This day has been about the the hard stuff.
The single parent bullshit stuff I don’t want to deal with. I woke up sick and exhausted. I’ve got my kids for the next 3 days; which, don’t get me wrong, I am simply thrilled about. However, being this run down is making me feel like a shitty parent. I am in bed and not interacting with them at all. This stinks for so many reasons. It stinks because now that my time is limited with them, I feel like each and every moment holds more weight than it used to. I am going to see them half as much as I used to and this hurts so deeply I am not sure where that hurt goes; it seems bottomless.
I had to ship them off to some friends for a play date today – which is okay. They will have fun. But my oldest suffers from anxiety and the part-time parenting thing is really messing with that anxiety and his sense of order and safety. He did not want to leave the house without me. He said though his tears, “But the other kids are going with their moms. I want to go with my mom. Why can’t you go?” KNIFE TO HEART. We talked through it and came to the conclusion that he is feeling sad and extra insecure right now because he knows he has a part-time mom and a part-time dad; physically speaking.
I know I am always there for them – I am certain that they know this too. I am always thinking about them, but I am not with them every single day of the week now. I don’t know how anyone gets used to that. It is the hardest part about this separation. I never planned on being a part time parent. I never wanted a broken family and this heartache for my kids.
And yes, I know they will be ok and that I will be okay, but right now it just sucks and that has to be okay too. I know that I am an amazing mother, I love those kids with everything that I have. This time though, I had to put my emotional needs first and it is something I am continuing to struggle with. This internal struggle – this feeling ‘selfish’ for putting my needs in front of my children’s needs is a shining example of me trying to break free of my codependent behavior patterns. My needs matter too.
The codependency runs deep within me – with my relationship with my husband and also with my children. I got completely lost in being a mother. And being a stay-at-home mother made it exponentially worse for me. I lost my identity further and had no idea that it was happening. I was happy to lose myself in parenting. I was happy to run the house and organize and control as much as I could. And these characteristics: control, people pleasing, care-taking, lack of intimacy (yep, we dealt with that too) – are just a few of the hallmarks of someone who struggles with codependency.
I found a journal in which I addressed the question of ‘what lies ahead’ I wrote:
“I want to feel complete, whole. Not anxious. I want my life back. I don’t want to rely on anyone to feel complete ever. I want to be strong, fierce, on fire. Accepting of who I am and not let other people define me or affect my sense of self-worth.”
I believe whole-heartedly that I am on the path to doing those things. What I want to know is how to tell that mom-guilt to fuck right off. It doesn’t help, it isn’t healthy, yet it won’t go away. Maybe that is the one thing that will take the most time to heal and perhaps never fully disappear. Maybe that is the one thing I just need to sit with for now and, in the meantime, do the best that I can for myself and for my children.
If I can give them that, then I have to believe that they will be just fine. And so will I.
Information on codependency: