Posts Tagged With: Parenting after divorce

When you make a promise…

My children are trying to marry me off…

Tea (11) “you promised me you were going to get married

Tajh (13) “We have a list”

And they proceeded to give me the list.

On it is a loud, foul mouthed “older” gentleman. My friend, a partner in crime, one of their favorite people. Not someone looking for a wife and 6 kids, someone looking to be free, and drunk. Another friend of a friend made the list. Not someone who is “stable” or to “normal”, but someone who is kind and the kids love. The rest of the list is either people who I don’t really know (including some of their teachers) and people already married…

“Umm.. he’s married”

Kids “That’s ok, we can break them up”

Oh goodness…

Wow…

So apparently I have to get married. I did promise after all…

Applications are being accepted via sevenwildandfree@gmail.com

The kids will look them over.

Oh my kids… these kids…

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The Alone Life

So I’m a single mom of 6 kids, who’s interested??

Yup, that’s the opening line to my stand up routine… hence why I don’t actually have a stand up routine…

But really, who sees a mom to 6 kids and thinks “hey, I want in on that mess”?

Six kids… That is a lot.

Five kids sounded like a lot….

I’ve had it together for these past couple of months since Tag’s birth. I think where most mer mortals would have folded, collapsed at the exhaustion and stress, I excelled. I’ve always taken a challenge well and doing this “single mom to an infant plus five other kids half the time” thing was my biggest challenge to date. I’ve felt in control of my emotions and very “put together”, but not these last couple of weeks. Somehow I have turned into an emotional wreck every time a love song comes on. I cry, in public sometimes- Sabrina does not cry!

So what is it?  I have zero desire to date and zero time.

I am happy being single- While my friends are telling me “you just had a baby, you’ll be interested in dating later”, in my head I’m daydreaming about all the running adventures I will go on in this “later” they speak of.

I have no one to answer to, it’s pretty sweet. My kids roll with all my crazy antics: breakfast for dinner, last minute adventures, impromptu dance parties, and we have no one to judge us. No one to question why we spent money on unnecessary things. No one to check in with. No one to judge my kid messy car. No one to kibosh any stupid (yet fun!) ideas we have. We like it.

If I did have any free time a man is not what I would want to spend it on. I would rather spend more time with my kids, read more, run, go on adventures, write, maybe make that “money” thing everyone speaks of. So much to do, dating is not even close to the table…

So why the sadness as of late? I think I’ll chalk it up to my hormones being a mess post birth. Maybe exhaustion has finally built up enough and I can no longer ignore it. Or maybe it’s just normal? Maybe it’s normal to be sad you don’t have something everyone else (ok not everyone) has but not really want it in the end? Nah, it’s just hormones, I’ll take an extra placenta pill and call it a day.

There was an old woman who lived in a running shoe… I’m pretty sure that’s how it goes.

IMG_4476-2

All the man I need! (well… Tag and the 3 others I suppose)

Categories: Single Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Stop Praising Dads for Parenting.

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The emptiness of a clean house

I’ve spent a lot of time as a Mom cleaning. I may preach “the mess will be gone before you know it, they grow up too fast”, but really my OCD takes over and I clean. I hate walking into a house with toys everywhere. My kids play and make a mess and I follow behind them cleaning it up… not always, but much of my “Mom career” was spent being the cleaning lady.

Nowadays my kids leave 50% of the time. I could easily keep a super clean house while they are gone, but now a clean house is sad. A toy not on the rug means no one will be coming back to it in a couple of minutes. Clothes on the floor means no one is there for me to yell at to put them away. Is this something all single Mom’s feel? The loneliness of a clean home? When they are here I clean too much. I still follow them around picking up after them. Try and have them keep their messes contained. But when alone, the stuffed animal stays in its haphazard home… the dirty sock doesn’t find its way to the laundry basket, the straw hat used to play farmer sits in my chair without a head to don. Am I really the only one?

I’ve learned to clean sections. The joy I feel of over cleaning accomplishment can be had, but I always see my kids still here. Today it’s the kitchen and living room, everything is in place and the smell of way too all natural cleaning products is in the air. Their room is untouched. Beds aren’t made, they were too busy playing before they left to make them themselves. Clothes are on the floor, shoes out-of-place, they will be back. It’s comforting in a way, but still sad. They are still missing… Does this feeling ever go away?

Sometimes I find myself pretending it’s nice to have a “break”, and maybe some days it is. Yes, a day off every once in a while is helpful, maybe every couple of months. Sometimes I get the feeling Moms who have their kids all the time are jealous of my freedom. Sometimes they express it, just a little, and I can’t respond. I want to scream. I want to tell them I never became a Mom to have all this down time. I want them to see the days I’m without my kids and “free” and how lonely it is. Maybe it’s silly, maybe it’s that “grass is always greener” feeling…. Whatever it is I’ve had it both ways. I would always take being a full-time Mom with no breaks over being a part-time Mom.

So now I’ll go back to scrubbing things that have already been scrubbed and leave the bunny in the middle of my floor until it’s friend returns.

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Why Ladies need Mommy friends.

As a mom you spend a lot of time talking to little people who can’t talk back to you. You talk to yourself everywhere you go. Social interaction with other adults becomes awkward almost.  You can go to baby classes, mommy and me class and make friends, but all those “before kids” friends have a hard time understanding why you don’t text back. Why you cancel plans at the last-minute. Why all around it seems like you are distracted and no longer  cool.

I struggled to make mommy friends. As a young mom doing things differently (attachment parenting, babywearing, cloth diapering) I was confusing to other mothers. It’s that “well she must be judging me for my choices” mentality.  I made a really amazing friend (we met on babycenter which neither of us are willing to admit) when Tea and her daughter were 6 months. I met another wonderful mom friend when Tajh was in preschool. I met another beautiful friend when Tajh was in first grade (despite the fact that she refused to tell me what her husband did for a really long time. Apparently she thought I wouldnt be ok with a youth pastors with! I still love her!).  My Lala, my bestie, I met when Tea was in kindergarten with her son.  Otherwise is was hit and miss…

When Tajh was in kindergarten a crazy mom (legit she was crazy) organized a park day. Despite the fact that she was crazy and I can be completely awkward in social situations I went. The park days continued and turned into a core group of ladies (crazy lady left). Our children went lord of the flies (every boy with his shirt off, and one little lady who is pretty awesome ditched her top too). After school each Tuesday our kids ran, played, did whatever they wanted, while us ladies talked. We shared our lives, it was my world. I looked forward to those Tuesday’s at the park when my life was in chaos. From kindergarten through 3rd grade these ladies were my peeps.

When we moved school this stopped. All our little people where getting older and things were slightly fizzling out as it was. But now it ended…  These moms and I had shared years together, not only with our kids, but also on drunken moms night outs. For a year I missed them…..

When the chaos started in my life again (ie nowhere to live) I knew who I needed to call. I knew who I needed to see and talk to to feel like I had a chance of getting my act together. I called a Tuesday park day, and they showed up! We talked, caught up, and sent our children off to play. How beautiful is that? These ladies were there for me! Time didn’t matter, when I needed them they showed up. I can not even begin to explain how wonderful life is when you find a core group of Mommies to hang out with. People without judgment, that share similar experiences, that love you despite time and space.

Hey my park Moms, Tuesday park day soon?

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Sometimes things are harder then they look….

I don’t know how single moms do it. I never truly thought of how hard it would be to be “on my own”. Yes I have five kids, but I can imagine even with one things aren’t easy. My 6 biggest gripes of being a single Momma (these can totally apply to single Dads too!)-

No one to watch kids while you make a quick run to the store-

That moment when you wake up and realize there is nothing for breakfast so you run to the store super quick before the kids get up? Yeah, single moms don’t have that. There is no “oops I’m out of flour!” moment, you have to plan ahead. I don’t have the option to make a quick store run, if I’m out of something we are all hoping in the car. Luckily I do have a 11-year-old that I trust and send into the store for a couple of items at times. But on the whole, I have to be sure I’m super prepared.

No one to give me a break at the end of the day-

Some days are rough. Some days you just want someone to read to the kids while you clean up after dinner. Some days you just want someone to watch the kids while you go out for a run. There is no “break” until the kids are in bed. Yes I have days that are totally “free”, but what that means is when I am with the kids I’m 100% there. No break, no help, all me. Yes, it is exhausting.

No one to bounce ideas off of-

What should we do today? What should the budget look like? What should we eat for dinner? Look, I’m terrible at making decisions. I like to come up with ideas and run them by someone else. When you are single, there isn’t anyone to take on this job. You can outsource to friends, family, but it’s not the same as having someone else in the home. It is nice to have someone to collaborate with.

No on to back me up (especially when a tween sucks)-

Kid is being highly disrespectful and all you need is another adult to help defuse the situation. Clearly I can handle this on my own, but sometimes it’s nice to have some “back up”.

No one to do the “yucky stuff”-

We were hanging out at Zane Grey watching all the runners and it was cold, snowing cold. We played a bit then they all wanted to get in the van to warm up, perfect, they are contained! I starting hearing that all to familiar “Moooooommy” call… Yay. Come to find Tru has vomited in the van, on himself and Tenny. So now I’m cleaning vomit, alone. Sometimes it nice to have those extra hands to help, or someone who can take over. When you’re a single mom it’s all you, yuck.

No one to sit down with at the end of the day and just talk-

At some point you realize you are actually alone. They are all in bed, and it’s just you. No one to listen to “war stories” from the day: Tru threw a fit, Tenny got paint all over the floor, and I cleaned up poop off the wall (True story). No one to tell all the funny, cute, awesome things the kids did during the day to…  The silence when they kids are in bed is almost haunting.

In the end these are all “doable”.  My Littles are pretty amazing and our little life together is starting to come together. The reality is being a single parent is hard. Having a partner to share the good, bad, and ugly with makes life easier in many ways (and harder in others too!).  Even if your partner sucks, sometimes just having another body in the home can be beneficial. I’m slowly figuring this all out and getting use to taking care of the vomitty situations (I don’t do vomit well…). There are plenty of benefits to being a single Mom as well! I mean, not having to shower until your friends decide to call you out for your stinkyness is pretty sweet….

 

 

 

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Holding on to trust

I have always been a firm believer that My Littles should have an adult in their life they can tell anything to and know they will not be judged. Someone that will keep their secrets if that is what they need. Someone to guide them on the right path, someone I too can trust. I never thought my children would choose me for this job…

On a hike the other day I wore Tru while the others marched along, Tea holding Tenny’s hand on the steep downhills. We chatted as usual and the kids began sharing some worries they had. I took a deep breath and thought very hard before I responded, even for me this was a bit much. It was eye-opening to me how much they talk to each other. They shared with me that they had talked about this very thing at the park a couple of days prior. I had wondered what they were doing, not playing just walking in a little gang together around the perimeter. Apparently they were sharing all the little spy work they had done with and discussing their feelings. As a Mother wanting my children to have a super tight bond, I was proud. Now that they were allowing me in on their little secret, I was honored.

Sister Love

Sister Love

He always gets excited when we are going on a hike and falls asleep within minutes… apparently we aren't very exciting!

He always gets excited when we are going on a hike and falls asleep within minutes… apparently we aren’t very exciting!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So they told me what they knew, their feelings, their worries, and asked me to keep their secret. It is not something harmful to anyone else, something that could easily be avoided if people in their lives made an effort, but I still felt uneasy as I made the promise. I will not tell on you. I still feel uneasy, but I can not lose their trust. If I tell, they will know, and then I will not get the chance to be a part of their little gang any longer. Their counseling sessions with each other will become a secret from me, and I can not have that. Maybe that’s wrong of me? Maybe I’m suppose to “be a parent” and not a friend? Maybe I’m making the biggest mistake every and I’m going to pay for it later…

But I honestly don’t care…

I have a secret that I’m not telling! My Littles have a pretty awesome club and I am excited to be a part of it!

My Gang

My Gang

The hike went on, we wandered with no real direction or plan, and it was perfect. I’m really digging not coming up with a plan even for my own runs. Choosing left or right, up or down, going with the flow and allowing the day to create itself. I find myself dreading the days we have things to do and longing for the ones we can get lost in. The no agenda days of the summer have been missing far too long…

 

 

Categories: My world as a Single Mom of 5 kids | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Breathing and Running with a Little Person

Do you ever feel like you can’t breathe? Like the world is just falling on you and there is no escape? Lately writing just seems hard. Almost as if  writing things make them become true. Like if I just don’t share things out loud (or on the screen) I can will them away. Being lost is an interesting thing…

I think this whole being a person outside of being a mom thing is still had work. When I’m not with them I find myself researching fun things do to with them. I think about how the next day will be spent when I see them, and get everything together so my time with then is as worthwhile as it can be. I’m still not ready to be a person outside of being a mom, and maybe that’s my problem.

Luckily Tea has her race coming up so we are training. Runs with this little lady make everything amazing. Honestly she and I struggle in day-to-day stuff, we are a lot a like and she has the ability to push my buttons. When we run together it is just happiness. We talk, laugh, share stories, it’s perfect. Sharing time on the trail with my Little Lady is definitely the highlight to any day.

This weekend was a 15 mile long run for her. Her first time on the Pemberton Trail where she will be spending plenty of quality time at the end of the month. We ended up not having anyone to watch the other littles until almost 11 so we got a very late start, but we both knew we had to get it done. I carried a pack, handheld, and an extra bottle in my pack. Tea carried 2 small handhelds and I honestly thought we would be fine. I had planned on us being out there for 4-5 hours, not knowing how her little body would be feeling in the heat. We ended up whining together about it being hot (because we are both very good at whining, but only to each other) but kept a pretty good run/walk going on. In the end we finished in 3:45 and both felt pretty awesome. Just a nice little training run and day of play with my Little Lady on the trails.

I followed this run up by drinking nearly a gallon of water, and still not being able to pee. It took over 12 hours after for me to actually be able to go (over share?). When you run with little people you tend to give them everything and try and not take too much yourself, sometimes that’s a mistake. Tea was super hydrated and feeling amazing, I on the other hand clearly let myself get a little too dehydrated. Oh well, live and learn. Little Ladies drink a lot of water and I should bring even more next time!

Love this Little Lady. Could she be any more perfect?

Love this Little Lady. Could she be any more perfect?

So although breathing and figuring my own stuff out is hard, I still have training with my Little Lady to look forward to. I love all my little people, but this special time I have with her right now is wonderful. I am thankful to be able to share this experience with my Tea.

 

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Single Mom

I miss my kids…

This whole “parenting alone after the divorce” thing has finally began. Seth and I each have the kids for basically 24 hours. We are still couch surfing so really having us all in one place for any extended amount of time isn’t feasible anyway. Even when the kids are with Seth I call every night to say goodnight and he does the same when I have them. But I still find myself missing them.

When I had Tajh I become a Mom full-time. I have gone to school on and off and worked a little, but I was still there every night. This last 2 years of Seth and I being separated and now divorced has been an interesting transition in my Mothering. I began leaving the children for nights, going on trips without them, and not living every single day for them. At first it was exciting, I became a Mom at 19 so I never really made choices for myself. The excitement has worn off.

I don’t know what to do with myself. When I have them its constantly planning the next move, keeping 5 kids fed and happy is a full-time gig. When I don’t have them even making food is confusing. How do I cook for 1 person? I find myself getting lost on the internet, snacking on terrible foods, and overall just not knowing what to do with myself.  I can sit and blog, email, get this “life” thing organized, but then what. I have time to run, but I’m still broken so that’s just disappointing. I find myself sad.

So how does someone who has spent 10 years of their life living for their little people find themselves again? How do I become my own person, not simply the T’s  Mom, but Sabrina? And how do I do this when I really don’t want to? When all I want is to be with my kids all day every day?

Moral? I know what Seth and I are doing is right, but that doesn’t mean it feels good. I am allowed to grieve the loss of my former life. The place I felt comfortable, happy, love. The place where I was a Mom, all day every day. Where I didn’t have an identity of my own and that was ok. I miss never being able to go to the bathroom alone. I miss cooking and having a million little people under my feet. I miss having 5 little people talking to me at one time. I miss never having enough hands. I miss not being able to remember if I brushed my teeth. I was ready to no longer be Seth’s wife, I’m not sure I was ready to be Sabrina.

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My kids and My +1

I believe that Seth and I have similar feelings on our children and the relationships and interactions that we have with our +1’s, but for the purpose of not stepping on any toes, I will speak for myself here.

 

The idea that my children don’t have two partners together has been a hard one for me. Despite how it may look like from the outside, I am very conservative in my family values. Now, I don’t believe children are doomed if they do not have the picture-perfect family life, I just had a picture in my head of my children having their parents together. So, now that things must be reevaluated, I had to take a very long look at what example I want to set for them. The conclusion I came to is simple, unless something is a “for sure” i.e. an engagement and wedding planning, my children do not need to know anything.  Many people thought I was crazy (the usual) but so far (knock on wood) its been going well.

 

My +1 and I have been together for over 18 months (with a breather in there somewhere). I remember growing up having many adults around that were not a part of my family, and some of them even were referred to as “aunt” and “uncle”. To me it was never odd or different; they were just extra big people in my life that cared about me. My children, especially in the ultra running world, have the same. Just tons of adult friends who care about the kids and enjoy their company, its pretty awesome to see. So, to my kids, my +1 is just another one of those big people. Granted he is around a lot more than the others, and Mommy does go with him to help when he is racing (which they always giggle about him needing Mommy to “take care of him”), but they don’t have any nefarious thoughts on the subject. Quite honestly, I attribute that to the fact that my kids are fairly innocent. They are not overly sexualized, talking about kissing, boyfriend/girlfriends, and other inappropriate stuff, they are just kids. So to my advantage, this has definitely worked. Also the fact that +1 and I do not touch or kiss in front of them is probably a huge help! I do hug my male friends, but I don’t want one day down the road for my kids to have an AH-HA moment and put the puzzle together if they shouldn’t be. So alas, here we are, +1 is an awesome big person friend.

 

After our Mount Massive summit, shit hit the fan. I’ll save that ridiculous story for our blog about the trip, but just picture the big three and I huddled together for warmth as painful hail pummels us. We chat away trying to distract ourselves from the uncomfortableness and they bring up an adult lady friend of theirs and her boyfriend. I correct them and say her “fiancé” and explain that means they will be getting married soon. After the usual 200 questions about said impending marriage, to which I had no answers, the discussion turned to me and the fact that one day I will be getting married. We have talked before about how I could never love anyone that did not love them and we once again talked about how that would always be the case. At some point Tajh (Tajh of all kids!) giggled a little, looks up at me and says

 

“You should marry +1”

 

I am at this moment completely caught off guard and can only muster “oh really?”

 

“Yeah Mom, it would be cool. Tru would be confused if it was someone else and he would just stare at him, but he likes +1! Plus then he would really be a part of our family, I mean, he already is kinda, but he really would be!”

 

Then they all started talking about how much he likes them and how cool it would be. After a couple minutes the subject changed and we all moved on. Honestly though, how sweet is that? The pureness there is what makes children so special. “He loves us, we love him, you should marry him!” Oh my little people!

 

I truly value marriage and I hope that my children grow up, find who they are suppose to spend the rest of their lives with and are able to. But if that’s not in the cards for them, if they choose a different path, I will support them as well. My dream might not be theirs, and that really is okay. For now I’m going to stick with my rules and see where things head for me. Now that we know what my little people want…

 

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