Tag: #momlife

The First Holidays After Divorce

The First Holidays After Divorce

I am sitting alone on Thanksgiving morning with the dog, drinking a cup of coffee and reflecting on the fact this is the first Thanksgiving without my daughter. The way our parenting plan and schedule worked out this year I won’t be with my daughter on Halloween, Thanksgiving, her actual birthday, and Christmas Eve & Christmas morning. Needless to say, the holidays have hit differently for me this year.

I have had a multitude of feelings about spending some of my first holidays alone post-divorce. First and foremost, I am sad, but I get this was a natural consequence. It wasn’t unexpected in that way. It has been hard fielding questions about how my daughter liked Halloween or how she dressed up (I dunno because I wasn’t there) or what my plans are for Thanksgiving. This whole experience has also given me the ability to understand how my mom felt when we went to our dad’s for the holidays. It’s a bit different, since we only saw my dad on holidays & weekends, but I recognize the sameness of our situations in spending holidays alone. I do have compassion for her experience, as this is not an easy time to navigate, but also disappointment in that she guilt tripped us and made us feel bad for seeing our other parent. That is something I have been thoroughly intentional about…I do not want my daughter to feel guilt at seeing her dad or spending time with her dad. Divorce is hard enough on a kid; there is no need for a parent to layer their own guilt on top of an already challenging situation for a child.

I also have felt anger towards my ex-husband. We were in an amicable co-parenting place before he allowed another woman to move in and run the show and our co-parenting relationship has taken a hit as a result. I would have loved for an invitation to have been extended to me to spend at least a few hours together with our daughter on this day. But that hasn’t happened. I don’t think it will materialize in the future, so I am left to cope with this reality solely on my own.

I have come to realize that the first holidays feel similarly to the experience of navigating the first year after someone dies. As you approach these days, you realize things have been forever altered. It can be filled with emotional landmines as you grieve the loss of your intact family and any traditions you may have had. I was unpacking Christmas décor and stumbled across a paper mache snowman I bought with my ex on a trip to Mexico City. I smiled at the memory while feeling a pang of sorrow and then promptly threw it in the trash. I hope you do not romanticize the past with your ex, as there was a reason why the two of you got divorced. Although the memory made me smile, I recognize that my life is ultimately far more peaceful and joyful NOW post-divorce then it ever was married. Despite any grief I may feel about this time, I know in my heart I made the absolute right decision for myself. I was invited to friends, and while I appreciated the generous offer, I declined it, as I wanted to allow myself space to grieve and navigate this new normal on my own.

Let’s not also forget the positives too. It is a time for you to CREATE new traditions on those holidays you DO have you child. My kid is old enough now for us to bake Christmas cookies together. I love baking and want to involve her in a new tradition where we make Christmas cookies for friends and neighbors. Although not new, we adopt local kids from our Boys and Girls Club because I want her to realize there are kids in this world that have socks, underwear or a winter coat on their wish list for Christmas. Despite the difficult journey our family has gone through, we still are very fortunate. I want her to see the holiday is not all about receiving; it is about giving. It is about helping where you can to make your community and world a better place. And it’s an opportunity for you personally, dear one. I decided to see a movie later today by myself. I booked the ticket last night and am looking forward to movie theater popcorn later! While I am not cooking a full on Thanksgiving dinner for myself, I did get from the store certain holiday foods I love (stuffing, pumpkin pie. etc.) and plan to cook them later. It is not all sadness and grieving; there are some hopeful, joyful moments during this time.

If you are going through the holidays post-divorce for the first time like me, my heart goes out to you. My wish is for healing and love to surround you, even in those tough moments. Know that it is not all bad, it will get better, and you will get through it. Be hopeful for your future.

Perfect Timing

Perfect timing for my daughter to get sick. 2-1/2 weeks into a new job. With no manager or director right now. Sigh. Tuesday night we were up half the night with her because she wasn’t feeling well. Poor peanut, I know this is not her fault but shit. What awful timing!  

Yesterday I stayed home from work with her. I tried to do some work when she napped but also wanted to make sure I took good care of her. I was able to still attend a conference call because the husband came home from work. I felt so incredibly guilty when I was working and not taking care of V, and then felt guilty when I was with her and not attending to my work. It’s incredibly exhausting to feel like an octopus juggling all these balls in the air. And the sad fact?  By trying to spread myself so thin I’m not doing any of these things well. At all. 

Last night she still had almost a 103 fever. I felt so bad for her because I knew she was miserable. Poor baby. Even though she woke up with no fever this morning, I still wanted to keep her home for another day. 

Which meant another morning of trying to juggle. Then rushing off to work for an afternoon filled with meetings and trainings. Sigh. These are days that I wish I could clone myself. 

This Morning’s Drama

My morning started off by me dropping and shattering a coffee mug, coffee splattering all over the floor and my dress. Guess I didn’t really want to wear that outfit today.   Husband left for the gym so I was left to wrangle the toddler to get her ready for school. 

First she didn’t want to leave the house and was scream crying. Then I tried to coax her with tablet. It turned off so she started crying again. We get to school and she didn’t want to give the tablet up. She screams at me. Out of frustration she throws the tablet so I take it and put it away. More screaming and crying. I tell her it’s time to go to school and she tries to slap me and physically fights me when I try to take her out of her car seat. I back off and try telling her again it’s time for school. She’s shaking her head and hollering “Noooooooo!” at me. I try again to get her out of seat and I have to hold on to her carefully as she is flailing and fighting me all the way. We walk into the building and she throws her milk, where it promptly spills all over the floor. 

I take her to classroom for drop off. She wants nothing to do with me. I kiss her goodbye and as I walk out of the room, I feel the tears welling up. I quickly walk out and get in my car and lock the door. 

I lay my head on the steering wheel and sobbed uncontrollably. It’s barely 7:30 and I’m already emotionally and physically exhausted. Now it’s time for me to buck up and head into week 3 of my new job, where I will face an entire day of not knowing what-the-fuck-I’m-doing, adding to the incompetence and ineptitude I already feel. 

I feel so badly about how things went down with my daughter. I feel completely at a loss on how to deal with her when she’s like this. And then I feel like a terrible mother when I lose my patience with her. I vaccilate between trying to understand what she may be going through and thinking “I don’t have time for this fucking shit.”  

Here I sit at the office, working on a server outage I know nothing about, praying I don’t dissolve into tears at work.  Keep your fingers crossed for me. 

Meeting New Friends

I’ve written before that I’ve struggled to find my tribe of women mom friends.  Since moving to Atlanta, most of our friends don’t have children.  In an effort to make new friends, I’ve tried creating my own meetup group.  Out of the 4-5 meetups I’ve hosted, I’ve had exactly zero people show up (womp womp).  Despite feeling like a loser, I’m still trying to put myself out there.

I recently heard about an app called Peanut, that helps to connects moms.  The advertisement was during a parenting podcast that I really enjoyed, so I thought…why not give it a try?  It’s basically tinder dating to find mom friends.  You swipe one way if you like the person and swipe the other if you don’t.  I’ve been looking at it, and connected with a few moms through the app, but nothing had led to any kind of substantial communication so far.  And then, it happened!  I had a mom reach out to say hi and we hit it off!

It was great to chat back and forth with her, because it made me feel happy to have someone with similar struggles (i.e. hiding under the crib to look at your iPhone while your darling falls asleep, or dealing with a kiddo meltdown).  Our online rapport and banter had been so much fun, that we decided to meet up for a coffee date this weekend.

I was nervous and excited to meet this new potential mom friend.  What if our online chemistry didn’t translate in real life?  What if we didn’t jive or the conversation was awkward and weird?   What if she thinks I’m a total weirdo (and not in a good way)?!?  Finding new friends, even platonic ones, comes with all the same kind of worries of dating!

I worried all for naught, because we hit it off immediately.  When I found her, she immediately reached out to hug me.  I loved this, because I’m a huge hugger too!  She reminded me a lot of a good friend from Los Angeles.  In some ways, she talked very similarly to my friend that it threw me for a loop at first.  We sat down at a table outside and talked for two hours straight.   We had such easy conversation and my cheeks hurt from laughing and smiling.  I didn’t want to leave, but I also didn’t want to overstay my welcome either.  We made plans to meet up again soon, next time bringing our daughters with.

There have been lots of new things lately.  New job, new approach to my same old problems, new dynamic in my relationship, new way of trying to view myself.  I’m hoping that today is the start of a another new thing.  A new friendship with a kindred spirit.