Singlemomdom.

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When pregnant, I always wondered why people felt like that gave them carte blanche to ask questions you would never ask a normal person. Like “how big are you?” and “how much have you gained?” It also felt like just because I was pregnant, people felt like that somehow gave them the right to ignore social norms and personal space – specifically when complete strangers would touch my ballooning tummy. I always thought this all was a unique phenomenon associated with pregnancy. I was wrong.

Since getting divorced, I have had a multitude of awkward moments of people putting their foot in their mouth – for instance asking me if they could view my house, since they just assumed I was going to have to sell it (I still live there), or offering to set me up on a date with their son who has two daughter, just loves kids, but never married “either of those women” that he had them with (those were his mom’s words that spewed out of her mouth with a sourpuss look on her face).

I have found my newest, most favorite question of all. “Do they all have the same dad?”

I get a lot of questions asked about my three beautiful children and how I made them, being that my last name is different than theirs (I opted to take back my maiden name). This zinger came from a younger mom (probably in her late twenties) who noted that my daughter’s last name was different than mine and saw my two sons (which she didn’t know their names), which prompted the question.

I had a rush of answers go through my brain at the moment.

‘No, they don’t have the same father, but since I couldn’t figure out which of the thousands and thousands of guys I slept with could be the dad, I just picked a name and gave it to all of them.’

‘No, but they all have the same uncle.’

‘Actually, I hatched them – no father needed.’

and the one I really wanted to tell her: ‘None of your business.’

People seem to get so hung up on who the parents are or who has been with who, they forget to look at the big picture. Regardless of who the father is (which, by the way, they were all conceived during my one and only marriage with EX), why can’t they just look at all three of my kids, see how wonderful and amazing they are, relish in their intelligence, and just be satisfied in knowing that they are being raised right? Even if they all three did have different dads, that wouldn’t make them less of a joy or blessing on this earth.

It’s hard feeling judged. I know there’s not the stigma with single moms that used to be there, but it’s still hard. It’s difficult enough to go to sporting events or school events and see those happy parents who are still together. I feel envious of that. That was the picture I had in my head, all those years ago, as I walked down the aisle. Instead, I sit through school events with EX usually a seat or two behind me, with his girlfriend of the same name, and feel immensely alone as a parent. I can only imagine that other single moms, regardless of how they became single (unexpected pregnancy out of wedlock, divorce, or even those widowed), feel this same slight pang of envy that we don’t get to share those amazing parenting moments, with the other parent of our child. It’s just not the same when you’re not together anymore. It’s hard knowing that they (the kids) will grow up and not know the same happiness and security I recall having, seeing my parents together.

At the same time, every single time I hear my EX raise his voice to our kids, every time I see him bully them, every time I see the disappointment in their eyes when he chooses himself over them – I know that I made the right choice. When I compare where they were emotionally three years ago to where they are now, I thank God that I had the strength and the courage to take this step for us. That is the grace that gets me through those moments of stupid questions or odd looks.

Just remember to be kind and always think before you speak.

Happy Stuff.

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So, it was brought to my attention, in a way, that maybe I forget to journal the really good stuff and only get out all the bad stuff on here. Looking back, I see that now (which explains why my most recent post was the first in two months)…I need to focus and cherish the good as well. I mean, this is my journal of my life, right? I guess the good stuff is just that – good. I don’t feel like I need to get it out because anyone that sees me in my daily life can see that all is well. I’ve been told I beam. LOL!

Things with EX have been less bumpier. His now live in girlfriend of the same name as me, has seemed to squelch his lingering time when he drops the kids off, so it’s made my life easier actually. I’ve also finally gotten down the rule of – if it’s not about the kids, I need to stop him from speaking. I know that sounds odd and harsh, but it’s where we’re at in our co-parenting. Things seem to go better when we stick to just the fact of the kids and just discussing any issues that come up with them.

My daughter still does not want to spend time with him though and he still doesn’t fight for her. He doesn’t try and repair their relationship, which does make me quite sad. The happy part in this though is that she realizes the relationship with him will never be what she wants and she’s found other family members (namely my dad and my brother) to get this kind of connection with. Although it does kind of suck for her that it’s not from her dad, she’s pretty happy to still have a “dad” in others. I continue to try and encourage her to go, encourage her and tell her how important it is for her to have a relationship with her dad – but it’s hard for a 10 year old to understand that they are the one that has to be the mature one in a relationship and just take it for what it’s worth.

Leaving out the growing pains part of my relationship, that is actually progressing well. We are moving at a snail’s pace – which I think is something we both needed to do. There is no rush for marriage, there is time to really feel out and hone our relationship before making any decisions. Meaningful love cannot be rushed. Time will tell if we can help each other unpack some of the remaining baggage we all come with or if we are just meant to learn a few more lessons and move on our way. More to come in a later blog. I’m still working on this specifically.

My sister-in-law has slowly gotten better with me as well, which is a HUGE relief. She’ll actually speak back to me (most of the time LOL!) and at times, will even engage in a conversation. Baby steps, but it makes me happy.

Work is going well. My dad always told me as a kid (and he still says this at 63) – “love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life”. I feel blessed to have found a career that I feel that way about. Not only does my job afford me to support my family, but it also happens to support my desired lifestyle. I have flexible hours that I can often work around the kids schedules when something comes up, plus I work, live, and kids are all in school in the same small town. My kids feel safe and secure – which is ultimately what every parent wants, right?

I finally feel like the road of life is starting to smooth out again, 2.5 years after my official divorce. I feel confident in my job, confident in who I am and what kind of parent I am as well. I don’t know where that road will take me, but I sure am happy to be behind the wheel.

The “Line” is Here.

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Line In SandI’ve always loved the phrase “It is time to draw a line in the sand”. Not as a literal line, rather that line everyone has on pretty much any topic. It’s the line where you say “I’m done. I’ve had enough.” It’s quite a different line for everyone, especially when it comes to relationships. Not just romantic relationship, this can also be used in friendships as well.

For instance, I have this friend who is recently divorced. She has become crazy, of the loopy variety. Everything is dramatic for her – she constantly bombards me with texts of “I should have just stayed with him, it would have been easier even though I’m not in love with him”. I, being pretty straightforward and, at times, way too honest, am constantly telling her “no, that would have been wrong. That would have been a horrible example to your kids.” and many, many things along that line. It got to the point where she was taking up so much of my time via text and calls…that I drew a line in the sand. What exactly made me reach that point – I don’t know, but I sure knew it once I had hit it. I made her aware of it as well and she no longs invades that emotional space of mine.

The boyfriend is approaching that line. I have this list in my head of ideal characteristics of the man of my dreams and he ticks almost all of the boxes (which trust me, is no easy feat). However, almost in a pattern, he’s been caught not really living up to the two most important ones. These two are at the top of my list as not just ideal characteristics, rather prerequisites to being my significant other. They are communication and honesty – two things lacking in my previous marriage (and from many of my prior relationships as well). I realize that not everyone communicates at the same level or believes in honesty at the same level either – so with both of these I am willing to take time with whomever I’m with to make sure we can both get on that same level. I’m still unsure if I can with him.

I feel we’re stuck in a pattern of “I’ll communicate better” and “I’ll be more open and honest”, which he’ll do for a period of time – then he’ll throw a doozy at me. Whether it’s shutting me out completely for a weekend (which he’s done twice in our 2.5 year relationship) or it’s doing something behind my back that he’ll know I’ll be upset about (which he’s done a handful of times as well), it’s damaging. The worst part is – I’ve been here before.

I HAVE BEEN HERE BEFORE.

Those are haunting words that I’ve said to myself and still they give me the chills as I type them. I realize that I can’t try to understand every person the same and that the boyfriend is not EX, but I can’t help but to take pause in this, especially since there has been no other resemblance aside from this.

Yet, there is a certain déja vu in hearing the apology “I’m sorry I hurt you with this again”. An extreme familiarity in the dishonesty (although at least EX never lied about his other relationships, rather about his drinking). Almost like a little memento from the past, tossed in to the present relationship.

I suppose there is no way around it; once you’ve been in a relationship, the relationships following will always have something in common with the prior ones.

THIS IS NOT A COMMONALITY THAT IS ACCEPTABLE.

I can accept people will make mistakes. Heck, I make them all the time – but I also own up to them. We are all human and all heard the quote (which is quite true) “To err is human; to forgive, divine.” You can’t forgive though unless someone is honest. He has difficulty with being honest, until he’s caught in a white lie and is forced honesty (which, to his credit, as soon as I catch him, he no longer tries to deny it, he fesses up). I shouldn’t have to “catch” him though.

My line is drawn. Depending on how this plays out, it may have already been crossed. Recovery from things like this is vital. He’s apologized a couple of times, but it still hasn’t seemed to hit him how much this has hurt me, and hurt his chances with me. Nothing he’s done has been earth shattering or horrible, no infidelity or anything like that – but I won’t play out this game to see if that’s his next step.

It’s all or nothing now. All honest, or nothing from here on out. Flaws are okay, mistakes welcome (especially when owned up to), but at this stage in the game - it’s time to put on the big kid pants and be honest. Next time, I won’t bother to call him out, regardless of the size lie, I will just walk away.

Honestly imperfect is perfect to me.

Two Steps Back.

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I am the only one responsible for my feelings. I totally get that. I may think at times “EX made me feel…” but truth be told, I allowed him to do that, I chose to feel that way.

I have come so far in healing, but I have so much further to go. I don’t think I realized this until these past few weeks when everything at once hit me like a ton of bricks. EX started acting up, my grandpa started back with his demeaning ways, and MOD just walked away…and I’m not sure why.

I know I’m difficult, I know I’m not always the easiest to read or I know I get upset and emotional and irrational when I feel like everyone is coming down on me. I’ve been pretty much an emotional wreck for awhile now…and I also need to own up to the fact that all the relationship turmoil in my non-romantic life has spilled over into my romantic life. So the issues that were already present that needed dealing with in a calm, rational matter – I dumped them on MOD.

I can only assume this is the reason he decided not to come down this weekend. I don’t actually know. The last contact I’ve had with him was a few texts. On Friday he asked how I was doing. There was so much that had gone on that week and since things were off between MOD & I, I didn’t get to tell him about…I didn’t know how to respond. It was a horrible week. I felt horribly crushed by EX, by my grandpa, by everything that has happened, that all I could muster was the response “Shitty.” I know I should have said more, I know he was trying to reach out…I just hurt too much (and had just gotten off the phone with EX, to make matters worse) to say anything more. All I could think was how good it would feel to finally see MOD step off that train and I could tell him all the shitty stuff that had happened and feel his healing arms around me. But that didn’t happen, because 20 minutes before his train was supposed to leave to come here, he texted me “I can relate. I don’t think I can make it tonight. I’m sorry. I really am. I hope I’m still welcome next weekend.

I haven’t felt that much pain and panic in a long time. I quickly responded “Please come.” then “Please.”. I tried to call him. None of the texts went through and my calls went to voice mail, so I can only assume he shut off his phone.

I feel so abandoned…again. He hasn’t contacted me since. I don’t even get why he decided not to come. I had texted briefly with him the night before and I felt like I was pestering him. One of the texts he said some thing to the effect of how he understood what I meant when I said that at times, I just wanted to disappear. I didn’t want to push him, I didn’t want to smoother him…so I pulled back. I wanted to talk to him so bad, but I got the impression he just wanted to be left alone; so that’s what I did. I left him alone and waited for him to come around to me – which is what he did when he asked how my day was on Friday.

And now, now it’s Sunday and I am absolutely miserable. I’m full of self loathing, misery, and confusion.

I haven’t felt heartbreak like this in a long time…if ever.

Defective Consent.

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So many terms get thrown around when you go through a divorce. Here are mine: Filed under irreconcilable differences, joint custody but I have primary custody, and now my newest one: defective consent.

I just met with my annulment advocate to start on the process of a Catholic annulment. It’s something I wasn’t really ready to consider at first because I was mad and bitter at God. I did everything right – crossed the T’s and dotted the I’s…I married a Catholic man, we went through all the pre-cana classes, we dated a long time – I didn’t take marriage lightly, rather as the sacrament I had always believed it was.

My emotions have been all over the place this past week as I’ve started to prepare mentally for what I’m about to do – and the questions I’ll have to answer. It’s hard rehashing some of the bad times – things I tried my best to forget, mistakes in judgment, pain caused by the man I said “I do” to. Right now, it feels raw again…but it also feels good to know I can get it all out, all the emotional stuff that you don’t put out when you go to court, and then I can finally close that chapter.

I’m still hurt. I’m hurt that EX lied to me about the kind of father he was going to be. I’m hurt that when I took those vows, I meant them. I’m hurt that when I got mad and walked away, he never followed or even tried to stop it. Alcohol was his mistress and we (the kids and I) just could never compare.

So, for all those thoughts and many, many more…this has been a painful week. I feel good about going through this process though, letting go, and truly feeling like I can move on.

I will blog more later about what the process is like and what I’ll have to do.

Singlemom78 is Catholic.

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Singlemom78 is Catholic. Not the crazy stereotype that non-Catholics have, but an honest to goodness practicing Catholic. I’m on birth control, I’ve never used natural family planning, I had premarital sex, and yes, I’m divorced. Not only am I divorced, but my marriage (which took place between Catholic EX and I in the church with a full mass) has not been annulled by the church. I’ve not even started the process. To be honest, I haven’t really considered the process…until now.

Unless you’re Catholic, I think many of the traditions seem odd and foreign. I know a lot of them are the butt of jokes (I’ve even made a few myself). My friends don’t understand the annulment process and to be honest, neither did I. I still don’t understand all of it just yet, but I hope to learn more. I’m seeking the final goodbye in the chapter of my marriage. After talking to other Catholics whom have been through this, I feel like the process will aid in that.

At first, I thought if I got my marriage annulled, it was like saying it never happened, like those 11 years didn’t exist…like my kids were not legitimate. I couldn’t have been more wrong in that assumption. It’s not that it didn’t happen, it’s not that the kids weren’t legitimate, they were born under a legal marriage, brought into the church and baptized (and are continuing the sacraments in the church), and made part of God’s family – regardless of if the church nullifys the marriage or not.

This is going to be a hard process, from what I’ve been told. Spiritually and emotionally hard. My understanding from others is that I have to go into extreme detail about why my marriage failed and why it couldn’t be saved. Not only that, but you have to have references from outside people that knew both of you. I have to go through this process and then they send the papers to EX (who will undoubtedly take this as a slap in the face and will be hurt by what I will say about him, even if it is the truth). All in all, it sounds like a great deal of time and emotion. However, those are the things that heal your soul the most; time and emotion. I’m ready to get this off my chest.

I’m looking at the process a lot like I do with this blog; I hope it to be cathartic. I hope to really meditate and pray on this to gain understanding. Most of all though, I hope to finally forgive myself. I deserve the chance to move on with a clean slate and open heart. I feel like I can get this by going through this process.

I don’t believe I should have to do this. At first it just felt like it was something I had to do, as a Catholic. I want to do this now, I want to finish grieving my bad choice, my lack of foresight, and I want to have a second chance at feeling whole.

If I Fall, Do You Hear Me?

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I have often felt like I’m held to a higher standard than EX is. I was the one that had to deal with my family ostracizing me in the beginning, but he could act however he wanted and get away with it.

I’ve often wondered what my future will be with relationships. I have my kids and am the primary parent…so if things get serious, do I let someone move in? Do I let someone take a position in our *finally* calm and peaceful home, where they will have a great deal of influence on my kids? I’ve always been respectful of dating and my kids. I never wanted to be one of those single moms that paraded man after man in their lives, keeping men around just long enough for the kids to get close and then yanking them out of their lives. It’s inevitable in most single parent’s lives that they will have more than one significant other, but I always wanted to make sure that any man my kids met was exactly that – significant.

I dated MOD for 6 months before he met the kids – and it was a difficult 6 months because it’s a long distance relationship and the only time we can see each other is typically on the weekends…so this meant 6 months of only having time together every other weekend (when my kids were at EX’s). So when the 6 months had passed and my kids became ultra curious about MOD, I did what I thought was right and told EX that they were going to meet MOD, so EX wouldn’t be taken off guard when the kids started talking about MOD.

You see…that’s what parenting and relationships are truly about. Communication. That is where most people fail though – communication.

EX was totally opposite when he started dating. He introduced his girlfriend to the kids after he’d known her a month and I only found out about it through them. If we didn’t have kids (EX & I) I would never expect him to tell me things like this, but since it involves the kids, I think that the only way to co-parent is to be aware of what life is like for your kids at the other house and who is in their lives. I didn’t get the same respect of communication from him that I gave.

I’ve been agonizing as MOD and I have discussed him moving down to where I live. It only makes sense that we move in together and I think I want that. The part that was agonizing to me though was the thought of telling my family and telling EX about it. I was afraid of the reactions. This wouldn’t stop me from telling them *if* it happens though because – communication is important, it’s key.

Yesterday (Wednesday) morning as I was dropping the kids off at school, my youngest pipes up “{Daddy’s girlfriend} is moving in next week to save on bills.”

My chin dropped, not for the fact that they were moving in together, but for the fact that this was how I had to find out that someone else was going to be in that role in his house when our children are there. EX couldn’t even be respectful enough to mention it in passing that he was placing someone in our kids lives in this manner?

Communication. It seems many of my relationships are having this issue and I’m just over it.

SO f*ck it. You can’t beat them, join them. I’m sick of always being the one to put out the effort. I’m sick of always being the one to put him and others on track. I’m exhausted with being nice and doing the right thing. I’m sick of forcing communication with people that don’t care enough to do the same with me.

You want a part in my life or a say in what goes on in my kids lives…act like it. You want to run away – feel free, the door is open, but don’t complain to me or get pissed off when I don’t give you the respect I used to and tell you when there are issues.

This open book is closed.

The “Perfect” Relationship.

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The perfect relationship is:

A.) As I get home from work, my husband has cleaned the house, done all the laundry, and gives me a foot rub while I eat his perfectly prepared pot roast.
B.) As I get home from work, my husband has changed the oil in the car, re-roofed the house, and throws me down on the table to have his way with me on the dinner table.
C.) Doesn’t really exist.

I think after you get divorced, you often look back through your marriage and want to cherry pick the things you liked and change the things you didn’t – so you fall into this trap of creating a “perfect relationship”, which no relationship can ever live up to.

I was married in my early twenties. I’d had relationships and knew about what I was looking for in a significant other. What I didn’t realize though is that I wasn’t necessarily looking for the right things. Or, maybe a more accurate way of saying it is that I was looking for the right things, but my priorities were reversed. I thought if I married a strong man, a man who possessed traits or skills that I didn’t have (like being handy and having a good sense of direction and an understanding of the mechanics of life’s machines) that we’d be the perfect couple. I would have the common sense and business savvy to save and run our budget well. I could easily “run a household” with my organization skills. He could build and fix that household. Of course, I wanted him to be kind.

See…the kindness thing should have been first. It shouldn’t have been an afterthought and it should have had WAY more qualities listed along with that at the top of my list. Kindness is a funny thing. It’s such a vague description. I was so focused on the “filling the things I couldn’t do” that I don’t think I looked closely enough at the traits I needed to have my heart filled. I needed certain emotional things to fill my soul – from a soul mate. I didn’t marry my soul mate. As happy as I was on my wedding day and the first parts of my marriage, there was always this feeling that deep down that little emotional connection was missing…and it turns out I was right.

I’ll be honest, which is going to be difficult for me to open up on this one because I feel like I’m being really selfish and superficial when I say it…so here it goes. I liked the security of EX. I liked that he had a job that made as much or more than me, that he could fix things that I either didn’t understand (like the kitchen sink) and build things I needed (like putting up drywall). When I look at those aspects of him and combine them with mine – it looks like a perfect fit……if we were a business or a company and all we needed to do was put a plan down on paper, we would be set.

Life doesn’t work that way. I struggle with that. I struggle knowing that every man I’ve met who can fill those non-emotional needs (the handiness, matching income, etc.) have never been able to fill the emotional needs I have.

So where is the balance?

My parents have been married coming up on 42 years. I often look to them to see why it works. They are definitely not alike. My dad is direct, but will typically avoid confrontation (not in a wimpy way, but more in a domineering way of ‘this is how I see it and you will just follow’). My mom is passive aggressive and not the kind of woman who is led or intimidated by a man. They work though. It doesn’t sound like they should on paper, but they honest to goodness work. I’ve found myself watching them more and more and trying to figure out why. I’ve wracked my brain and studied them especially close these past two years since my divorce…and I think I figured it out.

I’d like to say that it boils down to a perfect, romantic love or some whimsical trait like that, but it doesn’t. It’s respect. They have the deepest respect for each other that I have ever seen in my life, so their drastic differences albeit may cause them to butt heads and spar like siblings from time to time, they only have eyes for each other. My dad sees and, although he may not always understand my mom’s needs, he always fulfills them. My mom sees and, although she may not always agree with my dad’s needs, she always respects them. I’d like to think that that is what true love is – even when you think someone is crazy or wrong, you still respect them and often will humble yourself to fill their needs.

I’ve come to the conclusion that we’re teaching our children all wrong when it comes to choosing a soul mate. We tell them to look for this great love to complete us when, really, we should be telling them to find their best friend. I don’t choose my friends based on what they make or what characteristics I’m lacking that they can fill – I choose them for how I feel around them, for how they make me feel.

Looking at it that way, I have friends who are my soul mates. If I didn’t also yearn for a physical connection in a marriage, I could easily marry them and be happy (except…sadly ;-) …I’m quite straight).

So how do I get that idea of the “perfect relationship” out of my head and accept this idea of a “perfect friendship” (which to me, involves a deep, monogamous  friendship and lots of sex)? How can I start to look at relationships and not focus on the shortcomings of the stupid, petty things – like having to fix my own toilet…and really focus on the important stuff – like letting a man fix and support me?

It all starts with mutual respect. Someone who does the right thing, even when no one is looking. <3

Back To Trusting My Gut.

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It’s approaching 2 years since my divorce. The anniversary of the moment in time where I felt like everything I had believed in and everything I had worked for was over. But here I am, 725 days later…and I feel like I’m finally me. My life is finally mine.

Is it perfect? Nope. I get stressed out a lot, I worry over the little stuff, I sometimes wonder how everything for my children’s future will fall together…but it’s perfect for me, right now, right at this point in time. My kids are generally happy, doing quite well in school, I have a nice roof over my head and a vehicle in my garage that I’m paying for, clothes on all four of our backs, and a great deal of appreciation for all of those things.

I’m also more sure of myself. I’m more sure of my instincts and trusting my feelings again. I’m baaaaaaaaaack!!!

Exhausted.

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(I’m having to post date this…I thought I had posted it back on September 9th…but I didn’t. LOL!)

I.Am.Exhausted.

I don’t mean I’m just tired or worn out; I’m physically and mentally exhausted. I’ve felt this way a long time, but I finally snapped. Unfortunately, the recipients were my children, which I find very hard for me to forgive myself for (even though they long have).

By snapped, I don’t mean I totally lost it – just close. A little over a week ago, I came into the kitchen to find this ninja mask with the strings cut. I kindly asked my three kids who did it. No one would step forward and all they kept saying over and over again was “Not me, I didn’t do it”. I gave them every opportunity to ‘fess up, even telling them that it wasn’t a big deal and there would be no punishment handed out (which was how I felt – I just wanted to talk to the kid that did it and make them realize that they aren’t allowed to destroy property like that, no matter how minor). Then, something came over me. I’ve never felt so enraged – I didn’t even feel like myself.

I lost it.

I started screaming, a few cuss words even came out of my mouth, I was completely enraged in an adult tantrum. Why? I didn’t give two cents about the actual act of cutting the mask, it was the lying to me straight faced that got to me. It was that, after 2 years of working full time and going to school…raising 3 kids pretty much on my own (with the only real help coming from my mom when she would watch them to give me relief, and a child support check, which is pretty much the most support EX gives)…traveling back and forth on the weekends to see MOD (meaning either 8 hours round trip on a train, or planning my Friday night and what to do with the kids when I have to drive over to pick up MOD late from the train station)…and just generally having very little time for friends or myself.

I.Kicked.A.Suitcase. Yep, not only that, but I kicked my daughter’s suitcase so hard, it damaged the bottom of a wall. This was the first time my kids have ever looked at me with that kind of fear in their eyes. After I had dropped them off at school, I realized where I had seen that look before…pre-divorce, when EX would get mad and come after them. It was when I saw that look that I would leap up and jump after him to get between him and the kids to stop him from doing anything. But they always looked scared. Even knowing mommy was there to stop it, it was the look of “what if it doesn’t stop?”

Something had to give. I needed to re-prioritize. I still need to find a way to cut down on my stress and clutter in my life more, but I’ve taken the first step. After reflecting more, I know I need to change something else. So here are the time busters in my life (in no certain order):

  1. Job
  2. MOD (Traveling and late night phone calls)
  3. Kids
  4. School

My number one priority is my kids. I can lose everything else on that list and would it be easy – no. They are my number one job though. They are my reason for anything else.

My number two priority – it has to be my job. I need to be able to support myself and teach my kids a good work ethic and show them what success can be. I love my job and wouldn’t trade it for any other position right now. It give me not only financial security, but I draw a great deal of self confidence from it as well. There is nothing I can change there and still be able to do what I want to do for my kids and myself.

My number 3 priority – MOD. He calms me, he brings me a great deal of happiness. I am really in love with him in a way I’ve never been before.

My number 4 priority – school. This is more of a want than a need. I have my bachelors degree and have been working in the industry for 13 years (clearly, quite happily). There is a goal I have in mind, but I know I will get there eventually – it just may take a little longer than I want.

So…I have dropped my class for this semester so I can regroup, refocus, and get back to the happy “Singlemom78″ that I know I truly am.

But, I’m still stuck with the travel. I’m stuck longing to go back to school and having the time to do all that but not wanting to leave MOD behind. Which is frustrating. I explained all this to MOD and he seemed completely oblivious to it. He admitted he hadn’t thought about how much more stressful it is for me to travel than it is for him. For him, it’s a minor inconvenience. For me though, it means I get no time to myself, no time for my friends, and very little time without the kids to be able to work around the house and get just everyday chores done (let alone enjoy any hobbies). Usually he’s perceptive, but I think when it comes to him being in the same situation as someone else (as opposed to when he’s just thinking about a situation that he’s not in, but someone else is) he is unable to think about how someone else is affected – only himself. I was surprised by that. He was very sincere and very, very good about recognizing that he hadn’t really looked at what a long distance relationship does to my life (with 3 kids, house, and school) and seemed very thoughtful about it, after I brought that to his attention.

The thing is, I want to do this. I want to maintain this. I feel like my needs are being met in so many ways – except my need for consideration and understanding about how hectic my life is. I don’t feel like he appreciates what a sacrifice it has been for me to keep up with the travel and only weekends thing. Not like I’ve appreciated it with him – I know his laundry schedule has been shifted to during the week, I know he doesn’t get his cycling time (he’s an avid cyclist) in like he’d like to…but he at least has the opportunity to adjust those things. Quite honestly, with three kids, I don’t. I can’t adjust my needs and wants to fit during the week, so I have to let them go. I miss that part of my life. I’ve also sacrificed things with my kids. The distance is hard on them and there have been many times that they have been at their dad’s on his weekend and they’ve had stuff going on that I’ve missed. I’ll never have that time back.

We’ve talked about him moving for a year now. It probably only has been completely serious (as in “we are doing this”) for a little over 6 months. I don’t expect this to happen overnight. There are a lot of things he has to do to pull this off. I have tried to support and encourage him. We’ve gone through the steps he needs to take dozens of times. That’s as far as I can help on this end. He needs to take the next step – and it’s as simple as calling a repairman just to get quotes so he can figure out how much he’ll have to save to fix a few things in his place before he can rent it out. He’s procrastinating. The longer he procrastinates, the more and more bitter I get about the things I’ve had to drop and give up, just to maintain this. He still gets to go out with his friends, he still has time to do the necessary chores and shopping he needs to get done. He’s had to alter his schedule, but he can do it. I cannot. I have given up having any “me” time and given up friend time to make this work – HAPPILY given it up and I’d do it all over again, if I had to. But I won’t do it forever. I’m finding myself more and more bitter about him saying things like “I want this” (Which I totally believe he does, no question) “but please keep in mind how much I’m giving up and why that’s so hard.” I try to not get mad, I try to keep it in, but all I want to do is yell “I’ve been giving up a lot for us since day 1.”