I wrote this and posted it to my Facebook page one month prior to my attempt. I remember the day I wrote this. I was giving up on my relationship progressing to something serious and saw myself in the future as continuing to be alone, sad and overwhelmed. My depression was getting worse and hope was diminishing. I was finding less and less joy in the day to day. I was running to keep my mood in check but wasn’t considering doing anything else other than ‘white knuckling’ through this tough time. I was far too ashamed to admit I was depressed and far too proud to think I was close to rock bottom. My brief thoughts on ending my life were fantasy left for before sleep to soothe me. It was comforting to think of an end to the stress and pain. I had no idea how dangerous this was. My attempt to blog about single parenthood in order to cheer up those who I felt were in the same boat as I was scares me to death to read today. Now, if a friend of mine were to write something similar I would know that he/she was desperate. I was so desperate. I was begging myself to hang on… I am amazed, looking back, that I lasted a month.
(October 2012) I have been sad, happy, touched, enlightened and worried by all of the posts I have seen recently by my single Mommy friends. I have written some in the past about my reluctant yet self-inflicted plight/joy/challenges in this particular station in life myself, time and again.
First of all: I love my children. They bring me more joy than I could have ever thought and I wouldn’t ever in a heartbeat even try to begin to consider having a life without them in it. They make me proud every day to be their mother.
I am a firm believer in that we (along with God’s will) make our own paths in life. The path I wanted for myself from the time I was a little girl was to be a wife first, mother second, and effective contributor to the household via a career I enjoyed third and in that order of priority. My relationship failed. I chose to leave and raise my little girls on my own. I have never felt sorry for myself or been angry about the way things happened because again, I feel very strongly that I chose to put myself in those situations and was equally a part of the reason why my relationships failed. I also chose to complete my education while being a single mother and also chose to work a demanding job so I could give my children the life I felt like they still deserved, in spite of growing up in a one parent household. Ultimately, it is not in any way their fault their father is not a part of their everyday lives and I do everything I can to try to compensate for that. Herein lies some of my daily opportunity to create balance for us. And some of the pain I can literally feel in some of my sisters in singleness ‘attempts to reach out for support, prayers (and often joys as well) of daily life.
We do not come home to partners every night but instead we come home to empty bellies to feed, fridges to fill, undone homework to complete, boo-boos to kiss, counseling sessions to administer, trash to be taken out, lawns to be mowed, bills to be paid, baths to give, school paperwork to be signed, and most importantly family time to enjoy. It is all on us. There is no taking turns with the significant other or anyone to ask, “Can’t you just set the table for us tonight, I am tired and running late from a client meeting.” I find myself unreasonably jealous of my girlfriends with spouses. When I run late, or don’t feel well my kids pick up the slack. And here we run into Mommy guilt. I am constantly feeling guilty for something. If I am working overtime, I feel horrible that I am not there for my kids as I should be. If I take some extra time for my kids, I worry that I am not contributing enough at work. Either way it goes, I am not taking much time for me, which is why I try to make sure I get some social outings and run as many mornings as possible because having a nervous breakdown and falling apart is just NOT an option.
People closest to me (my daughter/ boyfriend/ mother) often joke that I am overly stoic. I always hear, “You are so strong.” and “You never cry, do you have any emotions?!” I do cry. I cry a lot. And I worry constantly. Will I always be alone? Am I doing what is best for my kids? Am I paying enough attention to my health? Am I losing my friends because I haven’t spent much time with them? Am I nurturing my relationship like I should? Is my boss happy with my performance? Are my client’s expectations being met? Do I have enough money to get by until next payday? Am I ok?? Everyone, no matter what their place in life, has challenges to face. Ours is not any more easy or difficult than the next, necessarily. We each have our own special mountains to climb. But this IS ours. At the end of the day, sometimes, we just want a hug or a shoulder to cry on. Sometimes we don’t want to be strong. Sometimes we need someone to tell us we are doing a good job and that it is alright to not be stoic all of the time. That someday it will get better but for now, my girlfriends in what can sometimes seem like a quicksand life, know that I see you and hear you and am here ANYTIME you need a hug. Hang in there…