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single parenting

If you have landed here tonight looking for whimsy, snark, or a mommy truism; you may want to stop reading. No, tonight is a post for me. Sometimes you just need a post where  you can get it all out of your system; where you can rage, wallow, and come out the other end a stronger, better person for surviving. That’s what this post is going to be. This is me trying not to drown. If you are a woman and you’ve ever felt swelled up, rolled, and pinched into the corner that is your life and the gravity of reality has hit you all at once like a ton of bricks, this may be a post you can relate to. If not, I am happy for you.You are dismissed…

Today, I woke up after 10 full hours of sleep. Probably the most peaceful rest I’ve had in months, truly. My sleep is about as effective and complete as my 3 year old cleaning her room.Some things may get moved around, she goes through the motions, but in the end, the effort was useless.The room is NEVER any cleaner,but there is a perceived sense of “cleaned”..but not really. Every night, I more or less pass out from exhaustion than drift off into peaceful slumber.When I do go to sleep, its that Mommy one eye open, both ears functioning like dogs, and I wake if the dog farts in another room..across the house. It’s just the way I’m built. Probably much like you. But last night was different,last night..I relaxed before bed time ( like I did before kids), I watched a movie, and a let myself “fall” into sleep. It was glorious. I always took that for granted but it really is a wonderful thing to experience. But then I woke up.

Funny thing about a full night of restful sleep.It gives your mind time to rest, relax, repair itself and, heaven forbid, in my case, think clearly.  I woke up this morning and the fog had lifted off my brain.Anyone who’s followed me for any length of time, knows my story. Quick recap; The Big Guy lives in another state Sunday through Friday ( due to work location)for the past 11 months. We (myself and my two littles) live here ( due to several external factors). He comes home on Friday nights ( this is my Christmas each and every week). It is hard. Really, really hard…on all of us.But we’ve been doing it for so long that I am on autopilot most days.Basically, living for the next Friday, the month, the year when this horrible living arrangement is over.Always, looking toward the end in sight.Worst of all; I love my husband.I honestly, truly; really love my husband and more than that I like him.

But this morning, with the fog dissipated and my brain functioning at full capacity, all of the sudden reality slapped me right across the face with the force of  freight train and I could no longer restrain myself from facing reality. I had to get it out.I tried to hold it in. After all,the Big Guy is in this same situation and I try not to let on how hard this is for me. I admit to having a mini meltdown every 3 months or so, but this was like nothing I’ve ever felt. It was overwhelming, raw pain. It was like losing someone, or something and then I realized..I am. We are being robbed of our life together. It’s NOT fair.

I guess I should tell you the whole story of this morning.I woke up fine and then, I realized it was Sunday ( which means the Big Guy is leaving..again) which normally leaves me with a knot in the pit of my stomach  but today it was like somebody stabbed me in the chest. At that very moment, I was making breakfast for the girls who have decided that they are going to refuse me everything I offer them, at least three times. And that is what cracked me. I started to tear up, I couldn’t eat because I couldn’t swallow anything with that giant lump in my throat and I walked away so the girls wouldn’t see. My emotions were overwhelming me.I was drowning.

Then lunch rolled around, I served the girls lunch..same thing.They didn’t like what it was, why did I give them this;I should know better; and they both refused again. To which, the weight was too much and I broke. I started to cry this time, part anger; part despair; part frustration. Then I went to the bathroom and I cried for what seemed like forever but I think it was more like 45 minutes.Every time, I thought I was done I’d remember one more piece of shit that was piled on my plate. Finally, I pulled it together enough to come out of the bathroom.The Big Guy was concerned and checking on me, I think he thought I was trying to escape down the toilet bowl. I felt as though I had some catharsis, crying my heart out..there in my desperately needing to be cleaned bathroom. Then I came out.

He had sent the girls to their rooms and the Big Guy was helping me take down the Christmas tree in silence and then I opened my mouth to speak. My heart was heavy, so heavy that I felt as though trying to force the words out of my mouth might choke me to death but I had to do it. He stood there in silence and listened as I fought for my life. I told him how I have no one to talk to and I’m all alone. I told him how I’ve been so busy trying to be strong for everyone else that I’ve neglected to deal with my own feelings. I opened up about how hard this is on me and the girls. How they are acting out in anger to the situation.They are hurt, they are confused. I explained how I feel like a failure as a mother because I am so tired, and so busy and always patching just to get by instead of nurturing because it’s all I can do to get by from one day to the next. I told him how I am overwhelmed by never having enough money because we are living in separate places, leading separate lives. I told home how much that bothers me. I told him how I feel like a failure at my dreams because its just one more thing that I don’t have time for. I feel like I am not utilizing my opportunities in a way I am supposed to. I see my friends, my age, achieving their goals, managing their families, making head way on their dreams…I feel like I am banging my head on a wall..a brick wall…falling short in every single category. On top of all that, the thing that I think actually made the weight too much to bear, the plans we had to be together this summer has been put on hold. We had a place to stay but now that choice is no longer an option (one of the reasons I hate putting my happiness in the hands of others). So now, the end in sight that has kept me going all these months..is gone. This was too much today. This broke me..but only for a day.

I’ve got it all off my chest,I cried, I screamed, I raged and now,I am moving on. Just one more thing I feel like a failure at, I am always positive. I am a half full type of girl. I always believe that everything is possible through hard work and determination and I truly believe that. I do, with all my heart, but my problem is I haven’t been acknowledging the situation. I’ve been so busy getting through it that I’ve not been dealing with it. This is me, feeling sorry for myself…for 24 hours, acknowledging, admitting that it is HARD, sucking it up and moving on. I will not be defeated. This situation has not broken me, as I first thought; it has bent me, it has rattled me and I will move forward stronger with an ever greater determination. I make my own success and happiness; that is what I am focusing on. I will tread water until I regain my strength to swim, but I will not drown.

Have you ever felt like you were overwhelmed in your life? In motherhood? How do you deal with it? What do you do to get over the hurdles of motherhood and life?

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what is commuter marriage, commuter marriage, living apart, the toll of work travel on a marriage, married and single, single parenting

You’ve all seen me write about it but maybe you’re wondering what is Commuter Marriage?  As I stand on the front stoop watching my husband pull away for the 17th Sunday, bound for his hole he calls an apartment in Iowa, my throat closes up and I feel like I will be swallowed completely by the huge lump in my esophagus and my eyes burn and sting as they get a little watery.

I watch my girls run down the sidewalk waving and screaming , “Bye Daddy, I love you!” and my heart is breaking into a thousand pieces inside. Every week it stings my very core; every single time. Sometimes worse than others, but always. I really loathe all this single mothering that I’ve been doing lately but more than that I hate that we are all getting used to it, comfortable even.

What is commuter marriage? It’s hard on the family.

The girls are getting used to not having Daddy around, and I am getting used to handling things on my own, and sometimes when he’s here, I think he feel’s like he is out of place in his own home. That is what really bothers me. Isn’t this how people drift apart? Isn’t this how families fall apart? I love my husband, and he loves me but if you get used to not having someone around, pretty soon won’t you stop missing one another?

When your husband travels for work, it’s not consistent and it’s random and you learn to deal with it by looking forward to the next time he returns. But when your husband has a residence in a whole other state for a job because his office is there and you KNOW he will be gone for at least 4 of the days of the week, it’s a little harder to swallow.

There is no room for superfluous personal days or no chance of no travel because every week you know, come Sunday afternoon..he’s pulling away and you are left behind on that damn stoop and he’s left watching you grow smaller and smaller in the rearview mirror.

I thought being married meant someone to share my life with. Recently, I feel more like I am a kept woman; a lonely one at that. I have someone to pay the bills. We’re getting to the point where we are forgetting to tell each other the little things that happen in our day to day and that scares me. Pretty soon we won’t know each other. I can deal with geographic distance but not emotional distance. I mean, I never thought I’d be married and alone.

What is Commuter Marriage? It’s being married but alone.

What do I do? Do I tell him to quit and come home because I need my friend, my partner, my husband? Or do I just keep going on ignoring the fact that this is really hard and slowly becoming impossible? Some days, I am okay with it. Other days, I can hardly bear it.I am lonely and I miss our relationship. The day to day, seeing each other, talking about nothing, sharing laughs and feelings, stolen glances and touches. Now, everything is forced into a weekends time and it’s not enough.

I feel like such an ungrateful asshole. I know I should be filled with gratitude that he has a job at all in this economy but it’s extremely hard when you’ve spent every day of the past 13 years with this man and suddenly you are living separate lives. I know he is just as lonely there but some days I feel overwhelmed with all the responsibility of holding it all together. Some days, it is just too much.But what do you do when you have bills to pay and kids to feed, mortgages, groceries, and school loans? You suck it up, you be a grown-up, you get out of the fetal position, stop crying and stand on that damn stoop and wave goodbye and hope its not for the last time. Commuter marriage is not for the weak.

What is commuter marriage?

It’s survival and groceries and mortgages. It’s not being homeless. It’s saying goodbye more often than you ever dreamed. Have you or would you ever be in a commuter marriage and make it work?

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