I’m not in an awesome head space.
I told my therapist that this entire experience (divorce grief?) feels like a marathon, and I guess I’ve settled into a quiet, down part of it. She told me I seemed sadder than I’ve been and for the first time since I started seeing her, I almost broke down completely. I couldn’t quite choke out the words, “I’m just so tired.” (Thank you for noticing, I meant, thank you, you’re right. I’m sad, and I feel like I’m not supposed to admit that, or that if I do it’ll just open the floodgates and I’ll lose my tenuous ability to keep carrying on.)
Yesterday I had my second appointment with the ABA therapist to try to get to a place where I can manage my bigger kid’s ultra-defiant, violent behavior. It is unbelievably hard (and a little humiliating) to step back and look at the way you parent. I know there have been outside circumstances affecting my availability and our routine, but I see all these corners I’ve cut and ways I haven’t been there for him, and I really feel like I’ve failed him when it comes to providing the structure and discipline he needs. She asked if we have a chore chart or reward chart and I said no, but I’ve been meaning to do that. For ten months.
She talks about getting to a place where we’re anticipating his problem behavior and preventing it, instead of constantly reacting. I get that, but I also want to scream, because it’s one more ball to juggle. It’s also the kind of not-warm-and-fuzzy parenting you don’t think about when you’re folding onesies and reading breastfeeding tips.
I have my kids all but four days/nights a month. I’m the sole provider. I work from home doing a job that I frequently have to defend to people who think I’m a professional mommy blogger (um, no) or that I just screw around on the Internet for funsies (I do, but I don’t get paid for that part). Even my four-year-old told me last weekend that I don’t actually have a real job.
I’m the sole housekeeper and the vast majority of the time I’m the sole parent.
The fact is, I’m always dropping a ball. Work through the early evening to hit a deadline? Neglecting the kids. Spend the morning trying to straighten up the house? Moving a deadline. Stop everything else and play with the kids? Neglecting work and house.
I know it’s not that black and white, and that I can always be better about managing my time, but I’m stretched so thin and no matter what I accomplish I feel like it’s at the expense of something else. So it doesn’t matter how “good” I am at one thing. I can never do enough, never do it well enough.
“And I’m not even a ball,” I told my therapist yesterday. My ball’s over in the corner gathering metaphors and impulsive makeup purchases for some nebulous upside to being single I thought there’d be when I was still in shock and looking for a brighter side than getting the whole bed to myself.