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.
Here’s the answer. She doesn’t get the procedure done.
I need a test– procedure– under anesthesia in early 2021, however, I have no one to take me. I certainly wouldn’t ask my elderly parent during COVID-19– especially since one of my parents is caring for the other parent, who has dementia.
This is why it unnerves me when people comment how I am strong and independent. I know this. I don’t need a team of people to remind me. I am very comfortable on my own– minus repairs and manual labor. And admittedly, I would love if Lenny Kravitz could do any and all of the home repairs as that man is perfect, but I digress.
It is upsetting to never have a guaranteed person to be there for you. I am strong because I know I cannot rely on anyone and that is a shame.
So the answer is, I will probably not get the procedure/test I need. It is one that tests for cancer that I need every 5 years due to an issue I had almost 15 years ago and I cannot UBER or drive myself.
Then to make my anxiety particularly active, I need to go for general bloodwork to check for anemia. If that comes back badly again, alas, I will need a different larger procedure perhaps.
Overall though, I am grateful that I am overall, healthy, fit and can do renegade push-ups like no other 100 lb woman can.
I feel good generally, and I care for myself. I try to self-care. I try to contribute to the good of society during this pandemic by being careful and following scientific guidelines.
But this strong capable person could use another person sometimes, and I don’t feel bad for admitting it.
When you’re a single mom and it’s your birthday, it’s pretty much like every other day. Chores. Cleaning. School responsibilities. Figuring out all 3 meals and snacks. Usually, making most, all or planning out all of those said meals. Virtual school. The same old same old.
Your kids don’t always remember it’s your birthday. Mine didn’t. She thought my birthday was next week. It’s not. It was this past Friday. I think I’ll cut her slack since she’s 9 and we’re living in a pandemic without a real sense of a calendar or time as hard as I try to have a schedule. It was truly the first year though, that it didn’t even feel like my birthday. It didn’t feel celebratory. I did see friends over the weekend, but I don’t know. Between virtual school and the responsibility of working from home and everything else, this year has felt so depressing and isolating. I really don’t know if I will make it through 2020.
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.
Whichever way you slice it, no one has it easy during this unprecedented time in the world. No one is jumping around for joy. Everyone is bogged down with stress and anxiety, and we’re all dealing with the changes the best we can. But I have to admit that as a single mom, this current health crisis has pushed me to the limit.
There are now limits I never thought I’d see before. There are people celebrating how excited they are to have their spouse home and their busy, independent teenagers. I get this. But then there’s me: acting as head teacher, cook, cleaning lady, employee of the month, and mom of the year, 24/7 — with no way to tap out.
I tend to listen to holiday music ad nausem because I miss singing in choir; this season always reminds me of numerous years of concerts I either sang or sang and played an instrument in over the years. But, as I “race” to get stuff done– and try to remember hiding the elves for my daughter, and oh can’t forget Hanukkah too, it all blurs by. This is when I wish I had four hands instead of two, but part of being a single mom is learning how to be more than one person. Guess what? I still haven’t quite learned because it’s just not possible.
It had me making up my own little 12 days of Christmas song– if only.
Sometimes we hit hard patches in life and we have to give up things we love. At the tail end of this year, I got hit with something that cost me financially a lot to handle– but I had to handle it. I couldn’t walk away or retreat from the matter and I ended up doing the right thing. But as a single parent, it was a financial hit I didn’t need as I already had endured enough the past six years. Not to mention the holidays– as much as I try to watch my funds and stick to a budget– it still costs– even with me being mindful.
So, after tallying up what I will need to pay for the next month or so, it hit me I may have to give up some things I love and some I even need in order to keep going, which really hurts. No one truly knows the financial sacrifices involved when you are a single parent– unless you are one as well.
My most favorite thing and really my one source of consistent artistic and physical joy, is dance.
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.
I’ve said sorry more times than I care to admit. I’ve apologized for so many things.
I’ve apologized …
For stuff I’ve actually done
Crap I thought about doing
Things I wanted to do
For things I worried I might do
For things I’ve never even done
For my existence
Women are raised to apologize and be “good” all the time. Couple that with some insecurities and, bam, you’ve got a walking, talking apology machine.
But each day, week, month, and year, I get a bit stronger and a bit more sure of myself. And I’m tired of saying “sorry,” “my apologies,” “I didn’t mean to,” and a whole bunch of other phrases that all make me put my metaphorical tail between my legs.
Making a custody schedule is about as fun as stubbing your toe on a Lego or getting food poisoning. However, if you’re divorcing with kids you’ve got to make a schedule that works, which means rolling up your sleeves with your ex and potentially, a mediator or lawyers if needed (hopefully not) and putting it in writing.
The hardest part of all of this is putting your kids before yourself.
It shouldn’t be. I mean, a custody schedule is all about the children, but it’s not uncommon for divorcing parents to let their egos get in the way when making a schedule for their kids.
The bottom line is, of course, you and your ex need to consider your own personal needs and work schedules, but the kids’ needs have to come first.
Here are a few tips to keep your ego in check and put your kids first: