Friday, September 28, 2012

Whining and then some wine

Things have been...going. Sunshine was a little sad about going to her dad's last night, but she handled it well. What BREAKS MY HEART is that she wants to look at a picture of me when she's there, but a collage I made for her clearly isn't being allowed on her cork board like she wanted.

And she's sad/confused about it.

(ETA: I wrote a lot more about the subject, but deleted it. I'm really, really not wanting to bash their dad. That's not what this is about.)

Moving on...

I get depressed at times when I think of the enormity of all this. Folks, this is FOREVER. I will forever and always have to share my kids, and they will forever and always have to deal with not being with me when they want to be.

The only rays of hope I have are:

1. It's teaching them, especially Sunshine, to not be completely dependent on just me. I was way too dependent on my mom, and it hurt like hell if she ever left. I want my kids to have more confidence in themselves than that.

2. I know with every fiber of being that, kid-related sadness not withstanding, I will be enormously more happy in my personal life. I don't mean that as an attack to my soon-to-be ex, but we just were not a match at all, and we did not have a happy, functioning marriage.

So, out of the million reasons I'm sad about this pending divorce, there are two positives. I'm hoping someday there will be more.

And to keep this blog from being such a bummer, I'll end by saying I'm looking forward to tonight. Gonna have Happy Hour with my BFF. Kiddos play, we play. Everyone wins.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Proud Mama

I just wanted to say how proud I am of my Sunshine. She had every right to freak out last night at the change in plans - change is not her friend, especially in the whole custody arena - but she was a trooper.

I know there were a few tears, and I hope her daddy treated her with respect when she shed them. But overall, she did great and was a sweet little girl this morning getting ready for school.

UPDATE: Just now he said he has to work Wednesday and asked if I'd take the girls (UM...OF COURSE!). So I offered to let him have them Friday, which is usually my day. Because I'm trying to foster goodwill and create flexibility on the off chance I need to change my schedule. But overall, I worry about changing our routine too much! I hope this doesn't happen often.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The right thing

I will not get into specifics, for I will try with all my might to be the better person in this situation.

But let's just say this is frustrating, and there are times when I'm very clear on the reasons behind my decision for this divorce.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

High hopes

I just had to steal this line from a fellow mom who is in the midst of a divorce herself. Her blog is

One of the things she wrote was that she was "...running away from a marriage that just didn't fit toward a life that I have high hopes for."

I read this on her blog and it struck me. This is me. The running away part probably has a bad connotation, but I know that I - and I'm guessing she - did all I could plausibly do before the "D" word became part of the discussion.

But what gets me is the rest of that sentence. A marriage that just didn't fit. A life that I have high hopes for.

Don't we all deserve that - the chance to fulfill our lives as best we can?

Wish us luck

Another Wednesday drop-off today. How will it go? I sensed some anxiety from Sunshine last night when she cried to me that she wanted "to be 3 again."

Is she crying out for her old life or just being a kid? She seems to come up with sadness/nostalgia for how things used to be on Tuesday nights.

She's excited about dinner at Daddy's tonight, but we'll see if that equals wanting to actually go there and spend the night.

Crossing all my digits.

I love you, baby girls.

UPDATE: Sunshine started to get weepy right before we left for Daddy's, possibly because I mentioned looking at her calendar, which is a visual reminder as to what's coming next. I constantly reminded her that she needed to choose to be happy; turn her frown upside down; that I'd spend the next afternoon with her (bribery - I'm not above it right now); and basically I just tried to stop the giant waterfall before it started.

How do I feel about this? Sad that I asked my little girl to swallow her feelings. That's not the person I want her to become. But slightly happy-ish that she was able to keep from getting too upset. I know she was sad, but she was a big girl, waved goodbye out the window, and I hope she had a good night.

Sigh. Let me know when this gets easier.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Turning a corner?

After a very rough drop-off Wednesday at Daddy's, where Sunshine cried and was basically filled with tons of anxiety about spending the night, Thursday was awesome!

Yes, I totally bribed her both days. I told her she is always allowed to cry. But I wanted her to a) stop being mean to Daddy by telling him she didn't want to be there; b) not throw a big fit; and c) if she did cry, try to eventually stop and instead put a smile on her face.

She tried on Wednesday, but wasn't too successful. Thursday - either because of the bribery (her good-behavior reward was to spend the afternoon with me at work) or a talk my mom had with her about watching her fits/attitude - she was great.

Not a single tear at drop-off. Total big girl. And like always, happy as can be to see me in the morning, with good stories about what she did at Daddy's.

I want to be hopeful that we're turning a corner, but I've seen her do this before, then revert back to her anxiety/sadness about being away from me. I guess we keep plodding along, hoping she adjusts soon. Her dad and I don't want to force her, but don't we need to give her time (a month or so) to get used to this schedule?

Anyway, here's to a happy kid-filled weekend and hopefully a nice day with their daddy on Sunday. How I miss them when they're gone! It just makes me want to curl up on the couch with a mindless TV show and a cocktail (wait, that doesn't sound half bad!).

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Creating good will vs. being right

Against probably my better judgment and that of pretty much everyone, I've agreed to buy two car seats for their daddy's car. I took our existing ones, along with their beds and pretty much everything else, when we moved.

And while I'm the custodial parent and I see no problem with this, he doesn't like it. I get that. He bought them brand-new, nice beds. At first I was like, "Fine, you bought beds. I'll buy new seats." But I have to buy them new beds soon, too.

So really, there's no reason I should have to buy him new car seats. Especially since I'm OCD and get the expensive Br*tax ones. It's going to cost me $400 - and they're on sale!

But, sometimes isn't it better to create good will with your actions than to "be right" about what's fair or not?

Monday, September 10, 2012

A big win, and some cream of chicken

Let's start by saying Sunday was awesome. Well, my version of "awesome" may have changed a bit since I started this whole custody thing. But it was a good day.

The girls were at their daddy's from 9 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. And there were no tears this time at drop-off!!!

As promised, I was able to pick them up before bed time. Previously they'd been spending the whole day and night, and that was simply TOO much for Sunshine (Little Bit is all like, "Whatevs. I'm 2 and flexible.")

Anyway, I spent the morning and early afternoon with my BFF having coffee, chatting, etc. I missed my kids, especially because hers were there. But it was nice having some down time with my buddy.

I went home and got chores done. The girls got to call me once during the day, and he sent me pictures of their crafts together, so they seemed to have a lovely time - as they should...he's their dad. And when I picked the girls up after dinner, they were happy as can be.

GIANT sigh of relief. One day at a time of course, but I'm calling this one a WIN. Yay!


I also managed to cook assemble a meal for myself and the girls Saturday night. Their dad has always done the cooking. And I live with my mom now, who is a great cook. I WANT to cook, but never have any ideas, need a lot of practice, etc.

All of this to say...Yes, I used cream of chicken soup in my chicken tortilla casserole Saturday. Don't judge.

Hey, single mom over here. It was either that or a quesadilla for the thousandth time. Gotta start somewhere.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

They get to come back home

Forever and ever! Yeah, I wish. But one tiny victory, which I'm scared to death he'll change his mind on, is that he decided to allow Little Bit and Sunshine to come home after dinner on Sundays. That's the longest day he has them, from just after breakfast, and I know how much it's going to help them (especially Sunshine) to know they get to come back to Mommy at the end of the day.

It's amazing how much this has lowered my anxiety. But, we haven't actually gone through that day yet, so I'll let you all (OK, the one person who reads my blog right now) know.

On the suggestion of a fantastic friend, who's also a preschool teacher/day care provider and super smart, single mama, I got a calendar for Sunshine. We only did one week, but basically on Daddy days, I put a "D" and she put truck stickers. On Mommy days, I put an "M" and she put heart stickers. Every day got smiley face stickers, because - as I tell her - every day you're with someone you love is a happy day. (She originally wanted to put frowny face stickers on Daddy days.)

Anyway, we'll cross out each day either before bed or before she goes to Daddy's after he gets off work. And each morning we'll look at the calendar to remind her what the day will hold.

And if she starts to panic cause she's going to Daddy's, I'll refer her back to the calendar. I also put mundane things on there, like a star for gymnastics days. I should put something on there for school days, but I'm going to run out of room on those little squares. :)

We started the calendar today, so I have no clue if it will work. I hope so. I really hope so.

On a completely unrelated note
: Rex-Goliath merlot is delicious. Rex-Goliath merlot accidentally breathed into your lungs...let's just say, it burns. Breathe...sip...swallow...breathe. Must remember this. Ouch.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Is it more devastating for us than for the kids?

My Sunshine is 4 years old. Her dad and I tried to reconcile, which only ended in her getting re-used to us all hanging out together as a family. Now that we're not again, it's even harder on her than before.

Twice this week at drop-off, she has clung to me, crying, screaming, pleading me not to leave her there (all while the 2-year-old happily enters the house, thankfully). He has taken her from my arms as she kicks and screams and cries.

Tell me how this isn't going to traumatize her? Really, she's just going to get over it soon and not be scarred? I'm not even joking: Should I start kid counseling?

Talk about the worst moments of a parent's life.

My friends tell me this is probably harder on me than her long-term. Is that true? But, don't short-term problems affect your psyche at some point? I'm just so worried that she'll end up with mommy issues...abandonment issues...

I know once she relaxes that she has a good time with her dad. It's not about him - it's about me. She wants Mommy. And then I ABANDON HER THERE AND JUST DRIVE AWAY (is that how she views it?).

PLEASE let her get used to this soon.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

I need to toughen up

My 4-year-old is having a hard time adjusting to all of this change. And if that isn't enough, there are little things here and there that continue to rock her little world: a sudden change in gymnastics, meaning a new teacher, and a substitute teacher at school.

Small things, but when you're already experiencing so much change, those things are huge. Especially to a small child.

Then she does things like tell me she misses her old toy box from her old room. She says she wants things the same as before.

How do I handle that? She's crying out for her old life. Maybe I make too much out of these little comments, bringing my worries about divorce into the picture and assuming what she says means more than it does.

But then again, they say divorce is really hard on children. So I need to take what she says and how she acts seriously. I'm just so scared. I don't know what's right or wrong to say to her.

"Yes, honey, I understand that some things are changing and that's scary and confusing to you. It's OK to be sad. Just remember that you're brave, and that it's good to try new things (I feel like I'm feeding her a line of B.S. here). And most importantly, remember that we love you."

So, do I just say that over and over and over again each time she shows her inner hurt? Is it working? When will it work?

They need me. It's as simple as that. Less time with Dad (I'm sorry...I know he loves them...but they need me).

My counselor told me constantly that they'll be fine. They'll adjust. Keep things at each home consistent. Provide plenty of love and nurturing. Don't fight with the other parent in front of them. Keep structure and discipline. If you do all of those things, your kids - especially given their young age - will be fine.

I'm trying really hard on all fronts. Is it working? When will it work?

I get so wrapped up in the fragile emotions of my young girls. I try to look at the big picture: My goal is to create a good, supportive, enriching childhood for them so they can turn into happy, healthy adults. Facing adversity is part of that, of course. But this kind of adversity? The kind where your mom is suddenly not there half the time?

If I try to picture them as adults, I can see how they'll probably end up just fine. If everyone whose parents were divorced didn't end up OK, we'd all be screwed up. Right? Or am I fantasizing?

I get too wrapped up in the here and now. And as a mom, it hurts my heart so badly to see them (mostly my 4-year-old) struggling. I seem to think that one sadness or misstep on my part is going to be permanent. Like that's the sum total of their experience. But that's crazy, right?

Sigh. OK, I've cried enough for one night, so I will move on.

Have I mentioned how much this sucks?

Some wins and losses

Well, the girls spent all Sunday with their dad. For the past month or so, while we tried to see if we could reconcile, I've been spending most of that day with them. So this was just them and Daddy. And it was tough. The Friday before, Sunshine threw a fit and had to be carried in by a pissed off father. So needless to say, she wasn't looking forward to an entire day with him. And night.

There were two wins early on, however. First - no one cried at drop-off. It helps that it was morning, and the girls were still bright-eyed and fresh. So, no crying or fits.


Then the biggest win of all: Even though he swore he wouldn't allow it, he let Sunshine call me. I got to talk to her and Little Bit while they played at the park. And they were happy as can be, so I got off the phone feeling as good as one can in this situation.


This next bit I'll call a win/loss. Little Bit fell and got a giant goose egg on her forehead. Like, a big one. Bad enough that their dad actually sent me a picture of it. Bad enough that it prompted me to call him and make sure she was OK.


But then a few minutes later he sent a photo of her being snuggled and iced. And he said she was doing better. That was a great co-parenting move. Win-win for the kids and parents. Thank you.


And then, at about 6 p.m., he let them call me again!


But, Sunshine was bawling. She missed me so much and just wanted to come home. What must go through her head when I say she can't? I fear so much that she will have real abandonment issues. Dear sweet Sunshine - I would never purposely be without you. I hope someday you can understand this. (And really - when is it OK to take her to a child psychologist to make sure she's adjusting normally? Cause I'll do whatever I can to help her transition.) Anyway, I sang her a song and then asked if she could give me just one smile. She said she did, and it seemed to calm her down. And while I'll field those calls every day if she needs me to, the fact that she was so upset is heartbreaking.


So, here we are. After a nice Labor Day spent with my girls (I offered to split the day with him, because I expect the same during the next holiday, but he said he was going hunting. I don't think he did, which is fine. But just for the record - I offered.)

Neither one of the girls wanted me to go to work today. And I know it's because they're feeling insecure. How can I help them? I dread the moment I have to send them back to their dad. He loves them. They love him. But at this moment in their lives while they're little, the love me more. Children need both parents, but they need their mommy most.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Savoring each moment

I quietly slip into her bed, being careful not to wake her. I cover her cool little legs, then cover myself up with one of our many crocheted blankets. Laying on my left side, my knees bend into my body as my feet poke through the old crib slats of her converted toddler bed. Yes, we can both fit in there...kind of. Luckily, I'm short, and she's tiny enough to not take up much room.

My sweet 2-year-old stirs a bit, unconsciously sucking her thumb. I settle in and snuggle up to her, spooning my little girl - my Little Bit.

My husband and I decided once and for all this week to call it quits. I'll write out my whole story soon, but suffice it to say - it sucks. Yes, it's selfish, but I want my girls all to myself. I grew them, birthed them, nurtured them and did basically everything for them until very recently. They feel like mine. I can count on one hand the number of times I willingly left them before they went to bed at night. So this whole custody thing?? Are you kidding me?

Tomorrow morning I have to drop them off. How? How did this glorious Saturday go by so quickly? I'm trying not to desperately worry about every moment spent with them, because all that does is lead to the inevitable countdown to when I have to leave them. Shit, this hurts my heart. And it hurts theirs, especially my 4-year-old.

So I lay here, gently snuggling my littlest love, grasping at any spare moments I can with her. Although she's not awake, I somehow hope that she'll sense that I'm near and get some extra comfort from Mommy that I know she needs.

I fall asleep, which is what I assumed I'd do. I eventually wake up and turn my attention to my other daughter - we'll call her Sunshine. She's 4, and she's the one who really tugs at my heartstrings, because she's more aware and more dependent in many ways than her little sister. Dear God, do not let her be too damaged by this divorce. She's so sensitive. Please, let me learn how to protect her while I, at the same time, leave her without me for hours on end each week.

My girls share a room, and I move over to her bed. As I told her I would before she went to sleep, I scoop her and her beloved blanky up and carry her to my bed. I never used to bother my girls while they slept, nor would I bring them to bed unless they were infants or sick, for fear that it would wake them up or cause bad habits.

Now - screw it. I need to feel my babies next to me. And again, I hope my Sunshine senses me near her as she sleeps. She certainly loves waking up in bed with me in the morning. I do this once, maybe twice, a week. And truthfully: I LOVE IT.

So here I am. Laying next to my first born, stroking her sweet, sweaty hair and whispering to her - as I did to Little Bit - how much I love her.

I fall asleep, knowing that in about eight hours I'll have to give them up for an entire day and night to their father who dearly loves them (but who simply isn't their mom), doing my best to make them believe that all of this is OK.

Soon-to-be single mom

Well, this is me. I'm a mom of two beautiful girls, 2 and 4 years old. At some point in the near future, I'll be divorced. Sigh. Like everyone else, it seems. I'm a statistic.

I'm not sure what to think about that, really. In some ways, I'm not surprised. Why am I any different than any other typical American?

I married for the wrong reasons. I let my biological clock and lack of confidence lead me down a path I knew was wrong (not too wrong in the end, though - I would do it all over again for my girls).

But here I stand: I've made the hardest decision of my entire life. Their dad would have stayed with me and continued to fight. And that's valiant. But in the end, what are we fighting for? The girls, of course! But when the true basis of love and friendship were never there -- and years of emotional abuse and neglect remain in our hearts -- where does that leave you in the long run?

So I've decided, although I doubt my choice constantly, to do what I know is best for myself. And while that choice is so hard for my girls and for their dad (well, this is partially his choice too, he just doesn't want to admit it), I will do everything in my power to make the best choices possible for them. My girls, that is. Their dad is on his own. :)

I love them fiercely and wish I could take away all their hurt and uncertainty. But I suppose that even if I was happily married to their dad, I still couldn't protect them from everything. I will try my best, though.

Why am I writing this blog? Turns out I need an outlet for my thoughts in this whole process. So I can talk the ears off of my friends and family (which I'll continue to do), or I can get it down in writing. And if anyone has similar circumstances, I'd love to hear how they handle their little world.