Parenting is tough enough when there are two parents in the home. It is even more challenging when a parent has to parent solo. There is no longer another person to help out with getting kids to various activities and events. There isn’t another person to help with the cooking, grocery shopping and household chores. By the time the afternoon taxi runs are done, dinner is finished and cleaned up, a single parent is often ready to collapse, but then, there is homework to supervise, or television to monitor, or any number of things that require tending to. The life of a single parent is often one of sheer fatigue and exhaustion. And that’s if the parent is in good health. Should a single parent come down with the flu, life then becomes impossible.
I used to think, when I was married, that moms were never able to get sick. My husbands, when they got sick, collapsed and could have cared less about what went on around them. And I, being the dutiful wife, made sure they were unable to sleep undisturbed until whatever it was passed. Sadly, I have never had these kindnesses reciprocated. During the few times I did get sick, I was not allowed to sleep, I was constantly interrupted by children’s demands. I was still expected to cook and clean as if nothing was the matter. In my second marriage, I contracted walking pneumonia and had just been told by the doctor that I was ill enough to be admitted to the hospital. She left the choice up to me and I went home. My sensitive husband, having just heard the doctor’s diagnosis, decided to have all of his relatives (some 23 or more) over at our house for an afternoon. Imagine it. 23 people, most of them loud, obnoxious children, in our 1400 square foot home. I should have taken up the offer for hospitalization. This is just one of many reasons why he is now known to me as “The Evil Ex”.
This weekend, I was sick. Not just runny nose, coughing kind of sick. I was flat-on-my-back-couldn’t-move sick. It started out as a sore throat, and the next day every muscle in my body hurt so badly I was nearly paralyzed with pain. I was a little congested, but not much, and no cough. No nausea, except for a few hours one evening. I just could not move, and I had the worst headache ever…for three days. I haven’t been that sick in a very long time.
Needless to say, everything in my world stopped.
No laundry was done. No groceries shopped for. No housecleaning happened. Nothing.
In my world, if these things don’t get done during the weekend, they don’t get done until the next weekend, and that creates problems for us in getting through the week. Since my dryer is still not working, I had to wait until I had enough energy and strength to haul the wet laundry down the stairs and into the car to go to the laundromat and dry them. Then, of course, there’s the return trip where I haul the dry laundry up the stairs and put it away. Fixing meals? Thank goodness I had some of those quick microwave burritos on hand or my kids would have starved. That combined with the fact that it was a weekend where my kids were all at their other homes made it possible for me to get some rest and sleep it off. I’m feeling better now. Still weak. Dizzy. But I can move. I have some energy to do small tasks, if I rest in between.
At times like these, I truly wonder how we single parents make it through. I am grateful my kids are older and can do most things for themselves. They understand that I’m not up to par and they pretty much leave me alone. My heart goes out to those single parents dealing with younger children, and fewer resources or support systems than I have. I wonder how they make it through.
May 2012 is already shaping up to be a better month than April was. That’s pretty decent considering it isn’t even May yet. I get paid at the end of the month, and have already paid all my bills for May. That’s also pretty decent considering I paid up the ones I had to skip on last month just to survive. I absolutely detest living like this but one of the first things I learned in Divorce 101 is that sometimes you just have to survive. That was April’s mantra. May’s, I hope, will be more about recovering and stabilizing rather than just making it. By July, I actually hope to be moving ahead.
So, I’ve paid the bills, and there is money to eat on for the rest of the month; another reason May is already better than April. In addition, I did this without planning on the rental money, from the old Someday-The-Bank-Will-Decide-To-Foreclose house. I’m going to terminate the contract with the renters whether they pay or not on May 1. We are on a month-to-month and i can terminate the agreement with 30 days notice for no cause. The income is nice, the hassle is not. It is also a good idea for me to just get used to not having that income. After that, I’m probably going to need to begin not planning on the money from The Evil Ex, because I suppose that will go away soon also. I just can’t worry about that now. On the up side, I have a few gigs that opened up over the summer that will hopefully do much to get my savings going.
On another note, my son was sick all last week and he gave me whatever he got. I spent most of the glorious spring weekend indoors, sick with a killer cold. I’m feeling slightly better now, but won’t be heading in to work tomorrow. I’m certain my clients would not appreciate me coughing, sneezing, and hacking phlegm all over them. I’ve already called in my assistant. She can handle most of the important stuff, and reschedule the rest. I will be spending the day in bed sleeping, hoping like anything to speed my recovery. God knows I’ve taken enough sick time this year.
In all, April sucked. Bankruptcy is no fun and things were super tough. On the other hand, I do believe the home we are in right now was divinely appointed. There were not and still are not any homes of the kind and size we have for the amount we are paying. I’m not sure this is necessarily a forever home for us, but I can think of much worse places to land for a few years while we get back on our feet financially. Plus, it is low maintenance and I love this place. Things could be much, much worse.
So, here’s to moving through the roadblocks and challenges in life. After every hill climb, there is a glorious descent. Let’s hope the ride smooths out for the rest of 2012.
The stress and lack of sleep and lack of exercise, but mostly the lack of sleep lately and the stress, weakened my germ fighting abilities. Early last week, I got sick. I lost my voice. Continued to work, which is tough to do in my job, but there were Important and Stressful Events going on so I pushed through it. This last weekend was my first complete weekend home and all the kids were gone to their respective other homes. My body must have sensed this, somehow, because I ended up in bed with a pretty severe head cold…which I think…turned into the flu.
This has not been fun.
Of course, now, when I most need rest, I cannot get it. Even with decongestants and cold medicine my head is so stuffed up I can’t breath and my body hurts so badly I cannot get comfortable enough. I merely pretend to sleep. Then I get frustrated and come down here and write. If I don’t write, I’m tossing and turning all night long trying to find that elusive comfortable position in which I can both breath and not have my body screaming at me. There are many things that keep me up at night; add sickness to the list.
In reality, it is the other things that keep me up at night that contributed to weakening my immunity. Things like money, relationships, the kids, the ex’s, worries about the future. The same old stuff. These concerns haunt me, stalk me, never leave me. I’ve just made a monumental move at a time of year that is probably the most stressful for me. The only other time I could think of that would be worse, is Christmas, which is exactly why I chose to move now. Christmas was the next option. I knew it would be a push. I figured it would be worth it. I pushed. I pushed hard. I collapsed.
Now…too congested and in pain to sleep…I think and worry.
I worry about the upcoming pay cuts which will come through on my check this next paycheck.
I worry about the gas I’m now spending with the increase in transporting children around. Maybe I can offset this by walking or riding my bike to work?
I worry (wonder?) about the relationship I’m currently in. This could be topic for a whole host of future posts.
I worry about my kids. I worry about financing Christmas. I worry about my job. I worry about how long my car will hold up. I worry about the fact that I still have money left on my flexible spending account and, yet, nothing I can deduct or get reimbursed. I worry about aging…and death.
I try not to. I do. But in the back of my mind all the “what if’s” lurk and stalk and wait to pounce until nights like tonight when I’m wide awake once again.