Category Archives: single parent

The Guilt of Divorce.

Two days ago I told my ex that I wished our children had never been born.

And in that moment, I meant it.

Let me be very clear – I LOVE MY CHILDREN. They are amazing; kind, smart, loving, and a pain in the ass when they want to be. I grew them for fuck’s sake! I adore them. I really do. But sometimes, there is a resentment and a confusion around parenting that creeps in, and the guilt that goes along with this is nothing short of horrific.

So, in that awful moment, as I sobbed my way to work, I was thinking that maybe my life would be somehow easier without them.

Erase the children, erase the guilt.

Wishing my children would disappear is a selfish thought born of denial and insecurity. It’s me, projecting my sense of self-worth onto 2 people who didn’t do a damn thing to deserve this. This divorce, this hurt, this major shit-show of a broken childhood. Any of it.

(It’s not my fault, it’s not my fault, it’s not my fault).

I know that I feel this way at times because the single hardest thing for me to deal with as far as this divorce and my ‘new trajectory‘ goes, is the bone deep guilt I feel over breaking my kids’ hearts. I do not know how to settle this within myself. Sure, I see them, and they are happy and thriving. They are still their silly selves and the acute trauma from last fall after their dad left has eased.

But my guilt remains; steadfast, not budging, in my heart and in my gut. It makes me feel physically ill. All I EVER WANTED was an intact family. I never had that as a child. And now my kids won’t have that either.

My inner 9-year-old is hurting badly. Again. It’s grief. I am grieving as a wife, as a mother, and as a little girl who thought she had the life she always wanted. Jesus. That is a lot. No wonder this is lingering.

When they are with me, there is a constant unspoken reminder of a missing piece. I feel off-balance, off kilter, and longing for the family unit that we once were. I struggle to be present with them because they are a constant reminder of my own shit. My hurt, my loss, my guilt, my confusion. When they aren’t with me, I can ignore that. Do my own very, single thing.

I am redefining my life. I am rediscovering who I am. I am trying to rebuild my self outside of my role as a mother. I got swallowed alive by that role. And I harbor resentment toward my kids because of that. Again, not their fault.

When I feel as though I wish that they had never been born, I am also struggling with this fear that no one will love me if I have 2 nearly grown kids. We are a package deal and that is not for everyone. I am responsible for 2 human beings aside from myself. Who wants to take that on?

Sometimes I can barely take care of myself.

If they didn’t exist, I could feel my feelings and my hurt and my upset whenever I wanted to; whenever I needed to. When I have them, if I am struggling emotionally, I have to push my feelings down as I don’t want them to worry about their mom. I have a ‘game face’ – everything is sunshine and happiness when they are with me and sometimes I just don’t have the energy to sustain that. Do I show my emotions to them? Of course I do! I just can’t share the depth of those emotions during the times when the hurt and the fear and the ache is so primal it brings me to my knees.

No one sees that. That is mine and mine alone.

Okay, enough of this shit.

I want to tell you about my kids.

Sam is 9. He struggles with anxiety and his own sense of self-worth. He is an amazingly smart kid and loves with a sensible caution. He is a an introvert and a highly sensitive person. He loves bugs, Pokemon, reading, and his family. His laugh is infectious and when he gets going, we are usually laughing at him laughing than whatever made us laugh in the first place. He doesn’t like to cry and he has a hard time feeling his feelings. I worry about him. A lot. He looks just like his dad.

Ellie is 7 (soon to be 8). She is an empath and has a huge heart. I am constantly amazed at the depth and clarity with which she is able to express herself. She is a smart, kind, quiet, child. She loves with a reckless abandon and has a dry wit and silly sense of humor. She is a fierce friend and hero-worships her older brother but also stands up to him with a newfound confidence I am thrilled to see. She looks a lot like me.

I cannot imagine my life without them. Their love, their hugs, their laughter and their tears.

I own this resentment and this guilt, hurt, heartache, and confusion. It is mine and mine alone. And I will beat it just as I have beat the other shit that comes up.

One day at a time.

Advertisements

Age. Apparently, It’s a Thing.

I am finally acknowledging something that hurts to admit.

My age is starting to bug me. It is becoming a ‘thing’ my mind keeps coming back to. And per usual, I need to pay some attention to these thoughts; to process through them and make sense of the acute physical distress they are currently causing me.

I didn’t mind growing older until now. Age made no difference! I had a husband and a family. I had my partner in life and in love; we were growing old together! That was the plan, god damnit! Now that I seem to be growing old alone, I feel sick to my stomach about what this means. I constantly feel the pressure of time; and I feel as though it is running out.

I can’t explain why, but I feel terrified and alone and scared. This is causing me distress and the fact that it is causing me distress is pissing me off. Royally.

Get it together Amy!

I don’t want to feel old. I don’t want age to be a ‘thing’ but fuck, it is and I cannot ignore it any longer.

I have no idea why it is that I seem to keep connecting with people who are 10-15 years younger than I am. I am one of the older people in many of these new social circles I seem to gravitate toward. I am starting to feel self-conscious, a new feeling for me. Is it because I am in this new ‘adolescent’ stage in my life? I am literally rediscovering who I am and where I fit into the world, and this has me out and about, meeting new people all the damn time. But why should it matter what age these new friends are?

I suppose that most people my age have families and marriages and lives that involve family stuff. I don’t have that any more (that fact still hurts like a mother fucker). But at the same time, I don’t want that. I don’t want that life of complacency or stagnation. I don’t ever want to stop learning, growing, or playing. That doesn’t seem like really living to me.

At all.

I want adventure and laughter and new experiences. I want a partner in life and love. Explosive love! Unhinged, unabashed, unfiltered LOVE. Bring it.

(And yet, don’t. Because I am scared shitless of getting hurt again).

I seem to like younger men and society dictates that I am a ‘cougar’ because of this. I do not like that label. Actually, I fucking hate it. It is disgusting and rampantly sexist. Being called a so-called ‘cougar’ takes away from who I am as a fucking HUMAN BEING. I am a woman, and my age or my status in life should not be what define me. Sure, those things make up an integral part of who I am, but I am much more than that ridiculous label would imply.

I don’t like being called a MILF either. Aside from the gazillion reasons this label is offensive, I know exactly why it irks me. Being referred to as a so-called ‘mother-I’d-like-to-fuck’ defines me in terms of my physical self and also in regard to my kids. I am literally in the process of clawing my way back to myself outside of that role. It has taken a momentous amount of energy to untangle those cords that bind me to my children.

Labels such as these make me feel ashamed and embarrassed – like there is something wrong with me. Age doesn’t matter! (That is what I tell myself, constantly). A connection is a connection regardless of how old I am or how old someone else is. But I can feel myself silently snickering – laughing behind my back so to speak. This older woman hanging out with much younger people. It turns my stomach and makes me feel like some hopeless loser chasing something that doesn’t exist. A life that isn’t for me. I feel separate; like an outside observer.

I am also endlessly running in circles trying to figure out my path as far as all of this romantic/love shit goes. I am drawn to real, genuine, honest people who are doing the hard work of knowing themselves and working on themselves. It doesn’t matter if they are 27 or 37. At this point in my life, I can recognize a meaningful connection within the first 5 minutes of being near someone. I have come to understand that I am a highly intuitive person with a gift for connecting with people. My heart is huge and I am still trying to be ok with this – to celebrate it instead of curse it as I get hurt again and again.

This post isn’t going to end with something uplifting or happy.

I can’t bring that to you today and for that, I am sorry.

When I sit, and give all of these nagging thoughts about age and time a voice, I feel like an old lady. I feel used up, beat up, like a weirdo with kids and a life of responsibility. I feel like I’ve lost an entire decade of my life. My marriage feels like it was a joke. Resentment toward my children rears its ugly head and I feel a loss so deep I feel scared I will never be able to move past it.

Big, deep sigh.

The Secret Inner Drive

There is a disconnect within my mind; thoughts buried so deep, they tug at my subconscious. I am trying very hard to acknowledge them though they feel primal and hard to access. I want to pay more attention to my very busy inner mind; the driving force behind some of my behavior. I want to separate my rich inner dialogue from the chatter and busyness that seem to coat the surface of my thoughts.

I think we all have motivations that are so deeply embedded in our psyche that we don’t necessarily know that they are there whispering to us; motivating us to make certain choices. If we stripped away that drive, that push or pull, would we make different choices? Or would we stay on the same path? If my mind was naked, stripped down and bare, what would my behavior look like in this pure ‘me’ state? Or is the steady, mostly silent hum beneath my thoughts, what makes up the essence of ‘me’?

I find this shit fascinating and I am going to start to pay very close attention. Starting now.

Alright, an example, you ask? Sure.

And this shit is embarrassing.

It dawned on me last night that I am still pining over my ex. I am still hoping for the day when he lets me back in. When he ‘sees’ me and how much work I’ve done and that I am not the same person I was last week, last month, or last year. I am changing and evolving and healing so quickly, and fuck, a part of me has been doing it for him.

When the man you loved for 16 years repeatedly calls you crazy and psycho,

YOU WANT TO PROVE HIM WRONG.

You want him to know that he made the biggest mistake of his life when he left you; alone, hurting, and confused as fuck.

Damnit to being so honest with myself. Shit. I don’t like admitting that AT ALL. It’s trite, petty, and just silly. But it’s the truth and maybe a good dose of brutal honesty is what I need to wake me up to the fact that he left. He isn’t coming back. And he has found someone to love more than he ever loved me. Puke.

And this: WHY ON EARTH WOULD I EVER WANT TO BE WITH SOMEONE WHO DOESN’T WANT ME COMPLETELY? I just said no to a great guy for that exact reason. I want to be wanted wholly, completely, totally; for all of me. That includes my goddamn crazy life and my children. They are a part of me and we are a package deal.

I am a mother, a woman, a teacher, a lover, a sister, a friend, and a human being. I feel nearly everything intensely, deeply, and I love with every fucking fiber of my being.

This is who I am; many puzzle pieces make up an entire Amy.

A lifetime of Amy’s all leading to up to now.

(Sorry, went off on a bit of tangent there).

I do believe that we all have secret motivators within us, steering us to some degree. And perhaps, sometimes, these forces can cause us to make choices or drive our behavior in ways that may cause us to step out of integrity with ourselves. I know I feel a bit ill thinking that some of my hard work has been to prove my ex wrong. I know that my choices and my behavior should come from me and be for me. Which is why, no matter how I must wrestle with myself, I am going to start to pay close attention to what is REALLY going on behind the scenes, so-to-speak, within my own busy brain.

Wish me luck!

Straight up RANT.

I had to go into hiding; lockdown. I have been faced with yet another monstrous hurdle in this shit-show called divorce.

The ex wants my kids (aged 9 and 7) to live in a home with multiple people; one of whom I do not know. Adults. His girlfriend is one of them and another male I have never met. I feel so unbelievably uncomfortable about all of this. It raises all of the hairs on my head. My momma instincts are screaming ‘NO! NO! NO!’.

Even if my ex knows and trusts these people, I do not. I have only met the girlfriend a few times and this new male, not even once. Adults in my children’s home mean more adults visiting those adults and that just grows exponentially. He assures me that they won’t be in danger. That there will be no big parties when they are there. He tells me that they will be safe and respected. That the people he will have as roommates understand what it means to live with small children. But none of this changes the fact that I DO NOT KNOW THESE PEOPLE. None of this information helps me feel at ease when I have been told that I will ‘never be welcome’ in that house. And that ‘maybe’ these people would be willing to meet me. And it certainly doesn’t help that I have little to no faith in my ex for very obvious reasons.

Last week, when this new development came up, the all too familiar emotional and verbal abuse came with it. When I asserted my position, I was called ‘combative’. When I stated that he could lose custody if the judge rules that he cannot have his children in a home with strangers, he called me ‘threatening’, ‘manipulative’, and ‘shaming’ of his lifestyle choices. There was no intended malice in that statement – no judge would ever put minors in a home with adult strangers! That is a FACT. When I said that I don’t feel comfortable with his scenario, he called me ‘controlling’ and that I ‘cannot control who he lives with and what he does with his life’. Both of those things are true but we aren’t talking about his life and his life alone. These are my kids too, goddamnit! MY KIDS TOO!

Why is it that when a strong woman makes a case for her beliefs and stands her ground, it is called being “COMBATIVE”?

I call bullshit on that one. BULLSHIT.

And of course, this new development hurts like hell. Of course, this new living situation feels like a nightmare for me, personally. But I will be damned if he is going to make this about me and my needs! This is, and has always been, about our children and what is in their best interest. I would never take them away from their father. He is a good dad – just a shit husband – and that is for me to deal with, not them.

So, I did the only thing that I could, I created a document that sets up parameters around the kids new living situation. Background checks, limits around unknown adults in the home while they are there, etc. Smart parameters, not selfish and manipulative choices! I am struggling with the fact that I will never be welcome in that home. A place my children will call home for half of their lives. HALF OF THEIR LIVES. And that half will be spent living with someone I really believe (at least for now) that I hate. Someone I would pay money to be in a small room with for five minutes. That is all I would need. Five minutes to get in her face and say all of the things I want to say, that I should have said months ago. The biggest and loudest one:

‘YOU SHOULD HAVE WALKED THE FUCK AWAY. YOU WATCHED A MARRIAGE CRUMBLE. YOU KNEW THERE WAS LOVE THERE AND YET YOU FUCKING STAYED. YOU AIDED IN BREAKING A FAMILY BECAUSE YOU ARE A SELFISH LITTLE 30-YEAR-OLD ASS. YOU ARE NOT A PARENT, YOU ARE NOT A MOTHER; YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU HAVE DONE TO THESE CHILDREN’S LIVES, OUR LIVES.’

Well, something like that. I am so angry right now. It comes and it goes. This is my reality and I am done running from it.

My next post will likely tackle more of the codependency stuff. I really thought I was in love with my ex. That he loved me still. I haven’t spoken to him in 4 days and you know what? I feel better and healthier with every single day that passes.

Thanks for listening.

Amy

Money Saving Tips!

This is certainly new and different for me.

Since I have had to tighten my budget, I have been doing loads of research on how to save money – anywhere and everywhere. And now that I have discovered a few apps that actually work well, I thought I would share them with you all. And my apologies to everyone abroad and not local – they won’t be applicable.

Gas Guru is awesome – It is an app that lets you view gas stations in your area and it is really simple to hone in on the cheapest one. I drive A LOT. To and from work, to and from my kids school, and twice a week a long haul to therapy for myself and the monkeys. Thank God I have a Prius.

The app for Sprouts Farmer’s market is another good one. It makes it very clear what items are on sale – loads of BOGO – and you can generate a shopping list and it will prompt you if one of your items is on sale.

The app for Costco is another good one. It can also generate a shopping list that will prompt you when items you need are on sale. I love this store so much – buying in bulk is a huge time and money saver. I can buy toilet paper twice a year and never worry about it! I can buy a gallon and a half of organic milk for $9.99. Costco is totally worth the cost of membership.

If you are like me and hate leaving the house to go grocery shopping, Boxed is an online big box store that will deliver to you free of charge if you spend a minimum amount of money (maybe $50?). They have a decent selection of groceries and household goods and I have done the price check and comparisons – they really have competitive prices.

If you get your wifi or television through Xfinity – they have an app that offers it’s customers free wifi access. I have found that this actually works and is great for when I am out and about and want to hook up my phone to the internet. Most of my cellular data is turned off on my apps which makes them inaccessible without wifi.

I was able to haggle my cell phone service with At&t down from $75 a month to $50 and the same was true with my wifi bill – $80 t0 $40. I bought a smart thermostat – a Nest – and I love it. It senses when I am not home and drops the heat down to 58 degrees and I have it programmed to go up to 64 when I am home so I don’t freeze my arse off. I also bought a heated mattress pad – it keeps me warm at night which allows me to drop the heat in the house down to 62 degrees while I am asleep.

And this is budgeting 101 – save all of your receipts and use a budgeting tool like Mint. It helps you track your spending and alerts you when you have bills due or you go over a budget.

I think that’s all I have for now. If anything else pops up, I will share it here. And, if you have any other advice or tips, do share!! I am saving money like a maniac. It’s kinda fun.

A reality I do not want to face

I hate to have to do this.

I don’t want to talk about it, write about it, complain about it…But fuck, I am freaking out about money. The stark reality of having one income instead of two is currently unnerving me.

With a legal separation and with a divorce, come separate finances. Separate incomes, bills, utilities, mortgages, rents, credit cards. You are expected to divvy up the retirement accounts, savings, etc. My career was never ever supposed to be the only source of income. I AM A PRESCHOOL TEACHER. I got my ‘almost’ MA (3 courses shy) in Early Childhood Education when we were newly married, to supplement my husband’s substantial income and to have vacations and summers off with our children.

How am I supposed to survive on a salary that tops out at 25,000 a year?! Most of the jobs posted online here in the Denver area pay 10-15 dollars an hour. I feel like crying – this is the one thing sending me over the edge right now. My mortgage is $1500 a month, I have $200 a month in student loans, bills out the wazoo, and a house and children to take care of. Groceries! Clothing! Living! WTF! And yes, I can expect help from my husband, he isn’t kicking me to the curb (thank God), in the form of child and spousal support – but what happens when that runs out? I don’t even have my own health insurance – I am covered under his plan.

He will be paying rent on his new place starting this month and things are about to get really fucking tight. One more burden to bear. One more ridiculous thing to have to try to explain to the kids. “Why can’t we rent that movie on Amazon, mommy?” “Because we have to save money, kids.” They are still confused as to why their dad no longer lives here with us, for Christ’s sake! No more ordering pizza. No more trips to local museums, no more random purchases here and there. We are on financial lock down and I have no desire to add to their list of shitty things to worry about.

But I am worried. I am frightened. What if the only job I can find requires that I work vacations and summers? I have been home with them every summer since they were born. That alone makes me want to crawl back into my cave and curl up into the fetal position. What if I can’t afford this house that we love and we need to move? My kid’s lives are already out of whack. Part-time with each parent. Going from one house to another. No predictable anything for a while at least. And then what? I am supposed to cart them off to summer camp and pay for that too?

What the flying fuck universe?? This simply sucks. Why can’t someone pay me to write from my heart and from my soul from my cozy bed? Yep, I am actually whining. And I am okay with that in this moment.

I know, chin-up! (Cue fabulous eye-roll).

At some point, I will pick myself up and find a fucking great job that hopefully will sustain this lifestyle for myself and my kids. But for now, I am going to just sit in this shit and stress out. And mutter under my breath “FUCK THIS SHIT” as often as I damn well please.

This too shall pass. I hope.

The curious paradox

I am not sure who I am sometimes.

Take away my marriage, my primary relationship of the past 16 years, and I am lost.

Take away my family, my role as a mother; change it from full-time to part-time, and I am lost.

I had a vision not too long ago; wide awake and crystal clear. I was an Amy-hot-air-balloon. Seriously, it was me, inflated. And below me were all of these men in my life, each of them holding tight to a rope, keeping me from rising into the air and floating away. My husband was in the middle of this circle of men, directly beneath me. One by one, they all started to loosen their slack, let go of their ropes. My balloon-self began to float up a bit higher and I became panicked and fraught with terror. Then, without warning, my husband did the unthinkable; he dropped his rope and walked away without a backward glance. I floated a bit higher and panicked a bit more. As I panicked,  I kept replacing the men below my balloon self with new, imaginary men. They were faceless, nameless, but it didn’t matter because I needed someone, anyone, to hold my ropes and anchor me to the ground. Without those people tethering me to themselves, to the ground, to reality, to life, I would float away, empty and lost forever.

This is what codependency feels like for me. I had that vision wide awake just sitting in my bed one day and it scared the shit out of me. How do I fill my empty-self up with something other than what my relationships with others refelct back to me? Without my husband in that center position, holding onto me, who the hell am I? Without the busyness of my family around every day, who the hell am I? What do I direct inward to fill that vacuum and finally come down, into myself, and stand on my own two feet; ropes be damned?

Perhaps it starts with self-love and self-acceptance and a bit of hope, patience, and compassion for one’s self. Maybe it starts with stopping those judgmental feelings (should’s, could’s, would’s) toward ourselves, others, and situations out of our control. I feel like I make huge leaps forward in my healing and then hit a wall or fall off a cliff and have to start all over again.

Or perhaps I am making progress that isn’t truly measurable but I can still feel it in my heart.

“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.” Carl Rogers