I spent a good part of last night with Phoenix coughing and close to vomiting in my bed. We all have the flu- and it's bad bad bad! My muscles ache, my throat burns, I can't breathe, and I am pretty sure that when she threw up, I almost did too. I was too tired to get upset when the baby woke up and started crying for almost an hour. I lazily rocked her in my tired arms and held my head back so it wouldn't nod forward. In moments like last night I often start to feel a mass amount of self pity. If I don't catch it early on, it spirals into something messy.
Thoughts race in my head,
"I wish someone else was here to do this. I feel so sick."
"Why did I make this choice? I can't handle it all alone!"
"This is my life now, isn't it?"
These dirty ideas clog my truer sense of self- the one that knows damn well I can handle everything thrown at me, and that I am handling everything. Pretty well if I do say so myself.
Instead of falling apart last night I knew I had to change my thoughts to something positive. So while one baby cried, and the other lay sprawled across my stomach, I made a list.
How do I handle the emotions and new responsibly on my own? It took me some time but I was impressed with how many things I could come up with.
Always, Always, Always, Keep Your Sense Of Humor
I am the type of girl who when faced with uncomfortable situations makes terrible, horrible, no good, very bad jokes. They spew from my mouth until I am laughing loudly to myself. And I am really lucky to have friends that completely understand how I cope with crappy situations. They can make the same jokes to me and instantly bring a smile to my face. (It helps to have witty friends.)
Remember Who You Were As An Individual
Since Derek has moved out, I have decided to stretch my wings outside my own box and reconnect with people I knew before Derek and I got married. These are the people I sort of brushed aside in the flurry of new marriage and kids. I spend my time doing things I used to have a blast doing, I find new connections and listen to the memories others have of me. I have the worst memory.I am grateful for the people who can help bring back the pieces of me I may have unintentionally lost while focusing so hard on being a good wife and mother. I have gained a new sense of individuality. No longer am I a WE, I am a ME, and oddly enough I need guidance on how to bring that person back to
At least in the beginning...
During the times where you and your husband would be spending time together, now need to be filled with moments of joy specifically for you. Paint your nails, do your makeup fancy just for fun, watch all those cheesy Lifetime movies he would never watch with you. Drink some wine! Take a bath.
I have been filling my time after the kids go to bed with friends. I have people come over and cook with me, then we sit together laughing and watching movies. They know I need them at the moment and I am not ashamed to ask for the company.
Have An Ugly Cry Moment (Or Five. Or Six.)
You know those cliche movie cry scenes? The ones where the girl slams her back against a wall and slowly slides down into a ball on the floor sobbing uncontrollably with the worst face ever? Do that.
Allow yourself the freedom to let go. I can clearly remember a moment where the kids were asleep. I had no one to text or call, and the house was dark. And quiet. So quiet it made my heart ache. I cracked.
I bent over my sink filled with dirty dishes and sobbed harder then I have in years. I screamed so loud. I fell to the floor. I laid on the linoleum in a puddle of my own tears. I can't even remember how long I was on the floor crying and sputtering.
When I was done, I felt amazing. I dried my eyes, cleaned my face, changed my clothes and moved on. For some time I had refused to let myself ever get to that sloppy place of sadness, but holding all my emotions in felt terrible and binding. The release was exactly what I needed to feel good about myself. Remember- there is no weakness in crying.
Be Present With Your Kids.
I tend to constantly live in my own mind. I am always thinking of this, that, or the other thing. I make stupid plans for the future just to feel like I am in control, when I down right know I don't need to be in control every second. It keeps me distracted from reality. I have learned to recognize these times and switch it to the kids.
Be with your babies, even if it's just to talk or read a million books a day. Your separation is a change for them as well. And they need help navigating their feelings just as much as you do. If not more.
If I don't have the energy to give to the kids I simply sit with them on my lap. We talk, or cuddle, or yep.... cry. (Can ya tell I am the biggest cry baby ever?) NO matter what it is- we do it together.
Allow Yourself An Easy Way Out.
This one I am struggling with massively.
Allowing myself to let go of things that cause me unneeded stress and hardship when I cannot simply handle any more at the moment.
For me it was nursing Pixie. She has been fighting me tooth and nail the past few weeks. I took her to the doctor thinking she had an ear infection or that something was hurting her. Nothing is wrong. She is healthy. Yet she fights breastfeeding like nobody's business. It was wearing me down. She cried non stop, popped on and off of me and writhed in pain. I couldn't do it. And it broke my heart more than I could ever express. This was my passion and I never once contemplated switching to formula. But this was all before Derek and I split, and then the tables were turned.
I needed to pick my battles and more importantly I needed to keep myself sane. So I sulked into Walmart, grabbed a can of formula and literally cried in front of the cashier. This poor kid was so confused. He kept his head down and so did I. The second I left the store I called my mom, she probably thought someone had died I was so upset. "I.....I ..... I just bought a can of formula."
That was two weeks ago and I have to be honest, I can breathe again! I needed this for myself at the moment. We still nurse occasionally in the morning and middle of the night but she fights it. Constantly. So I simply am going with the flow.
And the most important rule of all....
WEAR WASHABLE MASCARA!
Yup, you heard me. There are going to be times when you cannot be a blubbering mess. Where you need to dust yourself off, open the front door, and present yourself to the world in all of your beautiful STRONG glory. For these days my little secret is washable mascara. I put my nicest face forward and once this happens I simply will not allow myself to cry. I would never risk raccoon eyes and tear stained cheeks. Heaven forbid! (snicker)
This has honestly kept me together a few times. I swear by it.
In all of the changes you are going through with being on your own you need to realize that no matter how weak and tired you feel on the inside- you are not!
You are strong. Powerful. In charge!
Things are coming together perfectly for me at the moment. I live in the solace that Derek and I made the best choice we could. We are happier apart, we get along so much better. And with that- our parenting is growing.
This too shall pass.