Monday, May 23, 2011

Sometimes I Can't See the Woods for the Trees

I feel as if I have reached a pinnacle in this single parenting experience where it surely can't get any harder than this.  Please dear Universe, don't prove me wrong.  It's just too hard.  Please don't make it any harder.  It's tough enough to get through some of the days as it is.

Yesterday was one of those days.  I would prefer not to have a repetition of one of those days for a while.  A day where I just felt so tired, so drained, so lonely, so lacking in optimism and hope and gratitude that the thought of enduring another day like it just couldn't be borne.

Single parenting is a tough road to take.  I had no real idea until I ventured down it.  It is not a path I would ever recommend unless in the most extreme of circumstances.  I am not a village.  I am doing most of this alone and I am finding it really bloody hard.  And I look at my performance with the boys (or the sheer lack of it at times) and I feel as if I am doing them the greatest injustice.  They deserve so much better.  They deserve the mum that I am in my head - the mum that I fully intend to be when I am not with them, but which doesn't bear much relation to the mum that I actually am in their presence.

I don't want to be a single parent any more.  I really don't.  I am done.  I want this job to be shared....but more than that, I want to share this job with someone.  I want another adult in this family to love, to balance the equilibrium a little.  Not to share the workload with, but purely to share the experience with.  Oh My God, the potential luxury of having someone to hold and be held.  Someone to care for and to be cared for in return.  This most simplest and human of situations now seems like a panacea to me.  I can't imagine my current state of being, this terminal loneliness, is ever going to change.  Is it possible that I am going to be single-handedly raising these children, forever?

I went through the motions yesterday, took the boys out, coordinated meeting up with other parents so the boys could run off some steam with friends, made cheery conversation.

I felt numb, as if I was dying inside.

I couldn't muster up a single molecule of joy as I watched my beautiful children gambol about, shrieking and laughing and karate chopping each other.

I was hollow.  Empty.  Devoid of any form of emotion except for the never-ending longing to cry and to never stop.

I got through the day, put the boys to bed early, then read them an extra long story as a penance for being on the outside looking in all day.  They deserve better.  They deserve so much better.  And so, for the love of God, do I.

I watched Long Lost Family, a weekly excuse to shed the tears I am harbouring inside and, instead of feeling better, lighter, feel even more depleted.  How is this possible?  When you are running on empty - how is it possible to be even more empty?  I berated myself internally for feeling this way.  I have so much to be incredibly, ecstatically grateful for!  I am such a lucky, lucky woman!  Jesus Christ, to be this miserable when I have so much love in my life - when I have the privilege of raising these wonderful children in relative luxury, compared to many parts of the world, is so incredibly self-centred and indulgent and, quite frankly, disgusting.  My feelings of self pity and loneliness disgust me.  Which obviously cheers me up no bloody end.

I go to bed early and stand stroking the boys gently on their backs as they sleep, huge sobs wracking my body.  My eyes smart with the saltiness of my tears.  I feel too exhausted to sleep, the thought of having to face another day fills me with a sense of foreboding. I can't do this for another second, another minute, another hour, another day.

I wake this morning and the cloud has lifted.  I hear the boys chatting to each other downstairs, being kind to one another, playing well together and I smile.  I feel rested.  I feel capable.  It will all be okay.  This too will pass.


  1. I'm a single mom, too, and what you describe is so familiar. Please be gentle with yourself. From what I've read here, I know you are an amazing mom.

  2. My thoughts are with you. It's so bloody hard. Yes, be gentle with yourself. It's OK to just be there for them and you're still adjusting the the changes that have happened. Give yourself time.


  3. Anonymous23 May, 2011

    I have the honour of being one of your new 'mummy' friends, let me tell you, you put mine and a whole lot of other mums parenting skills to shame, the natural way you are with the boys is fantastic and they clearly adore you for it! Keep up the good work, we all have days or even weeks like this and that's with partners in tow!!

    Karen H x

  4. Sending you a hug. x

  5. I'm so sorry. It does get better, I promise you that, it does. But don't be too hard on yourself - you've just gone through a huge, traumatic life change, moving your little family back to the UK, finding your boys new schools, somewhere to live, and so on. That's HUGE. You're probably exhausted, which you're quite entitled to be. Take care my love xxx

  6. I can't find your email address, but I wanted to ask you something - could you please email me at notsupermum at hotmail dot com?

  7. lots and lots of hugs and good energy being sent your way.

    There is no reason to deny how you are feeling. Feel your feelings, your loss and the hardships. Only after you have felt them and acknowledge them will you be able to put them aside and rebuild.

    You know where I am if you want to chat. Would love to hear from you.

  8. hello lovely

    I really, really want to meet you for a coffee/gallon of wine and chat to you. And here's why (besides that I love what you write). I think you are suffering from depression. I know very, very little about this. But recently I started seeing a therapist about some stuff and she made me take a quiz. And lo and behold, I had depression. Something that I never would have thought I had in a million years.

    Mild/moderate depression only but I began to understand it. And when I read what you write about how you should be better and how your self pity/lonliness disgusts you, it rings a loud bell.

    Here's the thing: when I heard that I had depression, it freaked me out. A) I was disbelieving - I am a fully functioning person and seem in no way down B) I didn't want to hear that I was depressed. That was something that happened to other people C) Bollocks

    But once I recognised the symptoms, I realised that I didn't have to wake up dreading the day ahead. That I could take control. I could turn this around. And all it took was a handful of visits to someone I could chat to. No medication, not deep anxiety. Just the chance to have someone listen and say 'that's ok.'

    You have been through some seriously rubbish things and the fact that you are still getting on with things is amazing. Don't - I mean - DO NOT - dismiss this as someone saying something nice and it doesn't really mean anything. You like me, probably don't have a filing cabinet in your brain for positive feedback. You probably just filter that away.

    Honestly, you need to talk to someone. You need to love yourself. And you need to realise that what you are doing is an amazing job. And yes, being a single parent it sodding hard (I'm not one and can't imagine what it's like) and you will feel down, but that doesn't mean you should loathe yourself for it.

    So many, many times I have read your blog and wish I could pop in for a coffee. Just know you are fab and I hope to one day meet you.

  9. I think you need to give yourself a bit of a treat if you possibly can - a bunch of flowers, some wine, ten tons of chocolate. You ARE doing a good job. Being a parent is bloody tough and being a single parent is waaay tougher. If you can go through the motions even on a really bad day then you are doing your boys proud. Hope today goes better x

  10. I know. I've been there. I get it. But you're right--it does pass, and it does get better. I wish I could sit down for some tea and sympathy with you....

  11. Karin - thank you, thank you, thank you. my dear friend (also a SM) told me I need to lower the bar on performance...but it is just so hard to be constantly self-sacrificing. I'm no spring chicken and I would love! Sometimes it just seems to much to ask - and that seems so bloody unfair!

    Jo - thanks love. I know you are going through the mill right now too xx

    karen - you're an angel. I am so, so happy to have found you as a friend. You are brill

    Lucia - Thanks Lucie - virtual hugs very very gratefully received!

    Notsupermum - you're right, I know you're right. I need to be a little more patient with myself. It has been an incredibly exhausting and emotional 12 months. It's probably no wonder I have reached a dip in the road, energy wise.

    Susie - thank you my love. Your words always mean so much. I will email you shortly for some much needed advice on how to get my head permanently straight!!

    HOM - Where do you live? I am coming around for that cuppa/bottle of wine combo asap. Thank you for such a thoughtful and constructive comment. It has made me think. I did have therapy in Chicago and it was a massive help in setting my head straight. I will investigate. The word depression sounds so defeatist to me right now...but I am intelligent enough to know the signs. You are so very kind to care so much and to say such lovely, lovely things. I so appreciate it.

    DDs Diary - thank you DD. I did actually treat myself today and I DID feel better for it.

    TM - You are an inspiration (on the been there, done that...oh hey, it's all worked out incredibly well after all front) Thanks for your ongoing support. Means everything x

  12. I'm in west Berkshire but am going to cybermummy. Are you? Otherwise next time I'm in London, I will let you know