My life is moving way too fast. With treatment, therapy, school, medication management, psychiatry, dentist, doctors, ball practice, work, and all the other errands that life has I am tired! I’ve always respected single mothers as hardworking and patient people. I honestly never gave them the credit they deserved. It took becoming one and losing my support system nearby to see how hard it is to have it all on you. I wish I had people nearby I could turn to and ask for help from, but unfortunately long-distant support isn’t able to pick up the kids from school or watch them so you can go to the store alone. If you aren’t able to put your needs last this single parent life is not for you!
I had to laugh audibly when my psychiatrist asked me Tuesday if I made any time for “self-care”…my response was probably not one that was expected, but it was honest. I don’t have time to take a shower sometimes, when I do I’m so exhausted I don’t even care if I smell like the back end of a Chuck E Cheese in the middle of summer mixed with McDonald’s onions, I want to chill out. Unfortunately Anxiety creeps up and taps my shoulder and says “you forgot this…and this…and this…and this”. Some days I just want to scream and throw things! I can’t though because I’m the “mental health mom”. I can’t react…I have to respond. Constantly being aware of other people’s needs gives you compassion fatigue and eventually you explode. You can’t put others first all the time and lose yourself in that, you’ll resent the people you put ahead of yourself. Then the next stage is burn out.
I’ve been worn thin over the past several months. My time and attention is being split between personal, family, work, and home. I feel like I can’t fully focus on any area without another area interfering or me constantly thinking about it. I’ve been trying to manage it all, but there has been no relief, in fact it’s only gotten harder for me to keep up with the pace.
This week after my ex called to tell my threefold that he was going to check himself into a facility to “get help” I found myself more angry. I was asking myself why I was so mad and I think I was actually jealous. Not really, but I’m a way, yes I was. He has hardly anything to do with my threefold. He rarely helps financially. He doesn’t help with logistics. He has made everything hell for me and it’s been a fight to receive any communication, rarely civil. He still manages to hurt my threefold even from a distance. He hurts them if he is around and his lack of effort hurts them too. I had reached my breaking point when 2, who has just gotten out of the hospital and is still in treatment, said she was glad he was getting help and hopefully if he was able to get help she would be willing to try and work on their relationship. Her sweet and hope filled statement got her a quick “I don’t have time for your ultimatums right now. I can’t do this sh!t with you.” She was devastated and then so angry. So much we had an emergency session at 10pm for therapy for risk management. Then 1 was up, she kept it brief and simple, but she was sad. Then 3, she screamed and cried and screamed some more. My initial reaction of being mad at him for getting to live life without responsibilities, no job, no kids, no cares for anyone but himself morphed into concern and pain for my threefold.
The next 48 hours were trying and difficult. I got very little sleep as I was worried feeling I needed to be the night nurse and check on my threefold through the night hours. We had four therapy sessions in 24 hours the emergency 10pm, one for 3, one for myself and a family session for all of us. I was scared for my threefold. I knew it was going to be hard on them and 3 she was experiencing her first huge disappointment from her father. She had defended his every action and suddenly the anger from his abandonment rose to the surface. In an instant all of it came out and it oozed out for days. All of my threefold were angry and they were displaying that anger in all different ways. It was time for me to stop being the chaos coordinator and go into risk management mode. I knew that we had to avoid crisis management at all costs.
I decided that I needed to take a short leave of absence from my work. I had to put my focus into my threefold full force. I couldn’t just hope for the best, I needed to make sure everyone was safe and that I had to be with them after treatment and school each day to do that at least until it evened out a bit. I also needed to get into a routine and schedule so that my time was better managed. I feel if I focus on this now and can find my way through it that moving forward will be easier for everyone. That’s where I am day 3 of my 12 day leave.
Now I am hopeful, less stressed, and thankful. I’m not thankful for the overwhelming overloaded and over scheduled life we live, but I am thankful that I’m present and an active participant in my threefold’s life. My threefold is amazing, strong, kind, brave, and we are all so beautifully broken. The future we are creating as a family with the broken pieces of our past is a masterpiece in the making. ☮️❤️😊~M