically taken advantage of by a 22 year old male. Thirty years later, I can still envision myself lying in the leaves that late summer evening. I can remember wanting it to stop.
This wasn’t the “Me Too” days. This was the “It’s My Fault” decade, where women and girls and men and boys alike all remained silent about these things. I shook the memories off, and was able to fully enjoy the time with my friend who is at times, very creative and thoughtful with plans. This was a surprise trip and a thoughtful one at that. I wanted to go back with my friend and expressed it right away. We were hiking or walking mostly on a flat path amongst a garden and the woods. It was really special. It gave the woods a better definition for me— superseding those bad memories which have left a mark on my mind that will never go away. No one tells you that. That the memories never leave but the power they once had does— if you work on it.
Lately, I have felt a struggle to stay on an enlightened and positive path. I have made huge progress and gotten so far and I’m proud of that, but I keep falling and stumbling anyway, without fail. Perhaps it’s the isolation of COVID, or maybe it’s being a single parent for a long almost seven years, but I wonder if I have anything to offer. If anything I’m writing resonates or clicks within others. I wonder if I’m really connecting with people. I see myself hitting roadblocks and nothing I do seems to get me past them, despite the fact that I work very hard. If you know me, you know I’m a dedicated friend and partner and parent. That when I commit to something, anything— I really commit to it. That’s why I drive almost an hour to train weekly. Because I’m committed.
But I have to wonder if all my hard work is really getting me anywhere and if my writing really natters anymore. If I matter anymore. Maybe it’s best I just go dark and stop writing. Maybe I’m not really offering anything to anyone. In the small of my mind where it is quiet and dim, I feel a real loss and feel directionless and hopeless at times.
Everyone feels stuck. Everyone feels darkness and hard times. The question I’m wondering is when it ends? And when does someone’s years of dedication and hard work really pay off? When do things pay off for me?
Maybe though me writing is not adding up to anything. Maybe there is nothing left to say because, nothing has changed for me. To develop, I need new experiences and I feel I’m not finding them. I feel defeated.
Peace and love is solely underestimated. To me, it’s the only things worth living for. Without peace of mind and love, life is worthless. Money can only carry someone so far.
So you do your research and ask other parents how they managed to get their kids to sleep—and you discover that there are a countless number of products designed to help babies and young children get the shut-eye they need.
But just how effective are these products? Here’s what you need to know.
After a very difficult few weeks– and a few still upcoming, I was pretty spent. Tired, lack of appetite and a bit quiet.
Yet, as Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hannukah and the New Year approaches, I remain pretty grateful even despite.
I didn’t find love or create as much work as I wanted to in 2019. I didn’t do as much financially as I wanted to in terms of debt management or savings.
But I did pay down quite a bit. I did make some huge strides financially. I learned a whole new skill (tap dancing and jazz). I improved my turns (ballet) and form at the barre. I wrote and found new clients and did my final pieces for former clients. I just got word from another writer about forming a long-distance writing group. I may do two recitals in 2020.
And I got closer to my child.
This past weekend, I got so many hugs from her– and I could see the results of the care I provide and protection I give for her. More often than not, I put myself aside to make things work for her. I am one person with a lot of responsibility so sometimes, I cannot do as much as I would like– but I am still one person who really cares.
You’ve decided to breastfeed even before the baby arrives, and so there you are shopping for nursing bras. Everything seems so exciting. You’ve “estimated your size” and feel you’ll have plenty of room once your milk comes in. Life is swell.
Then the baby comes.
After the baby gets here, your milk arrives shortly thereafter — unless it takes a hot minute, which can happen — and then everything is totally different than you imagined.
Here are the seven stages of breastfeeding — the good, the bad, and the ugly — that no one else will tell you about.
The ‘oh crap, my nursing bras are too small!’ stage
You thought you sized correctly but you didn’t, and the bras don’t fit. You can barely squeeze a nipple in that vaguely ’80s bra with unnecessary flowers and other grandmotherly details.
contain yourself in the Band-Aids — I mean, the nursing bras — you bought.
The blatant defiance. The haughty confidence. The absolute adorableness, despite those two horrendous flaws. The look of pure stress and frustration on a parent’s face. The tactful negotiations that ensue over even the smallest situations like, “Who’s going to press the elevator button?”
Clearly, the PR campaign for the Terrible Twos was false and simply serving as a distraction and deterrent from you realizing that the Threes are a hell of a lot worse, for there is no one more infuriating, stubborn, or adorable than a 3-year-old. The cojones these children have and their pure drive is almost inspiring — and definitely crazy.
Here are just five things 3-year-olds think they can do versus what they can actually do:
Drive a Car vs. Cut Off Your Toe With a Little Tikes Vehicle
When my daughter was 3, she told me vehemently, “I’m going to get in the car and drive to where I wanna go!”
I laughed (which she did not like) and said, “You go ahead and try,” knowing reaching the pedals wasn’t even a remote possibility. Of course, I didn’t give her the keys.
Motherhood is hard enough but it’s even more so when you don’t have family support. It used to be that the family “village” was always there for you when you had children, but times have changed. For me, my parents are much older, so they’re not available to me. If anything, they need me to check in on them. Many of my friends are also in this same boat — older parents that simply can’t be as helpful as they’d like to be. For others, some of their families are far away, absent or plain old dysfunctional.
There is no doubt that without those helpful family hands, having a baby and young children can feel like a huge hurdle. I’m talking to you, working mom with a sick baby and no PTO days left. I’m talking to you, mom with PPD and two kids under 2.
Here are some of the challenges that come about when your family village just can’t — or won’t — be there:
Dreaded Sick Days
Let’s face it — not many college-aged kids or really, anyone, wants to watch a sick kid. But when your kid is in day care or school and germ season hits, the sick days roll in and they don’t stop.
But you don’t have any more paid time off. If you’re lucky, you can work from home and no one in the office will gossip about you. If you’re not lucky, you’ll lose pay or have the whole office gossiping about you being out, again.
My mom is still here with us — thank you, God — but she’s been having major health issues for quite some time.
For a while, it felt like maybe I had done something wrong. I wouldn’t hear from her. She would say she was tired. I would call and she wouldn’t answer the phone.
I took it personally. I didn’t understand what was going on.
But now I have answers about her health that I didn’t before. I know the fatigue and weight loss are all a part of her advanced lung disease. I know the lack of oxygen makes her tired. I know her memory isn’t as good as it once was. I know that if I want to talk to her, I have to call her.
Watching the one woman who meant everything and did everything for me her whole life get older has been hard. I miss all the time we used to spend together. I miss her sense of humor and our frank conversations. I miss being able to lean on her. I know I can’t lean on her now, as it would be unfair.
This is why I am so thankful for Joyce.
For many years, my mom worked with Joyce. I’d come into my mother’s office and get to talk to Joyce. She was always sweet, fun and had the cutest clothes. Joyce watched me grow up and become a mom myself. Over the years, she became a friend, and now, she’s like a surrogate mother to me.
I’m now a single mom living just 15 minutes away from her. Since we’re so close by, we see each other pretty regularly.
Mother’s Day when you’re married is very different from when you’re divorced. Of course, the day is really a celebration of motherhood and all we do each day— it’s not a celebration of marriage in any sense. But it feels very different “celebrating” the day as a single parent than it does when you are part of a nuclear family, in my opinion. It doesn’t take away from the special role we play as mothers, but it does feel like a whole other ball game.
WAKING UP TO A DAY “OFF” VS. WAKING UP TO ANOTHER DAY
When you’re married, your partner will usually (even the laziest of partners) try to pick up the slack so mom (you) can have a day off. Of course, you’ll most likely be picking up after everyone anyway—and doing a load of laundry or ten. But your partner will swing taking you to a meal or making you one. Maybe even tell you to put up your feet. The kids will be rallied a bit more to help with the coaxing of the other parent that hey—it’s Mother’s Day. You might want to do something, you know?
Very shortly, it will be 3 years since my divorce date and over 5 years since I have been separated from my ex-husband. As it gets close to that date each year which also is right next to our wedding anniversary ironically, I always reflect on the trials, wins, and growth I’ve made in that time. In some ways, I always find myself a bit short of where I want to be, and in other ways, I always find that I’ve surpassed my expectations. Now that it’s almost three years out, here’s what I’ve learned, where I’ve been, and where I’m headed.
1. DOING THE RIGHT THING ALWAYS PAYS OFF
There were many times when it came to my ex or things involving him where friends would say I was “too nice” or going out of my way.
This isn’t to say that I always did the right thing each time, but that overall, I usually tried to do the right thing.
I think it’s paid off. I think my daughter has learned a lot from my example, and I think it has helped bridge the gap and heal relationships between myself and my ex’s family. I think it’s helped to ensure that my daughter has a relationship with them as well. I even see some positive changes between my ex and me, so I’ll take them.