When did life get so complicated? Don’t get me wrong, it’s always been complicated, but when did it get so overwhelming? To be honest I’ve had a few rough weeks. Looking back it seems as if ever since the surgery I’ve been struggling with the footing of life. The complications that I had after hemorrhaging in the recovery
room took a lot more out of me than I was expecting. Also, while being honest, I didn’t really give myself enough time to recover before I hit the ground running again ten days later. I almost died in the recovery room and even though I knew it was serious at the time, I didn’t know exactly how serious it had been until I went for my follow up appointment a few days ago and the surgeon told me how scared he had gotten. I could have died and yet ten days later I was back in the swing of a very busy life.
A life that I constantly have to be one step ahead of or it will get away from me. As any person knows, having a full time job is a lot of work. I have not only my schedule to worry about, but the ever changing schedule of my housekeeping clients. It’s not a hard job intellectually, but cleaning houses is physically exhausting, and the isolation and silence can be a bit maddening. I literally hit the ground running in the mornings and am on my feet scrubbing away until my workday is over, and often times, I’ll go the whole day without seeing another person. On top of that, not only am I running a cleaning business, but getting my not-for-profit up and running is taking up more time than I could have ever imagined. Meetings, emails, phone calls, and business junk are overwhelming me. It literally has become an entirely separate second career. After those two careers, let’s not forget about the dance classes that I teach
. Can anyone say third career? Oh and let’s not forget I am also a full time mother.
Single motherhood is hard, but do you know what is harder? Only parenthood. I’m not just a single mother, I’m an only parent. I am the only person that is fully invested in my children’s lives and the quality of their future. Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful beyond belief that their dad has no visitation rights to them, but I signed up for the family. I signed up for the loving husband and the white picket fence and I didn’t get that. I got screwed over and I don’t even have a responsible dad who takes them every other weekend so that I can recharge my batteries, so I’m left with only parenthood. I am the only parent that deals with every single detail of my kids lives. Laundry, cooking, cleaning, doctor appointments, parent teacher conferences, birthday parties, bedtime stories, Sunday school, swimming lessons, haircuts, homework, you name it, it all falls on me. Oh and wait!! Don’t forget the boy child’s eight therapy appointments a week. Yep, that’s on me too. When a kid gets sick, yep, just me again. Let’s rearrange the entire schedule immediately because there is no dad, no grandma, no uncles coming to help out. It’s just me.
Did I mention that I own my home? Yep, that’s entirely my responsibility as well. Like when the dishwasher broke last week and I found myself sitting on the kitchen floor at 11pm with a toolbox and a fix-it-yourself website up on my laptop. Yep, the house, the car, the finances, that’s all on me too.
Speaking of, what about me? Do I get any time in my life for the things that I want to do? I have friends, a social life, books, music, ballet, church, I’m an avid runner, this blog, and the book I’m trying to finish writing. Where does any of that fit into this crazy life of mine? Am I allowed any time in my own life just for me?
I’m overwhelmed. I’ve been figuratively running my entire life. My entire life has been one big amped up adrenaline fueled game of survival of the fittest. If I slowed down for even one minute, someone, or something, would have literally just run me right over, and so I’ve never stopped. I grew up managing things that no child, no person should ever have had to do, but since I knew that my survival depended on it I never let myself think about whether or not I actually wanted to do it, or even if I realistically could. As has been a running theme in my life, I set aside what I wanted for the greater good of my survival. As much as I’ve been realizing all the areas of my life that that theme has transpired into, i.e. making myself a priority, realizing what I deserve,
etc, I’ve once again come to another realization of how setting aside what I want and need has transpired in the way that I run my life.
Alarm goes off at 5am, there is no snooze alarm. Who cares if I’m tired, get your ass out of bed. Don’t have time to make breakfast for yourself, too bad, kids need to get to daycare. Not feeling well because you lost your entire blood volume ten days ago, too bad, clients are waiting for you. Lunch break? Can’t, three people left me voicemails about stuff for the not-for-profit and need to be returned ASAP. Exhausted after a long day of work? Too bad, girl child has swimming lessons, the boy child has therapy, homework, both kids need baths, 40 little nails need to be clipped, dinner needs to be cooked, laundry has to be done, and then you have to pick up the sitter so you can go teach a dance class. What? Its ten pm now and you are tired? Too bad, you have an article to edit. It’s eleven? Great, time to work out because no one wants a flabby dance teacher. Now it’s midnight, I never got to watch the movie I rented and I have to be up in five hours. While I’m sleeping, maybe that would be a good time to start stressing about my financial woes, legal battles, or the fact that I’m still a bit traumatized from being brutally raped a few months ago.
Is any of that what I wanted to do, or have I just been pushing myself through it day after day in order to survive just as I have my entire life? People look at me all the time and say “Eden I really don’t know how you do it, there is no way I could get that much done.” My friends call me “the machine,” and as funny as that is, it isn’t funny at all. That’s exactly what I am, a machine. No choices, no feeling, no sick days, no rest, just moving, running, and producing.
The surgery broke the machine. It forced me, for once in my life, to stop. To just stop. Hault. Sit in time and space, reflect, be made aware, and realize.
I’m not a machine. I don’t want to have a heart attack when I am 35 years old. Clearly I have been pushing myself way past the limits of human expectations. I can’t keep doing this. I feel complainy, whiney, jaded, and irritated and that’s not me, that’s not who I am. I’m just so overwhelmed and because I don’t have a family or a husband there is no one to help me deal with the overflow. I’m not one to generally complain. I don’t call my friends and whine about my day, I’m not one to grumble about my life, and you won’t ever catch me in a pity party because I just choose not to dwell on the negative and move on. That is all fine and dandy until you realize how tired, exhausted, and overwhelmed you have allowed yourself to become. Not good my friends, not good.
When I went back to work after the surgery I had a really hard time getting back in the groove of things and it really forced me to sit down and reevaluate my schedule. As I sat there at my kitchen table listing out everything that I needed to get done, the realization of “this is absolutely insane” hit me like a cartoon brick falling from the sky. My life is insane. How I’ve managed to hold it together for this long I have absolutely no idea. To keep up with this pace, this lifestyle, it is unrealistic, and downright ridiculous.
Things are changing around here. Life is becoming simpler. I’m reevaluating my priorities, my future, my goals, and my dreams. A new path is being laid out, but unfortunately as everyone knows, things usually get harder before they get easier. I’ll have a lot to share with you guys in the next few weeks so I hope you all stick around for a few big reveals.
I’ll leave you with a couple of quotes from my own personal journal;
You are the creation of the choices that you have made, choose wisely and stand firm.
If you are not where you want to be, keep going, the only one that can hold you back is you.
No choice is too small to matter, they all add up, and they all intertwine. You are weaving the fabric of your life by the choices that you make every day.
The destination at which you end up is not always determined by the direction you took at the fork in the road, but by how many little things you let distract you off the path.
You only have so much time to reach the top of the mountain before the sun sets, don’t waste it.
Don’t waste your breath complaining, pace yourself for the challenge ahead.
You are exactly where you should be at this moment in time, but just as a flower blooming, absorb all you can and keep moving upward, once you stop growing, you die.
Hold tight your heart, for it is precious, but not so tight that you are smothered. Relax, be happy, and let your soul breathe.
Thank you all for being here. If you haven’t done so yet, pop over to the post “Updates!!”
and comment where you are reading from, there is no sign in required, just click the link from your computer or phone. I love seeing where everyone is from and knowing that we are connected all over the world.
Have a wonderful week dear friends!
Eden – you are amazing. Stay strong. I hope you get a big break with your book or meet a nice guy who will share your load, because you really deserve it. You are beautiful and perfect. Things will get better, it is inevitable because you do so much and so deserve it. Stick in there. It may sound silly but…even though we are strangers and I dont know you that well, I have a lot of affection for you and want the best things to happen to you. Such a strong woman! Much stronger than Hester
Aw, you are too sweet!! You made my heart all smiley 🙂 Thank you
I am happy you are reevaluating your schedules. Of course there are some parts you can not change (like all those delightful yet exhausting kiddie times!) but much of what we do can be self imposed even if we want to do it. A bit of advice from me would be to pay close attention to your reaction to your near death experience. When I was 29 I had a ruptured ectopic pregnancy. At the time I only had one child, a 7 month old daughter. By the time the paramedics got to me my bp was 40/0 and, while still concious, I could not see. There were many strange things that happened with this incident (another story!) but a couple of things I did not expect…first the freak out aspect…for a long time after the event “I almost died!” echoed in my brain and there has been a subtle emotional reaction that has remained to this day…second the physical aspect…do not under estimate what has physically happened to your body and the stress that it entails. This type of incident can damage systems that could cause lasting effects that might show now or not for a few years…your treatment of yourself now could help mitigate those effects. Please be as kind and careful with you as you can afford to be. Lastly I would like to reiterate something I may have told you before (it really is harder to remember what I have said before the older I get!). Get help…do not be afraid to ask or accept…the help someone else gives YOU may, in fact, be a help to them also. My daughter is very self sufficient, a pediatric nurse, and hates to ask for help. Her first child was born with a rare genetic condition that can cause seizures, developmental delays, autism, various system involvements etc. Yes, my daughter is married and does have me and my husband here but at about the same time my granddaughter was born I started having some physical issues that made it hard for me to help care for her for more than a few hours. Incredibly a woman from her church stepped forward and offered to watch my granddaughter for free a day or two a week (which was all she needed). My daughter's initial response was “that is too much. I can't let you do that!” But eventually she understood a couple of things…it was pride that kept her from initially accepting and that doing this was also a blessing to the woman that offered….a woman who loves to ( and is a very good) mother, has numerous children she homeschools (so also many willing helpers!) and was done having babies of her own and missed having them. It was a win for everyone and a new family tie has been created!I guess my point is that there may be a “grandma” or “auntie” out there for your kids, someone who has no kids or family and needs to be a part of something and someone….don't overlook them if they appear because you think it is too much! It may be what you both need. Just proceed with caution, a little bit at a time.
Wow, how scary for you! Obviously I am glad that you are ok. Thank you for your insights. I think I have a lot of near death experiences that I still need to deal with, I’m actually writing a post about the lasting effects of trauma, its just not coming together the way I’d like yet. :/
I’m glad that your daughter was able to accept help and that it worked out so well for everyone involved. I def need to let my pride down a little bit and start doing the same for myself.
As always, you are awesome my dear 🙂
That is way, way too much for someone to do alone. Just impossible.I've survived two near-death experiences and it's surprising how hard that can hit you days or weeks after the actual incident. I remember waking up about three weeks after my last surgery and thinking just that – “I almost died. Like, really seriously almost DIED.” That was the first time the significance of the whole thing really sunk in and it stopped me dead (no pun intended) in my tracks for a moment.Do you have any friends or neighbors (that aren't crazy!) or someone from church who would be willing to watch your kids for an afternoon for free so you can take a nap or just have a couple of hours to yourself? You need, and most definitely deserve, a break. I know you mentioned some people helped you out after your surgery. Maybe they'd be willing to do so again? Offer them cookies or something. The power of cookies is rather surprising. ;)Sending you virtual hugs and positive thoughts. Hang in there. You're an exceptionally strong woman.
Haha “that aren’t crazy.”
I am finally reaching out for help. It was a long time coming but people have been very willing to help. I think they are finally relieved to see me accepting help. There must have been some kind of bet on when I might implode or something 😉
I understand where your coming from. I find it very tough to let go and ask for help. I feel like I created my family and it is my job to take care of them. And I mean all aspects of that. The running around, counselling appointments, karate, after school activities, doctor's appointments, working full time. I am just so very thankful that my kiddos are big enough now that they can help with some of the household stuff like dishes and laundry. All I can say is try to let go of some of the stuff that doesn't matter so much. The house doesn't have to be spotless to be fun and loving. Grab a cup of dry cereal to eat on the go or keep granola bars in the car to eat on the run. Find one special friend (the family that you chose for yourself) and recruit them to help out with the kiddos. And let some of the small stuff go. I tend to put on my suit of armor and jump on my big white horse with the intention of saving the world and making everything happen. More often it ends up that the laundry doesn't get folded and the dishes are left in the dishwasher but I am ok with that.
“I feel like I created my family and it is my job to take care of them.” EXACTLY!!!
I’m finally accepting that while that might have some truth, “this” is no the plan that I signed up for :/
I really need to work on letting the small stuff go, its so hard.
I think it's great that you got that time to sit down, to reflect, to make changes. It is, frankly, amazing that you've done this much by yourself–but no one can keep that up forever. If there's any way you can get friends to help, I think that would take a lot of the burden off you.You may be a single parent, but that doesn't mean you have to do it alone.
Thank you 🙂 Yes, forever has been looking a bit more exhausting than it originally did.
Time for help 🙂
I think you may have mentioned this elsewhere, but I can't seem to find it right now- do you have an email address where readers can contact you? If not, no big, and sorry if I'm asking you to be repetitive! (And sorry for all the comments tonight as I catch up here)
No worries! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Look forward to hearing from you!
Thank you! 🙂
http://www.rachellegardner.com/Rachelle Gardner | Literary Agentwww.rachellegardner.comMy cuz recommended this…
I just looked at it, what a great site and a wealth of information for new publishers. Thanks for taking the time to share that with me 🙂
Hi Eden!Single parenthood can be felt even when living with a child's other parent. You were, from what I understand, a single parent all along.Survival here, ever since we moved here, was all up to me. Aside from the obvious Mother responsibilities, the bills, mortgage, appointments, sick days, etc…he never once helped out. I (I wish I could bold that letter) – bought this house because I wanted a home for my child. I invited her father to live with me, and he abused of the situation.I asked him to leave once before – didn't work.Became pregnant again.I asked him to leave again in the new year. He didn't come back here. He actually left!Nathaliexoxoxox
I agree. When my ex left I remember very clearly looking at my friend and saying “I can’t do this all alone,” and she looked at me and said “Eden, you have been doing it alone all along, the only thing that has changed is the image.”
Hmmm, that's a similar response to the one I got from people who knew my situation.And those who found we split and didn't know my situation, offer sympathies…if they only knew…they would be pulling out the pom-poms 🙂
Haha, yes! People are always like “I’m so sorry he left,” and I’m like, “no, I’m glad he left, I’m just sad he took his money with him.”
Not that he had much to begin with, but at least I would have been able to appropriately clothe and feed the kids!