Monday, January 17, 2011


In a professional meeting today, and friend of mine mentioned her blogs. Always eager to find commonalities, I responded that I have blogs, too, but that I don't keep up with them. I frequently have much to mentally unload, but find I am otherwise occupied when I actually have time to let it out. Today, though, I decided that I would make it a point to update my blogs weekly. So to catch up as much as I can, I will address a few topics that have been weighing on me.

Money:This is a big one. Next month, I'll be moving out of the fabulous old house I am currently renting. I can no longer manage the rent... I say that like I ever could. It's never been a financially comfortable place to live, but I loved it so when I first viewed it. It is nearly everything I've ever wanted in a home, but now I have to give it up. The house itself has many internal issues, but I liked how I felt coming home to a mature and respectable house that reflected my personality. I feel now that I'm demoting my adulthood by moving into a smaller, less interesting duplex. People in their 20's live in duplexes. I'm nearing mid-30's; I should be more on my way by now. But I'm not. Even with the imminent move and therefore greatly decreased rent, I feel that I will never get back on my feet financially. I will always need to rely on my parents' to provide grocery funds and gas money. I'm doing everything I can outside of a second job to make more of an income. I'm working on my masters online, I'm working in an after school tutoring program, I plan to begin a 1-3 year rigorous certification process this spring that could solve my problems when accomplished. Money, or the lack thereof, is on my mind constantly. My tax return should relieve some current IOU's, but I'm not sure there will be any left to cushion the following months. I went to school and busted my butt to get a good job so I could be comfortable; why aren't I?

Pregnancy is running rampant at my place of employment. Including the fellow whose wife just gave birth last month, the total so far is 6 expectant teachers at my school. All but 1 are firsts. I am, of course, terribly thrilled for them as I know the love a child can bring, but it makes me wonder if I will ever have more. Obviously, many happenings would need to occur before a baby could, but I'm not completely opposed to another if life were to take that (sharp) turn. I've given myself 3 more healthy fertile years before I'm just too old. That's a pretty narrow window considering where I stand now. But it's not baby envy that I'm experiencing the strongest, it's pregnancy envy. Well, not the act of being pregnant, but the sought after pregnancy, the pregnancy we've always wanted, the "we're all so excited" pregnancy. Mine was none of those. I was happy to have Maysie on her way, but it was so mixed with shame and embarrassment and excuses that I had to dig through all of that to find the joy. Don't get me wrong, others around me warmed up to the idea, too. But there was no big announcement followed by hugs and congratulations. I received gasps and screwed-up faces, and looks of pity. Even my mother was too embarrassed to tell her sisters right away (I've not ever known that to happen). "You can tell them," is what I was told. And it wasn't because it was my good news either. Now, I guess my biggest curiosity translates to jealousy. I would do it again just to know what it feels like to be pregnant together, to leave the hospital together, to wake up those first few nights together, to be admired for what I've done, what we'd have done together.
The previous topic segues nicely to my last, not untouched upon, area of focus for the evening.
Getting back to me:Is it selfish to want to find myself again? I love being Maysie's mommy; I would not ever go back again to life without her, but I miss me. It seems that so much that I identified myself with, all those uniquities that I liked about myself, I've had to give up in order to raise Maysie the best that I can alone. I've not acted in a main stage production since the weeks before her birth, I hardly have time to create art because I feel inspired, even if I do find inspiration everywhere, I'm too tired after her bed time to do anything about it. Or else I have too much to accomplish in the short hours between our bedtimes that does not include painting or writing, or scrapbooking. I miss hosting gathering for my friends, I miss the stage, I miss...... the me I was before I was a mommy. And here envy rears an ugly head again. I have a dear friend who shares with me the love of performing. She recently gave birth to her first child. When I heard of her pregnancy, in addition to feeling happy for them, I felt that she, too, would be where I am soon. She, too, would feel herself slip away into parenthood. She would have less time for dancing and the stage. She did no longer audition for the parts she had earned for the last few years, but she still managed to choreograph. So she hasn't been the leading lady, but she still teaches workshops and choreographs and is sought after for her talent. She's not excluded from the circuit she's created because of her child, as I feel I have been. How does she get away with it? One answer is simple; her son is not yet walking. The other: DADDY. Her son has one, a good one. They share parenting responsibilities because they both want to be his parents. In return, they get to keep themselves, too.
I'm trying to slowly work my way back to me, but it would require time away from my sweet child. For others, it's sharing, but I'm all she has. So the guilt is overpowering. My mom likes to remind me how much Maysie misses me when I have to work long, so the proposed idea of trying for the summer musical this year was met with disapproval. I would never get to see Maysie, was what my mother's response was. That is quite an exaggeration, but my Maysie time over the summer would be reduced by a few hours almost every evening. Is that so bad? Is it wrong to want to be somewhere doing something that I love without Maysie? It doesn't mean that I don't love her or want to be with her, it just means that I like to have a life outside of parenthood. Many folks have told me that this is okay; they do it, too. But their babies have daddies. So how do I find the balance between single parenthood and myself without feeling guilty?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Eternal Sunshine......

I'm inspired recently by the brilliant film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. The characters here have the ability to pay a company to erase a memory, completely, from their mind. Anything so intolerably painful can be obliterated, an event, a relationhips, a person, so life can go on ignorantly blissful. What a concept. I think I would. Not a specifc person of occurance, but a concept. I would like to go through life having no awareness that such an elusive thing as romantic love between two adult people exists. I couldn't have the feeling of being in love erased, because I don't think I've ever experienced it, though I've thought many a time that I was there only to find out otherwise. No, instead I would prefer to go on not thinking about how great it must be.
To be clear, I wouldn't take all loving thoughts from my brain. I still want to love my friends and family. I still want to have love for things like fall colors and performing and a beautiful song. Especially I would want to hang tight to love for my sweet Maysie; that I would never give up. But those kinds of love are not the same as love from a life partner. If only I could remove that one little part of my memory, or the idea anyway. The idea of romance then would be as foreign as the taste of ox tongue. I've never tried it, so I don't want it. I don't want it, so I don't miss it. I don't miss it, so it doesn't hurt not to have it. It doesn't hurt not having any so seeing others enjoy it doesn't effect me. Simple. Just imagine how focused I could be on the rest of life if it weren't for that one little bother.
Maybe it can be erased. Maybe if I don't believe, it will cease to exist, like faeries. It's not that I don't believe in love completely; I do...for some. The way I see it, when it comes to having romantic love you're either a "have"- I've seen enough of these genuine cases that I know it exists- or you're like the rest of us...a "have not". Oh, I've been a "have tried" and a "have thought so", but never a true to life "have". I don't think I'm capable. In either regard: to be in-love or to be in-love with. I wasn't put on this earth for that reason. I've got plenty of purpose, but finding the right guy to (mutaully) fall in love with for good is just not one of them.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Fighting the parenting blues

Where did I go? This is the second post I've written about getting lost in parenthood; the first was written 2 years ago. I don't feel I'm continuously sinking anymore, but I do feel submerged. I love love love the priviledge of being Maysie's momma, but I miss me, too. Single parenting is such a difficult balance; I can't even stay on the log! Everything I used to identify with, that made me like me, I don't have time for anymore. I feel like I've lost it and me along with it. I used to call myself a performer. It's been over 2 years since I've been in a full-on production. I have taken cameo parts in a few theatrical camp performances thanks to my wonderful friends in the teaching-kids-to-act business. I appreciate greatly what those moments on stage did for me and my sanity. But they awakened in me the beast that bit me in the first place. Now I want more. Performing musically one was a few things that I sincerely felt I was good at whether someone told me so or not. Another is art. Paiting, drawing, creating- anything I had the resources for. I create here and there for a purpose, like gifts or costumes. But I haven't created just for me in years. I actually started a painting a month or so ago as an attempt to find me in those paint bottles, but I haven't touched it since then because I have too much work to do. By work I mean grading, planning, course work, house work... stuff that has to be done, which beats stuff that I want to do. Another wish-I-had-time-for is writing and illustrating children's books. I've had several stories rolling around in my head for 10 years! A few have even made it to type. I tried to make it a goal last summer to work on my stories, but my courses started in June and I was working 3 days a week. On the days I wasn't working I had Maysie with me; her sleeping time was spent doing homework. I've also discovered that I'm not very productive at home. I get distracted by house work and being tired. Basically what I need is time to myself. What is that anyway?
I think back to my life before Maysie, way before... like when I was married the first time and not even thinking about having kids. How did I not have time then? What else was I doing with myself? I was teaching and staying at school longer, and actually doing the school work I brought home. I was acting, too. Sometimes 3 shows a season. I could I have felt then that I didn't have time.... If I knew then what I know now, I would have been so much more productive. And now, here I sit blogging about my woes of no-timeness while Maysie watches Mickey Mouse on the "big" computer. I started this evening's writing endevor on the PC, but was soon displaced by a sweet (and demanding) little plea for Mickey. I can hardly justify spending sleeping time (Maysie's that is) with non-productive activities like blogging. That time is reserved for school work.
On the bright side, my social life has taken a turn for the better. I have a friend whom I've been spending a lot of time with. I really enjoy his company, and he seems to enjoy mine and Maysie's. I'll try not to screw that up.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Art of Lonely

During the week, I keep my phone turned to vibrate because I don't want it to ring during class. I turn it back to normal for the weekend. Lately, though I've wondered what is worse: checking my "silented" phone for messages or calls and seeing that there have been none, or hearing someone not trying to contact me. Facebook has fallen into a similar trap. I read the news feed to see what the rest of my world is up to, but really am more interested to see if anyone has posted on my wall or sent me a message. Seems a little pathetic doesn't it? I'm sure if I posted on someone's wall, I would get a response.... I guess I hope that someone is thinking of me first. There have been no friend requests in months; but that's a two way street. I often wonder if I subconsciously sabotoge my own relationships. If I were in the midst of one, would I have time for it? My STBX (soon to be ex) repeatedly claimed that I had no time for him after Maysie went to bed. I found that frustrating because I didn't have time for me either, and I still had work to do, and I felt he needed me to entertain him. But perhaps he was right. Maybe I don't have time. The whirlwind of a relationship I was just recently in caused me to stress about time. When I knew he would be visiting on an evening, I worried that I wouldn't get my course work done or that he would feel jilted if I choose to do homework instead of spend every minute with him while he was there. It was a bit different, though. One of those people lived in the same house with me, one didn't. Really, though... when I have little to no time to myself, is there room for another person? My mom offered a night for me tonight. She and Dad would take Maysie through her bedtime routine so I could get a minute to myself. I almost didn't accept, even though I've been seriously needing some decompression time, because I had nothing to do that I couldn't do at home after Maysie goes to bed. None of my friends really go out. If they do, I don't know about it. A night to myself tonight means exactly that. A night with myself....alone with my flaws and my exhausting thoughts. I decided to spend only a minimal time on those, and the rest on homework and a mocha.... and no distracting TV or enticing couch.
But now, here I am. Alone. Well, not alone. I've brought with me Mom Guilt. Guilt for wanting/ needing time away from my parenting responsibilities. Another time when I lean heavily on my parent's support. It's good to have that support there, but shouldn't a grown and responsible woman be able to stand alone? There it is again... alone. I was actually looking forward to my escape to B&N. Until Mom Guilt arrived with my parents. Maybe that's where the name came from. Maybe it passes from one to another, but Mom Guilt hitched a ride on my soul tonight. Cheesey. The absorbtion of Mom Guilt when something like this: Look at that tired girl, she's so tired, she doesn't feel good, What time has she been getting to bed? she's sick, she needs to go to a doctor, she's not felt good this week, listen to her cough, it could be pneumonia... have a good time!
Mom Guilt, though, was happy to interpret for me. Please see the chart below...
Look at that tired girl = poor thing is sleep deprived.
She's so tired = what cruel person keeps this child awake?
she doesn't feel good = Can't you see that? What are you doing about it?
What time has she been getting to bed? = it's your fault she's so tired. You're keeping her up too late.
She's sick = You've been ignoring her illness and making her go to school!
She needs to go to a doctor = any decent parent can see that she needs medical attention! How could you not have done this yet!
She's not felt good this week = You've been torturing her all week by not making her well!
Listen to her cough = it sounds horrible. How can you ignore that? Why haven't you fixed it?
it could be pneumonia = and it's your fault ofr ignoring it for so long. Won't you feel bad if it is!
Have a good time = don't worry, we'll put her needs before our own and take care of her while your out having fun.
Sure, maybe I'm overreacting, but that danged little voice is so loud! I can almost guarantee that she'll go to bed early without any fuss or trouble indicating that the difficulty I've been having is my own fault for doing it all wrong, putting her to bed too late, not being too weak to handle it, all of the above....
I really shouldn't be so negative. My parents have been an immeasurable help the last 2.5 years that I've been called Momma. I'm grateful and disappointed at the same time. Grateful for their help, but disappointed that I've needed so much of it. People expected I would nto be able to do this single parenting thing by myself, and I feel I'm proving them right. I hate that. Yet here I am anyway. Good times......When I get home, I'm having a glass of wine.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Family Fun time

My brother and his family came to visit this past weekend. Maysie had such a good time playing with her cousins. All of them were so sweet to her; I could tell they have an older sibling instinct. We spent as much time as we could with them for the day and a half they were here. So much so, that Maysie did not want to come home with me after they had all left Monday. Now it's back to the Mom show: All Mom, all the time!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

My daughter, the artist

Maysie likes to draw and paint. She always requests that I trace her hands or draw Santa Clause when faced with a blank canvas. I recently invested in a sturdy, plastic picnic table and umbrella so we can paint outside without worrying about a big mess... I can just hose the table down.

She also likes to pretend. She likes to pretend to make me cry; I'm not sure how I feel about that yet. She used to tell me to "fry, Mama", then offer me a pretend binky once I got going. At times she'll tell me she needs a glove or a hat and I'll offer her a pretend whatever... sometimes she comes back with, "no, a real _____, not a pretend _____." I'm glad she has an imagination. And quite a flare for the dramatic, too.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Hot Fun in the Summer time...

Today was my first official day of summer vacation. It was also the first day of my second whack at potty training my 2 year old daughter. I had tried over Spring break, but she was taking an antibiotic for an ear infection. It was so strong it caused her to have diarrhea and a raging yeast infection; I decided it was best to wait. Now that school's out, things will be calm for me for another few days. I'm going to be working half days, four days a week at a program for school-aged kids at the facility where Maysie goes. I'll be earning extra money and getting a nice employee discount on her tuition! For a few weeks I'll be spending my mornings helping out at a friend's performance studio for their summer camp sessions. July is packed with professional workshops AND I'll be starting my online Masters program at the end of June... so summer is not much of a vacation for me; just a vacation from my primary profession. I like to stay busy, though. And it will keep me from wanting to take a cue from my friends and go somewhere fun and then feeling jealous because I can't. I am trying to plan fun activities for the Mays and myself, and Chadi when he's visiting. We plan to go see Toy Story 3 when it comes out; Maysie's first movie in the theatre- should be an adventure! I also want to take a day trip to Turpentine Creek- a large cat sanctuary. Not to mention the potty training adventure....
I've brought home a handful of young adult books from my classroom library to read before my literacy workshop in July (where I plan to pickup more books to read before school starts). There are a few side projects I want to work on too, when I get the chance - in other words, during nap times....
So, already my summer is booked. I'm trying to make a conscious effort not to start thinking about the next school year until July, but I'm meeting my new intern tomorrow -just for introductions and visiting- though I'm sure school will come up.
Oh well..